Second-hand car sales in cemetery reveal struggles of Sudan’s Christians
During a visit to churches and ecumenical organizations in Khartoum, the World Council of Churches found the only “official” Christian cemetary in the capital city of Sudan – currently being used as a sales park for second hand cars.
4/2/08 Sudan (ChristianToday) In Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan, it is hard for Christians to have their own place – even after they have died. The city’s Christian cemetery, which has been turned into a sales park for second hand cars, illustrates well the challenges faced by the minority Christian community in the northern, predominantly Muslim part of the country.
The main – and only ‘official’ – Christian cemetery in this city of about 8 million inhabitants occupies 1,6 hectare of land given to the Khartoum churches with that purpose by the former vice president Abel Alier in 1975.
In order to make a rational use of the space, the premises were divided in two halves and graves were allowed only in one of them. The plan was to start using the second half of the terrain once the capacity of the first one would reach its limit – which is going to happen soon.
But in November 2007, the vacant part of the cemetery was occupied by intruders who set up shop and started to operate a livestock market.
After the initial, strong protest of the church leadership, the livestock market was removed from the premises and now takes place a few blocks away. But the goats and sheep were soon replaced – by used cars. The wide, flat area seemed to the traders to make an excellent venue for both car exhibition and test driving.