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FM Deng Alor calls for 'peaceful divorce' of Sudan

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Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor (Juba Outpost)

While taking part in a UN sponsored symposium on Tuesday, Sudan FM Deng Alor angered the NCP when he said that South Sudanese would vote "overwhelmingly" for independence.

"Southerners if asked now ... they will overwhelmingly vote for separation," Alor told reporters after the symposium.

"You don't give them services ... and you fight them by proxy. How can these people vote for unity?" he posed to the audience in Khartoum. "It is sad for many of us to see our country disintegrate before our eyes."

He called for a 'peacful divorce' if southerners choose independence in 2011 and accused the northern party of sponsoring militias to create instability in the south.

Ghazi Salaheddin , NCP presidential advisor said Alot was suffering from 'paranoia,' accusing the south of failing to honour its obligation under the CPA.

"It is not in the interest of our people whether in northern Sudan or southern Sudan to be paranoid, to be under the spell of illusions of persecution, to be despondent to the extent of going for secession," he said.

Alor's comments come just few days after President Salva Kiir made similar sentiments at a cathedral in Juba, that the government spokesman says were 'misquoted.'

 

Are you Sudanese? Are we 'akuan?'

 

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Was Garang the only politician capable of uniting Sudan?
Folks,

You know, I want to shoot straight today or tonight, depending on where you are on the planet.

You know, am trying to mimic the maverick American politician John McCain and hopefully in the process kill two birds with one stone.

You know, I mean in talking about ‘John MacCain the Maverick’ maybe I can please some of his staunchest southern Sudanese fellow mavericks so that they may accept their loss (because I have a feeling they haven’t) and rally behind Barack Obama, who some of them now refer to as a “Kenyan lost boy.” LolLaughing.

During the campaign we the Obama guys warred with the MacCain mavericks while attempting to argue why we thought our guy was the proverbial ‘man of the hour.’

You know, the ‘fierce urgency of now’ was our candidate’s signature.

But hey, you know what, let’s sign, seal and deliver that because I wandered off from my main topic which begins in the next paragraph, lolLaughing.

Last night I took a cab to where I was going, you know that’s a stingy language because I don’t want to share more than that.

Obviously, I began by telling the address of the place I was going to. Then we struck a conversation which didn’t take shape until I asked if he was from India not because of any accent but because he looked like one.

The response was comical. “I think I’m from your country,” he said.

My country, sighSurprised.

You know once you have that clue you can never go wrong, if you are a good Sudanese like I am, jokingSmile...

Sometimes you meet people who inspire you. Sometimes you meet those who annoy you, and other times those who you may not read or pin down on either side.

Well, this guy made me think really hard about my country’s future.

Moving on: I asked the cabbie (a really good guy whose name I don’t recall) if he were from northern Sudan and figuring the baggage that comes with geographical identifications where everybody in one area is not given their individuality and lumped together as the same, he said “Not northern Sudan, Sudan.”

Interesting, I thought. Then for some weird reason I began to put my tired Arabic to test in an attempt to foster this Sudanese commonality.

The last time I put my Arabic phrases to test was not too long ago when I decided to conduct an interview entirely in Arabic without a translator with a Darfur migrant who was trying to set up a coffee shop (in the middle of recession), a first for a Sudanese here in Edmonton, Canada.

How about this: I knew more Arabic than he did English.

Although I stammered and stopped occasionally between words to piece my Arabic together, I soldiered on until I did it, I’d like to say successfully if that helps my egoWink.

Back to the cab driver.

We talked about Sudan. About the politics. President Bashir’s indictment. How the death of Dr. John Garang whom he said ‘had more supporters in the north more than were in the south’ leaves virtually no hope for unity.

We talked about how the NCP government separates Sudan with its policies, sharia law, a point I volunteered but he agreed with.

