Today marks 85 days until the scheduled southern Sudan referendum for independence, the significance of which cannot be overstated. Just ask George Clooney, new special adviser on Sudan to presidents and policymakers alike.

The two-time Sexiest Man Alive notwithstanding, the next 85 days will be crucial. And while no one can predict what they will look like—yes, that also means you, Kristof—we are all certain of this: the people of southern Sudan are ready.

Junub Sudan, time to vote.

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