July 7, 2013 (SSNA) — As S. Sudan’s 2nd independence anniversary approaches, a dark cloud of uncertainty hangs over ‘what is there to celebrate’. Since independence, the status quo has been in sharp contrast with the expectations of many. Literally, the hope most people harbored in the wake of independence is withering away, and hopelessness is slowly creeping in.
This has not been helped by the recent Failed States Index (FSI) report that placed S. Sudan in 4th position in the list of the most troubled states in the world –while citing corruption, human rights violation, internal conflicts, and curtailed media freedom –to name just a few –as the main factors crippling the world’s youngest nation.
Like any other truth, it hurts. But none of the stated reasons is disputable though.
Apparently, S. Sudan –apart from Sharia Law –is exactly a carbon copy of the Old Sudan. Lawlessness, selective justice, corruption, and political silencing are still rife. Therefore, many S. Sudanese –quite genuinely, in a sense –don’t see anything positive in celebrating the independence. After all, it hasn’t lived up to their expectations.
Like millions other S. Sudanese, I concur that S. Sudan is a failed state. Critics of this stance will argue, however, that the country is only two-years-old and doesn’t deserve a “failed state” status. I’ll take that as any other skewed opinion. That’s not to say I regret the sacrifices made in the course of achieving the nation of our own. No. I wouldn’t have swapped the independence of S. Sudan for anything else –come rain or shine. In spite of all the challenges we still face after the independence, there is always a reason to celebrate.
The fact that S. Sudan is a direct product of our collective efforts, per se, not only grants us optimism and courage to celebrate with pride comes July 9th, but also gives us a hint about where its future lies.
When it mattered the most, our heroes chose to let go the comfort of their careers and families, took up arms, went to the bush, and fought relentlessly for over two decades until the signing of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). When it mattered the most, we let go our differences, rallied ourselves to the ballot boxes, and set an astonishing world record of 98% vote to secede from Sudan.
Similarly, we can change the future of S. Sudan when we feel it matters the most. It’s entirely in our own hands. We’ve ballots at our disposal to make S. Sudan the dream country we want to live in.
So, in my opinion, “Failed State” status should not prevent us from going out there –with our heads held high –on Tuesday. With pride, we should sing each line in the national anthem. We should hold our breaths as we watch our lovely flag flying high in the air overhead. From its beautiful colors we must reflect on our common identity in black, the blood of our fallen heroes in red, the reason we must live in peace in white, our common Agricultural land in green, the waters of the great Nile in blue, and the call for our unity in the yellow star.
It’s the day we must always reflect on the distance we’ve walked as voters, and decide together how far we are ready to walk on.
May the Almighty God bless our beloved nation, S. Sudan!
Philips Al-Ghai can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @ Al_Ghai211.