Saturday, July 9, 2011

South Sudan

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.



  1. If your Atlas is as old as mine, there'll be a few new countries in it. Gotta wish 'em luck. It's s tough gig.

  2. For as long as I can remember, there has been some American faction or another complaining about what's "wrong" (read: doomed) in the US. Although not perfect, what we have works. The whiners best remember that they have the right to whine here. Other places? Maybe not so much.

    I wish the best for the South Sudanese. I hope they are throwing one hell of an independence party. Bet it's fun. Sorry you couldn't make it.

  3. The many faces of animism fascinates me.
    It will be interesting to see if the other countries play fair with this slice of history being made.

    Hey, do not you have to wait a few til the new atlas actually GO to print? I can see you in queue waiting for the first one off the press... -J

  4. I like your passion on this subject! I've learned a lot and feel like cheering for them too now.

    My grandfather was a geography professor and a cartographer. He made maps of Ethiopia and Sudan back in the 1950's. Also of Afganistan in the 1970's. We have framed some of his originals.

  5. My favourite atlas at home still has 'North Vietnam' in it!