All Articles Tagged "Sudan"
(Washington Post) — The map of Africa will be redrawn Saturday, as southern Sudan becomes an independent nation through a peace process championed by successive U.S. presidents but still beset by lingering tensions from years of war. President George W. Bush put Sudan at the center of his foreign policy in Africa, helping broker a 2005 peace agreement that ended a conflict that had claimed more than 2 million lives. President Obama has rallied international pressure to rescue that accord as it risked unraveling. U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice, who is scheduled to lead the U.S. delegation at the independence ceremony, said in a telephone interview this week that this was “a fraught and fragile moment, but a remarkable one nonetheless.” Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is expected to attend Saturday’s ceremony. He has promised to accept the oil-rich south’s secession, after initially balking at losing a Texas-size region that had provided much of his government’s revenue.
(Newsweek) — Nyagoa Nyuon is a willowy, striking woman of illustrious stock. Her father was a leading rebel commander; her mother one of the first women to join the militia that sought the independence of South Sudan. In 1986, when she was just 5 years old, her father sent her family into exile to protect them from a raging civil war, a conflict that over time killed roughly 2 million people. William Nyuon Bany, one of the founders of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, knew that because of his profile, his family was particularly at risk, and so he dispatched eight of his nine wives abroad, along with dozens of his children. Some landed in Kenya, but others went as far afield as Cuba, Australia, Britain, and the United States. When her father was killed 10 years later in circumstances that remain unclear, the plan for a joyful reunion with his family died. But for Nyagoa Nyuon, her father’s legacy was one of the main motivations for returning to South Sudan. “I told my mom I would come back…for the celebration” of the peace agreement that ended the civil war, says Nyuon. “My mom said, ‘You should be here. This is what your father started.’?”
Morris Kaunda Michael spent his formative years struggling with his family in a refugee camp after fleeing Sudan’s civil war. Now 23, he has just graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering. Despite the sunny smile and youthful glow that is common to students, Michael’s path to accomplishment was far from typical. A top-performing student according to his professors, he started life facing harsh deprivations — but this did not stymie his desire to develop. Yes, he grew up in a refugee camp where “there was a lot of hopelessness,” Micheal said. Yet he always strove to be his best.
Michael’s family escaped the civil war in Sudan, which killed two million people and displaced four million others. Leaving behind everything they had, Michael, his mother and seven siblings settled in a Kenyan camp. Michael struggled under these circumstances as a boy, playing soccer and attending school when possible from 1994-2001. Then, a chance opportunity broadened his horizons. Today.com reports:
In 2001, his luck began to change. He was offered a scholarship at a school in Nairobi run by Dominican nuns called the Emmanuel Foundation. His older brother attended the same school, and from there they began the process of applying for resettlement in the U.S. [...]
In December 2003 he came to the U.S. with his older brother and was placed in the care of his foster mother, Carol Karins, in Syracuse, N.Y. He said his new home was affectionately called the “U.N. of Syracuse” because Karins hosted a number of refugees from other countries [...]
Michael said he had never even thought of going to college until he came to the U.S. As a high school student, he loved math and science, so his guidance counselor suggested he look into engineering programs.
“I owe a lot to a lot of people,” Michael said. “Columbia, I would say, was the family I always wished to have. They helped me a lot.”
Still, the academics were challenging. “I felt really humbled. I didn’t feel like I was among the smartest in the classroom. I had to always work very hard. It encourages you — you don’t do well today, you work harder and then the next day, you’d probably do fine.”
Morris Kaunda Michael has done more than fine. In addition to graduating from a challenging engineering program, Michael also co-created a fetal monitoring device with a group of students that won a national prize. And he is not stopping there. Now applying to medical schools, this Sudanese whiz kid plans on using his talents to help others. Michael has plans to alleviate suffering in third world countries when he has finished his studies.
He told “The Today Show”: “There are a lot of refugees out there struggling. They feel like they don’t really belong anymore. They feel like they’ve lost it. There is no chance they can get up and do it anymore. So I wanna tell them that they can do it. I am here. I tried my best. I am not the smartest person, but I tried; I worked hard.”
