Monday, July 16th, 2018

Independence, a Mis-Diagnosis?

Published on August 1, 2011 by   ·   No Comments


This business of independence has never rested entirely well with me. Along with democracy, it seems to be a lofty ideal that works only in countries and societies where there is a level playing field.

A layperson’s broad definition of independence resembles this Wikipedia one:

Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory.

As a result of being or becoming independent, it is plausible for one to expect freedom, happiness and a whole host of other inalienable rights. I suppose in this regard, one might further argue that to fight for its attainment by any means necessary is revolutionarily empowering in principle. The Haitian example however paints another reality. A nation that indeed did fight for its freedom from the shackles of slavery and yet hundreds of years later, still their struggle continues – for daily survival.

South Sudan is born! AP Photo/Andrew Burton

Take for example the most recent example of independence. At midnight on 9 July 2011, the 193rd country in the world, South Sudan was born.

While commendation is due to their standing firm in their beliefs to no longer be suppressed nor oppressed by their former fellow Northerners I wonder and ponder, how does the international community intend to support them in the creation of their independence? Will they just stand aside and look? Or will they continue to apply policies, practices and strategies that have failed around Africa in particular and the developing world in general?

As a general principle, most countries who have gained independence from some former colonial power, at least that power left behind some contradictory legacy from which they could begin to create some semblance of a future. An immediate example that springs to mind is that of establishing a currency. Especially in these precarious economic times, against which world currency will the South Sudanese pound be pegged?

Sudan has been split into two countries on the basis of a whole host of factors namely ethnicity, natural resources and religion. This short list is by no means exhaustive. With an illiteracy rate beyond 70% and virtually no infrastructure, to describe their newly acquired state as liberating is bizarre.

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