Sunday, January 16, 2011

A successful vote cannot eliminate history

The vote for South Sudan's independence went smoothly and successfully. Now finished, the results are to be tallied in 2 weeks' time. However, despite the orderly process of peaceful voting that has occurred, the country is still contentious.

Much of the tension between the two sections of the country can be seen in Abyei, an area in the middle of the north and south, where Christianity meets Islam and cattle herders meet nomads. Like much of the strife in the area, battles are fought daily over land and water rights, but added to the mix is the presence of oil, which can make any sticky situation that much stickier. This area is so contested that they were to be given their own vote on whether they would join the South or stay with the North. However, it has been postponed indefinitely because neither side can determine who can vote there.

If the vote goes for independence, South Sudan will be named the newest country of the world in July. However, independence is never as simple as that. For South Sudan, borders will need to be drawn, and Abyei is in that mix. Both sides know this and seem to be vying for position now.

-Abbey Smith

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