LOOKING AT OURSELVES THE WAY WE KNOW NOT!
Let Us Be Sober (PART TWO)
FM: Edward Abyei Lino (12/02/2014)
To: The People of South Sudan
To: The Leaders we expect to meet soon
Edward Lino, former Abyei chief administrator and a leading elite of SPLM, speaking in a electoral meeting held in Khartoum before Sudan’s presidential elections in April 2010.(Nyamilepedia)
February 18, 2014[Nyamilepedia] — Saddening news about what occurred in our Country still hover over the glob! The aftermath of what happened is yet, portraying us to be a people long betrayed by our sons and daughters; when we were intoxicated with power and booties and took that to mean everything and proceeded to kill ourselves! Torture, killing and looting, beside unthinkable tribal fights still disturb the tranquility of some of our most tranquil villages, where a bullet has never been heard cracking since time immemorial! The agony is that, our people are subjected to an overwhelming fear, from which they do not know when to free themselves. Fear that stealth shadow of death, which dehumanizes a person to drop kneeling, supplicating before another to be spared and forgiven, not before the Creator! You hear about this horror and that terror, taking place nearby, at a distance from your homestead, compound or neighbourhood. Oh, yes! For good, what transpired in our country shall be part of our legend to be narrated to the coming generations by the blind, the deaf and the dump; people who never saw, heard or had a sound faculty with which to express what they saw or heard! Please, let us be informed, that is how tragedies come to pass. Some of us shall live long to be our witnesses…
Months are doubling and the only light in the far end of the narrow tunnel is in the hands of our seasoned mediators in Addis Ababa. The hope of a common person in South Sudan today, is peace and stability. Our leaders, Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, are now confronted with the toughest examination of their restless lives to pull back the hour to yesterday, when things were relatively stable in the country. Like two maddened guys each of them on one side quarreled furiously and ruthlessly smashed whatever useful on that table, which belong to others! Before Bor, Malek, Anyidi, Pariak, Bentiu, Mankien, Mayom, Rubkona, Tharjath, Leer, Malakal, Dolep-Hill, Anakdiar and other villages were ransacked and rendered into shambles and ashes by us in a way, which was never done to “jallaba” during the war. Look at the great energy people were seduced to misdirect against themselves! Look at that great potential misspent to bring-down towns built over a century and villages in less than a month. Quiet amazing! Could we as a people not erect lofty Pyramids in that same period of time!
One is set to believe that, both leaders, who exerted no tangible effort to build our country during their past eight years, shall not be able to rebuild what has been destroyed, even if they cling to power in turns for an additional twenty-eight years each. Of course, it is during their time these places were depleted, which has never been destroyed since people came to know what South Sudan use to be. Precisely, at that point in history, when Roman Empire was ending, Nero, the Emperor was told: [‘Bany’, Rome is burning! Drily he replied, ‘let it burn’!] Our real misfortune is that, each of the leaders has full rights to hate the other the way he likes, even before our three most senior supplicating Bishops. But none of them has a right to mislead our people to death. When the innocent supplicate, at times the curse may cripple that adamant criminal!
Now, what is required of us to do to redeem the situation? Of course, the first thing is to stop the bleeding. Fire shall cease, since ‘fire’ has started to be seen by every person holding a gun to be something that cannot provide even a bite to a drying mouth. In such a chaotic mood in a confused city, even the very families, friends or individuals one believes to guard, including the President flanked by bodyguards, cannot relax and be happy, expecting an adverse bullet from any direction by the minute. Fear rides everybody, tank-drivers included! It seems the trauma of the yesteryears is still hovering in some of our minds! But the most important thing is that people should not be afraid to the extent of giving up their lives. Look, when fear grows wild in a person, it surpasses a certain stage after which a powerful anti-fear feelings start to come up to redirect ones robustness. A feeling that turns ones fears to the other. I want to say, the gallantness and objectiveness of a people who confronted bombs with rifles and constructive arguments should not be left to wither in the dustbin of history. That should not be allowed at any cost! Let us rise and confront what is threatening our lives. No one can do that for us. None!
The second important thing to do at this stage is to look right and left to embrace your Comrade anew with the spirit of a profound reunion. Tell her or him that you have COME in a big way that shall keep us united for good. Let us stop the killings, which are now going on at large, involving rainmakers and other spiritual leaders in those areas between Nuer and Dinka. No person likes killing for no compelling reason. Killing without a reason would be criminal-recklessness. Let me be frank to tell you, my people. I believe God is not mistaken when He created Nuer, Dinka, Didinga, Shuluk, Murle, Azande, Bari, Bai, Ndogo, Banda, Azande, Nyigulgule and the people he divided into tribes and clans in this part of our Nile valley! Up, say no to fear. Say no to disunity. Say no to poverty. Say no to war. Say no to hopelessness. Say no to suffering. Say no to instability! Say yes to stability. Say yes to tranquility. Say yes to togetherness. Say yes to unity. Says yes to peace. Say yes to progress.
