Sudan, New and Old

What will happen in Sudan (and all of Africa) when the south departs?

With all the focus on Tunisia this last week, I have not been able to get to writing about two other major events that have recently taken place (or are continuing to take place): the breakdown of the Lebanese government (I’m getting to it…) and the referendum in Sudan that will soon result in a new African nation. Most states in the south have voted in favor of succession and it is just a matter of time before Sudan splits. The fear is that the separation of the south – which holds more than 75% of the country’s oil wells – from the north – which controls the oil pipelines to the sea – will lead to another round of the bloody civil war that has claimed more than 2.5 million people. Moreover, there is the threat that succession will encourage other separatist movements across the continent.

[tweetmeme] While I admittedly know little about Sudan, I am trying to contact a relative who lives in the southern capital of Juba for a little more detailed background on the situation in the south. I’ll post her reply when I can, but I will leave you for now with a quote from an article by Nassir, who lives in Sudan. It is a great piece and I encourage you to read the entire thing, but here is just a taste, but for more, look at Abdul Jamaa’s work:

Many nations in the region welcomed the Tunisian revolution. Tunisians didn’t wait for the results of organized opposition and demonstrations. Instead, they ousted their president in a revolution fueled by a popular uprising. This experience is unlikely to be repeated in Sudan however. While the people of Sudan did overthrow their oppressors in 1964 and 1985 and topple the Nimiri regime, Al Inqaz promises to tighten its power in the north after the south secedes. In its time in power, Al Inqaz has consistently squelched popular uprisings. The Sudanese people are also wary of the intentions of opposition leaders.

The old Sudan has only a few days left before it is remapped and gouged out into a geographically disfigured region. A southern state will be severed from one corner, leaving the northern state a stump, overshadowed by gloom and uncertainty. When the terms of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement are met, the future will still be hard to predict, in part because of the intensity of the hardline government’s rhetoric. The likelihood of the Sudanese people becoming more disenfranchised and determined to be heard will increase in the face of economic and other social difficulties. Power, even absolute power, is not immune to the unseen tides of history.

Photo from Abdul Jamaa

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