Tag Archives: current affairs

Dr Peter Adwok Nyaba’s new book: notes from the launch

At the launch of Dr Nyaba’s new book, ‘South Sudan: the state we aspire to’, today at the New Sudan Palace hotel in Juba, the panel quite strangely didn’t opt to take questions from the relatively large audience. Instead, we were presented with three speakers: Dr Cirino Ofufo Hiteng, the previous Minister for Culture, Youth and Sports; Professor George Bureng Nyombe, eminent scholar of Bari history; and the Hon. Canon Clement Janda, SPLM member, ECS priest and previous SPLM Envoy for Darfur.

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I’ll admit that panels speaking about a book that the audience hasn’t read, in Juba, tend to be paeans rather than solid recommendations, notes or criticisms on the author’s arguments, and I wasn’t expecting to be overawed – although I was keen to get my hands on a copy. I was enjoyably wrong.

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Current events in South Sudan: photos from Aweil

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Roundup 2: Total tally of “South Sudan Summaries”, this independence day 2013

Positive: McNeish, Vatican, Brookings, Jal.

Negative: DW, UPI, IRIN, everyone who quotes the ‘Friends’.

Most major internationals, like the Guardian and the Economist, went for reporting on the letter from the ‘Friends’, who seem to be trying to stage an intervention (original letter here).  I would recommend reading to the bottom of the Economist, just for the  mental picture of a nightmare bistro dinner conversation, among people who call themselves ’emperor’ apparently in semi-seriousness.

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Roundup: South Sudan’s two year independence anniversary op-eds

The international news world deals irregularly with South Sudan at the best of times, but every year for three years now, the opinion pieces flood in to mark the anniversary of independence in 2011.  It’s somewhat like receiving end-of-year reports from school.  So, I have gone through this year’s pre-anniversary selection, and summarised their views for you, in the spirit of helpfulness.

And a tally of ‘key issues’ noted:

  • ‘brink of war’: Hilde; Tisdall; IRT; WPR
  • Jonglei: Hilde; Tisdall; al-Jazeera
  • ‘the people’: Hilde
  • Zimbabwe comparison: Tisdall
  • ‘failed state’: al-Ghai; WPR; Luka Biong; Gulf News
  • corruption: everyone
  • oil: everyone

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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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The Aweil palaces

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I live in a concrete hut in Aweil, much like my one in Juba.  It’s rare to find a concrete structure here, particularly in Maper, where I’m moving to in two weeks: Maper is a suburb of Aweil built since 2008, with continuing land demarcation and disputes, and a population getting back on its financial feet following – for most – a huge family relocation.

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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.

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