July 10, 2011

South Sudan becomes a country

POLITICS - Yesterday was a day of celebration in the newly formed country of South Sudan, which has formally separated from Sudan (or North Sudan) and declared its independence.

The country of 8.3 million people chanted, celebrated and braved oppressive heat to witness the birth of their new republic. The declaration of independence was read, at 1:25 PM local time yesterday, causing delirium as Sudan’s flag was lowered and the Republic of South Sudan’s flag was raised.

For South Sudanese people it means they are no longer oppressed by their northern neighbours / former countrymen. North and South fought two civil wars over five decades, leaving approx. 2.5 million dead.

New president, General Salva Kiir, signed a transitional constitution and then took the oath of office. North Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, the military leader since 1989 who presided over most of the last civil war watched from nearby.

General Kiir did not mince words in his speech despite the North Sudanese president's presence.

“We have been bombed, maimed, enslaved and treated worse than refugees in our own country,” he said. “We have to forgive, although we won’t forget.”

Many nations around the world have already recognized the new country and opened diplomatic relations with South Sudan, but the most important of these is North Sudan for it means the future should bring peace and prosperity.

Visitors included United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, British foreign minister William Hague, Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma.

May South Sudan follow the path of responsible government free from corruption and tyranny.

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