June 13, 2011 |
Fears of another civil war are playing out in Sudan as troops led by President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir have overrun towns and attacked tribesmen loyal to the south around a contested border region of oil reserves and well-armed militias. Bloodshed and streams of refugees are a dangerous prelude to July 9, when southern Sudan, after decades of conflict that left more than 2 million dead, gains independence. The south will inherit the bulk of the nation's oil supplies and the incursions by northern forces appear to be part of Bashir's strategy to press the south for last-minute concessions.
June 4, 2011
On Jan. 9, after a half-century of violence and strife, the people of southern Sudan voted overwhelmingly to secede from the north. In the joyous aftermath of the historic referendum, formal independence was set for July 9, when, for the first time in nearly 20 years, a new, sovereign, self-governing African nation is scheduled to come into being. Secession makes sense. The two regions, north and south, had been shoehorned into one nation by the British in 1956 despite their glaring linguistic, cultural, racial and historical contradictions — a colonial mismatch that led to one of the longest civil wars in Africa.
February 28, 2011
These are heady days. Across the Middle East and North Africa, hundreds of thousands of angry citizens have taken to the streets, calling for freedom, insisting that dictators step aside and demanding a voice in their own destinies. But even as extraordinary change roils the region, it is important to remember that deposing a dictator and shucking off the ancien regime does not lead inexorably or immediately to democracy. Think of France in 1789 or Russia in 1917 or Iran in 1979.
January 11, 2011 |
Clashes in recent days between Arab nomads and tribesmen have left at least 30 people dead and raised fears that the independence referendum in southern Sudan could lead to widespread violence in the disputed, oil-rich region of Abyei. Straddling the volatile area where northern and southern Sudan meet, Abyei has a dangerous mix of heavily armed Arab cattle herders loyal to the northern-based government of President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir and Dinka Ngok tribesmen aligned with the southern leadership.
January 10, 2011 |
They walked in their best clothes past villages and down dirt roads until they came to the church to fold away the pain of war and redraw the map of Africa in a referendum that began Sunday on independence for southern Sudan. They carried walking sticks and memories of those lost in decades of bloodshed to a polling station to mark a moment in history and begin a chance for reinvention in one of the poorest corners of the continent. They cast their ballots as a children's choir sang from a radio and a goat- skin drum thumped in the distance.
December 26, 2010
Anyone who has traveled to both the desert-like north of Sudan ? where the capital city of Khartoum is located ? and the flood-prone south cannot help but notice the extraordinary differences between them. The people of the north are mostly lighter-skinned, Muslim Arabs. Those in the south tend to be darker-skinned, Christian and animist rather than Muslim, more recognizably African. The north borders the Arab nations of Egypt and Libya; the south leads to Kenya, Uganda and Congo. These disparate regions were melded into one country as part of the same blunt imperial exercise that deformed so much of the world: The British, that is, decided it should be so, creating a nearly 1-million-square-mile nation whose linguistic, cultural, racial and historical contradictions were readily apparent long before the country became independent in 1956.