The Game Changer in This Senseless War!

By Santino Aniek ,


A case of devastation, violence and violations of human rights in the Greater Upper Nile region(Photo: Wikipedia)
A case of devastation, violence and violations of human rights in the Greater Upper Nile region(Photo: Wikipedia)

August 24, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — As the crises of senseless war continue to grow, the current living condition of our people in South Sudan, especially in Greater Upper Nile Region are already extremely difficult, and it is increasingly worsening and becoming unbearable. In fact, the Soul of this war is horrific that has been destroying our people’s lives daily, and since the start of SPLM/SPLA until now, our nation has not yet found a peace among her people. More importantly, the catalyst for the South Sudan’s crisis is merely the consequence of politics of division among the so-called leaders of the nation. It is true that, despite the claims by the South Sudanese people that this crisis was caused by politics of division rather than tribalism. During independence, reaction from every citizen was instantaneously swift across the country, but our leaders forget the prices of the war and the conflicting wound our people had during the civil war. After a while, our citizens all of a sudden were gloomy about the future of the country they had been fighting for 21 years. Now the only game changer in this senseless war will be the Greater Upper Nile people all over the globe to put their differences aside and safe our own people’s lives by engaging both parties intensively to accept peace.

Nevertheless, when the civil war started, our people were already divided between the ethnicity lines and people were hoping after independence, things would change for the better. Meanwhile, deep inside their heart, our people were optimistic that after getting their own country, they would instantaneously reconcile their differences among themselves and be able to get rid of their deeper wound that was caused by the civil war and replaces it with love and unity for their nation. But suddenly things turn ugly, and politics began to emerge drastically and the shadow of a greater disappointment slowly and surely started to rests upon our people. Nonetheless, the country’s’ systemic lack of accountability and transparency helps explain why no one was paying attention to the looming crisis from the beginning. In addition, our leaders started to form groups and try to get rid of the current administration and replace it with one that they think will have a clear vision for the country and set the path to reposition and drive this country in its rightful direction. Furthermore, they envision that the new government would hopefully lead the country in areas of good governance, unity, reconciliation, stability, security of development and peace for all. Although, “the petty politics of exclusive, politics of revenge, politics of knowing all, politics by design and not by default etc.,” began to replace hope, peace and unity among our people. Equally, how mysterious nature is to make a possible cure of toxic situations, that is not manageable from absconded of the assailant and the reaction produced by the victim of this senseless war remain to be seen. The first 21 years of civil war was a prolongation of the searching for freeing our people from a ruthless regime in Khartoum headed by president Omer El Bashir. The new footpath should be the advancement of the country slowly and heavily, doggedly the calibration of differences among our people which the government fail miserably in the face of all nations wishing them to prosper.

In this situation, the predicament hardship of the crisis let to sizeable number of people to began to think under this extremely circumstances of this senseless war what is the comfortable side for them to join, but in fact this war has no good taste at all because it is about the death of our people. Moreover, with our people suffering substantially, part of the population are eminently at risk fearing for their lives and as the crisis began to escalate, a number of people started losing their lives significantly, more people left their homes and began to look for the sources of food. In fairness to the approach taken by the government, this miserable conflict cannot be attributed to the ethnic cliques, but in really sense, South Sudanese people were mindful about what was coming afterward and it seems no one was trying to understand the nexus of the divergence. Our people seem not to have precise avenues in addressing the crisis at the national level. Base on the results, the government had lost a substantial self-governing right and likewise had lost the truth of some people that they were hoping they(government) could outmaneuver those elements to support their position.

The deterioration of the situation outlook has been so severe in South Sudan that the international communities responses to the thread of this crisis sustainability outnumber those who are supporting the war and has brought a sense of urgency among the South Sudanese societies to a higher time to preach peace and unity. In fact, one of the burning issues that have intensified in the conflict impact our people has been the failure of both sides; government and rebel alike to take advantage of cease fire to consolidate a permanent peace once and for all. Those who are scapegoated this war and want to continue with the conflict, are nothing but proxies of this senseless war. It is worth mentioning that, I thought I would never forget the event of 1992 in Nasir when I was put in jail with comrade Kuol Deng Kuol whereas I was a teacher and in charged of logistic in Pananyang Minor Comp. However, due to my younger age, I was released without charges and I call myself a survivor of Nasir event. Subsequently, I came to realize that every day is a new day and a new live for me and I have learned to love, to forgive those who mistreat us. In my experience, we cannot fix violence with a violence while I also think we cannot even pursue conflict in a way of revenge, because the events that happened to us will not change anything of a kind, but learn from it and then change the course of the occurrence.

