Late last week Leaders of the Southern Sudanese community joined Portland Mayor Michael Brennan on the steps of city hall to commerate the country’s Independence Day – July 9th, 2011. An Independence Day that came after decades of internal war and aggression by Northern Sudan toward the South.
Mariano Mawein, president of the Sudanese community, accepted the proclomation from the Mayor proclaiming July 9th S. Sundan Independence Day. Next week the certificate will be delivered to the South Sudan ambassador to the United Nations in New York City who will then hand it off to the President of South Sudan. Mawein said that: “We are excited to have our own dignity. We were treated like second class citizens in our own country.” The President of Southern Sudan is Silva Kiir, a former fighter in the movement in the North. “The Comprehensive Peace Agreement is not finished yet because northerners are strying to manipulate the agreement. Portland is now our home and Mayor Brennan is always with us.” Mayor Brennan responded: “The role of the US is to support the Independence movement and help make it a more democratic country. The US is using every diplomatic resource we have. We try to be open and supportive of people who have been through traumatic experiences.”
Rodents Biacho was a bookkeeper for the Minister of Finance in Juba, Sudan. He has returned to college to study business here after being laid off by Barber Foods. “It’s frustrating to develope this knowledge and not be able to use it here. But, going to school sets a good example for my three children. It’s about trying to forgive. It’s about going forward. It’s better to pay back with kindness than with revenge. Revenge is a weakness.”