Embracing Diversity in South Sudan
By Nyakueth B. Pal,
November 1, 2019(Nyamilepedia) — It’s important to create awareness of other tribes’ existence for peace to Reign. People sing the song of being the second class citizens in their own country. Yea I know it damn terrible topping the list of ” the undeserving citizen” those two aren’t a good combo. But nothing is as insulting as someone speaking to you in a Language he assumed you know. It even more annoying when they rubbed their superiority right on your face and talk you down.
Two or more days back if I remember correctly, I was baffled for the hundred times if not the thousand times being forced by a fellow country mate that I should have come from their tribe if at all am not pretending not to be one. The guy stopped me from passing and started speaking in a language I couldn’t comprehend. It could have been nice if it was Arabic, that’s a national language!
He called several times and what I could hear was ”nyan ng’a or nyan ga ” I don’t know. And when he realized I could respond he held me by the hand and change to English. ”Why are you pretending that you can’t speak thok Monyjang?” I told him Am a Nuer and it would be my pleasure to learn that language too.
” don’t lie there is no Nuer that looks like you” he said.
At first, I was cool but suddenly my Nuerism or the ego was boiling inside me. I think ego is not the right word but ”Nuer Nationalism” could be right for it. I heard stories and watch videos of blacks being dehumanized by the whites but I never thought it would be black to black!. My blood heats up and I swallowed hard, just to make me breathe.
” my brother, how do Nuer look like?” I asked and the reply was as ugly as his first approach. I could take more but retorted with ” I don’t blame you, it very hard to put sense into a fool”. that was harsh but I think he deserved it.
We have come across such people and maybe a similar incident elsewhere in our everyday encounters. It’s not new but my intake for it is that we are lacking something as people and as a Nation. It’s not unity that we need, I think it’s something bigger than that. we need enlightenment if I can put it this way.
A mass of the country population is unaware of other tribe’s existence, values, culture, and their social norms. We can’t be called ourselves one when we can’t embrace our diversity. But again what you don’t know can’t kill you though it will certainly prevent you from crossing to the land of honey.
Integrating the forces won’t bring Peace if the same people called civilians meet on the streets and treat each other with contempt. I am a NUER and nothing will change that. The same thing applies to any other south Sudanese from the 63 tribes of South Sudan.
We can’t uproot ourselves in order to fit in, No! There is no compromise in Identity because whether we like it or not, our names suggest the ethnic group we are from even before we speak it out. So if you can’t accept me with my Nuersim, Equatorianism or Shilukism , then you are not doing me or south Sudan any favor.
We need to tap into the opportunities and potential benefits inherent in diversity such as rich culture, creation of a new market, broadened customer base, the higher level of productivity and collective participation. This what we called many in body but one in spirit. If my neighbor respect and value my way of life and I do the same, I don’t see any reason that can make us fight! In conclusion, leaders should not only try to focus on the integration of forces, number of states or the blah blah blah. The bigger part here is to develop that acceptance for one another and embrace our differences.
Let’s encourage social activities that bring people together such as intercultural dance and drama or any other activity that will open a platform to portrait the uniqueness of different ethnicity.
Nyakueth B Pal is a social and environmental activist. she can be reached via email at email@example.com. Follow her at palsmartha.blogspot.com for more.
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