Diocesan Bishop of Akobo Diocese,
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
December 21st, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —- I am writing to you to remind you today that the Country we are now destroying was not a free gift from anyone, we fought for it, we paid a huge price for it, and over 2.5 million people lost their lives for the sake of this freedom. My brothers and my sisters let us not forget that our freedom took us through many hardships and many years of turmoil.
And what was then the reason why we fought the Government of Khartoum with courage and boldness if not to free ourselves from suffering and humiliation? And what is happening now? Did we free ourselves to develop our Country or to fight one another after the liberation from the Sudan Government? Indeed No! Fellow country men and women, we fought a good fight with dignity as the world watched us with disbelief weather we were going to achieve or not. We fought the war with dignity where we did not kill a single woman from the enemy side might be through cross fire. But look, now we are killing our own women, children, sisters, and wives, the mighty mothers who gave birth to the extra ordinary men and women of Great talents like the late Dr.John Garang De Mabior, the founding father of our nation and those others who fought along with him tirelessly and fearlessly to liberate the very people who are now killing one another today. This is total humiliation to our fallen heroes and our beloved nation.
That small incident which took place on 15th Dec 2013 in Juba would have been averted if our spirit of nationalism which was alive during the liberation movement was still at work, and if we had not been over taken by the spirit of bitterness and revenge. As your Bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Akobo I wanted to preach the good news of salvation to the living and not to the dead, let us come out from the spirit of retaliation and restore unity of brotherhood.
Paying back evil with evil cannot build a strong and happy nation. From the inception of Juba incidence which is now a full pledged war, we complicated the cause of the conflict and instead begun to baptize it into many names. Some said it was a Nuer-Dinka War, though we knew very well that both the Nuer and Dinka were all found from both sides of the divide while some people called it a war of corruption, confusion and tribalism. I am saying, yes, it is a war of confusion, and because of this confusion we are being punished by God fulfilling what the Bible says in Isaiah 18:1-7
To qualify this point, you will notice that from the onset, SPLM IO was never been a Nuer community affair as such, it included many personalities from other communities of South Sudanese including the Dinka brave men and women who had joined the movement. If you say the Nuers are majority in the IO that is correct. Even the Government of South Sudan could not be there today without the contribution of the Nuer and the rest of South Sudanese who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of unity to protect this government which some people today call a Dinka Government which is not true in my view. If you say the Dinka soldiers are majority you have a point there. Now, look at all what this confusion has brought about; displacement of our people, starvation, poverty, diseases, hostility and hatred between and among our tribes, laughter from our neighbors, back to begging for livelihood from the international community among many others. Just recently, in June 2017 more than 100 people were killed by cholera and other related diseases in and around the Greater Akobo just because we had no operational health facilities to help victims of cholera due to war.
In my own experience I have come to know that war is an enemy of the people’s peace, love and unity it’s destroys, displaces and separates children from their parents and wives from their husbands. Its aftermath are hopelessness, cruelty, fear, poverty, hatred, dependency, and destruction of lives. It’s only capable of demolishing trust, love, confidence, mutual understanding, freedom of speech and freedom of expression. It destroys rather than constructing. Just as the Bibles says, “righteousness exalt a nation but sin is a reproach “Proverbs 14:34.Let us stop the war, stopping the war means stopping the human suffering.
The bad thing in our current war is that, the International Community, have lost trust and confidence on us because this war is senseless, and meaningless. The only just war was the war of liberation against the Sudan which erupted in 1983 to 2005.
All these other internal wars are all meaningless, and the International Community who had rallied behind us during the liberation Struggle are today just watching at our confusion. Are we really Christians? If the answer is yes then our Christian doctrine is based on love, unity, forgiveness, peace and mutual understanding rather than killing, retaliation, hatred, tribalism, and division.
My fellow brothers and sisters, in this tearful time of trauma that our people are going through, let us work hard for peace and reconciliation and let us stop this negative criticism against one another. We can fight for 100 years against one another but will that give us peace really? The only option left for us is to reconcile and forgive ourselves for what we have done against our nation which is a total disgrace in the eyes of God.
Even those who ran to Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan Refugees camps are dying every day of trauma and hopelessness. War has many ways to kill people not only through the barrel of guns. The bad thing is that when situation become unbearable God is forgotten, resentment, desperation and hopelessness creep in and begin to kill people as a result of war. Where there is no hope the word of God becomes weak and forgetfulness of God’s words drive people away from God.Pleaes let us restore hope in Christ through forgiveness. Keeping killing one another on revenging will not resurrect those who have died in this war. Let us work on peace building, rebuilding of trust and confidence to protect those still alive and bring back our Country where she was before 2013.
Fellow country men and women let’s stop this negative criticism against our leaders. Instead let’s embark on peace building, conflict mitigation, inter communal negotiation and mediation to save our country from further destruction. If we allow our Country to disintegrate, the Region and the world would laugh at us. President Kiir Mayar Diit and Dr.Riek Machar Tiny have done a lot of good work from the interception of the war of liberation in1983 to CPA 2005 and from 2005to 2011 they made us to achieve a very successful referendum which brought independence of South Sudan, let us pray for them to put the nation first and to save lives of those who have not died.
Arch Bishop Moses Deng Bol of internal Province of Northern Bhar el Ghazal and I with our fellow Church leaders have decided to consult political leaderships of various political parties as a means of finding long lasting solution that will lead to sustainable reconciliation, trust building, confidence, unity and peaceful coexistence between and among our various communities in our young nation. Let’s bear with one another as we walk along this path. We have no problem with National Dialogue and Revitalization of peace agreement, anything that could rescue our great people from dying we are for it, but we shall not be silent because silence is a betrayal. This time Church must move to all areas of South Sudanese for the sake of peace and conciliation to be achieved. May the Lord gives us a successful celebration of the Lord’s birthday this year 2017.Let say peace, peace and peace be with us.
May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit dwell in our hearts., mind and soul and that the peace of God which passes all human understandings guide us and take our beloved Country back to peaceful living of brotherhood.
Yours in Christ Jesus.
The Rt.Rev.John Chol Lam
Diocesan Bishop of Akobo Diocese .