opinionBy Elhag Paul
Joseph Deng Garang, the New Sudan Vision president wrote a very interesting article about the state of affairs in the country under the title 'South Sudan needs steady leadership to save it from collapse' in NewSudanVision.com on 17th December 2012.
The article opens with razzmatazz of a statement asserting Dr Garang forcefully as the founding father of South Sudan. Well, he (Dr Garang) is not. The evidence overwhelming says so. Few days ago I was in an express train in Europe and accidently my eyes caught a lady sitting in front of me reading an article about refugees in South Sudan. This attracted my attention and immediately I reached for my laptop, plugged in the dongle and accessed the internet.
I googled the paper and there in front of me was a picture of a woman sitting on a brown chequered carpet wearing a whitish/creamish dress under what appears to be either a veranda or an open shack (Rakuba). In her posture, she crossed her hands over her straight crossed legs with a sad face. Behind her there was a pile of clothes on a line near the corner of the building, some clothes lie folded on a table behind her. In front of her there was a seemingly neglected teddy bear and blue sleepers. A forlorn sight takes over the mind. The author of this piece is Kate Eshelby writing on Metro Newspaper of Wednesday 12th December 2012 under the title 'It is hard here but this is my country: Thousands return to South Sudan after independence.'
I quickly read the article and I was struck by a conversation between the author and the son of Dr John Garang and here it is: "Mabior Garang De-Mabior, the eldest son of the late SPLA leader, John Garang, believes that despite the country's potential, the returnees' hopes have been dashed. He said: 'Garang wanted a unified country, with all ethnic groups equal and an end to marginalisation. But the SPLA has failed. It's as if the movement has suffered amnesia." In this exchange, Mabior seemingly in despair clearly conveys to us an insight into his father's unionist political conviction. This can not be disputed because as the son of Garang, brought up by Garang and being in Garang's life he understands his father better than anybody else who is second guessing. Not only that, but Garang himself was very honest about his unionist beliefs. He documented it accordingly in his books edited by Mansour Khalid.
It should by now be clear to Joseph Deng Garang and those people who tirelessly try to elevate the late leader of SPLM/A into father of the nation that their consistent assertions are futile. Dr John Garang was the leader of SPLM/A who wanted to realise a united Sudan but he failed as his son put it. In Dr Garang's quest to realise a united Sudan he lynched separatists left and right thus introducing the culture of killing in South Sudan politics. A culture whose consequence now has a direct link to the killing of intellectuals and the SPLM Oyee terror engulfing the country. So Dr Garang is not and can not be father of the nation he did not want to be born.
It is important to highlight this point on behalf of the separatist victims of SPLM Oyee like Akout Atem, Samuel Gai Tut, Joseph Oduho and others so they rest in their graves peacefully lest the whole thing becomes an affront to them.
Joseph Deng Garang's article apart from the opening delusion over all it attempted to explain the current malaise in the country fairly. If my understanding of his article is correct, Garang judiciously has concluded that Dinkocracy has failed the country, yet he attempts to resuscitate the dying horse (SPLM Oyee) by trying to rally the young to take over from the current leaders in 2015. Whether this will work remains to be seen. However, it gives us hope that at last the website (New Sudan Vision) that vehemently promotes Dinkocracy is beginning to see its own foolery and is turning into a positive critic of itself and the very system it helped develop into a monster. This is a highly welcome development.
I will come to this point later on in this article. The main purpose of my writing is to set the record straight on some misinformation that Garang's article is spreading around about some of us. In his quest to enlighten South Sudanese about the sorry state of affairs in the country, Garang postulates three schools of thoughts as being part of the problem. These are: the so called liberators, the anti-Dinka and lastly the elderly generation running the government in South Sudan. The author does not explain how he reached the conclusion on his three schools of thoughts. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he has some grounds for his arguments. Nevertheless I take issue with Garang's insinuation that we are anti-Dinka. Certainly I am not.
Garang argues that: "The second school of thought is advanced by those with anti-Dinka attitudes. Those are the ones who are calling SPLM's bluff. They have the advantage of calling the government a Dinka property thanks to the weak leadership of Kiir. It is a bunch of weak oppositions masquerading as political parties. Their goal, God forbid, will be nothing short of settling old and imaginary scores by meting out some sort of payback. They are consumed with bitterness. Their argument goes something like this: South Sudan is a small country of 8 million citizens who have been left outside looking in by those in Juba and if they are given a chance they can improve people's lot. They have a point except that the nation knows their track record or lack thereof. They are right to point out how miserably the SPLM has failed to deliver given its stellar revolutionary credo and national resources. The heavy weights in this camp include Dr. Lam Akol, and a couple of opinion writers such as Dr. James Okuk, Dr. Justin Ambago, and El Hag Paul."
