South Sudan consists of more than 60 different ethnic groups. Dealing with diversity is thus the most important long-term challenge the people of South Sudan are facing. Many of the conflicts among the tribes go back to a lack of economic development. When facing an acute crisis and ethnic cleansing, as we did in December of last year, it was crucial to make sure that all sides understood that their actions were being observed and made public. And I have to complement the United Nations for opening their camps for people who were fearing for their lives.
My day is full of meetings with all kinds of people from government, civil society, churches, etc. That is the beauty of this job—I meet with bishops and diplomats, internally displaced persons and health workers, artists and sportsmen. And if you ask the right question, you always get interesting answers in return. You always learn something new. And I try to include that in my reporting and hope it is interesting for my “clients” in Berlin and in the embassy in the region.
My motivation is to have an impact, to change things to the better. I know, that my means are limited, but I want to make sure that I have made good use of them.
I have become quite suspicious of people telling me that there is no problem, that diversity is not an issue. It always is—and that is true, in particular, in situations when resources are limited. When atrocities loom, it is imperative not to look away, but to confront them head on.