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THE AMAZING STORY OF ANEI DENG DE NGOOR

Photo on 11-06-2014 at 08.23 pm #12 

By Amer Mayen Dhieu, Brisbane, Australia

In most socio-historical headlines, we do find sensational stories of important people who have helped shaped social and cultural order of our time.

However, none of the recorded stories have deservingly showcased histories of our great women that are considered to be cultural icons such as Anei Deng de Ngoor, Apul-Magengdit, Commander Ageer Gum Akol, to mention but a few.

These extraordinary women, unlike some of our women in this generation, didn’t just show up and find a historic voice in a gender-conscious generation and time. Behind their fame and credits lurked great obstacles that were either cultural, political, social or economical.

Yet, these pioneers didn’t just prevailed at all odds arrayed against them but also excelled to be the most influential women whose determinations and courage and stories can be used as a model to inspire today women to pursue their dreams.

Unfortunately, many remarkable stories about South Sudanese women went down the history unrecorded. Hardly any of our books or newspapers has published the untold stories of this unprecedented group of women from different places in South Sudan.

No one has adequately recorded the amazing stories of our great women whose combined legacies are a testament to the feminist spirit among our people. Their pioneering, courageous works broke through the male-imposed gender chained that had, and continue to, deny our sisters and mothers their rightful and God-given roles in the society.

Though our people are yet to recognise the sensational contributions of these revolutionary women, there is still hope out there that our today opinion writers, book authors and historians are gathering stories that will be remembered and debated later by future generations.

Had we this group of gender-conscious writers in the past, I believe the extraordinary story of Anei Deng de Ngoor would have long been a guiding post for young South Sudanese feminists of today.

I was six years old when I heard about Madam Anei Deng de Ngoor from Twic East, Nyuak Payam, Ayual clan, Roordior section of Paan-Kueer. I can only remember her coming to my house to pay visit to my dad. Someday it could be a mere visit and someday it can be to discuss some administrative cases at a time when my dad was Nyuak’s chief.

Very often, Madam Anei visited our house but never sat near my mom. She always proceeded to dad’s room and would discuss, and discuss, till noontime with some other local chiefs from Twic East.

One afternoon I ask my mom: “Who is that woman and why does she always sit where men are?” Mom said her name is Anei Deng de Ngoor, a representative of certain section in Ayual. “She is not a woman, she is a man,” mom whispered.

I was lost for word. I didn’t completely understand what the heck she meant. Physically Madam Anei was a woman, she was wearing skirt and blouse, sometimes a dress. I stared into mom’s eyes looking for more information.

After few minutes of deafening silence, mom started again and said, “menthdi (my child), it is rumoured that Madam Anei didn’t have any brother in her family and for her father’s name to reign she decided not to get marry off but to marry a wife for herself instead.”

It was, however, today that I learnt that Madam Anei have brothers. She was married but for some reason her marriage didn’t work (or didn’t manage to have children) and therefore she had to come back to her family and started a brand new life with new thinking full of determination that ultimately helped her have wives and children of her own.

When Madam Anei returned to her parents, she decided to enter into business to earn some money and livestock so she can marry her own wives and have children of her own. She was also given a privileged place by her brothers to be one of them. That is, she was entitled to be given a cow from any of her sister or nieces’ marriage.

In business, Madam Anei succeeded remarkably and became one of the richest icons in her clan.

Right now she got five wives with a great number of children that called her daddy. Madam Anei’s brothers are the sperm donors, but Madam Anei herself is the real father. She carries out all the fatherly responsibilities and duties.

Madam Anei gave up her romance and sexual needs. She got no husband but wives that she barely kiss, hug or touch, yet she remains faithful to them and maintains her role as a father and husband to her wives and kids.

Madam Anei’s decision to have wives was not inspired by western culture of gay rights or lesbianism since at a time the Dinka people didn’t even know what that concept was. It was engendered by a pure selfless love and honour to her father’s name and herself. Without such sacrifices, Madam Anei’s name would have been extinct by now in her family lineage.

Rather than thinking too much about the biological side of the story, we should all be humbled and inspired by her selfless love to her father.

Nonetheless, the most important case in point is that, Madam Anei’s story, like other untold stories of women of her kind, is the first standout story among other extraordinary stories that would surely serve as inspiration for generation of women to come.

It does not only educate us about how to fix a broken glass but also how to look for other potentials when the old glass is completely broken.