We talked about how my generation cannot be manipulated either by the SPLM or the NCP because we are fully aware of the truth, noting that sometimes the SPLM uses NCP as a scapegoat for its inefficiency and noting how the NCP sometimes uses the SPLM as a scapegoat for its failure to live up to its obligations, as far as the peace implementation.

At arrival at my final destination, I know I took many detours in this blog post, which took more time than the distance of the place I was going to, it was time to pay.

The overall total was slightly over $20. I had no cash so I brought out my credit card to make the payment. He told me ‘just give me $10.’ I said ‘No man this is not Sudan.’ He insisted and replied that “Anena akuaan (we are one people).

Truly, that statement hit me really hard in light of the upcoming referendum where we’ll exercise our right to self-determination or vote for unity and the all but certain possibility that Sudan will be divided and some of the good northern guys like the cab driver could rot under such unfeeling dictator called Omar Bashir who’d have succeeded in fragmenting the biggest country on the African continent despite being a tiny minority.

The lessons for me?

Actually my first thought was do Sudanese see themselves as 'akuan' like that northern Sudanese guy does?

My other thought was maybe it’s safe to go with one’s instinct and my instinct tells me not to go with ‘herd mentality’ for the sake of it but because it’s sound and right. Independence of judgment.

For those out there who may misconstrue my heartfelt statements, here’s my firm position right now: separation of Sudan is the only way out now unless SPLM can win the election and reform the deformed country.

See you next time.

My day as an actor...

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That's not a true representation of me but that's what I captured with my phone camera emerging from a TV screen. 

Picture someone sitting on a dark chair in a studio with a makeup artist standing in front of him holding her makeup stick like a hunter with a spear. 

That was none other than me today. 

“Close your eyes,” she said. I obeyed.

Then she grabbed her makeup sponge fresh with “stop shining” lotion and used it on my face. 

“Where are you from?” she asked.

“From a country where they don’t do these stuff,” I joked, giggling.

“No makeup?” she said, innocuously.  

I explained I was Sudanese and that I came to Canada via Kenya eight years ago.

Before I was in Edmonton I told her I was living in Vancouver and Victoria.

“Did you know in Victoria they say it’s a place of ‘newly wed and nearly dead?”’

I had actually laughed at the description before but it wasn’t the first time I’d heard it.

I will tell you in a moment what I was really there for but I wanted to make sense of the artist’s tools. 

“Do you always use a makeup sponge on everybody?”I asked.

“Yes,” but a sponge is used with a “foundation [lotion] for a woman” and “anti-shine [lotion]” for a man. 

“A foundation,” she explained “evens out the colour tone and makes it one solid colour.”  

“What about in my case what did you use?” I asked.

“You have a ‘balanced skin,’ not like my skin which is pink, white and—

“Your skin is ‘one tone’,” she said. 

In other words, to borrow from her lexicon, she used a “stop-shining” lotion on me which she explained makes you “look natural” on camera. 

“Lights change the way camera sees you,” she said.   

“There you go, you’re good,” she told me.

Then I proceeded to the other side of the studio where the cameras were rolling. 

There were four of us being featured in a TV ad for a settlement agency, whose name I may not use here for legalistic reasons.

“Can you say the [name of the organization] helps me with my education in your language?” a camera guy asked me.

“Can I say that the [name of the organization] helps people because I know the people it has helped?” I replied.

“This is an acting job,” he explained.

I agreed.

“Are you nervous?” he asked.

“No,” not a chance I said.

“When I say ‘action’ say your line o.k?” he instructed.

“Action!”

“[Name of the organization] e koc kuony,” I said in Dinka.

It translates into “[the organization] helps people.”

I actually got my way, it was my language. 

I can’t believe am blogging about a makeup artist, but here is the moral of the story folks:

Sometimes you have to use “anti-shine” to shine. LOL.Laughing

Good night. 

