Quick update on the South Sudan National Archives, from the African Studies Association conference in Baltimore.
A few months ago, the Ministry of Culture staff, with Dan and me from the RVI, moved the final load of loose paper from the USAID tent where they’d been housed since 2006, their first post-war home. These were the last of the damaged pages from burst files, which are now waiting for someone who enjoys serious puzzles.
Three weeks ago, when passing, I saw that we were right to get out of the tent. Temporary in the Juba climate really does mean temporary.
My last few days in Aweil felt quite sad – as I did some last chats with ladies in Apada, said formal goodbyes to people in ministries, and tried to take photos around the town for memories. Oh, and broke down on the bike a few times.
A lot of pool. Sundays are sacred pool days.
Elf mabrouk to the newest country in the world!
I’ve been in Juba for the celebrations, coming up from Kampala on a bus packed to the roof with returning Southerners travelling from Nairobi. Passports of all colours – predominantly USA blue – were produced at the border, but everyone was excited about becoming, finally, South Sudanese.
The week has been relatively tense in Juba, as concrete and tarmac sets slowly in the baking heat, huge numbers of police and soldiers set up road blocks and machine-gun posts all over town in four rings of security, and public transport shut down. Several arrests of foreign journalists meant I persuaded the Ministry of Information to give me a press pass to try to avoid problems with photography.
The Republic of South Sudan flag being raised
A long, hot day at Juba’s Garang mausoleum, listening to the reading of the independence act, the swearing-in of Salva Kiir Mayardit as President, and the raising of the flag.
I’ll write a longer post tomorrow about what’s been going on here.
Analyses of the protests in Khartoum are focusing on analogies with Egypt. This article focuses on Bouazizi’s story as a comparison to the other individual deaths in Tunisia and Egypt that helped to focus the protest movements there (it also helpfully summarises various Arabic newspaper editors’ lines on the protests); in contrast, there’s another vein of articles that reject the comparison with Egypt, or focus on NCP justifications of why Sudan is different. The continued detention of some of the protesters is picked up on by Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and some newspapers. Putting aside Khalid Mubarak, whose SSRC article is a true classic of the Sudan Embassy information office genre, Magdi has written the only comment I think makes some headway into talking about why the Khartoum protests don’t have wider visible support. An English-language page for Sudanese Youth for Change (SPARK) has been set up on Facebook here.
Filed under Politics, Sudan