At midnight on Friday, local time, South Sudan became the 193rd independent nation recognized by the United Nations.
That is pretty awesome. I had planned on being there (one of my goals is to be somewhere when that "somewhere" becomes independent), but I had shit to do... I know, right? Of the 364 days I don't have shit to do, I had shit to do on July 8th. WTF? Really... WTF?
Anyway... just to put things in perspective... it's taken the Republic of South Sudan the better part of 50 years, two civil wars, six years of a UN-enforced peace accord, and a voter's referendum to gain independence from Sudan. And, yet, there's still vocal extremist Americans running around the USA screaming about how bad we have it and how we're doomed. Sorry... I'll take an American version of doomed over a Sudanese version of blessed any day of the fucking week.
Some facts: Sudan itself is largely Muslim, while South Sudan is largely animist and Christian. It's also (voila) oil rich and depressingly underdeveloped. Its capital city is Juba, and several nations already have or are in the process of opening embassies there. It's completely landlocked, which may mean it's as screwed as most landlocked African nations, but... there's the oil. I'm sure a neighboring country (be it Ethiopia, or even Sudan itself) stands to gain from a potential pipeline agreement.
Whether it's destined to be accosted for the remainder of its independent existence (which, hopefully, is a long time) or it will find a way to maintain sovereignty without falling into political, religious, and tribal disarray, I think the formation of the country is pretty fucking cool. A little known fact about me is that I love maps... love 'em. Can't explain it, I just do.
And now I have to go buy a new world atlas.