South Sudan Independence Speech: "We have to wake up tomorrow with the same sense of urgency that made this day possible"

Category: Writing aboard the Kenya Airways: A story on coming to Rwanda for the first time
Published on Wednesday, 13 July 2011 14:28
Written by Dr. Toby Maduot, The New Sudan Vision (NSV),
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Honorable Members of the South Mission Diplomatic Mission to the United States,

Honorable Representatives of the International Community,

Fellow South Sudanese,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am especially happy and honored to be celebrating this important and joyous occasion in the long and difficult history of our country and people. This day is the culmination of decades of difficult struggle and sacrifice by our people, and active involvement by many peace-loving people inside and outside Sudan. It is therefore fitting that we pay tribute to all who made it possible for the people of South Sudan to determine their fate democratically and proudly take place among the rest of the nations of the world.

The selfless and patriotic sacrifice of the millions of nameless South Sudanese who struggled and lost their lives so that this day may become a reality deserve special and prime acknowledgement. They spoke up for the rights of their people when the world was not listening, and they persevered at great risk to their lives when they were severely punished and brutalized. Great heroes like Father Saturnino Lohure, William Deng Nhial, and countless others deserve our eternal gratitude as we celebrate today.

We must also thank the men and women who seriously negotiated the peace agreement that made it possible for this day to come. Our President, General Salva KiirMayardit deserves special recognition today for his steady leadership and patience over six long years of difficulties and obstacles. Our great hero and Founder of the SPLM, late Dr. John Garang de Mabior must be remembered today for his great vision and great strength in leading our struggle for justice and equality with great distinction. He will live forever in the hearts of the grateful people of South Sudan.

This day was the result of a peace agreement that would not have been possible without the contribution of the leaders of the NCP, so we must thank President Omer Bashir and Vice President Ali Osman Taha for their invaluable role in reaching the agreement that ended long decades of bloodshed among fellow Sudanese.

No one thrives without friends and allies, and we are no exception. Our neighbors in IGAD must be saluted at this important hour because they were persistent in bring us as Sudanese together to end our long war. The United Nations, the African Union, African leaders such as former Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Abdusallami Abubakir of Nigeria, Pierre Buyoyo of Burundi, and others, have and continue to actively work on issues that advance the quest for peace among the Sudanese, and we salute them today. The friends of IGAD, the United Kingdom, Italy, Norway and the United States also deserve special homage today. They marshaled their resources to help us reach the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and then patiently worked with us to stay the course even when things were almost hopeless.

Since we are celebrating on American soil, we must say that we are eternally grateful for the people and government of the United States of America. Sudan has been one of the places that the US has done great work to end war and help people see a future devoted to their development, and away from acrimony and conflict.

The people of South Sudan, this new nation being born today with great hope and promise, have finally achieved their enduring dream for freedom and justice. I salute each and every one of you and wish you all a joyous and wonderful INDEPENDENCE DAY. But we have to wake up tomorrow with the same sense of urgency that made this day possible, and we must allow unity and reconciliation to take root among us so that we can build a peaceful, democratic and prosperous SOUTH SUDAN that will be a great sanctuary for all your children and generations to come.

God Bless South Sudan

God Bless the People of South Sudan

Thank You.

Dr. Toby Maduot Parek
Chairman, Sudan African National Union (SANU)

July 9th, 2011 

Washington DC