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Lawrence Duffee's op-ed column on South Sudan: events since last year's election separating South Sudan from Sudan. Hope and promise amid challenges.
A policeman walks past the remains of a market in South Sudan after a bombing by northern Sudanese aircraft.
Michael Onyiego/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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JUBA, South Sudan--"South
"South Sudan! Oiyaay!"
How heartily did we shout that phrase last July? Again and again until we were hoarse but still we cheered in our jubilation. Standing in Juba under the hot equa-
The separation of Sudan into two nations happened not as a result of bullets but through ballots. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended decades of civil war included a provision for a referendum by the people of the south on whether to remain united with the north. Ninety-nine percent of those voting chose to create the new nation of South Sudan that was born amidst hope and promise.
But what has happened to the hope? Has South Sudan become a prosperous democracy, living in peace with its neighbors? Or has South Sudan become another failed state ruled by a corrupt elite while embroiled in seemingly endless armed conflicts, both internal and external?
In truth, neither extreme has occurred though aspects of both have been realized. The people
South Sudan's economy is struggling, thanks to an oil embargo against the north. The south chose unilaterally to stop pumping oil in January after the north, through which the one pipeline that carries the south's oil to market traverses, confiscated oil for payment of pipeline transit fees. Since then, both Sudans have been unable to reach an agreement that would allow oil to start flowing again. Like a married couple suffering through a bad divorce, the two sides are unable to agree on most issues; both nations seem to operate on the hope that the other will collapse first.
DEPENDENCE ON OIL
FRUSTRATIONS PERSIST IN THE NEW SOUTH SUDAN
Lawrence Duffee is a resident of Stafford County serving as a missionary from the Episcopal Church of the U.S. to the Episcopal Church of the Sudan since 2010. He will be returning to South Sudan for another year beginning in August.