It is hard to convey what it feels like in the southern
Randomly, individuals or groups of youth break into chants of celebration. On the back of the numerous motorbikes shuttling people around town are mini flags proclaiming, “SECESSION 2011!” Regardless of nationality, ethnicity, or social status, people have a common topic of conversation. It’s boom-time for the town’s entrepreneurs—mainly migrants from neighboring countries who have established restaurants and hotels to serve the ex-pat crowd that has come to work for international organizations here in recent years. Parenthetically, it is hellish for the government and UN officials who are dividing their time between doing their actual jobs and responding to media requests (mine included).
At least that’s how it feels in
The dire state of southern development is now well-known, thanks to the UN’s aptly named publication, “Scary Statistics - Southern Sudan.” As southern President Salva Kiir told me, health, education, clean water, and food security are vital to the viability of a new nation, “because without these things you cannot have a stable and secure population.” Then, there is the task of governing the southern territory, roughly the size of
In the coming month, I’ll be writing (whenever I have Internet access) as I travel across the south, interviewing a wide array of people about their hopes and expectations for what may soon be the world’s newest nation—and delving deeper into some of the challenges that lie ahead.