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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid