Dec 15 Opinion

Opinion: December 15th deserves to be commemorated countywide

By Yien W. Mayuak

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Dec 14th, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — December 15th is the darkest day in the history of South Sudan and is the day that should be commemorated by all South Sudanese without any exception. Those who opted to laugh on the same day at those who lost their relatives on that day should think again. There are people throughout the commemorations conducted in the past six years who were only laughing on the same day thinking that nothing concerns them because they were only Nuer who were massacred on that day while other were weeping and unfortunately, even some Nuer who might or not have a family members murdered on that day join the crowd which ignored and turned the day down.

Author, Yien W. Mayuak in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia(Photo credit: supplied)
Author, Yien W. Mayuak in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia(Photo credit: supplied)

The incident which happened on that day should be commemorated nationwide because the tragedy of the incident was not confined to that day but it prolonged until now and almost everyone is the victim of the December 15th incident either directly or indirectly regardless of the tribe they belong to. If you are a Bari, Dinka, Shilluk, Nuer or from any other ethnic groups and your brother, father or uncle who was a soldier was sent by the government to fight the Nuer in any of the battles which happened after December 15th incident and killed, you should commemorate the day although you have no any family member among the innocent souls murdered on the 15th of December in Juba. Every South Sudanese lost relatives on either side of the war and that is why December 15th commemoration should be inclusive. If anyone from your family member was dead from the curable disease due to inaccessibility to good healthcare, you should commemorate the day because if it was not because of that incident, South Sudan would take a good step toward better healthcare.

If any of your family members traveled abroad after the country was engulfed by war and was tortured and killed in the foreign country where foreigners are not protected, you should commemorate December 15th because if it was not that incident, there would be no insecurity which escalated the fear for one’s life paving the way for abandoning the country.  Those who think that commemoration of this day is a noise making and a tribal action should think again, the result of that incident affected everyone in the country. The number of all those who were killed in battles which took place after December 15th incident exceeded the number of the innocent souls who were murdered on 15th and 16th of December 2013 in Juba but what makes the 2013 Juba massacre worst is that those who were murdered on those days were innocent kids, women, old people and unarmed men.

The level of ignorance on national issues among South Sudanese is high and the rationale for that ignorance is the tribal exclusiveness and fear of being killed. Tribal segregation among South Sudanese has triggered a prominent rift where one can even laugh when seeing someone from the rival tribe dead which is indeed the tragedy, the tragedy of a country deteriorated by tribal hatred. The fear of being killed as well is escalating the ignorance on national issues like the commemoration of December 15th because no one is expected to open the concealed pages where the truth is for if you violate so, you will be killed. Such a situation created silence on issues likes December 15th commemoration and hence, everyone is pretending like there were no inhumane treatments conducted on the same day while deep down they are predominantly hurt.

The people have had enough information about all the inhumane treatments conducted on the Nuer in Juba on December 15th and 16th even those who were not there because the survivors of the incident dispersed a lot of bad stories. Everyone heard that on those days, one was forced to eat their dead one and a man would be forced to sleep with his relatives, it is very tragic. Some people pessimistically out of fear think that disguising the truth can help. Such people particularly those who ignore the commemoration of December 15th think that such a commemoration can escalate wrath and revenge while in reality it can induce reconciliation because if the South Sudanese commemorate the loss which took place on that day and afterward, they will realize that continuity of war will only bring the same situation,

There are people who consider the remembrance of all the atrocities committed in the country as jokes.  Peace can never be obtained when the victim is expected to apologize by the perpetrator of the crime which is what is currently happening in South Sudan. The victims are expected to apologize which is very subtle. Peace would have come if those who first triggered the bullet had realized their mistake and wept in the presence of those who lost their loved ones because doing so would have shown sympathy from both sides of the war. Reconciliation cannot come when some people are laughing while others are crying because that can only escalate the potential for revenge.

As it is now the 7th commemoration anniversary and I can see a good number of people who are not only Nuer remember the day, I am very confident that December 15th will one day be declared as the national commemoration day where Wani, Dhieu, Omod and Gatluak and almost everyone in the country will weep on the same day remembering all the innocents souls lost in the incident of December 15th and afterward.

Alive today to recall yesterday, we will not forget December 15th, the day when ethnic cleansing took place in Juba. We may forgive but we will never forget that innocent Nuer were burnt alive in Juba simply because they were Nuer by the men who were loyal to president Salva Kiir. I will not join the crowd which out of fear disguises the reality that atrocities were indeed committed in Juba where people were forced to eat their dead ones and brother forced to sleep with his sister. I am sure that those who are ignoring this fact out of fear will one day join us when what they fear for is gone.

The author is a Pan Africanist and African cultures activist who can be reached via his email at yientharngoany@gmail.com or gatwiel2017@yahoo.com.

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