We are ONE, though we do not know up to when shall we stop following those who stealthily incited us to exterminate each other over nothing other than being from this or that tribe! That is so fundamental for us to embrace at this stage. We must rise to liberate ourselves from all the notions, which tend to divide and scatter us into ferocious social fragments, which pushed us to hunt ourselves during those dark days of slave trade. That negative-ness is part of our lamentable history to which we should refer with sorrow as we emerge from this on-going darkness. We must liberate ourselves from ideas that keep us slaves in our minds, as to how we see, feel or think about others driven by short-sleeved archaic beliefs in a racial superiority, which is in fact an inferiority befitting inferiors. Archaic ideas about a superiority, which has never transformed a hut into a skyscraper!
Let us look around carefully and see how narrow is the world of a tribalist! It is a world that starts and ends in the thinkers brain, simply because it does not extend or reach further dimensions more that what he or she sees. I say a tribalist mind is a little narrow glob like the one we perceive to be the end of the world when we were kids! A tribalist mind rises in the evening and ends up in the dark following twilight before elders resort to bed, repose, snore and dream. A dream-less world! Habitually abiding in a limited geography like arrested to gaze at the same faces, which they impose on themselves. A tribalist is not a free person who can interact with other tribes. Always afraid to be targeted by people whom they do not know: “Why waste time to greet a Nuer? Let us go.” “Dinka, no, I can’t eat with them. No!” “Swaka died? Who did that, a Kuku”! “I can’t go to Juba. People are being finished by Dinka.” “My daughter shall not go with an Azande. No cows, no money.” “Murle, children abductors”! Such negative statements and arguments still dominate our feelings and conversations. And our intellectuals hear them all, but do not correct them. Many people take them to be normal statements. But, they don’t know that builds up to create negative social sediments in the mind of the one who say them. How can such a person develop! Really undesired to stain others in that way.
The world of an intellectual is multiple. It is a broad healthy world that starts from a locality, surrounding; extending to the rest of the world. As a knowledgeable, an intellectual should not hate others for the sake of hatred. As I proposed earlier, let our intellectuals rise for this is their time! We must reach one another to interact. Let us confront those abnormal ways. On our way we shall all be confronted by the realities of healing our wounds, repentance, reconciliation and replant bondages of fraternity among our people. Our task is heavy! It is a challenge, which we must undertake, to live and progress in peace and harmony. Our reality is that, we must heal all the wounds, which were inflicted by us on us! We must be prepared to pay for whatever we neglected. That process requires a lot of self-denial. As leaders, intellectuals shall be expected to point fingers at those who committed the wrongs we condone today, which kept our people bleeding. There should be no bitterness against individuals when looking into what happened. That can come later. People need to be delivered from where they are to where they can feel safe. People need to be delivered to where they can deliver.
We must liberate our tongues and hearts before we move to embrace in the open. Our destiny is that we must build a profound uniting nation. Let us not act like an amateurish Chief Justice who donates his or her retirement time to promote tribal unity during controversial circumstances! I understand the direction to which we are heading as humanbeings in this great human family created by God. I am not qualified to preach, but let us present our arguments in the process of building a new nation in which every person shall feel free to live in love and peace. Let us take every relevant example from which we should learn. Together, let us fight all the negative aspects of tribalism in our minds, hearts, homes, streets, institutions and playgrounds. For example, people should be careful to say: “No, I will not rent my house to this or to that tribe. They will dirt and destroy my house”. Please, do not forget by doing so you refuse to house a national. And have the house rented to a foreigner, because that foreigner will pay you more. These small things tend to irritate people at large, but they cannot act. Money consideration is also there. At times it could break beyond normal considerations and that is where and when tribalism and other related negative realities start to brew. So let us be careful not to arrest progress in backwardness.
Tribalism is a rampant cancerous ailment that distorts thinking like happening to us. Yes, we inhale from about sixty-four tribes. Which means we have very diverse and rich cultures. We dearly need to preserve and develop our cultures and hand them over to our coming generations. In simple words let it be put to youngsters, the difference between “tribe” and “tribalism”. In a nutshell, a tribe or nationality is a social form of a people with distinct believes, traditions and culture, based on a limited economic means of existence living together. It is healthy to grow in the bosom of a tribe. But tribalism is that rigid way of taking ones tribe to dominate other nationalities, tribes or communities. It is that negative way of placing ones tribe above others for reasons of preference. The moment one starts to step on other peoples’ noses as a matter of ‘preference’ in the name of his or her tribe, to publicly or even discreetly put a tribesmen or women ahead in any form specially, to circumvent the regulatory steps required, that would be tribalism. That is the why our people should avoid tribalism by all means, because it upsets the way we publicly charted to build our togetherness, develop and march forward.
