Pro-Secession Feelings Stronger than Ever in South Sudan

MELUT, Sudan–If you’ve been reading news from Southern Sudan, you
may have read a statement along the lines of “analysts widely predict
that the south will vote for separation.”

From the perspective of journalists like me who are writing these
articles, this line is a bit of of a cop out, but the sentiment in
Southern Sudan is so overwhelming pro-secession that it seems wrong
not to mention it. At the same time, it is not possible to
cite statistics or an opinion poll with irrefutable evidence as to how
southerners intend to vote in their self-determination vote in
January, so cautionusly using the vague category of “analysts” to
describe the prevailing view here is the safest best.

On a recent day in Melut, a town near the north-south border in Upper
Nile state, interviews with people in the market and with local
government officials yielded these quotes which, while highly
anecdotal, do hint at the extremely strong feelings many southerners
hold about the referendum and its aftermath:

“My people are not using the word unity. They’re using the word
secession. That’s what they are talking about.”

“Today in Melut, people are saying, you government, don’t mislead
us–take us across the river. We are now in the river and we want to
cross the river. We don’t want to fall in.”

“My people are ready for separation…they cannot delay because they
are suffering. They are sick. When they go to the clinic, the
referendum is their medicine.”

“We are just waiting for the 9th of January 2011 and we will vote
against unity. We want separation. All will be better.”

“I’m very impatient for the 9th of January. I wish it would come sooner.”