January 10, 2011

JUST ANOTHER REGIME CHANGE:

Southern Sudan's Astonishing Independence Referendum (John Avlon, 1/10/11, Daily Beast)

After years of war and a genocide that left 2.5 million dead, the first day of a referendum on Southern Sudan's independence shocked the world by going off almost without a hitch. John Avlon talks to jubilant Sudanese voters on the ground at a moment of unaccustomed celebration.

After walking across Sudan during two decades of civil war, 17 “Lost Boys” took a final step toward liberty on Sunday morning, joining their fellow Southern Sudanese in a long-awaited vote for independence.

“After all of the struggle, loss of life, separation, and killing, we can see that we are now allowed to vote freely for our destiny,” Valentino Achak Deng told me in the southern capital city of Juba, along the banks of the Nile. Deng, the subject of a “fictionalized memoir” by Dave Eggers, What Is the What?, helped tell the story of the Lost Boys and the suffering of Southern Sudan. Now he is both witnessing and participating in a new chapter in the deeply troubled history of the region, this one framed by hope for peace and stability. “We’re going to vote in large numbers, together, and then just look at our faces and our eyes and be happy,” Deng said.

The Bush administration negotiated the comprehensive peace agreement of 2005 and set Jan. 9, 2011, as the date of a Southern Sudan referendum to decide the fate of the two-state solution.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at January 10, 2011 7:27 AM
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