Tribalism arrested the equitable development of our people who struggled hard for so long aspiring to build a hopeful nation. For instance, Akon in Gogrial County has been ‘tribally’ chosen, more than any scientific consideration to be the spot on which to construct a “Refinery”! Why? Because it is the home of the President and the crude will have to be pumped to it from over two hundred kilometers away. Whoever under-foots the hundreds to billion Dollars required for the project will have to end up a shameless failure! There are other examples of projects, which Ministers planned to put in their home areas, not decided by economic viability, but by what that new Comrade Minister wants. Not a single project has so far been completed and here we are! Tribalism is cancerous, negative, shamelessness; bad! Equitably, when we decide to do things according to what science and technology brings forth, our people shall spring up and develop appropriately. In this world, people know that things like tribalism and nepotism are the two notorious nurses that breast-feed corruption. Why should we seal ourselves in an old tin of sardine!
The issue of “fear” and “tribalism” are so fundamental to liberate and free us from their unacceptable bondages. Those are the things despots of all colours resort to, to force people to submit to devilish designs. These are the things a rubber-stamp-security and allied organs refer to as: “breaking peoples’ back”! To keep dormant, submissively naked to obey whatever orders at gunpoint. Hei! Early symptom of a potential totalitarian state can be revealed by the acquirement of all the tools of oppression before providing food, medicine and education to the common person. Really nasty! On that broad road to democracy we are still new and there is need to act frantically, to acquire whatever is needed from those who developed in the process with open minds. We must therefore, raise our heads and go out to the world to learn. Sometimes ago we were advised by AU to train our cadres in South Africa, knowing that we painfully lost over 75% of our cadres during the war, and the NIF/NCP was so adamant, satisfied and pleased with the result of depleting the South of its qualified cadres. That was the first program, which was left to us by Dr John Garang de Mabior to follow, but alas…! What followed thereafter was a mass. Unqualified individuals accompanied by senior wives were selected and flown to Johannesburg, based on blood relations and friendship. We sent retiring families to courses! That looked like state sponsored tourism to enjoy belated honeymoon. And because of fear or ignorance we set quite and watched failures being planted in the psychic of the people, to let them accept whatever the government can do. That was an administrative tragedy!
Faced with those challenges, we have to move steps forward to liberate ourselves from our internal bondages, which attracted those who want to stop us to do what we started to do, respect the people and serve accordingly. Let us glow a broad public awareness, build and strengthen civil societies beside our political parties. The building of civil societies is so fundamental in a country like ours. It supports and safeguards our freedom. The growth of other political parties is much needed now more than ever. SPLM is required to wake up in a much more positive way which our people need to feel and see in every aspect of our activities with a clear massage of apology to all. Here we are. We have grossly mistaken here, here and here, as a Leadership. Our dear people committed no wrong under the sun to be mistreated. I have never seen such a beautiful people! Hard working, and that was how they survived the misfortunes of oppression and exploitation through those impossible years. But we forgot and left them jobs-less and aim-less without hope in a future they charted, now falling into darkness. Obedient, and that is evident in the manner they render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God, prayers and souls. Fraternal, evident in the way they treat their guests and accommodate. Let us not fly worldwide and pretend to forget even for a fraction of a second, that our benevolent people maintained us through fare and foul during the war in a way no people did. We the fighters shared with them whatever they had. As one people we widely intermarried without referring to origins. All over our liberated areas, except in the Azande land home of fruits, we were presented food and milk before skinny kids could drink and eat. After God whom else should we adore!
Now in tears, I remember that lady in Tonj who publicly “donated” one of her two surviving sons to Dr. John Garang to offer to whoever can provide an anti-aircraft, the days Antonov bombers disturbed our skies! I remember our people of Bahr-el-Ghazal donating five hundred bulls at a go to feed our forces by Juba! I remember Late Chief Sakina in Ibba donating eighty drums of honey to our freedom fighters! I was there, the day Bior Ajang and Peter Gadet marched together from Booth, in a relentless effort to clampdown the pumping station at Pan Thou! I also remember that Conference which was staged at New-Site where The Leader, Dr. John Garang de Mabior, invited over 500 Chiefs and notables from the South, Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile by air before signing the CPA, to do three basic things: To present to them the proposed Agreement, have the proposal well explained and told them to see it carefully, because it contained what we were struggling to achieve. And if accepted, then he shall present that stand to IGAD as an approval of the fighting peoples of the New Sudan. The Leader then sincerely apologized to all about any mistreatment or mistake, which some of them might have got from some of our Comrades, as the Commander-in-Chief responsible for every misdeed committed by the fighting forces. Our gallant Leader then proceeded unequivocally to thank the Conferees for whatever they offered to support and maintain SPLA throughout the years of our long struggle. These lessons are there in our history. Let us revisit them to move forward. A relentless people of that caliber should not be left to slip into pit-holes dug by some dwarfish amateurish individuals who intent to twist the neck of our people and revolution at this crucial stage of our history. Let us rise to confront whatever unjust that shall divide us in a profound process and put us under the boots of those who consider themselves to be our owners.
