Contributor's Opinion

Opinion: Tribalism is political oil of marginalized masses!

By Deng Mangok Ayuel

Nuer-Dinka sign in the UN camp in SouthSudan, which The Washington Post debates here, is also explained here by the UN: The United Nations has defended the decision to erect the sign as necessary for security and at the request of those seeking help
Nuer-Dinka sign in the UN camp in South Sudan, which The Washington Post debates here, is also explained here by the UN:
The United Nations has defended the decision to erect the sign as necessary for security and at the request of those seeking help (Photo credit: unknown)

June 16, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – Tribalism, understood as “groupness” or “group affiliation,” is rooted in human psychology. Everyone, everywhere, has tribal instincts and belongs to any tribe. However, these instincts don’t operate in the same way. When people talk of tribalism, they often think in binary terms—two groups, two tribes with different social and cultural norms. Tribalism is bad when men and women from a particular tribe are socially, culturally, politically and/or manly evils in their doings against other tribes and the nation.

The trouble with tribalism is when people use the word “tribalism” for bad intention, individualistic political advantage, social divisions and hatred. The hidden and bad parts of tribalism is when you and I do not define it well. Besides, tribalism kills when people are uncivilized and impatience. Let me not think tribally. In South Sudanese perspective, tribalism is like church with a devil in the Bible. People sing and jump to kick invisible demons.  So, let’s fight tribalism, I totally agree.

We are our brothers and sisters’ keepers. Tribalism is a disease. Let’s join hands in the fight against tribalism and the so-called regionalism in South Sudan. The fight against tribal, regional hatred must start now. This does not mean we should not criticize or condemn acts that militate against tribal and regional entities. It means we must eschew the tendency of judging an entire ethnic group based on one person’s attitudes, thoughts and toils. Let the bad onions, the rotten ones be called their names in our society.

Human survival relies on groups, but what if those networks are toxic? The enervating disease of disposition is alive and spreading among our brothers and sisters. Tribal hate mongers increasingly cast aspersions against Dinka, Bari, Luo, Nuers and others. However, empathy can broaden our sense of connections and weaken bad tribalism. Are we together?

At a tribal level, people are emotional and less logical – fans of both teams pray for their team to win, hoping God will take sides in a game. On the other hand, we revert to tribalism when afraid of anything. This is an evolutionary advantage that would lead to the group cohesion and help fight other tribes for social, pecuniary and political survivals. Tribalism is political oil of marginalized masses.

Tribalism has adaptive chattels in human evolution. Tribalism and social bonding help to keep individuals committed to the group, even when personal relations are awful. That keeps individuals from wandering off or joining other groups. It also leads to oppression when a tribal member is unwilling to conform to the politics. This is when tribalism goes bad.

Tribalism is the biological loophole that many politicians have banked on for a long time – tapping into fears and tribal instincts. Some examples are “Dinka and land grabbing allegation” in JUBA, “Bari the owners of JUBA” and “Madi for Nimule”. The typical pattern is to give the other humans diverse label than others, and say they are going to harm others or loot the resources, and/or turn the other group into socio-political products. This can be a real or imaginary difference.

When building tribal boundaries between “us” and “them,” some politicians have managed very well to create cybernetic groups of people that do not communicate and hate without even knowing each other. This is the human animal in action.

#Please tag the writers, editors, journalists, politicians and scholars whose hate messages carry the putrid smell of the cesspool of bad tribal South Sudan. I love my people.

Deng Mangok Ayuel is humanitarian worker, Columnist and blogger. He lives in JUBA, South Sudan and can be reached via: mangokson@gmail.com

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