January 6, 2011 |
At a roundabout in Juba, southern Sudan's capital, stands a digital clock. It has four faces, each titled "Countdown to Southern Sudan Referendum ? Period Remaining. " The referendum on Jan. 9 is part of the peace agreement signed in 2005 ending the civil war between northern and southern Sudan, and its outcome will determine if Sudan remains one country or becomes two. Each side of the clock has a drawing of a pair of hands wearing broken handcuffs, chain still dangling ? a not-so-subtle comment about what the southern Sudanese think of being ruled by Khartoum.
January 3, 2011 |
A pistol sits next to a battered radio while Peter Bashir Bandi, a rebel turned political leader, lounges in a gold brocade chair listening to reports about what may soon be the world's newest, and most precarious, nation. He speaks eloquently of democracy and stitching together a country from deserts and jungles. But his gun is seldom far from his grasp, a sign that southern Sudan has known little peace in Bandi's lifetime, tumbling through two civil wars that spread mass graves, famine and generations of orphans across the land.
December 29, 2010 |
They carry all they own from desert slums and stack it near big trucks. They're packing to go home to southern Sudan, even those who have never been there but have heard stories of tribal chiefs and cattle herds roaming the grasslands. Boys haul bed frames; women bundle blankets. Rare trinkets of a poor man's wealth ? a TV, a fan ? shine in the dust. But most families claim much less: bags of grain, tin pots and memories that have kept a lost place alive. "Our children were born in north Sudan, but their hearts are southern," said Francis Jackson, a slender tribesman holding a folder crammed with the names of those preparing to leave.
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.
December 23, 2010 |
Victor Ladu drops his crutches in the dirt and sits with his one leg folded beneath him. He looks like a dark bird perched for flight. He brushes dust from the right cuff folded high at the knee. It's a hot afternoon. Women balance water buckets on their heads and soldiers, so young, almost like boys, wander through the grass in lazy patrols. They may have to fight one day, but for now they stroll with their guns, lighting trash fires along the road near the new schoolhouse and clinic.
November 19, 2010 |
In about two months, Africa may have a new country, the first since the end of the colonial era. On Jan. 9, the people of southern Sudan are expected to vote in a referendum to determine whether their region will become an independent nation. Indications are that the vote will be overwhelmingly in favor of seceding, but the practicalities of achieving a free, fair and peaceful vote are daunting. This referendum is the culmination of a long and bloody path. The civil war between north and south Sudan, the longest in African history, claimed the lives of 2 million people and finally ended in 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
October 13, 2010 |
George Clooney on Tuesday did what only George Clooney can do -- use his status as a world-renowned celebrity to bring attention to the ongoing crisis in the African country of Sudan, located in a part of the world that most Americans simply ignore. Depending on one’s politics, there has been an ongoing civil war or rebellion in western Sudan’s Darfur region since 2003 that has created one of the world’s seemingly unsolvable humanitarian and diplomatic crisis. There is no agreement on the numbers, but most independent agencies put the death toll at around 300,000 people and 2.7 million people forced to flee their homes in the battle between Arab militias, backed by the central government, and black Christian and animist Africans.
September 21, 2010 |
Sudan is less than four months away from a vote that is expected to break it into two countries, a move that could spark another civil war and imperil the Obama administration's efforts to calm a troubled swath of East Africa marked by tribal conflict, oil wealth and gunrunning. The largely animist and Christian south is expected to vote in January to secede from the mostly Muslim north, the culmination of a 2005 peace treaty that ended more than two decades of civil war that left 2 million dead.
September 9, 2010 |
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday pressed Rwanda to keep its forces serving on peacekeeping missions despite its anger over a draft report accusing the African nation's troops of atrocities and possible genocide in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The government of Rwandan President Paul Kagame has threatened to pull 3,500 troops from U.N. operations in the Darfur region of Sudan because of its outrage over the world body's draft report, which was leaked recently to the French newspaper Le Monde.
August 5, 2010 |
Today, The Hague will occupy a spotlight usually reserved for Paris, Milan and New York. Supermodel Naomi Campbell is scheduled to testify at the trial of Charles Taylor, the notorious former Liberian president who is charged with crimes against humanity — including murder, sexual slavery and violence, and enslavement — as well as acts of terrorism and torture. How does a supermodel become a witness at an international tribunal? In 1997, Taylor allegedly gave Campbell the gift of a blood diamond — stones used to fund civil wars and other conflicts.