What an amazing example of making the most of one’s opportunities, no matter how humble your beginnings.
(AP) — Six weeks after Southern Sudan voted for independence in a widely praised referendum, security agents stormed the region’s first printing press and arrested a top journalist, the latest assault on reporters fighting to create a free press here. Newsman Nhial Bol said he was detained last month as he gave Norwegian diplomats a tour of his new press, which was partly paid for by Norway’s embassy and took years to build. He said he was criticizing the government’s repressive media politics at the very moment two dozen plainclothes agents armed with AK-47s arrived. The men told the diplomats to leave. Bol said the agents put him in the truck and drove him around for two hours before he was released without charge. Bol later said he believes the harassment was retaliatory. He had recently argued in a column in The Citizen, one of the few publications in the southern capital of Juba that regularly criticizes the government, that citizens’ freedoms are threatened by security forces that operate with impunity and no legal mandate.
Last week, a few thousand young Sudanese students took to the streets in protest of President Omar al-Bashir to demand that he, along with the National Congress Party, abdicate power and rescind measures that have left the country in a steep economic crisis. The demonstrations, which were organized by Youth of 30 January for Change Alliance, a coalition of members of student movement groups, tactfully mobilized thousands of activists through social networking.
It’s not unusual that the international press would ignore the protest happening in Sudan. Without any major political or financial gain for either the U.S. or the U.K. governments, add to that the darken skin tone of many of the inhabitants, this story is a lot less impactful in the West as say, the protest in Egypt or Tunisia.
Still, the youth of north Sudan, many of whom said that they had been inspired by the protests in Egypt and Tunisia, wasn’t waiting for the world to watch. Instead, they took their activism to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to spread their message or protest and resistance against a brutal regime and its political repression.
The parallels to Egypt and Tunisia are obvious — Sudan is a notoriously repressive Arab country ruled by the same tyrant for more than two decades. Similar to Egypt and Tunisia, Sudan was already seething with economic and political discontent over rapidly rising prices of sugar, bread and fuel.
But that’s where the comparisons end. Unlike their brethren countries farther up the Nile, Sudan has been a country split in half by differences between North and South, which are historically deep rooted in cultural clashes, religion and racial discrimination. This culture and political split is what led to a bitter civil war, in which Black African rebels rose against Bashir and his Arab-dominated regime. In turn, Bashir’s forces would train Arab militias, widely known as the “Janjaweed,” and turn them on the innocent civilians in western region of Darfur.
Bashir would later stand accused of genocide and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Courts. But he was allowed to maintain his post as leader of Sudan and participate in a peace treaty with the South, which ultimately lead to a vote to secede from the North.
The North, which stands to lose billions of dollars in oil revenues and is suffering greatly from high unemployment, is none to pleased with the vote. Bashir has already announced that when the two countries officially split this summer, the North will be a Muslim country under the Sharia law. Reports have already begun circulating about women being brought into police stations for violating the public order law.
Bashir’s government has also taken a zero-tolerance stance on the youth movement protests and public gatherings, ordering his security forces to crack down hard on organizers of the protest. So far, dozens have been arrested and countless others have been beaten with batons and sticks. One student died last week from injuries that other protesters said were caused by the security forces.
Severe censorship on news publications and Internet media sites were also enacted by the regime to prevent information on the demonstrations and subsequent crackdowns from being widely distributed. Word about the protest is only circulating through various human rights organizations and of course, Twitter and Facebook.
Unfortunately for Sudan, the coverage of Egypt has pretty much usurped the international media these days – not even Al Jazeera is covering it. Without the watchful eye of the international media, organizing a successful revolution to oust this brutal dictator will be swiftly clamped down.
However, there is a small glimmer of hope among these brave students who have concluded that this regime needs to go if there is ever hope for North and South Sudan to have a safe and fruitful future. In the wake of upcoming elections in the North, the activist efforts of these students, while not as massive as Egypt and Tunisia, are slowly planting the seeds for a future revolution and change of regime.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
Let us be very careful about how technology is utilized within socio-political situations.
