This weekend, South Sudan gained its independence. Bryan Adkins has lived and worked in the Sudan, and contributes this guest post:
It is not everyday that we are privileged to see the birth of a new country. It is especially monumental when we look back at the long history of conflict and perseverance on the part of the southern Sudanese which has brought them to this day. We can stand here and say that it is truly an amazing experience to celebrate this time with the people of southern Sudan.
I have no doubt there will be huge challenges ahead and it is important to remember this as we look forward with hope. The pain of growth and the sacrifices of the past will be revisited daily. The scars of a long conflict are everywhere and in the 5 years of peace, the dividends have been slow to materialize. No doubt, southern Sudan will face continual massive challenges.
It is also important for us to remember that Southern Sudan will share this birthday with another new country, Northern Sudan whose own people will face similar challenges from poor leadership. We can pray that they choose integrity and humility to govern themselves and that the lives of civilians are not continually sacrificed for the ambitions of the powerful elite.
The stability of southern Sudan is inextricably linked to the other countries in the region including northern Sudan. In the peaceful governance ahead, tough choices will need to be made; choices that require integrity and humility – often in short supply. We can pray for the southern Sudanese that they will choose integrity and humility over pride, power and tribal affiliation and that as the new country grows, it will be governed by those that seek to serve their fellow human beings, not themselves.
Managing the great things that have been achieved so far and planning for the future will be a key challenge but one that I am confident that the citizens of southern Sudan are capable of. Today we celebrate the birth of the Republic of South Sudan and dream great dreams with the southern Sudanese because, if the long years of suffering have taught us anything it is that anything is possible”.