A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

On the Eve: South Sudan Acquires the Trappings of Statehood

Coming out of the Fourth of July weekend, we're entering the week when the world is due to see a new country take its place in our part of the world: the Republic of South Sudan (جنوب السودان‎). July 9, Saturday, is independence day. The Arab world will shrink a bit, though Arabic as well as English will be official languages.

The soon-to-be country already has a flag (above left), a President, Salva Kiir, famous for his black stetson (previous post here and pic at right), a name, the simple South Sudan, not the oft-discussed Nile republic, or Cush, or Azania, or what not,  a national anthem (text at link; MP3 here so you can hear it, an official seal (left), a capital (Juba), and pledges of recognition from the UN and a good many of the world's countries.

And now, they're putting on the finishing touches. (This is not to underestimate the potential for continuing conflict over Abyei Province or anything else, of course.)

As the link notes, they've asked for their own international calling code, which will be issued after UN recognition, and their own top-level domain (TLD: the Internet country extension). They've asked for .ss, which has led to comment since it reminds people of the Nazi SS, but it is of course intended for South Sudan. The Reuters story at the link shows they do, indeed, know this already. (Sudan's is .sd.)  Not all TLDs are obvious: .ch for Switzerland, .ie for Ireland and .ae for the UAE all make a certain amount of sense (in Switzerland's case if you know the country's name in Latin), but aren't intuitive. Obviously, .ss would be easy to remember, and .ss would be far from the only potentially embarrassing abbreviation. I have some good friends in Bermuda and am always mildly amused that the email addresses end in the slightly unfortunate .bm, though perhaps they can lord it over the Bahamians, whose TLD is .bs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


The "country code top level domains" are precisely the ISO 3166 alpha-2 codes; the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency (which was DIN last I checked) assigns them. (There is one exception: .uk should be .gb.)