June 9, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– A South Sudanese-born NBA Star, Luol Deng, who plays for Miami Heat in the National Football Association(NBA), has came forward to justify his initiative as he plans to convene South Sudanese Diaspora this year in Omaha, Nebraska, USA.
Luol is facing tough cricisms in Diaspora but one notable obtstacle to his new initiative is his own father, Aldo Deng, a retired politician who served in former Sudanese regimes and now runs a war-ridden project in South Sudan.
Yesterday, Luol came forward through a friendly letter inviting the South Sudanese-Diaspora to South Sudan Unite’s 2nd annual event to be held in Omaha on June 24th to June 26, 2016.
While many war affected South Sudanese went viral on Facebook, protesting the event and saying that they won’t contribute money this time to Luol’s project like they did last year in Washington DC, Luol responded and said he won’t collect even a penny from them.
“This is not a fundraiser. I will not be collecting a penny for my foundation” Luol said.
The South Sudan [Sudanese] British, who played for Chicago Bull and Cleveland Cavaliers, assured that the event is for peace, culture and unity of the people.
“As an event it is an annual gathering of our people in the spirit of peace and unity, in which we celebrate each other.”
Luol explains that his initiative is a “youth movement to mobilize South Sudanese in diaspora in solidarity” but regrets that his idea is not political or tribal, and it should not be confused with his father’s initiative, the Jieng Council of Elders, a tribal political organizations that has polarised the country along tribal lines.
To Luol, the South Sudanese must come together in spirit of humanity and not politics.
“Coming together in Omaha has nothing to do with politics and I am not interested in politics nor political opinions”. Luol wrote.
While his criticts believe that Luol is guilty by association for allowing his father to divide the country that he is attempting to unite, Luol never spoke out against the negative consequences that his father and other tribal extremists are imposing on social fabrics of his birth nation.
In response, Luol regrets that he cannot change his tribe or his tribal identity but argues that he values the nation and South Sudanese unity.
“I am who I am. I cannot change who I am or where I came from, and I would not if I could. I am proud of my Dinka heritage as you should find pride in your background”. Luol said.
While Luol has advantage of his NBA fame in USA and he managed to raise funds and met influential Americans including president Obama, he has little fame back home where unity is needed the most.
Because of the conflict nearly one hundred thousand people have been killed and 2.2 millions others displaced within the last two years.
In 2015 alone, according to UN reports, more than 50, 000 people fled Luol’s hometown to Sudan’s Darfur and Kordofan.
From the funds he raised in USA in 2015, Luol returned home to build Manut Bol’s basketball court in memory of late Manut Bol, a NBA star and a political activist, who crecruited Luol .
To his critics, Luol neither feels the pain of the conflict nor prioritize the victims, and therefore he is not a symbol of unity.
“If he cares about the unity of the people, why would he fundraise to build basketball courts when people are dying of hunger and lacking many basic needs including water, sanitation and shelters…. If all the people die, what will be the use of his basketball courts. He never say aword about the political conflict because he knows his father and other jieng elders are creating the conflict which Luol is a beneficiary of such tribal organization.” Said Alfred Bol Mabil, a South Sudanese American in Omaha.
“I repeat and again I ask the Nuer community , Equatoria community in Nebraska, Omaha to not attend the upcoming event of Luol deng….. NBA player Deng is nothing but a currency eater, he will raise money using Nuer and send it to Jieng elder Council to destroy you…. watch out for people who say they are for peace but was never to be found during times of war” Said Muslim L. Gore, another South Sudanese American.
Despite sharp criticism from the South Sudanese communities, Americans friends are positive that Luol Deng could contribute to South Sudan politics. Last year, the American Embassy in South Sudan wrote the following statement:
“Luol Deng of the Miami Heat fled South Sudan as a child with his family and has been working tirelessly to end the conflict there ever since. Luol has directly engaged opposition and government leaders to lobby for a sustainable peace in the country. He’s leading South Sudanese youth and the diaspora in advocating for unity with his South Sudan Unite initiative. That’s why today, he met with President Obama in the Oval Office to discuss the situation in South Sudan. After the meeting, Luol said the President thanked him for his efforts and asked for his advice on how the United States can best support the peace agreement signed this week.”