With the crisis looming, it is abundantly clear that numerous South Sudanese people are lacking ability to evaluate their political atmosphere in this country and they do not make right decisions to prevent destruction in our country. Supporting this senseless war that is doing so much to destroy our people’s lives while refusing to properly educated ourselves to the current events, refused to fact finding the root causes of the conflict that is displaying, is an incredible ignorance and beyond explanation or definition. I refuse to believe that the majority of our people are so deficient in reasonable awareness to just believe the words of those supporting this war feeding us through uncontrolled media. Perhaps I give few South Sudanese people credit for standing up tall and denouncing this war. Because they are a few people among us who deserved that credit and we will hopefully recognize them after the end of this conflict.  It is time we investigate inside our heart for the phony living diseases in us that has been annihilating our lives for so long. Few people think that Greater Upper Nile people have no love for the nation. If you cannot see it by now, then you are hopeless! I cannot believe we have entered such a gloomy days in this country when the evil politics of division is trying to take down our people who are trying to save this country from a complete ruin.  I believed, we are in the darkest times this country has ever seen and our people particularly in Greater Upper Nile should immediately need to wake up because those who are behind this conflict are trying to take down anyone who is against their very detailed plan.

Nevertheless, it is generally observed that others have been profiting off our people’s suffering, and I believe many of our people are subjugated mentally from this conflict. The majorities of them have been growing increasingly frustrated at the state of this senseless war. However, I get so fatigued of our people complaining about how this war is annihilating our God given lives, but do nothing. Especially People of the Greater Upper Nile need to educate themselves and stop masking the pain of the war on other people but accept their responsibility by trying to get to the bottom of this conflict that always seems to start in our Region. It is time to see our people in Greater Upper Nile Region asking themselves what they really want and what they really want the rest of the South Sudanese people to do for them. In addition, Greater Upper Nile people always complain about other Greater Upper Nile people that they are this or that mentality. In fact, we need to stop it and take responsibility. We need to take the ownership of our own problem because we are all born and will all die, and I refuse to blame everyone else for our struggle for the purposes of our own unity. Get off that politics of division dangling us mentally and get present where we are here in the divided South Sudan where we continue to give our services, talent, our lives, and everything else to everyone but ourselves for a free country.

As a matter of fact, our people’s lives will not be safe by those who are proudly standing with their hand in their pockets watching the direction of the tree is going to fall. Nonetheless, we have to take immediate courage responsibility to stop this madness that has been going on prior to the formation of the SPLM/SPLA and still going on as we speak. In fact, suffering has become a norm in Greater Upper Nile of the world, and politics of divisions has also become business as usual. This division has caused us significantly and as a result, we have been losing leaders throughout the year. It is extremely heart breaking and disturbing to lose these fine men only because of division among our leaders. Allow me to mention few names:  Akuot Atem, Samuel Gai Tut, Abdalla Chuol, The Greater William Nyuon Bany, George Athor Deng and Dr. John Garang of the world, I included Dr. John in these lists because of the pitiless of the division within the movement, otherwise Garang would not die. People will ask me why I included him with those who die because of divisions. Well, I’m not pointing figure at anyone nor accusing anyone of taking Dr. John’s live, but I will say this, Dr. John would not die if unity was in place. In fact, Dr. John did not die these entire 21 years of struggle, because the security of our founding father was not compromised. Therefore, based on this empirical evidence, these fine 7 men were all from Greater Upper Nile Region and their death were caused by the ruthless politics of division within. However, when we do not have unity and peace in the Region, we are condemned to repeat the same mistake and not remembering our role in South Sudan in condoning that has resulted in the Greater Upper Nile. It is the collaboration and the lack of opportunity to grow up in local villages that divided by ethnicity boundaries and not knowing that Greater Upper Nile people are nothing but one people. Our passive policies rule and division of the past from our colonial are coming home in the most heart breaking with more division among our people. What would Jesus have done? Or what would Nhalic of heaven and earth have done if he was watching? Wake up Greater Upper Nile people! The call for demilitarization of this war is genuineness, because we have been killing our own people since the beginning of the war between the South Sudan and the regime in Khartoum.

However, I suggest that people of Greater Upper Nile region, have to put our differences aside and engaging parties, government and rebel to cease hostility immediately and return to the negotiating table to negotiate in good faith. There is no reason they cannot put an end to this senseless war they cause to our people and had already killed one fourth of the population in Greater Upper Nile Region since the conflict started in the 80s. How can a country that has been waging a war with the regime in Khartoum decades ago and completed a peace, but suddenly now tell its people that it is not the time to put a guns away and said that peace is difficult to be reach? If we have a desire to demilitarize this war, South Sudan government must acknowledge that it has been waging war on itself for so many years since the 80s, and we must emphasize the power in Greater Upper Nile Region to deal rationally with our problems, and not face this challenges of our time with brute strength and not violence. Looking at the dimension of this conflict, the majority of our people deep inside their heart, want nothing more than to help to achieve “everlasting peace”, to serve and protect, yet the situation has been inverted, become horrifically ironic in that the urge to help and comfort, has become the urge to assault and killed. We have seen frequently enough, that our government and rebel emphasis on what had driven the conflict, but not finding solution for this senseless war that has been destroying our people’s lives. This is not far from the fact that the Country is under the thumb of corporate politics of division, and these forces are now following the model of politics of division among our people in Greater Upper Nile Region if I may say, and it is attempting to dominate with their goal to control the country. The only solution to this senseless war will be Greater Upper Nile people, at this critical time to put aside their differences, and look at these severe issues that are threatening the region’s population and that created a huge division among our innocent citizens. Based on our understanding through genuine observation, the enemy of our people is always watching, any spark of differences in the Region will empower them with an opportunity to enhance their agenda. In meantime, the toxic politics of fear and division may work in the short term in Greater Upper Nile Region; but these divisions come with a serious risk of backfiring. There is a concrete evidences which compelled that the Region had suffered a lot, and it become a war zone where by all our elders, innocent children, women are continuously paying horrendous price and all infrastructure are being destroyed across the Region. Based on these results, we are not going to sit back leaving these notorious diseases to destroy our innocent citizens lives. In addition, we genuinely need to have courage to break these divisive issues and address these lingering worries within the Region. Achieving peace or even getting to it, will take time but ignoring these issues will reduced us significantly in the map of South Sudan.

