To South Sudan or not to South Sudan: that is the question


I’m confused. I’m
sitting at home watching the news and eating lunch (2 rare occurrences in
themselves), on my favourite channel Alshurooq when out comes the news that
South and North Sudan have agreed that nationals of each state should be
allowed ‘freedom of residence and movement, as well as freedom to undertake
economic activity and to acquire and dispose of property,’ (Coastweek.com). That,
along with the border demarcation (I don’t even know what happened with that
issue, I was too busy picking my jaw up from off the ground), were apparently
the result of weeks of negotiations. Then came a few interviews with people on
the street, most of whom echoed the exact same question going through my head
at that minute: didn’t these people choose to separate and have nothing more
to do with us? I thought the secession meant that the South packs its things
and leaves. After all, almost 90% of them voted for just exactly that. Furthermore,
all through this referendum and secession drama I had read article after
article and watched interview after interview with Southerners who talked about
how mean and cruel Northerners were, how they were slammed with racist comments
and had such a hard time getting employment and education opportunities. One guy
on the BBC radio talked about how even the kumsari on the bus wouldn’t give him
back his change or would charge him extra, or some other ridiculous claim. I say
ridiculous because, especially on the bus, I would see Southerners who would
only get up from their seat if the elderly man or woman standing up was
Southerner as well. The TV portrayed people with all their life’s belongings in
a small sack, sitting on a boat travelling down the river to the homes they
left behind decades ago, and how they had suffered at the hands of the North
more than all that the war had ravaged and put them through.
I was dead
against this separation, for many reasons. I studied in Juba University and had
Southern friends (shout out to Ruot G. Teny!) and teachers. This whole secession
thing didn’t make sense to me, and I hated how many Northerners were happy ‘those
people were finally leaving’, to put it lightly. But I was shocked at how happy
and relieved the South was when the referendum was held and the inevitable
agreement of separation was announced. I couldn’t understand, at first, why are
they so happy? Is it because they’ve finally gotten away from what’s-his-face
and his goons in the NCP? I’m sure I’d be just as happy. Is it because now they
have all the Western support and can finally make something of their country? Naïve,
but actually Western backing is what people need these days. Or is it because
they just simply want nothing more to do with us? They want a country to call
their own where no one calls them slaves or punishes them for wearing something
considered inappropriate regardless of their beliefs? Where no one pushes racist
slogans in their faces and looks down on them as a third class citizen? And
where they’re not forced to share the word ‘home’ with people who are, let’s
face it, so different! Are we really that bad? In that case, maybe the
secession was a good thing. And I honestly wish them all the best with their
new country.
Whatever the
reason, the referendum was held and everyone voted for secession, i.e. a
different country. So it makes sense that, since you want a different country
then you relinquish all supposed rights you had in the country you chose to
separate from. And how come all these agreements were going in one direction
only, i.e. South? Only the Southerners were entitled to the referendum; no one
asked me if I wanted 40% of my country taken away. If it was so normal, why doesn’t
everyone just take their home state and separate? Mosh albalad ma 7agat zol? Secession
meant ‘oil goes South’, to put it plainly (Sudanese memes!), a cause of many
Southerners to celebrate sticking it to the North’s and the sudden financial crisis, since our beloved government had
made sure they destroyed every other resource we have. It meant new fighting
over the water, with the South twisting the North’s arm since technically they
can turn the tap whichever way they want. It meant collaboration with states
such as Israel; a personal choice but definitely not excluding affecting the
North. And now this? You’re the ones who wanted to leave, why should you have
the same rights as citizens in the country that allegedly treated you like
dirt? If living and owning land in the North was so important, why secede in
the first place? Why not just stay wu khalas?
This is not a
hate post, and I am not against the South getting all they deserve and making a
life for themselves after so many years of war and destruction. Bt that war
claimed thousands of lives, including my uncle’s, and to simply break away
feels like a disrespect to his memory and what he and so many others like him
died for. However, I think that a decision as big as this, with the after effects
of throwing mud in the North’s face whether or not it was deserved, means that
people should live with the consequences they chose with that decision. And more
importantly, I am not one of those hypocrites who had no interest whatsoever in
Southerners or anything to do with them, but suddenly discovered how ‘important
and special’ they are and how much they love South Sudan and how much they will
miss them, and how ugly to map of Sudan looks now, etc. just around the time of
the referendum. I respect their autonomy and it genuinely pains me that things
had to end up this way, and that now me and Rout talk to each other from
different sides of a border and each have a different passport colour. But. In a nutshell: mosh into algolto ma 3ayzeen
ma3ana?

Comments

  1. i blogged about this too.. about all these conflicting feelings
    i see the points u r raising here, but i just don't like to look at the north vs south issue in this strict one dimensional perspective: (it's either u want in, deal with all our racism .. or out.. ma dayreen m3ana ..shelo 7ajatkom o amsho!)
    the layman's perspective might not work here cause life isn't black and white.. esp when it comes to politics.. there are too many shades of gray!
    which is probably why arab nations while being no big fans of america or Israel.. still manage to have shared benefits with them.
    Having shared interests with the south benefits both countries..
    i mean we are not only neighboring countries now, but we even used to be one country!
    it's a little like Sudan and Egypt..once one country.. then separated.. and yet we are not enemies now.. not officially at least.

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  2. I hear you Enas. However my point is that with this separation surfaced all the hate that has been festering for all these years. Have you seen the South Sudan page on Facebook? Just read through the comments, I was shocked at what I saw. Another time (before the secession) there was an article in a newspaper, I think it was Khartoum Monitor or something, about that child who was raped and murdered and the boys who did it were hung. The comment from the South had nothing to do with the case itself, but was a rant against the North and its obnoxious Islam that had sentenced 3 young boys to death! Its not about 'take it or leave it', abadan. Lakin kaman you can't portray all this negativity and hate, do everything in your might to stick it to the North wu ba3ad dak tagol la la 3ayiz the same rights as alnas alnabaznahom del. That just doesn't make sense.

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