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Dec 15, 2014

Opinion

South Sudan and Sudan; news roundup about the complex, intertwined situation

In 2012, I wrote about Al-Bashir: Sudan: divide and rule, the winning strategy. A year before that, as South Sudan celebrated its independence, I was carefully optimistic in South Sudan: Render unto southern Sudanese that which is theirs. And in December last year, on the beginning of the South Sudan civil war, I paraphrased an article by Daniel Howden published on The Guardian, in South Sudan: how we all fell for the ‘big lie’. Needless to say the situation is dire and complicated in South Sudan right now. To better understand what is happening, I selected some posts I think are worth reading. Starting with The Sudans: after the divide Series published on The Guardian, and a must-read article by James Copnall ‏@JamesCopnall : South Sudan conflict: What chance of peace? On Twitter, Tristan McConnell @t_mcconnell tweeted: “Personal ambitions” of #SouthSudan‘s leaders “jeopardize the future of an entire nation,” says…Read more




Dec 29, 2013

Opinion

South Sudan: how we all fell for the ‘big lie’

The title paraphrases an article by Daniel Howden published on The Guardian: How Hollywood cloaked South Sudan in celebrity and fell for the ‘big lie’. Since the  crisis in South Sudan started two weeks ago, I’ve read a lot of things on the whys and hows of the situation. And, unsurprisingly, I’ve read a lot of ineptness, misreading, ignorance and snap judgements. And, unfortunately, unlike Howden (could he have used them as a click-bait?!), I don’t think Hollywood stars are the first ones to blame. Maybe it’s time for some people to clean up their own act first. My goal is not to patronize, but from where I stand, and for at least two decades now, I have been working to select and provide accurate information on Sudan, Darfur and now South Sudan. I have been able to observe all sorts of misreading when it comes to Sudan and South…Read more




Sep 21, 2013

Opinion

Abyei Referendum: Sudan wants is oil, South Sudan wants its people

These are the words of Taban Abel Aguek, a Member of State Parliament in Rumbek, Lakes State published on SouthSudanNation.com yesterday. “It is clear what Sudan wants in Abyei is oil, but South Sudan wants its people“. Very clear indeed but the situation can be more complicated than it appears. Abyei is a one million square miles region, it has oil and fertile land. The Ngok Dinka, sub-Saharan cattle herders, are the vast majority in Abyei but the nomadic Misseriya tribe is also part of the equation. Not mentioning Sudan and its president, Omar al-Bashir (charged with Darfur genocide by the International Criminal Court) literally fighting for his country’s interests. The status of Abyei was one of the most contentious issues in the negotiation of  the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), and a separate referendum to determine whether Abyei belongs to Sudan or South Sudan was supposed to be held…Read more




Jan 27, 2013

Opinion

Nick Kristof, Sheryl Sandberg about Women

I like when things look simple. When you can sum it up in one sentence. But in reality, things look quite different and may need a more balanced approach and not a somewhat oversimplified vision with on one side (quoting Sheryl Sandberg in Nick Kristof‘s article: She’s (Rarely) the Boss) ‘women who don’t aggressively pursue opportunities‘ and on the other side ‘[women who] continue to do the majority of the housework and child care‘. Women don’t necessarily have to be power hungry nor desperate housewives. Now let’s take a deeper look at this article. Kristof is at the 2013 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, and he has no choice but to state the obvious: ‘This year, female participation is 17 percent‘. And he’s not surprised since ‘In America, only 17 percent of American Fortune 500 board seats are held by women, a mere 3 percent of board…Read more




Nov 7, 2012

Opinion

Martin Luther King Jr. and Obama’s election: Free at last? (2)
Round 2: Four more years

President Barack Obama wins a second term. Barack Obama had been re-elected and his re-election has been celebrated around the world. Even in France, Tom McGrath, president of Republicans Abroad France, says: “It’s clear that if they could vote, Europe would vote 80 per cent for Obama.” Four more years. Whether this is a good or a bad news is yet to be fully seen, but in my opinion, it may be the best of all considering the many challenges Obama is already facing in his next term. In 2009, a few days after Inauguration Day, I wrote on Obama’s election. Almost four years later, if some things have positively changed, a lot still remains to be done. Below is the post I published three years ago and I wouldn’t change a word…   Martin Luther King Jr. holds a special place in my life. When I was at school…Read more




