News / Africa

South Sudan Diaspora Raise New Flag

South Sudanese nationals of all ages came to Washington to celebrate their new country.
South Sudanese nationals of all ages came to Washington to celebrate their new country.
Nico Colombant

South Sudan’s diaspora communities from around the world have come together to celebrate their new home country.

Inside a room of the already functioning embassy of South Sudan in Washington, invited dignitaries and South Sudan immigrants watched with bright smiles a live stream from events taking place in Juba.

Outside there was an even more joyous mood, as women danced and sang liberation songs.

Christopher George, a southern Sudanese who has been living in the United States for 11 years, drove 10 hours from the southeastern U.S. state of Georgia.

He said the drive was much easier than the long and often violent struggle for separation and independence. “It is not a long distance. If we can bear for 22 years, a distance of 10 hours is nothing for us.  This is the first embassy for us. I experience it as historical moment for me as a person," he said.

Elizabeth Kuch, a real estate investor living in Pennsylvania, fled her home in Jonglei state in what is now South Sudan by foot 10 years ago, drifting as a refugee for years.  She said she finally felt like a first-class citizen. “Even though I am not in South Sudan today, I am here in America, but I still feel the sense of belonging.  This is what we have been missing all of these years. And finally, finally, I am still having a fever because of freedom, but most importantly, I can feel the sense of belonging which is the most important thing I have been missing in my life," she said.

South Sudan's flag was raised in Washington to signal the country's arrival in the international community.
South Sudan's flag was raised in Washington to signal the country's arrival in the international community.

More singing and tears followed as soldiers raised South Sudan’s flag on a sidewalk outside the building where the embassy is located, with dozens of people looking on.

The consular affairs officer, Agnes Oswaha, said she was very proud of her country’s first day and her fellow countrymen, women and children, including in the diaspora.

“Today as you have seen at the embassy of the Republic of South Sudan, we have various generations, as well as babies of 7 days, as well as old people who are highly regarded in our community so basically this is a day for all of us, for us who are living today, we are laying foundations for generations to come, as well as fulfilling the aspirations of our ancestors," she said.

Participants said the diaspora’s role would be very important in building their country, which has little infrastructure but large oil reserves.  They said the many challenges included ending internal sectarian violence, preventing corruption and the difficult co-existence with Sudan to the north, with many issues still unresolved.

During the Washington celebration, a gust of wind nearly toppled the pole holding the new raised flag, but soldiers and other new South Sudanese nationals rushed to steady it.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid