Saluting Southern Sudan Independence

AJC national radio message
January 31, 2011 – New York – AJC Executive Director David Harris, in his national radio commentary, salutes Southern Sudan’s quest for independence, slated to be declared in July. ”That quest deserves the international community’s sustained support,” says Harris.

Harris speaks of the recent referendum in which “ninety-nine percent of the voters approved independence from Sudan. Until a few years ago, such a prospect seemed highly unlikely.”

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The AJC weekly radio messages are broadcast on the CBS radio network, before The Osgood File. All AJC radio commentaries since 2001 are available at www.ajc.org/radiocommentary.

The full text of this week’s commentary follows:

A new country is coming into existence.

It’s the result of a referendum that recently took place in Southern Sudan.

Ninety-nine percent of the voters approved independence from Sudan.

Until a few years ago, such a prospect seemed highly unlikely.

For two decades, Sudan had witnessed deadly conflict.

As CNN reported, “The war was sparked by a government effort to impose Islamic law on the mostly Christian south in 1983.... Over two million deaths, many from starvation, are blamed on the 21-year-old conflict.”

You see, the north, which has controlled the country till now, is predominantly Arab and Muslim. The south is overwhelmingly Christian and animist.

To be sure, many issues still need to be worked out before the scheduled July independence date.

But above all, this is an inspiring story about Southern Sudan’s relentless quest for independence and dignity.

And that quest deserves the international community’s sustained support.

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This is David Harris of AJC.Date: 1/31/2011
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