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[New Nation] Southern Sudan

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by JuanValdez, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Member

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    I was getting a bit excited about the referendum in Southern Sudan when the whole Giffords thing happened and distracted everybody from everything else happening in the world. But, I'm reading about it again.

    I'm a little surprised and very pleased that they seem to be having a referendum that is not hindered by violence or corruption. And, it means Southern Sudan will soon be independent after decades of fighting. I'm excited for them to try to make it a go on their own, despite all their problems. It's amazing that more of the colonial borders in Africa haven't been changed over the last half-century.

    I would not be surprised to see Southern Sudan become a western darling charity case, where western governments and oil companies and Christians help them quickly develop and surpass Sudan. But who knows.

    And, for people who have no idea what I'm talking about: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/world/africa/09sudan.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print

    [rquoter]Southern Sudan Feels Freedom Close at Hand
    By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN

    JUBA, Sudan — Philip Geng Nyuol started fighting for independence with his hands.

    He eventually graduated to a machete, then Molotov cocktails, then a gun.

    “I crossed rivers full of crocodiles,” he said. “And slept in camps in Congo. And ate wild fruits in the bush.”

    That was nearly 50 years ago — Mr. Nyuol was on the ground floor of southern Sudan’s independence struggle, before the rebels even had proper weapons. The memories come flooding back to him, bright but patchy, like sun streaming through the trees.

    After decades of war and more than two million lives lost, southern Sudan has arrived at the moment it has been yearning for, a referendum on independence. Polls opened on Sunday just after 8 a.m. local time. All signs point to the people here voting overwhelmingly for secession, and the largest country on the continent will then begin the delicate process of splitting in two.

    The United States government has played a pivotal role in bringing this moment to fruition, pushing the northern and southern Sudanese to sign a peace treaty in 2005 that set the referendum in motion. A proud, new African country is about to be born, but it will step onto the world stage with shaky legs. As it stands now, southern Sudan is one of the poorest places on earth.

    Most people here scrape by on less than 75 cents a day. More than three-quarters of adults cannot read. Decades of civil war and marginalization have left the economy so crushed that just about everything is imported, down to eggs. According to Oxfam, a teenage girl has a higher chance of dying in childbirth than finishing elementary school.

    Tens of thousands have flocked back to take part in the referendum, and some analysts, possibly reinforcing stereotypes of Africa as always teetering on the edge, warn south Sudan could be the next Somalia, awash in violence. Already, aid agencies are ringing the alarm about a lack of food, water, health care and sanitation.

    “We have an unfolding humanitarian crisis, layered on top of an existing and forsaken one,” said the International Rescue Committee, an American aid organization that works in Sudan.

    But this is a land of shared sacrifice, and that may be a cohesive force that helps hold southern Sudan together. After all the years of guerrilla warfare and hardship, oppression and persecution at the hands of the Arabs who rule Sudan, people here are deeply invested in holding a peaceful referendum and building the world’s newest nation.

    “We are underdeveloped, yes, but we will do it,” said Gideon Gatpan Thoar, the information minister of Unity State, near the north-south border.

    United Nations officials here say something remarkable has already happened. In 2009, ethnic fighting swept the south, with several thousand people killed in military-grade attacks, fueled by longstanding ethnic rivalries and a sudden, suspicious increase in high-powered weaponry. Many southerners suspected that the government in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, was instigating the violence, just as it had in the past when Khartoum fomented a civil war within a civil war.

    But in the past six months, there has been almost no major ethnic violence. One of the last holdouts, a renegade general who had been leading a revolt deep in the bush, recently agreed to a cease-fire. “What we are seeing is a real effort for reconciliation,” said a United Nations official in Juba, who was not authorized to speak to the news media and spoke anonymously. “All eyes are on the referendum. They’re all trying to get along now.”

    But the official added, “Everybody knows these issues will come up in the future.”

    Many northern Sudanese who work in the south are now fleeing. Stocks of goods are going down; prices are going up. People are still talking about what-ifs and the possibility of war, because even after the referendum, some very thorny issues need to be carefully handled before the south can peacefully break off. (The actual declaration of independence is scheduled for July.).

    The south produces around 75 percent of Sudan’s oil, but it is landlocked, so some arrangement will have to be struck for southern oil to keep flowing through the pipeline in the north. The border will also have to be demarcated, including the tinderbox Abyei area, where Arab nomads historically have crossed back and forth. Billions of dollars of debt will have to be shared.

    But most southerners are not thinking of technicalities. This is not simply a political moment, a time for a new line on the map or a new seat at the United Nations.

    “This is a dream,” Mr. Nyuol said, “a dream we always hoped would come true, even if it took one thousand years.”

