Perhaps I'm being overly sensitive and demonstrating a heavy bias, but I feel a bit like the mainstream media's coverage of South Sudan's first birthday was a pretty unrelenting torrent of negativity. As ever, John Ashworth puts it well;
I have deliberately refrained from circulating articles about the first anniversary of South Sudan's independence because, quite frankly, I think most of them are rubbish. They buy in to and reinforce the international community's current negativity about South Sudan, a negativity which stems from a lack of understanding of the hopes and aspirations of the people and the actions of their government in the face of intransigence and aggression (military, political and economic) from their northern neighbour.
I would be the first to call for more criticism and scrutiny of the Government of South Sudan, but can't we have just a little balance on their first birthday celebrations? And where has all the criticism been for the past 7 years since the peace agreement?
- Non-oil revenue has increased 250 percent since July 2011 (Aggrey Tisa Sabuni, economic advisor to the President of the Republic of South Sudan).
- Child and infant mortality are down 20% since the peace agreement (Erin Polich).
- Frankly, many people are happy to have survived a year without Khartoum invading (Gill Lusk, Africa Confidential)
There has also been almost no reflection on the state of the North, on what specifically the Juba government should be doing better, or on what the international community should be doing better (for instance, have the American or any European governments responded to Salva Kiir's letter requesting assistance in retrieving the stolen funds which are held in American and European banks?).