North Korea

North Korea
The always bombastic and unpredictable North Koreans go hysterical again. This time the country is prepared to "go to war" with South Korea because that country is playing loudspeakers directed at North Korean territory. A headline from a UK paper reads, "More than 50 North Korea submarines 'leave their bases' as war talks with South continue "

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Its South Sudan!

South Sudan officially became the newest nation of the world on July 9, splitting from Sudan, which at the same time renamed itself The Republic of Sudan.

The new country has a population of 7 to 9 million, including the famous Dinka people. It was born after 20 years of civil war with the north, Muslim dominated, portion of the country, and millions have died in the long running conflict.

Unfortunately South Sudan immediately receives the "most impoverished nation" label in the world, based in part on the following:
* One out of every seven children dies before their fifth birthday
* has one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the world - one out of seven women who become pregnant will probably die from pregnancy-related causes
* More than half of children between the ages of six and 13 are not in formal education
* 84% of women cannot read or write. Only 6% of girls who start school ever finish.

In addition, at least seven militia groups are hostile to the new government (and quietly supported by The Republic of Sudan itself, some observers point out). South Sudan contains 75% of the former country's oil reserves, but the current pipelines run north through the Republic. Oil, being the only significant source of wealth, will be the subject of difficult negotiations with The Republic of Sudan - how to share the wealth and use those pipelines. There are challenges ahead as former South Sudanese soldiers serving in the north are disbanded and returned to the South, as well as over 100,000 citizens of Southern origin still living in the north (Republic of Sudan)

But for today, Juba, the new capital city was the scene of great celebration among its citizens, and a showing of support among the world's nations. The US sent a high powered delegation including Susan Rice, the US Ambassador to the UN, as well as Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State. The U.S. was one of the first countries to recognize the sovereignty of South Sudan.

Click on picture for full image
The crowd for the official ceremony was tremendous - over 100,000

The evening before was filled with revelry

The country's president Salva Kiir Mayardit, had been the long time Vice President of the former country, so the leader is unchanged. Here, he holds a copy of the new constitution up for the crowd to embrace.

The "red book" constitution of South Sudan represents one of many other more symbolic instruments needed in a modern country. A new national anthem had been in development since the referendum on independence back in January, 2011, and was actually the result of a contest. The winning entry, composed by students and teachers from Juba University, makes a break with the military-style march of Sudan's anthem. An upbeat tune is set to stanzas that portray trust in God, jubilation for an end to decades of oppression and commemoration of the martyrs who lost their lives for the sake of freedom. Singers were dispatched around the nation-to-be to ensure citizens would be word-perfect by today.

A chorus practicing their new national anthem

Here, I believe, are the lyrics:

Oh God!
We praise and glorify you
For your grace upon Cush,
The land of great warriors
And origin of world's civilization.

Oh Cush!
Arise, shine, raise your flag with the guiding star
And sing songs of freedom with joy,
For peace, liberty and justice
Shall forever more reign.

So Lord bless South Sudan!

Oh black warriors!
Let's stand up in silence and respect,
Saluting millions of martyrs whose
Blood cemented our national foundation.
We vow to protect our nation.

Oh Eden!
Land of milk and honey and hard-working people,
Uphold us united in peace and harmony.
The Nile, valleys, forests and mountains
Shall be our sources of joy and pride.

So Lord bless South Sudan!

The late John Garang, leader of the forces fighting for independence in the late 80s through 2005 remains another symbol uniting the peoples of South Sudan. Many look at him as the "father" of the country.

Garang's remains are buried with honor in Juba, and remembrances were informally made at his mausoleum.

Click on picture for full image
A woman praying at the burial site of John Garang

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Wow. that is quite the national anthem. I'd love to hear it sung by the South Sudanese people!