By Amer Mayen Dhieu, Queensland, Australia
December 1st, 2014 (Nyamilepedia) — According to Hon Kuol Manyang, the minister of defense, any man refusing to join the army can have his hair plaited and put on skirt.
In this remark, the Honorable minister was referring to the African traditional concept that compare coward men to women.
It is true that the proportion of South Sudanese women in the army is very low compare to men but this does not consolidate to their cowering behavior but to other responsibilities that are significance on family level such as evacuating children to safer places with knowledge that the safety of male children among these kids will results to production of next generation of army of men that will fight along the front of the upcoming war as well as women who will bear more armies.
Since 2005, South Sudanese women has inserted a belief that any war that will again occur in South Sudan priority to the end of war on liberation has lost legitimacy. It is no longer a liberation war to participate in but a war of positions and powers so let men and women who belief in forceful mean to take powers and positions fight.
Where did Minister go wrong with his comment?
Honourable Kuol Manyang is one of the dearest respectful leaders of all. Given his calm nature, his word rarely loiter around like other politicians in South Sudan government and his choice of words are always directed to his position as minister of defence however his yesterday comment release by Sudan tribune is more sexist and have angered many women like myself prompting to demand his apology.
His comment has no legality rather a sexists’ statement issue to disgrace and overlook women’s ability and power and portray women as coward than nurturing humans who choose peace over war.
Should minister be encouraging young men to join the army, Hon. Kuol Manyang is a wise man, I trust his choice of words and there is no doubt that there would have been a legitimate word use to encourage young people to join the army than comparing them to women if they refuse to go to war.
What impact did Minister of defence’s statement contributed to the ongoing women abuse in South Sudan?
Generally and let me quote a statement made by one of the male leaders who knows the important of avoiding negative comment toward women, “people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are inappropriate for high office” The reason is that those who hold high position are more influential. Their words can be use as reference by outliers to justify their insult and abuse on women just like teachers and students. Students references each word from their teachers because they believe it is right.
His use of old traditional saying and concept is likely to be adopt by the current generation of men and use it against the current generation of women. Meaning such bullying concept and stereotypical thinking shall repeatedly be face by women from time to time because it is continuously being carried from generation to generation.
Leaders are meant and expected to condemn anything that violate women right or promote gender base bullying at national level than be the source of its promotion. The comment is extremely disrespectful to our women in power and those who are still nursing infant babies at home leave alone those who are struggling for a chance to serve the nation. For this reason I personally rise to oppose this move and hereby demanding for minster’s apology.
Why should the minster apologize?
South Sudanese women have already suffered gender base humiliating sequences directly thrown upon them by their husbands and by their country men and are still paying the price till today December 15 conflict is one of the example, something that start in Juba’s parliament rest on vulnerable women’s shoulders.
Many women were and continually being rape on the street in Juba, Bor, Malakal, Akobo, Piji, Fangak and all areas the conflict is taking and has taken place. In all the rebellious and insurgencies war that had happened since the time South Sudan got her independent, women are more likely to suffer humiliating death more than men.
It is disrespectful and inconsiderate that the minster of defense is not showing sympathy or acknowledging the humiliating dangers our women have been through regardless of everyday abuse and rape.
I am extremely offended on behalf of the women of South Sudan to see leaders who are suppose to condemn statuses that belittle women being the first speakers of such comment. Hon. Kuol Manyang is well inform about the changes in modern South Sudan, there is no exceptional argument that validate a traditional assumption with no absolute creditability be use against our women.
Moreover there is no research-based argument that says people who go to war are braver than those who stays at home to look after their kids because husbands are already up at war. This thought of hypocrisy should not be tolerate at any level and hereby again demanding apology from Hon. Kuol Manyang Juuk.
In confession, I still do hold so much respect for him but right here I am making an honest woman out of myself to urge him to apologise to women of Sudan that he represent. His comment is not only sexist but is overlooking the suffering faced and sacrifices made by the great women of our country on family and national level.
I am here demanding apology in the content that our todays women are making great progress as well as suffering on national level and turning a blindside on this progress and suffering is arrogant. Sexists comment are not only hurtful to women, they does not only make women doubt themselves and their abilities, but also serve to reinforces discrimination and abuse to women’s power and existence.
The number of women rape everyday at war, the number of women expose to domestic violence and the number of women beaten to death or force to marry before their school age rise everyday in South Sudan. Over all of these, there is nothing that make South Sudan a worse place to be a woman than seeing leaders roaming around with such sexist remark on national event.
The ideal is that women and men have different roles, just like woman being a mother, a carer and a house keeper so can men be fighters. I still do acknowledge the effort made by government citing the twenty-five percent given to women yet that does not mean women are finally liberated. There are still more legislations needed to be reinforce and implement and that include avoiding throwing negative comments on women.
I personally urge that this statement must be condemn rather being given standing ovation like how other men are doing it on the internet. Nevertheless I appreciate few young men who have already labelled Minster’s remark as sexist and condemn it.
The truth is that if one has to go, get a group of women and explain in depth what this statement mean to them, there are many women out there that could be anger by such remark and it is legally advisable that the minster apologise