opinionBy Daniel Deng
First and foremost, my sincere condolences go to the people of South Sudan, jonglei, Twic East, relatives and family of late Isaiah Abraham.
South Sudan has lost a son, a brother, a father, an uncle and a truly statesman who always wanted to see a nation where any individual's liberty is respected no matter how one's opinion may be. Isaiah's timely death robbed South Sudan of a man of great courage who always poured his heart out to unearth the uncommon often committed by the government of South Sudan. Isaiah's acumens always inspired his readers all over the world due to the fact he always presented his analyses with logic. Isaiah died advocating for good governance and respect for the will and the right of the people of South Sudan, and his death is a step in the dark for a nation that had fought over a half of a century so that its people must live and prosper in decency. Isaiah will go down the history of South Sudan as a great thinker. We pray Almighty God rest his soul in eternal life.
Since Isaiah's death, the flame of rage due to his death burns in the soul of South Sudan and many questioned the integrity and the image of security forces in South Sudan. No matter what has killed Isaiah, many South Sudanese believed that Isaiah got killed by the friends of darkness who had outwardly inverted their ugly part of themselves.
Who killed Isaiah will always remain in a 'sealed casket' if there's perhaps a foul play. We all know that in South Sudan people get kidnapped, tortured or killed and dumped like garbage bags without culprits facing our justice institutions (if any) but they always wallow in the streets of impunity enjoying every privileges in Juba's best hotels.
Anyone would suspect 1 of 3 possible ways that might have brought about the death of Isaiah, however it may not be limit only to security agents executing a command from men above, a random crime and/or "seasonal friends" (called them private enemies or friends in the press).
Security agents executing a command from men above
Isaiah had published intriguing opinion articles about Juba's government in which his criticisms vary on how the government handles issues of national concerns. Isaiah often questioned Kiir's administration and often gave what he thought would work best for our government 'learning to crawl' in managing nation's issues.
Two years ago, Isaiah published an article asking pertinent questions about the death of Dr. John Garang de Mabior. Isaiah wholeheartedly went in length to the core of Garang's death and left most questions unanswered because there were South Sudanese who were part of the investigating team that were tasked to examine the plane's BLACK BOX. The investigating team from South Sudan (most government official and ex officials) didn't honestly report the findings. This was evidenced by Aleu Ayieny's frustration when he lost his government's post.
Like any South Sudan citizen, Isaiah believed that anything buried in man's heart would one day surface. His article was received with chuckles and shrugs and I believed Isaiah had created a rift/rubbed shoulders with our big bosses.
Isaiah wasn't a mere critic whenever he penned an opinion but he (Isaiah) always gave dues where they are required. At times, Isaiah praised His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit, regarding him as a true statesman when others mistook the president. Isaiah once wrote "We all know that Mr. Kiir is a graduate of Intelligent College around Khartoum in the 1976. He did three years course, an equivalent of college Degree at those days. He attended different courses on the same. His experiences alone under Dr. Garang can make him far more than a Yale or Oxford graduate. Your statement therefore about the President being illiterate was libelous and uncalled for. I'm not dwarf to insult my President sir; I would be insulting myself if I do just that. He is a symbol of our nation sovereignty. Mr. Kiir commands respect among our men in uniform, and has behave responsibly from day one. What has he done for me to warrant him that insult?" That was an honest compliment any way. Please refer to Isaiah vs. Atem's opinions.
However, a big blow on the president's face was in one of his recent articles "South Sudanese skepticism on security deal with Sudan is real" where Isaiah had 'pierced' through the heart and the pants of the president by consistently resisting the president's stand on Panthou, Abyei and Mile 14 and even branded Kiir as another Deng Majok who had sold his "ancestral land" to the Arabs.
If anyone still doubts Isaiah's death was not well coordinated, think again. Isaiah once nit-picked about receiving an anonymous calls urging him to "stop writing" or they will "get rid" of him. Keep asking questions!? Who are they, and who is next in the hit list? Will Isaiah's death send the press fraternity in hiding?
I think this is the time our leaders MUST accept critiques to enable them to make informed and effective decisions/policies that matter to the nation's future.
In press fraternity, presidents always got blasted for any failure in relation to their administrations. Former U.S president (George Bush) was called a liar, Gordon Brown jeered as "one eyed Scottish idiot", president Obama called the son of a woman who had myopic love for international students, and Australia's first female Prime Minister (Julia Gillard) was termed B-word. Mind you, these insults never swayed them from nation's big issues. Moreover, these journalists never got kidnapped, tortured or investigated in any form because opinions don't make people what they are not. Authorities in Juba should know better too.
