Monday, January 10, 2011

Voting Begins On South Sudan Secession

Posted By on Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 11:40 AM

A referendum on whether South Sudan should have independence began Sunday in that country and all over the world — including Nashville, one of eight voting stations in the U.S.

In a story on voter registration last month ("The Absentee Vote," Dec. 16, 2010), the Scene talked to refugees who'd come to Nashville from all over the Southeast, some driving through the night simply to register. We also examined Sudan's long and violent history of political and religious repression of the largely Christian and animist South by the mostly Muslim power centers in Khartoum, and the bloody civil wars that killed two million and displaced millions more.

Based on a U.S.-negotiated treaty, the time has now come for the people of the South to determine their future. The road along the way will be a rough one, though. At issue are festering ethnic tensions, a contentious disagreement over which segment of the country will claim oil-rich regions like Abyei, an International Criminal Court warrant for Sudan President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes, and South Sudan's state of chronic underdevelopment. Sixty percent of registered voters have cast ballots, which, even without conflict, will take some time to count.

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