Sunday, July 10, 2011

South Sudan Gets Its Independence

I know it isn't really a science topic, but I have to have a follow-up post about what happened this week in Sudan. I've written before about the conflict in Sudan and the efforts to split the region into two distinct countries, but it has finally happened. The South Sudan has been recognized globally as its own independent country. This is a huge deal.

via Carleton University
I became interested (or at least more informed) about the Sudan after reading and blogging about Dave Eggers' What Is The What, and I started following the movement for independence, which became another post. Last I wrote about the Sudan, the people in the south were being polled to see if they would favor a split into two countries. They needed a 60% turn out for the vote to count. They got 99%.

The new country is roughly the size of Texas, and will become the U.N.'s 193 country. The capital is the city of Juba, which is where ceremonies formally recognizing the country were held last week. The new nation has significant oil resources, which in a previous post I said were something to watch. Revenues from oil could greatly help the country get off the ground, however the south is still reliant on the north to transport oil, and conflicts over this resource could still occur.

Independence for South Sudan comes on the heels of a civil war that took over two million lives and raged for more than two decades between the north (including the region of Darfur) and the south. The regions have distinct religious ties with the north mainly Muslim, and the south Christian. I think a moment like this, where so many people have a renewed hope of having peaceful prosperous lives is so important to stop and think about.

If you want to know more about the South Sudan, this is a useful website. Here are also some links to media coverage of the split in Sudan:
U.S. Welcomes Birth of New Nation, South Sudan (CBS News)
Let's Celebrate The South Sudan and Nurture A New Country (The Guardian)
In Southern Sudan, New National Begins From Scratch (NPR)
South Sudanese Celebrate The Birth Of Their Nation (CNN)

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