    All over the streets of Juba, the capital of the south, brightly colored banners flaunt images of a single open hand, the ballot symbol that stands for secession. In towns across the south, loudspeakers blast messages of freedom. And salvation.

    “We are going, we are going, we are going to the promised land,” sang a preacher in Yei, about 100 miles southwest of Juba.

    The south is filled with people who have paid for this referendum with their own blood. Amputees hobble down the street in Juba with barely a glance up at the new ministries that their lost limbs helped bring to reality.

    Veterans are everywhere, reflective of a society in which men, women and children were all mobilized to fight for independence.

    Rose Hawa Simon, a copper-skinned woman with a million-dollar smile, never thought she would see this day, or even that she would be alive right now. She was one of the few female tank drivers for the southern rebels, and in March 1997 her tank was hit and she was shot twice fleeing the flaming wreckage. She does not question the sacrifice.

    “Our people were suffering, our people were killed,” she said. “I said: ‘Let me join. Let me go.’ I started training on that tank, because my heart was broken.”

    Alex Taban is another former bush fighter. His son, Jackson, followed in his footsteps and joined the rebellion. Jackson was killed in 1997 and buried on the battlefield. As the referendum approaches, Mr. Taban said, “The thoughts are there.”

    The British colonizers planted a political minefield in the 1920s when they drew a line across the bottom third of Sudan and declared that northern and southern Sudanese should remain separate. Part of the reason was to check the spread of Islam. To this day, the upper part of Sudan is mainly Muslim and controlled by Arabs; the lower third is mostly animist and Christian, linguistically and culturally more in tune with Kenya, Uganda and central Africa.

    A group of southern soldiers mutinied in 1955, a year before Sudan was granted independence. The civil war had begun.

    By 1958, Mr. Nyuol, who is in his 70s (though he is not sure of his exact age), was organizing protests at his high school.

    “Even then, we could tell what was happening,” he said. “They wanted to Islamize us. They were building mosques all over the place. They wanted us to change our names.”

    He went to the forest in 1963. He laid ambushes. He firebombed the cars of Arabs. In the 1980s, after working as a high school math teacher, he ran underground cells to send food and matériel into the bush.

    He planned to show up at the polls at dawn on Sunday, even though voting will continue for one week to allow people in far-flung areas to cast their ballots. He will vote for the open hand, for secession, he said.

    “We have waited for this, we have fought for it,” he said.

    And when the voting is over, he will return to his work building an archive of old pictures of his comrades who died in the 1960s. [/rquoter]
     
  2. da_juice

    da_juice Member

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    My biggest fear is that this becomes another India and Pakistan probelm, where both sides threaten to wipe the other off the face of the earth because of previous ethnic tensions and border disputes. It should also be itneresting to see if other African countries split too.
     
  3. s land balla

    s land balla Member

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    Will it be called Southern Sudan?
     
  4. AMS

    AMS Member

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    In case you were wondering....

    Thirteen other countries became independent through a variety of causes.

    * March 21, 1990 - Namibia became independent of South Africa.
    * May 22, 1990 - North and South Yemen merged to form a unified Yemen.
    * October 3, 1990 - East Germany and West Germany merged to form a unified Germany after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
    * September 17, 1991 - The Marshall Islands was part of the Trust Territory of Pacific Islands (administered by the United States) and gained independence as a former colony.
    * September 17, 1991 - Micronesia, previously known as the Caroline Islands, became independent from the United States.
    * January 1, 1993 - The Czech Republic and Slovakia became independent nations when Czechoslovakia dissolved.
    * May 25, 1993 - Eritrea was a part of Ethiopia but seceded and gained independence.
    * October 1, 1994 - Palau was part of the Trust Territory of Pacific Islands (administered by the United States) and gained independence as a former colony.
    * May 20, 2002 - East Timor (Timor-Leste) declared independence from Portugal in 1975 but did not became independent from Indonesia until 2002.
    * June 3, 2006 - Montenegro was part of Serbia and Montenegro (also known as Yugoslavia) but gained independence after a referendum.
    * June 5, 2006 - Serbia became its own entity after Montenegro split.
    * Febraury 17, 2008 - Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia.
     
  5. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Member

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    They haven't figured that part out yet. But, apparently they have a flag and an anthem already. That seems a little back-asswards, but fine.
     
  6. da_juice

    da_juice Member

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    I think they're in the same boat as the Kurds, where they consider themselves to be they're own country with their own flag and laws and language already and have considered themselves to be their own nation for decades, even centuries. This vote is more about international recognition.
     
  7. iconoclastic

    iconoclastic Member

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    Will this change vault the Democratic Republic of the Congo into the lead for largest nation on the African continent?
     
  8. B-Bob

    B-Bob "94-year-old self-described dreamer"

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    How can you have an anthem without knowing the name of your country? What the heck?

