Monday, December 6, 2010

Happening right now


Sudanese in America are voting on Sudan's referendum about whether it should split into two countries. One of the three US voting sites in in Old Town Alexandria, for Sudanese expatriates to vote on their country's future.

The agreement to hold the referendum was part of the 2005 peace accords that ended twenty-two years of civil war between the north and south. The vote has been delayed again and again by the Khartoum-based government, while violence has continued to rage in the south. Because Sudan's oilfields are largely located in the south, there is concern that the most likely outcome of the referendum - the split into two countries - could result in more violence, which could create more waves of refugees, which could in turn destabilize the countries surrounding Sudan.

It's hard to be optimistic about this referendum, knowing that even a free and fair election may only result in more upheaval, and that it's highly unlikely that the north will let the south separate without a fight. Still, even the fact that the referendum looks like it'll happen is a victory.

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