By Carol McCracken (Post # 825)
“It’s a democracy now,” said Rodents Biacho at the Meg Perry Center earlier this week. “I’m excited about that,” he said grinning big time. Biacho who lives in Portland and is a “line-worker” for Barber Foods was referring to the planned celebration this Saturday, July 9th. That date marks the date that South Sudan will officially become a new nation – independent from North Sudan.
On January 9, 2011, the people of South Sudan voted to separate themselves from the government of Sudan. This overwhelming vote followed 22 years of civil war in Sudan. In accordance with the Peace Agreement made between the government of Sudan and the people of South Sudan in 2005, the people of South Sudan were offered an opportunity for separation from the government in the North in a vote in January. This referendum resulted in 98% of the vote favoring independence.
Biacho is a large man who speaks English well. He came to the US from Southern Sudan seven years ago. His parents are deceased but he has a brother with whom he speaks or emails often. Biacho said that conditions are improving slowly there his brother tells him. It’s much safer and there are more jobs – construction jobs. The country suffers from a lack of housing and the construction jobs are building housing. Biacho said he’d like to return to his country in about three years because that’s when he thinks the country will be stable enough to return and work. In the meantime, Biacho is from the capitol, Juba which has population of four million people. The new president, Salva Kiir, works in the capitol. Kiir is a member of the Dinka tribe which is the largest in all of Sudan – therefore, he has a great deal of support from all over the country – including the north.
Saturday’s celebration will begin with a Raising of the Flags in Monument Square on Congress Street. The US Flag will be raised along with the new flag of South Sudan. That starts at 9 am. This event will be followed at 10:00 am by a march on Congress Street to The Portland Expo on Park Avenue, where the celebration will continue for the new country and its independence. The Celebration will feature Sudanese music, food, dancing and speeches by local activists, elected officials and Sudanese community leaders.
For additional information about this event, please contact Mariano at 207-239-6772 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org