    "God bless (TBA), and keep her/him/it brave and stronnnnnng!"
     
  9. Mathloom

    Mathloom Shameless Optimist
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    I don't know the whole story here but I am a bit extreme on this issue. I either want all countries to join up, or for them to break into tiny tiny units. Anything in between doesn't seem to be doing justice to large pockets of humans.

    I hope this new nation is not born out of external political meddling and leads to a happier and more prosperous life for those involved. Most importantly, I hope they get along with Sudan sooner rather than later.

    You have to wonder whether there are adequate resources to succeed if Sudan is showing little to no resistance.
     
  10. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Member

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    iconoclastic, I think Algeria will be the new leader in area.


    That's an interesting position to take.


    Well, I imagine it can't get any worse than it's been the last 20 years or so. They've got nowhere to go but up. And, with the oil they have there, they've got at least one industry to hang on to. I think the north hasn't been giving them a hard time (except for one disputed region) because the fighting has worn them out too. They don't want to give up the oil, but they can still get a cut for piping it through their territory to the port.
     
  11. amaru

    amaru Member

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    Agreed
     
  12. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
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    Great topic, JV. I've been following this a bit and if this comes off without spiraling into violence (which would be a miracle), it could serve as a model for addressing the artificial borders left by the colonial powers. By the ballot box instead of the gun.
     
  13. pippendagimp

    pippendagimp Member

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    they have lots of oil.
     
  14. bucket

    bucket Member

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    A lot of the oil is in the border region between north and south, and the boundary isn't fully demarcated yet. There will likely continue to be some kind of revenue-sharing agreement between the two countries. The north has all of the refining capacity, while the south has very little infrastructure of any kind.
     
    1 person likes this.
  15. pippendagimp

    pippendagimp Member

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    the big question is who assumes the ~$40B in external debt, much of which has been grandfathered in from decades past.....this a big catalyst for continuing conflict there imo
     
  16. ChrisBosh

    ChrisBosh Member

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    Some articles from Aljazeera....

    US may cut Sudan from 'terror list'

    Khartoum could see restrictions on aid, arms sales and trade lifted if it accepts results of southern referendum.

    The United States has said it may remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism if the government in Khartoum recognises the outcome of the south's referendum on whether to split from the north.

    "Should the referendum be carried out successfully and the results are recognised by the government, President Obama would indicate his intention to begin the process of removing them," Princeton Lyman, the lead US negotiator with Sudan, said on Tuesday.

    "It is a process that takes some time, but by beginning the process in the wake of the referendum, the hope is if they meet all the conditions it can be done by July."

    Lyman made the remarks on the third day of voting in the referendum, which was organised as part of a peace agreement in 2005 that ended two decades of civil war between the north and the south.

    The referendum is widely expected to lead to mainly Christian and animist southern Sudan seceding from the predominantly Muslim north of the country.

    Bashir praised

    Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, has been praised for saying that he will celebrate the outcome of the poll whatever it may be and will work with an independent south Sudan if it chooses to secede.

    However, the vote has been mared by sporadic acts of violence between pro-Khartoum tribes and southern security forces and attacks on southerners heading from the north to vote.

    Officials in south Sudan said 10 people were killed when their convoy was ambushed by Misseriya nomads in Southern Kordofan on Tuesday.

    Johnnie Carson, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said another key condition for removing Khartoum from the US blacklist is that it does not "directly or indirectly" support "terrorist" groups.

    Countries on the list of state sponsors of terrorism cannot receive US aid or buy US weapons, and bilateral trade is restricted. The list currently includes Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria.

    The United States has banned virtually all trade with Sudan since 1997.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/01/201111205050946751.html





    Tribe warns of war over Sudan vote

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/01/201113143152881650.html


    http://english.aljazeera.net/video/africa/2011/01/20111993017755368.html
     
  17. orbb

    orbb Member

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    In an oil starved world, this is not going to happen. You can expect proxy wars by competing nations to very quickly turn the new nation into a joke.
     
  18. Deji McGever

    Deji McGever יליד טקסני

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    I also wonder what will become of all the Sudanese refugees in Africa and Middle East. Will they lose their refugee status?
     
  19. penda45

    penda45 Member

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    I believe this guy explains the Sudanese conflict the best, it is focused more heavily on the Darfur region but he also explains how the conflict between the North and South originated in case anyone doesn't know.

    <object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/USLDoIiFzzg?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/USLDoIiFzzg?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>
     
  20. bucket

    bucket Member

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    Interesting point. I would hope that the south wouldn't have to take on too much of that debt, since the government in Khartoum hasn't spent much money in the south (other than on attacking it).

    Not sure; perhaps some will want to return to south Sudan. Bear in mind that a lot of refugees now come from Darfur, which is not seceding at this time.
     

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