Today is the 5th anniversary of South Sudan’s independence. As the country is recovering from a devastating civil war and continues to suffer from rampant inflation, the government had previously announced that it would cancel independence celebrations. Instead, the two days preceding the holiday, South Sudan instead marked the occasion by having government and opposition forces exchange fire in separate incidents on Thursday and Friday. Fortunately, during the more serious incident on Friday, President Salva Kiir and his vice presidents Riek Machar and James Wani Igga were together to discuss Thursday’s incident and jointly appealed for calm. This was a stark contrast to the rhetoric following the December 2013 clashes, which I’ve long believed helped fuel the expansion of the conflict…so some progress here. Right?
As my way of commemorating South Sudan’s birthday, I present you with some helpful articles to help understand the current political/humanitarian situation there:
The Independence Day that Nobody’s Celebrating by Jason Patinkin: Good synopsis of the multi-faceted challenges facing South Sudan’s transitional government as it attempts to pull itself together after the civil war.
South Sudan: Five Years Later by Lauren Hutton: A well-thought out perspective on the aspirations the donor community had for South Sudan, with relevance to other contemporary cases of state building.
Why elections may be the only answer for South Sudan by Peter Biar Ajak: Food for thought on why the peace agreement signed in August will not be implemented under the current leadership, and on how elections may be the best way to avoid complete state failure.
South Sudan: Devastating impact of war on mental health must be addressed by Amnesty International: On the near-total absence of mental health services to address trauma suffered during years of conflict.