So, only 99.6% of those partaking in the South Sudanese referendum voted for independence. Should we doubt the results given the high yes vote? Of course not. This outcome is really an equilibrium--those who were likely to vote no saw the outcome as inevitable and didn't vote. More importantly, there was real enthusiasm for independence from a country that had only given them war, exploitative development and broken promises. to get this level of support requires a seriously difficult history. Scholars have a hard time counting the Sudanese civil wars--where does one stop and another start? And the links I reported in previous posts show how different the two parts of Sudan are, and these differences are the product not just of geography, but of policies and politics.
What can potential separatists learn from this? That getting this level of support requires a great deal of patience and a brutal opponent. The Southern Sudanese did not get this result over night but through decades of struggle. They earned their independence and deserved it due to the oppression and reneging from the government of Sudan.
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