Feature: Southern Sudanese in Calgary rally for independence


Sudanese listen to speeches during the rally in front of the city hall on October 9, 2010. (Photo by William Lochi)

(Calgary AB NSV) - The southern Sudanese diaspora in the city of Calgary have taken their stand on the referendum to the streets. They are saying we want “separation” of southern Sudan from the north, come January 9, 2011.

Last Saturday, the community gathered in front of the City Hall in support of southern Sudan referendum.

“We want to convey this message to Prime Minister of Canada Honourable Stephen Harper that [the] people of South Sudan must have their right in the world like any human being,” said Lucan Lado, a resident of Calgary.

“Enough is enough because more than three million people have lost their lives,” said Abraham Ariik Chol, one of the organizers of the rally.

The demonstrators chanted “yes, yes for separation” and “no, no for unity.” The crowd of about over 100 often burst into the singing of the SPLA liberation songs.


The rally was part of a coordinated strategy by the southern Sudanese in Calgary to raise awareness about the referendum to the local communities, the Canadian government and the wider international community about the wishes of the majority of southern Sudanese for their own country.

The Sudanese here hope to come out every ninth of each month until the referendum is held. Calgary hosts about 20, 000 Sudanese refugees according to various estimates.

The demonstration was an audacious move by South Sudanese in diaspora to support their people back home, as they have been part of the struggle since 1955. The demonstrators were expressing their collective opinions regarding the issues that impede the referendum, such as undemarcated north-south borders, the delay to the referendum registration exercises, and the incomplete implementation of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) components.

Organizers called upon the international community, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the CPA signatories and partners to work collectively to implement and conduct referenda for South Sudan and Abyei region, popular consultation for Nuba Mountain and South Blue Nile on time. They said that referendum was the right for the people of South Sudan to confirm the unity of the Sudan or the secession of the South.

Dhieu Dok, one of the organizers said the people of southern Sudan see separation as the ultimate hope and solution to their ills.

When I asked one of the organizers whether the Southern Sudanese in Canada can register to vote in the upcoming referenda, he expressed doubt about the signifance of diaspora voting. Many suspected that their votes might be rigged by National Congress Party (NCP) in favour for unity so that secession fails and unity passes.


Sudanese at the rally (Photo by William Lochi)