The History of South Sudan
A CHAPTER OF A BOOK TO BE PUBLISHED SOON
By John Kuek,
Oct 25, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — To fully understand the nature of the current civil war, one needs to revisit the history of the region now known as the South Sudan. The history of the country is largely intertwined within four key sociocultural phenomena: Tribal alliances and rivalries, language/dialectic differences, various religions and their belief systems, and geography. Collectively, these phenomena define the lingering sociopolitical struggles of this country. South Sudan is a landlocked country in eastern Africa with plains in the north and center, and highlands in the south along the border with Uganda and Kenya. The “White Nile”, a tributary of the great Nile River, flows from the north through the country. This river is the major geographic feature of the country and supports agriculture and large wild-life populations. South Sudan is bordered by the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda. While the history of the country of South Sudan is very brief, the region has a history dating back thousands of years (Metz, 1991). After decades of political disagreement including warfare between the South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan, South Sudan finally gained independence in July 2011. Since then, South Sudan has been a country in deep turmoil with many growing pains, most notably a tribal conflict between the president and former vice president.
As a result, South Sudan could not happily celebrate its third year of existence as an independent country due to a war that broke out on December 15, 2013. The reason for this conflict is both simple and complex. On the one hand, the president and former vice president are from two distinct tribes who promised to work together. Yet, their respective tribes’ mistrust of each other immediately caused each leader to accuse the other of political oppression, war-mongering, and the fomenting a dictatorship. On the other hand, this civil war, which has become genocidal, is very complex because the government has been both corrupt and disorganized, has managed poorly its resources and economy, and has lost the complete confidence of many countries that initially provided assistance including the United States and Great Britain. Also, many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have abandoned the country because of death threats and political instability. At this moment, it is sad to say that there exists no stable infrastructure in South Sudan and instead, chaos and anarchy pervades the landscape. In turn, the long-standing ethnic hatred and rivalry between the Dinka and Nuer tribes has heightened to a point of no return, with violence spread throughout the country.
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