Birth of a Nation

It was born out of war.  In Africa’s largest nation, north and south have always been at odds… the north predominantly Muslim; the south, Christian.  As civil war engulfed the country, the UN brokered a peace deal to end the conflict and would ensure an election in which the south could vote to become a separate country.  Earlier this vote, at almost the 11th hour possible, the vote finally took place and the south voted overwhelmingly to become independent.  Then the world watched and waited to see how the north and its leader would react.  Would civil war break out again or would things happen as they should.  Though there have been plenty of border skirmishes over the past several months (especially in the Nuba Mountains region… which peace talks for that are currently happening in Ethiopia), but the leader of the north officially recognized what would become the world’s newest country.  And at 12:01 am on July 9, the new nation of the Republic of South Sudan was officially born to celebrations across the new country and in the nation’s new capital, Juba, and in free countries around the world.  South Sudan becomes the 193rd nation.   The people of South Sudan will now control their own destiny and the direction of their country.  As a free people, this is never an easy task.  But as a citizen of the free world, I say welcome.

Despite the joyous celebrations, though, there is much work to be done.  South Sudan (which is roughly the size of the state of Texas) is one of the poorest and most underdeveloped places on the planet.  This was in large part because all of the money that was brought in from the south, and there is plenty of money to be found there, went to the north to keep it supplied and running.  Now as it’s own country, the money will stay there to help make improvements, but that doesn’t stop a crisis from happening as humanitarian aid is greatly needed until the new nation can get on its feet.

So what does that new nation have going for itself?  It’s one three-letter word we all know so well… oil.  In fact, the north just gave up 75% of the former country’s (north and south) oil supply.  The saving grace for the north, and what will still somewhat link the two nations is that the south still needs the pipelines that run through the north to get the oil to the market.  Maybe it’s time capitalism took hold in South Sudan so that we can tell the oil companies to get in there and crank up production.  And the free world should help them establish a proper education system and medical establishment.  With the right education system, the people of South Sudan will be less reliant on aid and be able to support itself and allow itself to grow as it sees fit.  And with proper medicine and healthcare, they can all lead productive and healthy lives… and help start turning the tide against rampant, preventable diseases that sweep across the continent.  This is where the free nations of the world can make the biggest contribution which would have the largest impact.  Teaching the people and the nation to be self-sufficient is much better than always having to give it aid.

I find it rather interesting that on the same week that my country celebrated it’s 235th anniversary of declaring itself independent that another set of people on the other side of the world are celebrating their independence and the birth of their new nation.  The people have a long road ahead of them, but with sheer will and determination, they can rise above the problems that they now face.  At one time, we were a struggling new nation trying to stand on our own two feet.  We’ve come a long way in 235 years… and I hope that the people of South Sudan will be able to look back upon their country in that time and see how they’ve grown and prospered and have become active members in the world community.  Kudos to them and in their new country.  I wish them all the best in establishing their society.  I have but one key piece of advice… remember history and don’t allow it to repeat.  You know how you got to this point, so make sure you steer your country on a more positive journey.  The tough challenges you face now are only temporary.  There is a brighter future just over the horizon.

NOTE:  The new nation of South Sudan does not include the embattled Darfur region, which still belongs to the north and is engulfed in an ethnic conflict and genocide.


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