Category Archives: History

Not an expert

My radio silence could be partly explained by a forthright intercession by a member of the South Sudan Embassy at a SOAS discussion yesterday.

“Self appointed experts on South Sudan [are a big problem at the moment]… [we need discussion to be] made more academic. … [Their comments are how] we are judged”

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Some initial thoughts on the Committee for National Reconciliation’s July 2013 working paper

  • What is South Sudan reconciling from?  According to the first page of the working paper, independence was attained as “a united people”; while (finally) Southern internal divisions and fighting during the first and second civil wars is acknowledged on page 4, these are noted as “artificially created”.  If the Committee cannot recognise serious, politically- and socially-based divisions in the ‘struggle’, and cannot break out of this standardised ‘we-all-fought-together-for-independence’ dominant narrative, then how is it going to be able to let people speak on these divisions – the “community narratives of the war” that they want to uncover, on page 6? Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, History, Politics, South Sudan

‘Fieldwork’ time: moving on from Juba

football

A hat made of a plastic football, in Juba.

I’m re-starting my PhD properly on Thursday, after six months of working on my Arabic, which is still only shweya, and on the South Sudan National Archives, which is also shweya, although a little less of a mushkila than when I arrived.  I’m leaving Juba for Aweil – after my previous trip, I think it’s a good enough place to start work – on Thursday, with no real fixed plan after that.

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Culture and diversity: all-singing, all-dancing

I’ve had a lot of culture over the last few days in Juba.  Now that I’m not officially an employee of the Rift Valley Institute in South Sudan – I’m now full-time on the PhD, finally – I’m putting in a lot of time (read, I’m still in the office at 10pm) on various consulting jobs, an article, and planning for moving my life up to Aweil next Thursday.  And I’ve had time to do culture.

culture

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Filed under Africa, Archives, Current affairs, History, Politics, South Sudan

Starting research – Aweil

20130415_124728

Aweil is very beautiful, in a completely different way.  I really like Central Equatoria, particularly now the rains have started in earnest and everything is bright, fluorescent green, but northern Bahr el Ghazal has something otherworldly about it.

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The Sudan Council of Churches, Riek Machar and ‘a journey of national healing’: thoughts on peace and reconciliation in South Sudan

Peace, national healing and reconciliation have been discussed as fundamentally necessary agenda items for South Sudan since independence nearly two years ago. These ideas are steeped in South African post-apartheid and Rwanda post-genocide legacies, and there is no shortage of people and organisations wanting a piece of this psychological restitution game – or proposing ways (or more often, the problems) of doing it.

The key issue for a while has seemed to be a lack of political will for such a huge and complex project. If anything, government understandings of the war have been going the other way: there is a well established, government propagated single historical narrative. ‘We’ fought together, died together, bound by the same united ideological desire for an independent ‘South’; internal divisions were the product of machinations from the evil North; the war, peace and finally independence were all won by ‘bullet and ballot,’ and nobody voted against independence in 2011.

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Filed under Africa, Current affairs, History, Independence, Politics, South Sudan

Corruption in the archives

20130308_133354Non-telegraph transcript after the jump.

 

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Filed under Archives, Current affairs, History, Politics, South Sudan, Uncategorized