However, legitimate rectifications is the key to the radical changes needed in the Greater Upper Nile politics to return to our values of taking care of one another as we used to do in our glories days. Legitimate rectifications call for reparations of all our people in Greater Upper Nile, in South Sudan and in diaspora to immediately convince meeting in order to address these burning issues and overcome the ironic horror that has been destroying our people’s lives for quite sometimes.  People of Greater Upper Nile have to be mindful that the government and rebel will not solve this war because they attempted many times and they fail miserably. Immeasurable damage has been done to our innocent citizens and it is our turn as citizens of this Region to give peace a chance because the only hope for our citizens is the peace. Therefore, we need to form committees that are going to meet with president Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Macher to profoundly communicate to them that their differences are not worth loss of live. The idea that if a citizen disagrees with the government official should be punished and tortured for crimes or take a gun and fight their own government needs to be openly, widely, and loudly denounced as immoral, unjust, and basically evil and has no place in a country where 2.5 million people lost their lives. I sincerely encourage President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Macher to think for moment, even though millions of our people are killed, what are we achieving now! It is time for President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Macher to be human beings for just a moment and take a deep breath, may be a few and know, what you two feel is what actually all South Sudanese people feel. However, the two should feel sorry for the families that lost love ones and completely unfair selection that the loss should be theirs. Why those who perish have to be their innocent children, their husbands, their mothers, and their sisters their brothers, their cousins, their nephews, their nieces, and their family at this time in that cities, on that journey or mission? In this scenario, I feel the words of condolences and sympathy to be inadequate. How many cousins, nephews, nieces and relatives you President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Macher want us to loss? We have relatively lost numerous people that a human being can loss during any conflict, and how many more you two want us to lose. In addition, I would suggest that we could save the lives of the few people who are left because it is immorality to destroy all the population in the country for no reasons.

In conclusion, we cannot by any manifestation of a sorrowfully bringing those who perished to life, but we can as one country dedicate enormous part of our life of lifting us out of this wider struggle for peace, to try to charge it with a consequential determinations and resolution, and keep our responsibility as a country unbroken and function, in however small or large way we can to save our people’s lives. Consequently, nothing of the kind mentioned above can ever be achieved without first bringing about drastically changes for peace, unity and reconciliation in the political landscape all across the country. The demands of our people are very clear, and scrupulously; they want a collective unification and consideration of all the above-mentioned grievances so that our people can function with a unified solidarity peace without ramification and internal division.

We cannot say an apologetic in words, but we can only hope to liberate something from this catastrophe of death in the action of life, our God given life that still continues to be the purposes of our unity. If we want a healthy society, we must serve to heal the conflicting wound of a long war and not revisit this conflicting wound to a widening into deeper crisis.  Because of the severe psychological damage of this conflicting wound among our people and disenfranchise of the conflict, the deepest the division is, the more we blame each other and punished each other for the crime we commit to ourselves in the past. I tremendously our people of Greater Upper Nile will be a game changer in this process, and we need to be careful of this tendency not to blame each other at this critical time, because the wound of the war is still fresh. In addition, the nation itself is not to be put to blame, as if its could be summed up by its historic and ongoing faults, but we need to take a miraculous step back and take deep breath before we started the blame game. The blame should be focused on the power and the politics of division that operate through the South Sudan nation, and the power that undermine the basic South Sudanese people values that has been keeping them together since our existence on this land. President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Macher have a moral imperative at least to give the next generation the same footed the old generation have, and return our people to the golden age where all societies of South Sudan live side by side in harmony and if we return to the same foundation, the outcome would be positive. I urge all our people in Greater Upper Nile Region to engage both government and rebel intensively in miraculous way through dialogue, all of us at this time, to step out of our comfort zone at this juncture, to take up a cause greater than us, to pursue it with a great passion and make a contribution to the “everlasting peace” in our country.

Santino Aniek is a concerned South Sudanese in Upstate New, U.S.A. He can be reached at santino.aniek5@gmail.com and find me on Facebook, on Skype and on twitter @saniek.

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