Posts Tagged ‘secession’
Photograph: Xan Rice for the Guardian
The freedom suit is tan, single-breasted and has three buttons. It hangs in Charles Mamur’s tent, covered by a black bag to protect it from the dust that blows in from the dirt streets of South Sudan’s capital, Juba.
Mamur bought the suit two years ago for about £50 but he has never worn it. He was keeping it for a special occasion, a time that he had dreamed of since the day nearly 50 years ago when, as a 10-year-old boy, he took up arms against the Arab government in Khartoum in the north.
“I never believed that the moment of freedom would come,” Mamur, 58, said this week, unzipping the bag to show off his suit, as well as the yellow tie and black shoes he picked to go with it. “But I wanted to be well dressed if it did.”
The moment has now arrived. At around noon on Saturday in the swelter of Juba, a besuited Mamur will be among tens of thousands of South Sudanese and foreign dignitaries, including the British foreign secretary, William Hague, and the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, who will watch as the flag of Sudan is lowered. Then, a giant South Sudan flag, six metres by four metres, will be raised on a 32-metre electronically operated flagpole that was installed this week by Chinese contractors who claim it is the tallest on the continent.
Six years after the end of Africa’s longest-running civil war – and one of its deadliest – its largest country will be officially split in two. The Arab-dominated north under President Omar al-Bashir will remain Sudan, only with much less territory and oil. The ethnically African, non-Muslim south, governed by former rebel Salva Kiir, will become the 193rd country to join the United Nations – the Republic of South Sudan.
RTFA. Long and filled with anecdotes from the history of this struggle for independence.
Scholars and students of history can step back and analyze the pros and cons of secession, of independence for nations from another. There are historic definitions – and damned few reasonable, successful examples.
As a general rule, I rarely support the politics behind secession. This time, I think the joy of self-rule will be worth the political toil that follows the bitter civil war that preceded the founding of the nation of South Sudan.
Arizona – the Mississippi of the West
One of the most radical offshoots of modern conservatism in the United States is called “tentherism,” which invokes the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment to claim that a whole host of federal government powers are illegitimate, from the operations of the Social Security program to the national highway system, and that states are supreme.
During a speech at the Oceanside Tea Party rally in recent months, Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce (R) took this philosophy to a new extreme. In the speech, where he denounced the federal government’s efforts to stop the implementation of the state’s radical anti-immigrant law, Pearce claimed that Americans aren’t even citizens of the United States, that they are rather citizens of “sovereign states,” meaning that we should be loyal to the laws of individual states rather than the federal government…
It’s ironic that Pearce says that it’s “time somebody gets its right” with respect to the Constitution — because he doesn’t. While it may not need to be said that Americans are, of course, citizens of the United States, if the Arizona state senator is confused about this issue he could always reference the very document he cites. The 14th Amendment of the constitution lays out very plainly that all people born in the United States are citizens of the United States…
And if Pearce actually read the Constitution, he would also see that it clearly trumps state law and “shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby.”
Like most of the dimwits prancing around under secessionist flags and gun-powered foolishness, these gutless wonders dedicate every chance they get to bad-mouthing democracy and the rule of law – until they need a helping hand. Then the handout becomes their bible until the next election cycle, of course.
Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, Sudan’s vice president, has said that he accepts the oil-producing south’s split after the first official results showed a 99 per cent vote for independence in a referendum hoping to end a bitter cycle of civil war.
“We announce our agreement and our acceptance of the result of the referendum announced yesterday.
“We wish our brothers in the south good luck and a fruitful future in organising the issues surrounding the new country.” said Taha on Monday.
The comments end speculation that hard-line elements in the Khartoum government would delay recognition of the referendum to garner leverage ahead of talks on how to divide the country’s assets and liabilities.
Taha negotiated the 2005 accord with southern rebel leader John Garang who died three weeks after taking office in the coalition government formed under the deal.
The south is now looking to the international community to recognise its independence, which will likely happen once the final results are confirmed next month…
“The vote for separation was 99.57 per cent,” Chan Reek Madut, the deputy head of the commission organising the vote, told cheering crowds on Sunday in the first official announcement of preliminary results…
Madut said voter turnout in the south was also 99 per cent. He said more than 60 per cent of eligible voters turned out in the country’s north, 58 per cent of whom voted for secession.
Bravo. Decades overdue.
The truthful part of the commemoration
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
What is the appropriate way to mark the 150th anniversary of the political beginning of the American civil war? For about 300 people from Charleston, South Carolina, it seemed the best commemoration was a gala ball replete with champagne, period dress and dancing.
A ballroom full of white guests gathered last night, each paying $100, to mark the anniversary of 20 December 1860, the day that South Carolina became the first state in the US to declare secession from the Union in order to protect the right to slavery.
The evening began with a theatrical depiction of the secession convention in which 169 of the state’s politicians voted unanimously to break with the Union and declare independence. The show ended with a rousing speech in which the show’s narrator proclaimed: “The spirit of the south still stands. The spirit of freedom and honour gets passed from one generation to the next…”
“For us the secession is not about a racial issue,” said Michael Givens, the commander-in-chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which sponsored the event. “We are not celebrating slavery, we are celebrating the courage and the tenacity of the people who were prepared to go out and defend their homes.”
But outside the ballroom a crowd of about 150 protesters convened by the largest civil rights group in America, the NAACP, had a very different take on the proceedings. “What would happen if Japanese Americans decided to have a ball to celebrate Pearl Harbour?” Rev Nelson Rivers asked the protesters. “Or if German Americans celebrated the Holocaust? For African Americans tonight, that is exactly what’s happening here.”
White Americans work really hard at ignoring the history of slavery and the institutionalized racism that followed emancipation. Though many fought hard to support the fight for civil rights, it never was part of mainstream American politics.
Though representatives of both of the tweedledeedum parties supported the struggle – mostly urbane Democrats – much American political history since the passage of the Civil Rights Act has been characterized by the mantle of racism taken over by the national Republicans – from southern Democrats.
The border between Georgia and Russia has been the driest of tinder; the only question was where the fire would start.
It’s scarcely clear yet how things will stand between the two when the smoke clears. But it’s safe to say that while Russia has a massive advantage in firepower, Georgia, an open, free-market, more-or-less-democratic nation that sees itself as a distant outpost of Europe, enjoys a decisive rhetorical and political edge. In recent conversations there, President Saakashvili compared Georgia to Czechoslovakia in 1938, trusting the West to save it from a ravenous neighbor. “If Georgia fails,” he said to me darkly two months ago, “it will send a message to everyone that this path doesn’t work.”
Georgians are a melodramatic people, and few more so than their hyperactive president; but they have good reason to fear the ambitions, and the wrath, of a rejuvenated Russia seeking to regain lost power.
A senior American official said that while the United States and Russia have common interests, Russia has become “a revisionist and aggressive power,” and the West “has to be prepared to push back.” But the Bush administration also recognizes that Russia has legitimate security interests, and that Saakashvili has played a dangerous game of baiting the Russian bear. Officials were laboring into the weekend — in vain, they feared — to coax both sides back to their corners. For much of the diplomatic and policy-making world, the border where Georgia faces Russia, with South Ossetia and Abkhazia between them, has become a new cold war frontier.
In a slightly more recent article:
Georgia has said its troops have pulled out of the breakaway region of South Ossetia and that Russian forces are in control of its capital, Tskhinvali.
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