Posts Tagged With: independence

Letter to a New Nation

A Repost: As the chaos and violence in South Sudan escalates to depressing levels, I couldn’t help but think about this letter I wrote for the newly independent nation two and half years ago.

Dear South Sudan,

First of all, congratulation to you on this very festive and happy occasion of your birth into the international diplomatic scene. You have always been a nation, you’re just now being recognized on paper. It is an exciting and anxious period for you. You have a litany of unresolved issues with your former countrymen and neighbor to the north. But, that is for another day. Today is about looking to the future, not about the past. There is an enormous expectation placed upon you – by your people and the international community. As one of the least developed nations in the world, these expectations are unfair; nonetheless, you would have to deal with them. If I had the opportunity to give you an advice, I would have told you to wait five more years under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement framework as it would’ve allowed you to create a plan to repatriate and resettle all the people arriving from the North and elsewhere. This period would’ve also allowed you to build schools, medical facilities, roads, airports, etc to be able to absorb the millions of people moving back.

Now that you’re a nation officially, you would just have to deal with these issues as you go along. More importantly, now you have 54 case studies on how to avoid crisis and pitfalls as a new nation. Rest assured, you will have a lot of problems and internal conflicts, which if you have done your homework from these case studies you could avoid or at least minimize the impact to you. Since I can give you an advice for the future, let me do just that. One, avoid any kind of conflict with your neighbor states – especially and importantly, with the Republic of Sudan. Two, be inclusive, fair and equitable to all those people living in your domain – avoid the unity above all approach as this will surely sow a seed of hate and conflict for the future within your borders. Three, avoid starting proxy wars vis-à-vis Republic of Sudan or other neighbors. And finally, welcome any and all criticism from your people as it is a sign of a healthy, vibrant and democratic nation. Indeed, you will be tempted to label any kind of criticism as a planted strife by your neighbor to the north or other nations. Resist this and you will reap the rewards decades and centuries to come.

You have not yet reached the promised land – your hard work is just now beginning. Use your natural resources – oil and minerals – to develop your country. Make agriculture and education your focus for the next twenty to thirty years. And  dont allow, under any circumstances, the cancerous tumor that is corruption to grow. Heed the lessons of history that is all around you because you face an extraordinary level of hardship and temptations to simply fall prey to conflicts, wars, dictatorial rule, and corruption.

Good luck to you and may you be the first independent African nation to succeed as an example of democracy and prosperity.

Yours,

Om

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Categories: Africa Related | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Misperception of Independence

By A Muslim-African Woman in the ‘Diaspora’

***

I write this as a conclusion of my own experience and the experience of many women I personally came to know

Through my high school and college education, I was taught and reminded constantly of the inequality that women suffered for centuries. In the literature classes, I read about women inferiority which is portrayed in almost all of the classic writings. In sociology, I learned about the studies that document the gender differences and oppression of women. In psychology, I learn about Freud’s theories belittling woman to nothing but little envies creature of the man’s far better equipment. In Religion class, I learned how almost all religions of the world favor the superiority of men while treating women as a second class citizen. Most importantly, in history, I learned of the few great women who made it through the pens and into books of male historians. In the Art class, I learned of the notorious Artists who saw in a woman nothing but a magnificent sculpture and a piece of Art. And in many other classes, many young women including myself were daily reminded of the weak creature we once were and will always be under the domination of the almighty Man.

Now, growing up with that ideology, many young women come to aggressively fight against all these cultural and religious believes to gain their power and absolute independence. And that is what I personally did. I became a working woman at a very young age. I supported myself to the best I could. I allowed no one to help me, but few family members. Also, I had to live with the family, because it is a cultural must. Yet I was able to declare my independence from the domination of the “man.” Thus, I was powerful in my own world. I built a strong shield, a weakness-free zone that I imprisoned myself in. I armed myself with my job, education, and rights and fought against every feminine behavior that presented any signs of a weak and a needy female. And still today, our text books, the media, and society keep on boosting or fueling this understanding. They remind us how Women must abandon their femininity and fight endlessly to earn respect and survive in the man’s world.

As a consequence of this war, women became too independent, that a man’s presence on earth is almost useless. We can cook, we can clean, we can drive, we can cut the grass, we can earn a living, we can take the trash out, we can travel, and we can surely just buy a gun for protection or get an alarm system set up in the house, or even hire a body guard “who might be a man, but paid of course.” A need for “Adam” is just a need for a person to interfere and control one’s life.

Lately, and after years of fighting, I have come to learn that our perception of independence and the theories of power of men vs. weakness of women are false. Sadly, our teachers have betrayed us. So did our families who themselves misunderstood the religion and blindingly imposed on us cultural believes that striped away our rights, chocked our dreams, and left us wandering on the scriptures of modern western writers who so inaccurately claim to know all the rights of women and the way to claim these lost rights.

Categories: Africa Related, Education, Life Style, Religion, Women | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments

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