Recently, actor/activist George Clooney spoke to CNN by way of “Fareed Zakaria GPS” concerning his plans to actually use satellite technology to monitor the Sudan which was recently in the midst of a week-long referendum on self-determination. Along with Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast, Clooney seeks to use satellite imagery to detect and deter human rights crimes in Darfur and southern Sudan by “denying deniability” and promoting greater accountability under a venture entitled Satellite Sentinel Project. But should we perhaps question if this is the right methodology and approach when dealing with our international neighbors?
In short, the project uses satellite imagery and Google Map Maker, combined with field reports, policy analysis, and tools to involve the public in pressuring policymakers to respond quickly and appropriately. The aim is to head off human rights crimes before they occur. (Yes, if an image of Spielberg’s “Minority Report” came to mind; you are not alone). This is technology and Big Brother on an exponential level. And while no doubt a product of the very best intentions – for, whose heart did not cry and check book did not open upon seeing initial images of Darfur – once again we have Caucasian males and those outside of the continent interjecting their belief system and values onto Africa, which just might be in its current state because of that very same constant tampering.
The intriguing thing particularly about U.S. history is that from the atrocious killing of most of the Native Americans to the brutality of slavery and more; all behavior was primarily executed without any major scrutiny from outside of the country thereby allowing America the luxury, even at its lowest moments, to develop on its own terms.
And while it is undeniable that these times are not those and certainly that no one advocates turning a blind-eye to international horrors, one can’t help but ask how peoples of a certain country can partake in activities of “self-determination” when outside forces, which may perceive themselves as superior in values and behavior to begin with, continue to interject, monitor, and expose.
And how can one actually undertake such actions with seemingly limited input by the peoples themselves, many of whom are young and female. Sure, one can expose, but without true communication between sides, nothing is ever long-lasting nor is there the fundamental outgrowth of respect and understanding, which is what is ultimately needed for any real stability and progress.
Let us be very careful about how technology is utilized within socio-political situations, and let us be even more careful of becoming the adult who takes it upon ourselves to go so far as to monitor those who we see as the children of the world so that they can finally become strong in their own right and learn to value human life. Perhaps there are more humane methods and alternative uses of technology which can be combined with real-time human participation to actually bring opposing sides together to create lasting peace.
(Fast Company) — On January 9th, Southern Sudanese voted on whether to become a separate, independent nation. While the results of that vote are still up in the air (though early indications reveal a majority voted for secession from the North), one fearless entrepreneur, Nico Ajak Bior, already has his sights set on a new entrepreneurial country of South Sudan, focusing first on an ailing, insecure agricultural industry. ”My idea is to start vegetable farming through the use of greenhouses in Juba and my hometown of Bior in Jonglei state,” Bior tells Fast Company.
(Wall Street Journal) — This week’s independence referendum in southern Sudan marks an apparent victory for U.S. foreign policy in east Africa—one that has secured for Washington a deeper advisory role in what is expected to be the birth of a new, impoverished nation. As southern Sudanese cast votes through Saturday on whether to separate from Sudan’s north, they are expected to choose independence overwhelmingly. Southern officials said Wednesday that turnout for the referendum—the culmination of decades of civil wars between the mostly Christian south and predominantly Muslim north that has left millions dead and millions more displaced—had reached the 60% threshold required to validate the results.
(Washington Post) — Dozens of Sudanese refugees were lined up on a street in Old Town Alexandria, poised to vote for the creation of a new nation from a cardboard booth 6,000 miles away. They sang. They danced. They shouted, “Oye south Sudan!” But one of those in line, 26-year-old college student Nyater Ngouth, found herself seized with unexpected doubts. As the clamor built on Sunday – the first day of remote voting that will continue all week in Alexandria and seven other polling places in the United States – Ngouth stayed quiet.
(Chicago Tribune) — Sudanese expatriates came by the bus load to the North Side on Sunday, jamming the lobby of a condo building for a vote that will shape the destiny of a land many were forced to leave. They were taking part in a referendum to determine whether southern Sudan should secede from the north and form a new nation. Some said it was the first time they and their families had been able to cast a ballot regarding the affairs of their homeland. ”My father voted in his village,” said David Deng, 30, of Chicago, who left southern Sudan when he was 6. “He is 80 years old and never voted in his life.”