People! Let us focus on the requirements we need to build our nation, while we look at relevant things and options that shall help us do so. Let us go quickly and critically to see carefully what went wrong. More than an eye shall be needed in this important process. But most important is to be together. We need to see and examine how to interact socially from broader prospective. We need to be frank to each other. There are many new things, which look queer to many of us as new things come to change the way people interact in a rapidly changing environment. These are changes that may need scientific approaches. That will be required. Life started to change in our towns and villages at a high passé. But we, the so-called intellectuals, are behind in the process of transferring our towns to our villages, although the burden still befalls on the government as we think, but no! Let us shamefully share our part of blame! It is a long process in which our government is even behind! When people interact and exchange ideas at large in small towns and villages in suburban social clubs of the poor; that would greatly help them to curb negative ideas that tend to grow wild feelings and tendencies that might lead them to tribalism. Indeed, it is vital for our people to have clubs established, social or otherwise, in which to exchange positive ideas about what people think and do to improve lives in our communities. Interaction is so crucial. It changes attitudes and induces people to undertake the challenges of perfection.
SPLM people, in our newborn Republic have never erred against the government. Not a single demonstration staged by our people. Dr. Riek Machar cannot be our alternative. Our people know him very well. Our people never raised an arm to be feared without borders. Every story conveyed about a coup retards our people, as wicked portraits ever painted! All those stories clearly say there were no coups! That is quite evident in all the arguments presented to the world as old and fresh facts are presented by our national officialdom. How can a coup be preceded by two well-covered press conferences held at daytime, attended by the Spokesman of the government in Juba? Please, why did the families of General Oyai Deng Ajak and General Gier Chuang Aluong arrive to Juba the very day of that alleged coup! Where is that most basic element to any coup on earth? Where is the element of “secrecy” and “surprise”! That day each of the personalities arrested was busy to relocate to new houses after they were officially notified to evacuate government houses, except for Pagan Amum who was dragged from his resident almost on tip-toes by the security. How can they plot! Costi Manibe was absorbed in relocating himself in a new life! Dr. Cirino Hiteng was transporting his household to Torit! John Luk Jok was taken from his resident to detention straight. Deng Alor, who arrived Juba from Addis that Sunday evening hours before shooting, was ready in the car when captives arrived to take him! None of the Generals was apprehended with a pistol, uniform or catapult! No, no, no, we should not humiliate ourselves in that shameful way! Please, please, stop humiliating ourselves! We know what can happen to a liar-in-arms once people discover the truth. So irritating! People can desert to cling on whoever shall serve them on equitable basis. People respect and adore a truthful Leader, who respects and adores people on equal basis. Nothing loveable than a person who loves you!
That day, you were ceremoniously elected to serve the nation without preference, even responsible for the life and death of Dr. Riek Machar as a citizen. That was a great unrepeatable event, which stuck in our memory. You vowed before our new nation to maintain the unity of our people. You vowed to let dialogue be our way to resolve our differences. You vowed to guide our nation on prosperous routes to progress. You vowed not to drag our emerging nation into war again. Please, look at what is happening now. What do you think! Three States out of ten disappeared administratively, namely: Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity. What do you think! Over one million of your citizens displaced. What do you think! You arrested our civil service. What do you think! You brought Ugandans to guard us for Dollars. What do you think! You abandoned us under the foot of negligence. What do you think! You imposed poverty into our cracking mouths. What do you think! You planted fear in our hearts. What do you think! You stained us with hopelessness. What do you think! Do you know when that civil war you imposed on our people shall stop! In this on-going mass, may you please, give up! Give up! Your cradle is burning. To fail is human, to admit failure is noble. Comrade, let us tell you, our peace-loving people shall “celebrate” Valentine with the fresh flowing blood of those innocent lost crossing the Nile to safety. There shall be no red roses or music to deliver our happiness to Heaven. ‘Bany’, give up, your cradle is burning…
Oh, you struggling people of South Sudan, wake up!
Thanks to you for your un-reword-able perseverance
I send you my sincere love in spite of what happened!!!
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