Jul 7, 2012

Opinion

The revolution in Sudan and the ‘villains’

Why is the Sudan revolution being ignored? I’ve been asking the question for a while now and we have to face the facts: recent protests in Sudan have received little to no attention from the media. Since 1989 and the first article I wrote on Sudan, I have seen and heard many things. Or maybe I haven’t seen and heard enough to say the truth. In the media, I mean. Because on the ground, there have been plenty to see and hear. For more than two decades, I have discussed a lot, with many different people from here, from Sudan, from everywhere. I’ve listened to the ones who think everyone has their own problems to deal with; the ones who talk too much and don’t do enough and some others complaining ‘It’s always the same out there’… Hopefully, many others try to understand and don’t turn a blind eye; some people…Read more




Mar 18, 2012

Opinion

Sudan: divide and rule, the winning strategy

Sudan is back on the front pages. Since the past few days, I can hear, here and there, people saying: ‘Amazing, George Clooney has been arrested!‘ or ‘George Clooney was in handcuffs in Washington today!‘. Then I asked: ‘Do you know why he has been arrested?‘ The replies were: ‘It was at a protest outside some embassy…’ or ‘I don’t care, watch the video to see him handcuffed!‘. This publicity stunt worked very well but I’m not sure the reasons that motivated it spread beyond the Atlantic Ocean… Although I can’t deny this media strategy worked before. Five years ago in Tall oaks from little acorns grow, I wrote: ‘Most of the people I know only discovered the crisis in Darfur in late 2006 early 2007 when George Clooney came back from Sudan’. I added: ‘Kinda confusing an actor known to be ‘the world’s sexiest man’ and a man who ‘used to be the next…Read more




Feb 19, 2012

Opinion

In Sudan, Seeing Echoes of Darfur. And still waiting for diplomacy…

Sudan’s ongoing military campaign in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states is a reality but not one you can see. One you guess from satellite imagery, one you read from witnesses’ stories. Now we have something more, a report by Nicholas D. Kristof, a columnist for The New York Times and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. Kristof has just reported from Yida, South Sudan. Some interesting points from his article, full version here. “Bombings, ground attacks and sexual violence — part of Sudan’s scorched-earth counterinsurgency strategy — have driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes in South Kordofan” “While the Sudanese government is trying to suppress an armed rebellion in the Nuba Mountains, it is civilians who bear the brunt of the suffering” “The Sudanese government bombed this refugee camp in November, and, just a week ago, it bombed the nearby town of Jau, in South Sudan” “Unless outside countries…Read more




Feb 5, 2012

Opinion

Syria: against mass killings, but business comes first. Always.

Russia and China vetoed on Saturday a UN resolution aimed at stopping the ongoing violence in Syria. Why shouldn’t we be surprised? It has been a long time since we accepted the ostrich policy, it is a shame we accept to put economic and political interests before human rights. In fact, Russia and China joining forces in a double veto to knock down a Western-Arab U.N. Security Council resolution is an exchange of good process which strengthens China, Russia and Syria mutually. From CNN today: ‘China and Syria gave each other understanding and support on issues concerning each other’s core and major interests,” the statement said. “China showed consistent understanding and firm support for Syria’s position on the Golan Heights while Syria remained committed to the one China position and rendered China staunch support on matters related to Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang and human rights […] The total value of Syrian contracts with…Read more




Jul 9, 2011

Opinion

South Sudan: Render unto southern Sudanese that which is theirs

South Sudan has gained its independence from Sudan. Eventually. I just got off the phone with a (now officially) southern Sudanese friend who fled his country twenty years ago. For him, the independence is something he is proud of, it is some sort of freedom and for the first time in years, he will go visit his family who stayed near Juba, the capital of the new Republic of South Sudan. Of course this is a great news and it deserves to be celebrated. Unfortunately, with the recent events in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, there is, more than ever, a real weariness with war. Not to mention that South Sudan will have to face many challenges: the country is oil-rich but it is also one of the poorest country in the world with nearly 40 percent of the population needing food aid to survive. But I know people of…Read more





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