opinionBy Kuir ë Garang
For those of us familiar with American war against Fundamental Islam, or as some people euphemise it, War on Terror, the silence of moderate Muslims is believed to be the problem. Their silence is believed to be the problem because Muslim fundamentalists are a vocal minority. The majority of Muslims are law-abiding citizens, who also respect the value (or as religious people say, sanctity) of life.
In South Sudan the same general sentiment applies. South Sudan is a country that could act as an example for the rest of Africa if not the rest of the world. Unlike other African countries that came out of independence with little to no African political culture to learn from, South Sudan has a wealth of political and economic information to learn from.
We could avoid all the factors that led to economic stagnation and political volatility from the post-independence years to the present. Issues such as tribalization of national interests and suppression of free speech are some of the examples. So far, it seems we've not learnt anything from that.
But my main concern is that the country will soon be branded by the rest of the world in unflattering light while clear-minded people like you remain silent or indifferent. Why? Why? Have freedom fighters become callous villain?
Recent incidences such as the assassination of political commentator, Isaiah Diing Chan, the disappearance of Wiyual Manytap and the senseless killing of over twenty young people in Wau (which reminds us of Wau massacre of 1965), are a few of countless counter-productive issues worrying us.
We love this country and we'd want it to prosper to its utmost potentials. Our hearts are bleeding as we see the country drift into a POLICE STATE. Who'd want to invest in such a nation? Why is voicing a personal opinion treated disdainfully with a draconian steel? And a colleague of mind today wrote: "...this president has been gradually becoming more and more royal before our very eyes!!" That is true but sad, really sad!
It's not that you've forgotten the principles that engendered the birth of SPLM/A, it is that there is something happening within the government; something we don't understand. Another colleague of mine recently wrote an article in which he painted SPLM as a medley of micro-factions with competing interests. That is scary.
In such a situation, SPLM will not be productive unless those competing interests are either reconciled or the party disintegrates. There is something happening within the government that outsiders don't know. But how and when is that going to end so that meaningful democracy and development you all fought for can start.
The agents in the National Security have actually become the agents of the average citizen's National Insecurity. People with different opinions aren't national security issues we should watch. Are we building a nation-of-a-single-opinion dictated by the state? Your silence, while the average citizens are terrorized or killed by people, who are supposed to protect them, will be taken for complicity in the current reign of terror against our people. The guns didn't go silent; they turned against the very people who were supposedly liberated. As others pull the guns to kill, you're killing our people thorough omission, as they say in Ethics. Your inaction is as brutal as the action of those terrorizing our people.
The legacy of SPLM as the party of the people is fast fading as people have become disillusioned with the party that has turned into a death processing factory. I don't see why any conscientious South Sudanese would vote again for a party that cares not a bit about the very people that put it there.
You have to come out and tell South Sudanese what is happening within the government (good or bad) that is keeping you quiet. If there is nothing major keeping you quiet, as the country is almost off the cliff, then it's high time you change the direction of the country. Your silence is crippling the nation. If you can't change the system then resign so that South Sudanese can see your clean conscience. If you continue to serve in a system that is callously killing people and leading the country nowhere as you watch, then some of us would question your moral outlook.
As the National Security Minister, Mr. Oyai Deng Ajak, the killings are in your hands on principle unless you, with the president, exonerate yourselves, or reform national security for the better. I heard about you, as a teenager living in Western Equatoria (now Central) when you bravely headed Operation Jungle Storm (OJS) in early 90s. People applauded you as a flawless hero. Why are the people you fought to protect being killed by people under you?
Because you are inside the government, it is sometimes hard to see things clearly from within. You have to remember that the government of South Sudan is looking more like the government of Sudan in structure, functionality and intentions: torture houses, political assassinations, disappearances of vocal citizens, national security censorship of newspapers, total powers of the president, intimidation of opposition members, willful corruption, nepotism, ruling of the country by a small powerful few, governance (Council of ministers, Council of States and National Legislative Assembly) and the list continues. Please, protect our people!
Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese poet and author living in Canada.