Like any other emerging city, Juba would always be plagued by crimes and violence due to many inadequacies a growing city doesn't meet such as lack of employment. If at all there's anything that would let the general public believes Isaiah was killed by street criminals trying by all means to make both ends meet (but someone would ask what had the killers got from killing Isaiah), then lawlessness is at significant level in Juba. Then it's true to say that the security personnel tasked to render maximum protection to helpless civil society had failed. Who is to bear the brunt of the police forces ineffectiveness to provide the security we need? Is Juba's security better off under Akol Khor's tenure? Read about Akol's security agent vs. Garangs.
Isaiah's Seasonal Friends (called them private enemies and/or friends in the press)
Anyone in this world in some ways had enemies and they could be relatives, friends and/or even in Isaiah's press community. If at least there's an investigation currently underway in Juba about Isaiah's death, then there should be no stone left unturned for the justice to prevail. This investigation MUST either target a group or an individual. Perhaps it is not sage to point a finger at such terribly time however, allow me to illustrate a bizarre article authored by Justin Ambago Ramba.
On the first of Dec 2012, four days before Isaiah's life was cut short by unknown assassins, Justin wrote an opinion article where he (Justin) questioned "who is this Isaiah Abraham" who claims to write from Juba, the capital of South Sudan when he can go at length to bluntly point out some of government short comings? But obviously of course he only does it in well selected cases and in style that confuses every reader? However there are times when "Isaiah Abraham" has said more than his share as compared to others who were arrested, tortured and even had their papers shut down for issues more trivial. Could this call for security guys to act on Isaiah raises eyebrows about Isaiah's death? I believe now that Justin knows Isaiah used to write his acumens in Juba and his blood too drifted in Juba.
Justin Ambago opined that late Isaiah Abraham was a government agent employed mainly as a "political distraction", Justin further went on to questioned that so who is this Isaiah Abraham who is free to say anything about the SPLM-led government and even at times direct personal attacks at the president Salva Kiir Mayardit himself and remain untouched by the security agents who are known for their zero tolerance for these kinds of issues.
To investigate someone doesn't necessarily constitute that the person in question is a prime suspect however, the information obtained from such investigation helps in collating information that would probably lead to apprehending the prime suspect(s). In the light of this, Mr Justin needs to be grilled by the investigators too.
Although the men in arms in Juba resort to killing, there would be time justice will shake the foundations of lawlessness and breeds recognition of the rule of law. Bullet pierces the skin of an individual however; bullets don't pierce the 'skin' of the civil society. I believe in civil disobedience. Civil disobedience had led to the fall of dynasties built by tyrants and evil men. Civil disobedience had helped Indians to face the imperialists in the land of Gandi. Civil disobedience too shook and helped rebuilt the foundations where America anchors today and I too believe that civil disobedience would be the recipe of recognition of each individual's contribution in building the foundations of South Sudan.
It may not help tomorrow however; time is the best judge- time when people's wrath will be wrapped around the necks of false institutions that had ignored the rights of the people accorded by the nation's constitution.
Everyone knows killing divides people; it divides nations (Ethiopia vs. Eritrea & Sudan vs. South Sudan). I was fooled during the time of struggle for independence that the enemy is in the distant North of the country and its aim was to marginalised and deprived anyone of his/her own liberty. Well, yes! What about the war within that's "cleaning" the community of writers and educators? Is this the government all the South Sudanese took up arms and fought for over half a century? Was it in vain that their blood flooded trenches and valleys? Is South Sudan a country we all fought to be an egalitarian society? A country desperate as South Sudan is a danger to itself? Are we made to believe that the government of South Sudan is a government of the fools by the fools for the fools (those who believe Juba greets its people with Messiah's hands)?
Peace is the biggest asset a nation could have to deliver services to the people. We went to war with the North as brothers, we had reached the lows and highs of war as brothers and we wrestled off our nation from the hands of foes as one people: Now it's eminent that hatred runs through the 'veins' of our nation and it's urging some individual amongst us to bloody cut short the lives of talented, inspirational and intelligent colleagues. We are made to believe that over 2 million lives lost, that we think cemented our nation's foundation were in vain.
No matter who killed comrade Isaiah Abraham, South Sudanese want justice to ring in the institutions of government so that more of our young and talented men don't walk the corridors of death. If at all some individuals within the government of South Sudan are having hands in kidnapping, torturing and killing of our patriotic citizens, then the perpetrators MUST taste the full force of law. Is it true South Sudan is becoming anarchists' hub? One wonders what would a ten year old boy do when herding goats in hyena's infested bushes?! Due to the death of Isaiah, millions of voices of voiceless in South Sudan are orphaned. We believe the campaign that took south Sudanese to war with North Sudan so that its people live and prosper in decency is axed in the hearts and minds of our statesmen. Killing is pathetic, it breeds hatred. Killing is un-south Sudanese-it's not our culture; we love peace. We are just left to ask more questions with no one providing answers. Anyone who knows Isaiah Abraham either in person or through his acumens believes his writings had made him walked the palace of tyrants and crossed the gates of evil men thus enabled him to kissed death. Comrade Isaiah Abraham, I salute you!