Sovereignty for South Sudan

  In a time when the news is so often is disheartening, it is rejuvenating to hear of the recent Sudanese success story. The people of Southern Sudan have been jubilant since the Independence Referendum of January 2011, where, as expected, citizens voted to secede from Sudan, which lies directly to the north. The final results, released Feb 7, affirmed that a 98.83 percent of South Sudanese voted for independence, as well as raised the hopes of the Sudanese people. Such a show of overwhelming political unity, though rare, is possibly a sign of future political and social stability. Southern Sudan has been fighting domination from the north since 1955, at the onset of one of the longest periods of civil strife in African history. Although the Comprehensive Peace Agreement ending the conflict in 2005 declared them an autonomous region, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement was not satisfied with such incomplete liberation from the oppressive rule of President Omar al Bashir, who has only propagated political, ethnic and religious tensions in the country while in power. Although the thought of producing a properly functioning country is daunting, Southern Sudan is boding well. It shows promise of being built around standards for respect of diversity and the assurance of basic rights and freedoms for all citizens. There is also due cause to hope that further dealings between the new south and its former northern partner will be cooperative and friendly. Acceptance of the referendum, as well as proceeding negotiations over the details of the split, have all been diplomatic thus far, and there is no foreseeable cause to believe that this should not continue.  The Sudanese people might finally be on the verge of the peace they have been denied for decades. Optimism for the Southern Sudan would not be unwarranted, especially once its new status is made official in July. The rest of Africa, if not the rest of the world, should be celebrating alongside the people of Sudan. Many speculate that these new political arrangements will set a precedent of self-determination and inspire more of such reforms against ethnic oppression in surrounding areas. The region of Darfur, especially, could be influenced by such changes, due to its similar struggle with religious persecution and the Sudanese government. Overall, the emerging Republic of South Sudan is set to become an example of better days to come.