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South Sudan: Divided It Stands?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

JUBA, Sudan -- It's not every day that a new nation is born, even if the prospect is not unheard of in sub-Saharan Africa's recent history. For south Sudan, the long and bitter struggle for autonomy and freedom from a series of oppressive Khartoum governments has made the looming reality of the Republic of South Sudan -- as the state will be known after it becomes independent on July 9 -- all the more meaningful for its diverse population.

As was evident in the immediate, jubilant aftermath of the January referendum that decided south Sudan's fate, this historic moment is cause for celebration for the roughly 9 million southern Sudanese people living in the Afghanistan-sized territory, as well as for the tens of thousands more found in a far-flung diaspora that ranges from Australia to the United States and beyond. Southerners showed they were united in their shared and overwhelming desire to see Sudan -- Africa's largest country geographically -- split in two. The seven-day vote took place peacefully, and when the result was announced in February, it was nearly unanimously in favor of secession. ...

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