Denver’s Sudanese Community Celebrates US referendum results
For what was half religious service and half political rally, members of Denver's Sudanese community gathered on Sunday to celebrate and give thanks for the US results of referendum voting. Of the 8791 Sudanese who registered to vote in the US, 8504 made it to one of eight polling centers to vote. 8412 voted for succession while 75 voted for unity. 7 votes were invalid and another 10 were unmarked.
The 98.9% vote in favor of succession mirrors referendum results in Australia, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and the UK, where Sudanese also voted. No country returned less than 96%in favor of separation. Back in Sudan votes are still being tabulated, though the results so far point toward a decisive victory for the succession camp. Of the 3,779,110 valid ballots that have been counted, 98.81% have been for separation.
At the Sudanese Community Church on Sunday the tone was one of jubilation. The promise of a new country gives new hope to Sudanese refugees who hope to return and rebuild their homeland. The liturgy made it clear that these congregants identified with the exiled Israelites. A reading from Isaiah:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy..
Gatwec Gatkek Dengpathot who worked at the polling center in Omaha, Nebraska, served as host for the celebration service on Sunday. He exhorted his fellow Sudanese to work for their country. "They need your education, your expertise," he said. In response to those that only want to do work for which they will be paid Gatwec invoked John F. Kennedy's famous line, saying "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
The Rev. Dr. Oja Gafour led the liturgy and reminded those gathered to not look down upon those who voted for unity. "Right now in Sudan they are being ostracized," he said. He emphasized that this new country must be a place where people can disagree in a civil manner.
If you want to learn more about what this historic vote will mean for Sudan, and what challenges lie ahead there will be a public forum on Sudan this Sunday, January 30th. A rally is being organized for the second week of February after the final referendum results are announced.
- Sudanese leader in Denver returns to Sudan to work on referendum negotiations
- Sudanese Leaders from the Diaspora Gather in Denver for Training
- Public Forum on Sudan – Sunday January 30th
- Sudanese Lost Girl Micklina Peter Kenyi Speaks to the Rocky Mountain News
- Sudan expert Roger Winter raises issues of the future of Sudan and the current Comprehensive Peace Treaty
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