Jacob Zuma: the good, the bad, and the ugly

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Jacob Zuma is a sworn Africanist who's in touch with the South African poor but will governance change him?
o folks,

Let me acknowledge one thing first thing: I have been absent without leave (AWOL) from my blog. 

Since my last blog post the world has changed.

Africa, our beloved continent, has elected Jacob Zuma (JZ) as president of the Republic of South Africa, Africa’s super power nation if you will. 

As noted by many observers and commentators on South Africa, JZ has overcome so many odds to become South Africa’s third African President (fourth if you count the interim president Kgalema Motlanthe) although he wears a veil of controversy. 

Before his ascendancy to power, Zuma used to be a very popular figure with the South African poor who pin their hopes on the man.

Because of their support JZ has been able to overcome obstacles on his way to victory. 

Then today, JZ decided to remove Trevor Manuel, who has been finance minister since  Mandela appointed him in 1996.

For those who wanted to see changes in favour of the South African poor Manuel’s removal as finance minister was a relieve, particularly that he clings on to his free-market policies that have done everything to keep down the South African poor while keeping up the rich.

However, in a surprise move, JZ put Manuel as the head of a powerful new planning commission.

You know, I understand that he had to do it because Manuel is an icon for the rich and removing him would have made JZ look like a dreadful ‘leftist.’ (You know Mugabe style).

In its report about the new South African cabinet appointment, the NYT said:

“Perhaps the most anticipated of Mr. Zuma’s decisions was the future of Trevor Manuel, the finance minister whose free-market policies won him the respect of the world’s bankers and the scorn of those who wanted a redistribution of wealth.”  

You know, the above statement is alarming.

Why? Because in the world of the rich ‘redistribution of wealth’  is a thing to avoid, an abomination.

So do you think the South Africans poor will have it any different from the ‘give me my machine gun’ signing president than his predecessors?

It might be too early to call but oh boy, oh boy, here we go again. Not a lot may change 15 years after Apartheid.

 

 

South Sudan could collapse?

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Hey, did you hear what Refugee International (RI) said in its recent report, that an "urgent action is needed to avert collapse" of South Sudan?

Here are their key points before we make our own conclusion:

  • Approximately two million people have returned to south Sudan since 2005 to extreme poverty
  • Increasing localized tribal conflicts and instances of insecurity are progressively eroding the relative stability in the south.
  • South Sudan is facing an economic crisis due to the drop in oil prices, creating the potential for new insecurity
  • The GoSS has been unable to pay salaries for months, including army salaries, and it has a cash flow shortage of $100 million per month.
  • According to the World Health Organization, one out of seven women who become pregnant in south Sudan will probably die from pregnancy-related causes. Only 10% of all births in south Sudan are attended by skilled health personnel. Many women told RI that they could not even get the help of traditional birth attendants because they require payment.
  • CPA is fragile because delays in border demarcation, lack of clarity regarding their political future and increasing tensions have erupted in open fighting between armed forces from south and north Sudan.

In addition, the RI raises other good points such as the failure of GOSS to take responsibility and protection for its citizens by not professionalizing its police and judicial system to increase stability. That GOSS should be more responsive to the needs of its citizens is sacrosanct, and I commend the RI for that.

However, what bothers me about their report is the title: "Urgent action needed to avert collapse of South Sudan"!

Speaking for a potential "collapse" of a nation, South Sudan in this case, is quite a tough call for a refugee agency to make, international or otherwise.

Frankly, it's a political statement and I think it's beyond their scope.

Well, that's not to trivialize the valid concerns the RI raise for donor community and UN to pay attention to as far as our country. That's its job.

I don't think anyone in South Sudan is under the illusion that things are or have always gone well.

Far from it. We fought so that we have our own nation and be able to solve our own problems and it worries me that we are mortgaging our country to the donor community and NGOs because of our long struggle and strife.

While RI speaks of "collapse" of South Sudan during this critical time, our President Salva Kiir, with all his weaknesses, reassuringly and rightfully says "we must survive."

 

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