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World view: A foreigner in South Sudan

You don’t immediately feel the fighting..although the open-air bar at the hotel is abuzz with commentary.

south sudan
Photo by: LINDA EPSTEIN
You don’t immediately feel the fighting sitting in Juba, although the open-air bar at the hotel is abuzz with commentary. One woman, who is responsible for logistics for a company that provides large trucks and bulldozers for road building and food distribution, complains of how one truck was “commandeered” by rebels in the north and another was straight-out robbed. The hotel owner runs by, yelling that the UN compound in Bor was attacked and UN troops shot and killed a local.

A Lutheran priest who has been in South Sudan for a number of years tells me I have chosen the best place in the bar to sit, since the table is next to a wall I can hide behind should the shooting start in Juba, as it did just weeks before on a bridge easily visible from the hotel’s bar. And a journalist who has just returned from Bor tells me that the fighting has become the “norm,” and that ethnic rivalries are now obvious in every interaction.



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