The language, its tone and the words in Garang's article say it all. The incitement against the listed takes it to another level. Garang is obsessed with extreme anger and hate. The paranoia tearing him comes out in his expressions. His writing exposes his tribalistic character. Thus his claims are nothing other than the projection of his inner world unto us. How he has reached the conclusion that the people he lists are anti-Dinka baffles me. None of those listed actually is anti Dinka. In fact they love the Jieng like all the other tribes in the country. It is this love that has forced me personally to point out the bad behaviour of the Jieng to them in numerous articles so that they can reflect and reform accordingly. The others and I act as mirror for the Jieng to see their blind spots which unendears them to their brothers and sisters from all the other tribes in the country. Our criticism of the Jieng, if you think about it, in fact makes us the best friends of the Jieng because we want to save them from their destructive selves. Those who do not give any feedback to Jieng about how they behave in power are their real enemies. The behaviour of Jieng in power, especially with abuse of power for 30 years now since 1983 is creating for them serious problems throughout the country.
What settling of score or in his own words 'payback' is Garang referring to? So, is he admitting to the gruesome things they have done to others which is unknown to us? Are there other worse things than the killing of the Equatoria police officers in Yambio, the killing of the doctor in Yei, the land grabbing etc that will motivate people to seek revenge? I believe in forgiveness, law and order. Crucially, I believe in the preservation of life and I will not be a party to abuse of any human being regardless of their tribe, race, religion, and gender. The Jieng have done horrible things and there is no question about this but I strongly believe that they should be forgiven through something similar to Truth and Reconciliation Commission process in South Africa or like Gacacha courts in Rwanda. That is the best way to bring genuine change to dehumanised people. Otherwise if we slip down the route of revenge then we will not develop a peaceful country where we can be happy in the company of each other because revenge is infinite. It will be tit for tat and so on and surely this will be the route to destruction. If this is allowed then what is the point of living in one country? Please be foresighted and think about the coming generations and what kind of country you want to leave for them.
Nelson Mandela on coming to power in South Africa in 1994 proved it beyond doubt to the world that when you forgive abusers (such as Apartheid promoters) this hurts and punishes them more than taking revenge and yet heals the country faster. So the punishment to our abusers should be to show them practically that we are not like them. We belong to a human class of beings with feelings and empathy. We understand what pain is and we will not go down their barbaric route. If you choose to be barbaric we will shun you but not behave like you because we do not want to demean our humanity and legitimise your ugly behaviour. Therefore, Garang should rest assured that the fear gripping him from thoughts of 'payback' has no grounds because I am human who feels, empathies with pain no matter on who it is inflicted.
Having spoken about Garang's Anti-Dinka baseless allegation I now move to the problem with New Sudan Vision website. I now understand why this website behaves unethically. For it is led by paranoid tribalists. This website delights in promoting Dinkocracy while denying the people it denigrates a voice. I had a nasty experience with it sometimes back. A Deng Dekuek incensed with one of my articles about SPLM Oyee and the government in Juba went amok in response. Dekeuk was so contemptuous in his response to the extent that I had to reply. Since Dekeuk published his abusive article on New Sudan Vision, it was natural for me to respond to him through it. I was surprised to find out that the management was so unprofessional. They rejected to publish my article and when I contacted them as to why I was told that they had no obligation in spite of the fact that Dekeuk was using them to lobe mud at me. So this website does not publish views opposed to SPLM Oyee or counter views opposed to articles written by their tribalist contributors.
When Jieng commit crimes against other people from other tribe it goes completely silent. For instance, when the Equatorian police officers and a doctor were killed in Yambio and Yei respectively this website pretended as if nothing dreadful happened. It either mentioned such crimes in passing or ignored it totally. The ugly face of this website can be seen in its reporting about the plight of the Murle people in Jonglei. It demonizes the Murle and singles them out as the culprits in that state when in fact what is happening to them is near genocide. Had New Sudan Vision been fair and a respectable media outlet it would have been in fore front of reporting fairly in order to bring a suitable solution to the problem while protecting all the people in that state regardless of their tribes.
Similarly when Peter Sule got framed by the SPLM Oyee it went berserk perpetuating the Oyee lies and justifying the mendacity of the government in Juba. It embarked on condemning Sule without making any effort to investigate the lies of SPLM Oyee. The noble contribution of Sule to the liberation of South Sudan was distorted to present him as a betrayer.
The recent carnage in Wau applauded by the blood thirsty president Kiir revolted the world and international media reported it widely. Unbelievably, New Sudan Vision neither acknowledged the carnage nor reported it as it should.
Now compare all the above to the intensity and the degree of its coverage of the current events in the country involving the lynching of intellectuals. Why did they not do the same in the mentioned cases? What is different this time? I leave that to anyone's guess.
So this website being a mouth piece of the Oyee regime of terror in Juba is not useful in our struggle to build a peaceful and fair country. Its tribalistic nature does not bode well for shaping positive opinion in the country. Although I very well know that they will not publish this article which has been sparked by the supposed Anti-Dinka allegation of New Sudan Vision's president it is comforting to know that the other professionally run websites will publish it.
Jamming the brake, the article of the president of New Sudan Vision had some good things in it but the author could not resist the trap of glorifying the late leader of SPLM Oyee as the father of the nation. This may be because he shares the same ethnicity with the late or this could be in line with the Dinkocratic policies of his organisation. Whichever of the two truth will triumph. Garang's piece might have gained respect of the readership had it not been coloured by unsubstantiated allegation of his so called Anti-Dinka school. An idea concocted out of the blue. A myth!
[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]