What is the New Sudan Vision?
By J. Ojoch*
Indeed, people have different opinions about one thing often challenging each other. Those not happy with the New Sudan Vision have a mission or simply some genuinely do not understand the notion. In many cases it has been an attempt to discredit the SPLA/M and much more to discredit John Garang personally. Further still the attempt is and was to derail the SPLA/M from politics. The Khartoum sleeping wolves wanted to hijack the leadership.
The idea of the New Sudan should not be so difficult to understand. When the CPA was signed in 2005, Dr. Garang said, the Sudan will never be the same again. The meaning of this simple statement is that things will change after the war. The people, the politics, the economy, etc… will change and will be different. At that point, the Sudan is new in its conduct of political affairs and in treating people of all walks. The Sudan may remain united or separated but it is not the same Sudan we have known for a long time.
Today, since the birth of the CPA, we look at things differently. Our attitudes, individually or in groups, have changed. We call ourselves equal citizens looking toward a different future that will be decided by the referendum in 2011. The marginalized masses of Southern Sudan will have the opportunity to decide to stay or to go away. The new political parties, the remodeling of the old ones, the NIF drifting to be known as NCP, are all the new things born of the CPA making the New Sudan Vision a living reality. In other words, the New Sudan means freedom, development, education, social and political awareness; it means the right to exist and the right to participate in the country’s affairs. Attainment of these matters means being new.
The Government of the Southern Sudan [GoSS] is a new thing. The Government of National Unity [GoNU] is a new thing too. The GoSS has independent powers to rule its people. It has an independent army and institutions of governance. Yet the South is sharing power in the GoNU. This is the New Sudan of John Garang that has emerged and continues to march forward to dismantle the old chains.
Economy-wise, the South is not looking toward the North for goods and services. Goods are flowing from Uganda, Kenya and the Congo everyday. Consulates and embassies have opened in Juba and other Southern cities. Foreign banks invest in the South. Foreign airlines fly the Southern skies. No helicopter gun-ships. It never happened before. This must be a new Sudan.
People talk in the streets of secession these days. In the past you were executed if your lips moved without uttering the word ‘secession’. The Southerners were not citizens. They were in the Sudan for granted. Today they are referred to as citizens. The Sudan is not the same anymore. Say anything you never said before, do anything you never did before, see anything you never saw before, sing any song you never sang before, you have the opportunity and right to do so because it is a New Sudan.
Darfur and the Eastern Sudan are emerging into the Sudan political scene. The awareness of political and self realization came out of the New Sudan Vision. The Sudan has been transformed and molded to take a turn to new corners of its political and social landscape. Stubborn northerners are becoming light headed. Islam is no longer a helmet for everyone. There is a limit of boundaries for Islamic intoxication and inculcation. Al Turabi, the Islamic ideologue, is not the same today. He is liberal and ready to accept a Christian as president of the Sudan be that a woman or man. Put it together, it is the New Sudan. It is the New Sudan Vision that people will accept each other as equal. The New Sudan is already here. We are living it. It is yet very young. We feel it, breathe it and we see it.
The New Sudan is tangible and alive. At the top of GoNU we have a Southerner as the First Vice President of the Republic. The national palace which was visited by the Southern thugs in the past is accepting other Southern visitors today including heads of nationalities.
The physical map of the Sudan is bound to change come 2011. In case of separation that is inevitable, the South will further look different. The North will be different too. The West and the East may also go. A lot more difference is added. Internally the South will recover and establish ethnic boundaries to make cultures flourish. The war has destroyed and affected some of the cultures if not all. It is time for them to rekindle life. The drum dances under the moon, the festivities of the harvest, the courtship and the weddings, herding of cattle and singing after the decorated bull, the fishing and swimming, all of that will come back to life. It is the New Sudan Vision.
The list of attributes of the vision of the New Sudan is very long. It begins from every individual person affecting the household and thus the nation.
The enemies of peace and their thugs are afraid to confront the realities of the emergent New Sudan. The new changes are worrisome to them. They see the changes as taking away their comfort, prestige and positions. There is no other way than to look the New Sudan in the face and bow down to it. The wave of the New Sudan is sweeping the land from corner to corner. There is no turning back because the “vehicle has no reverse gear”.
Define the New Sudan Vision in your own way. Curse it, kick it, close your eyes, turn your back and walk away, the fact remains that the Sudan will never be the same again.
*J. Ojoch is in the USA and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org