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A genuine peace and a true reconciliation is what we need in our country, not any other way around.

A Response to Honorable Bor Gatwech,

By Hon. Reath Muoch Tang,

SPLM/SPLA(IO) delegation to Washington, Madam Angelina Teny, Hon. Reath Muoch Tang and Dr. Isaac Gang at the U.S. Peace Institute, in Washington D.C, attending a briefing by US Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth Jan 18, 2017(Photo credits: SPLM/SPLA-IO)
SPLM/SPLA(IO) delegation to Washington, Madam Angelina Teny, Hon. Reath Muoch Tang and Dr. Isaac Gang at the U.S. Peace Institute, in Washington D.C, attending a briefing by US Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth Jan 18, 2017(Photo credits: SPLM/SPLA-IO)

December 17, 2019(Nyamilepedia) — Hon. Bor, one thing you should remember is not only that you and I were in Juba together but more importantly we were hiding in the same Hotel room, fearing for our lives on December 15, 2013; however, when you saw a glimpse of an opportunity to escape, more specifically when you were picked up by the good Samaritan in form of the Australian government that was rescuing her citizens, you may recall how precious life felt to an extent that you merely vanished in a thin air without waving goodbye to your brother. That how bad our situation was. Thanks God we re both alive to retell the story although some of us have today chosen to gamble on the truth and fictions!

Honourable, when you were rescued by the Australian government, you left me in the same Hotel room, hiding helplessly, and therefore I don’t think your message represents all of “us”. Your carefully curved political statement is biased and fallacious. As a way forward, you and I would first have to sit down and reconcile our message before you can talk about “us” being the victims while isolating the diaspora, which I believe you were part of.

I am afraid that we will never achieve peace in our country if we, the so-called leaders, are more calculative only on whether we are going to be left out or included in any upcoming government than thinking about the people first and what the people will get out of that government. That is what destroyed our country and it is a real danger even to its future.

Hon. Bor, your message does not come from the real need of reconciliation. To say the least, your statement is politically motivated, hollow and fallacious. South Sudan does not need political reconciliation but a people-to-people reconciliation that stems from the grassroot. Such a process needs a bottom-up approach and not vice-versa.

Furthermore, it is important to admit that the entire Nuer community was victimized without exception, whether in the diaspora or in the country. Say, for example if you were to be killed in Juba (and God forbids), your brothers and sisters in Australia, America, Europe and so forth would have been affected. Wouldn’t they be victims too? In other words, if those Nuer in diaspora were to be in Juba they would also be killed like any other Nuer and that was the reason you and I unanimously found ourselves hiding in the same room until the minute you left me in that Hotel room. Claiming that the Nuer in Diaspora are not victims reveals how best you have mastered the regime’s divide and conquer policy, which I’m yet to learn, and who knows how many bridges you are destroying while trying to impress the monster that you once hid from at a time when you would have saved over 20, 000 lives of the very people you claim to represent today!

Nevertheless, nobody denies that the Dinka, Zande, Fertit, Acholi, Shilluk, Murle and other tribes were killed; however, we must categorically put records straight. As a lawmarker you should be aware that even a murder case can be categorized into First Degree, Second Degree and a Manslaughter. When someone kills someone in a self-defense or in a justifiable homicide, the charges are not always the same as when someone intent to kill another person out of hate or grudges. Many of the Dinka that were killed in places like Akobo, Bentiu and Malakal were killed in retaliation and we are not saying it is not wrong but the degree and intensity cannot be compared with the door-to-door genocide that occurred over the Nuer in Juba. The Nuer were killed by a well trained and well equipped Mathiang Anyor in their houses in what the AU and the UN have concluded was a “National Policy”. This is a tribe that was massacred using the army’s weapons of mass destruction, something that can never be compared to a pocket of retaliations by a lightly armed groups of individuals. This is exactly like what happened to Gajaak Nuer in the 80s when the SPLA, under John Garang attack Nuer villages killings women, children and elderly people and their livestock but we were not a country then, therefore we consider that as a mistake of the liberation and we did not hold it against any tribal group in South Sudan not even on the tribe that John Garang came from; nor did we ask for justice and accountability for that.

It is extremely frustrating that young leaders like yourself have succumbed to legitimizing the policy of a few Dinka elders who have identified themselves as the Jieng Council of Elders. It is a shame in itself because a good number of Dinka intellectuals are not working as hard as you do because the reality tells them that these tribal policies will never succeed no matter how much they try.

Honourable, please take it from me, no South Sudanese shall be marginalized in a country that we all fought for and no single group or tribe shall ever be crowned as the “first class citizens” of this country and therefore there is no point for any of you to reduce himself or herself into a second class citizen because there will never be a first class citizen in this country except for all of us. We are upright people and therefore we shall always stand tall in this country. Peace and reconciliation shall never be at the expense of your God given fundamental human rights!

Claiming that the Nuer are traumatized undermined the facts on the ground. The truth is that South Sudan economy has collapsed, Salva Kiir is traumatized, Riek Machar is traumatized, Paul Malong Awan is traumatized, Lam Akol is traumatized, you and I are traumatized, South Sudan is traumatized and therefore we are all traumatized. The death toll might have hit the Nuer the hardest but who are you to claim to be pure and not traumatized when the country is collapsing?

All in all, while we disagree to agree, I strongly agree that the Dec 15 should be publicly declared as the day of National Healing and Reconciliation; I love the idea of peace, reconciliation and national healing. At the end we must also forgive ourselves in order to move forward but remember this, forgiveness is not an act of absolution without repentance and neither does it wipe out the truth. We can not keep killing our people but at the same time we can not just wake up from killing one another and say “let’s move forward” without addressing the root causes of the killing that just occured. That by itself cannot move us even an inch forward.

Finally, should anyone feels guilty or feel shame whenever the Nuer and other South Sudanese gather to commemorate December 15, such a person should find a big tree and mourn in peace; otherwise we encourage all of you to commemorate on this dark day, December 15, whether with us or wherever you happen to be, including J1. A man should not seek love and acceptance out of denial of the truth but by standing for the truth

Hon. Reath Muoch Tang was a member of parliament before the conflict broke out in December, 2013. Since then he joined the SPLM/A in Opposition and served the SPLM-IO mission to the United State. He can be reached for more information through his email at reathtang@gmail

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