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calendar   Tuesday - February 08, 2011

Lines Drawn In The Sand

How About Aksum, Kush, or Upper Nubia?



image

Somebody has to draw some borders somewhere in here



“We’re leaving and we’re taking all the money with us!”: oil producing Christian black southern Sudan votes to split from piss poor Arab muslim northern Sudan. Years of civil war have destroyed Sudan, and the sub-Saharan southerners have voted to divorce themselves from the pan-Saharan northerners. Borders have to be drawn, and the new country has to pick out a name. But the USA has already agreed to recognize them ($$$$), even if the country won’t even exist until July.


KHARTOUM (Reuters) – South Sudan voted overwhelmingly to declare independence in final results of a referendum announced on Monday, opening the door to Africa’s newest state and a fresh period of uncertainty for the fractured region.

Hundreds of south Sudanese danced, screamed and waved flags as the announcement was broadcast on a line of TV sets in a square in the center of the southern capital Juba.

A total of 98.83 percent of voters from Sudan’s oil-producing south chose to secede from the north in last month’s referendum, the chairman of the vote’s organizing commission Mohammed Ibrahim Khalil said.
...
The referendum is the climax of a 2005 north-south peace accord that set out to end Africa’s longest civil war and instill democracy in a country that straddles the continent’s Arab-sub Saharan divide.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir earlier said he accepted the result, allaying fears that the split could reignite conflict over the control of the south’s oil reserves.

“Today we received these results and we accept and welcome these results because they represent the will of the southern people,” he said in an address on state TV.

Southern officials say the question of a name for the new state is unresolved but it could become just “South Sudan.”
...
“Southern Sudanese are a new people now. We have a new identity. We have respect from everyone at last. Our country has come today,” said Rebecca Maluk, a war widow and mother-of-three in the crowd in Juba.

U.S. to recognize south Sudan as a new country
President Obama says the Sudan split will be officially recognized in July. In a Jan. 9 vote, 98% of southern Sudanese voters chose independence. Obama calls for peaceful resolutions to disputes and an end to attacks on civilians in Darfur.
...
The south is principally Christian, and the north Muslim. The separate countries still have to negotiate a range of issues, including citizenship, borders, and oil rights and revenues. In his statement, Obama said the “outstanding disputes must be resolved peacefully. At the same time, there must be an end to attacks on civilians in Darfur and a definitive end to that conflict.”

Funny how the more that things change, the more they stay the same. Way back when, back in the days of Pharaoh, the southern border of upper Egypt was usually considered to be either the First Cataract of the Nile (at modern Aswan), or the Second Cataract of the Nile (currently underneath Lake Nasser by present day Wadi Halfa), depending on how subservient the Nubians were being. 4000 years later, and the modern border between upper Egypt and Sudan is ... in exactly the same place. The ancient land of Damot is pretty much the modern country of Eritrea. Across the Red Sea, the biblical land of Sheba is nowadays called Yemen. These are all natural borders formed by rivers and mountain ranges.

In another Once Upon A Time, somewhere between then and now, the land of Punt ruled both sides of the mouth of the Red Sea down to the Horn of Africa, which is now part of Ethiopia and Somalia.  So Punt doesn’t work as a name for the new country. I think it was also more of a confederation of tribes too, since the kingdom went across several natural borders. But Kush historically began at the Sixth Cataract, and the city near there, where the White Nile meets the Blue Nile, is called Khartoum. It makes sense to put the border near there, because the land changes radically at that point, and for all I know the people do as well. I don’t know where the population demarcations are in Sudan, but I’m pretty sure they’re not far from this city. The White Nile comes up out of the fever swamps of tropical Africa, and the Blue Nile comes down from the more temperate highlands of Ethiopia. Neither area is historically Arab. Upper Nubia would be a good name to tie this new country to it’s African roots. Aksum (Axum) would work too, and celebrate the area’s Christianity. It wouldn’t be a perfect geographical fit, but it would be one in a Prestor John kind of way, since the old kingdom of Aksum was the first African nation to go Christian. You can look at a map of Sudan and see how the northern cities have Arabic names, while the southern ones have African names. So it would seem smart to me to draw the borders on as natural a line as possible

So peace may finally be at hand in this troubled corner of the world, and a new Christian nation may be about to rise in Africa. One with an actual revenue stream. Now if they can just negotiate a border so that they wind up with a few miles of water front property on the Red Sea, they’ll be in clover. Well, maybe not clover, but emmer or kef.

UPDATE:
I do not know if the United States has ever before extended diplomatic recognition to a nation that does not yet exist. Is this a first? More importantly, is this recognition some kind of imprimatur, a sign that the nation being born has the support and backing of the USA? A Christian nation on the borders of muzzie-land? That itself would be such a bold move that ... I’m having a Vizzini Moment - “it’s inconceivable!!” - and have it happen under the pro-Arab, anti-Christian, no-push-for-international-freedom Obama regime? A total break with our historic “hands off, mostly” Africa policy? I’m thunderstruck. And if it settles the Darfur genocide without bringing in armies? Holy cow. We’re talking major legacy and another Nobel Peace prize, IF - and it seems to be a doubtful if - IF the USA is the driving force behind this. I do not think they are. I can not let myself believe that our diplomatic corps could pull off such a miracle and NOT have a single word to say about it in the press until after it was a done deal. That could never happen. So my thought is that this is a solution the people in southern Sudan came up with all by themselves. And while the world may be only too happy to recognize their nascent independence, the question remains whether their neighbors - crazy people with lots of guns on all sides - will also do so. Keep your fingers crossed.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/08/2011 at 12:21 PM   
Filed Under: • AfricaPoliticsRacism and race relationsRoPMA •  
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