Do we still think that our women are not great? Do we still think that they have not contributed and sacrificed so much in family and clan, and at the state and national levels? If you think that they are great, and have contributed their fair share in building our society, then give them their rights.

Because Madam Anei’s choice of life was duly supported and appreciated by the male members of her clan, she performed outstandingly well. Our women need that support and recognition to be vital members of our communities.

Bor Town: The City of Great Wrestlers

Posted: December 21, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël in Featured Articles, Malith Alier

By Malith Alier, Juba

wrestling-2

Traditional wrestling is a multilateral cultural event popular among cattle owning communities of South Sudan. It is the most popular event among the Dinka on the eastern and western banks of the Nile. The Dinka and Mundari in Jonglei, Lakes and Central Equatoria States practice it all the time.

Traditional wrestling is truly a multilateral event accompanied by dancing, singing as well as courtship among young people. It is the test through which young people assert their strength and fame that comes with it.

The up and coming potential wrestler(s) invite the well known existing wrestler(s) so that the contest decides who the next top wrestler is. If the existing wrestler still has some steam, he continues until next time.

In a period of one week I was in Bor, I saw more than five contests organised among several sub clans as preseason rehearsals. The coming dry season will see tens of contests organise going forward to 2015.

Wrestling among the promoting communities is a sport like no other. The modern sports like football and other games are just an addition to this traditional muscle sport.

Many wrestling sports activities were organised in Juba from 2011 and the attendance was phenomenal. The wrestling triangle of Jonglei, Lakes and CES showcased their wrestling talents to the whole nation before and after the Southern referendum of 2011.

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A few names of wrestling greats are still in memory. Majok Jok, Ajang Garang, Deng Adol, Muor ci Kueng, Jada, Gore Mapak and many more still generate interest in wrestling.

Wrestling as a sport has many benefits. It is where people meet with friends. The wrestlers can also meet new friends and acquaintances.

What is very interesting with wrestling is that many songs are composed against opponents on the one hand and for self praise on the other.

The hit song for the year 2014 in light of Riek’s rebellion goes like this:

……………….( ran de abi dhuk ror ci Riek Machar) meaning another gentleman will go back to the bush like Riek Machar………….

Though Riek and forces have caused so much destruction they were forced out to the bush just like in 1991. The power of Riek forces cannot match that of the government just like the power of one wrestler against another is not the same.


Mekonen Tefere, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

In event organized by Gajiok Nuer Community in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Gordon Koang Duoth and Micheal Pal Rik raised their concern about the last year massacre in Juba through newly composed songs.

Gordon Koang who is a lead musician in South Sudan elaborated his heartfelt about the incident that happened last year in Juba.

The Chairman of Gajiok Community in Addis Ababa, Mr. Wiw Tung Wiw who organized the commemoration urged the whole Community of Jikany to remain united and appealed to any Jikany Community members to honor the lives of Nuer who perished in Juba. “Do not support the genocidal regime in Juba.” Wiw warned loudly.

Gordon Koang directed his concern to Gordon Buay Malek Chol and advised him not to interfere with musician. “I dismiss Gordon Buay’s statement which claim that God instructed me [Koang] to quit singing on the current crisis.” Koang warned Gordon Malek to refrain from his words and urged him to withdraw his propaganda as soon as possible. “It’s not good for my brother Gordon Buay to jealously act like this!! I’m a musician, should he choose to deal with me, that would be more dangerous for him.” Gordon Koang warned.

Gordon Koang appeals to IGAD and International Communities to address the root cause of the conflict and question why the truce take longer. Gordon Koang Duoth openly said that ‘Federalism’ is the best style of leadership to govern South Sudan. “I support Federalism and I need it”, Koang commented.

In separate interview, Simon Gatwech Met Koryom questioned the leadership that exists in Juba and inferentially underlined that the atrocities were committed by Juba regime from 16-19 December 2013 on innocents Nuer civilians. “Although things fall apart in Juba, now it’s time to find an amicable solution for this war.” Met Koryom narrated.

Meanwhile, Gajiok community has been mourning the death of more than 20,000 Nuer who had been killed in Juba. The commemoration started from 19-20 December 2014 in which Gordon Koang and Micheal Pal joined them.

Both [musicians] declared Salva Kiir as an illegitimate president and urged the International Community to closely monitor the crimes committed by him [Kiir] in order to get ready for International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Chairperson for South Sudan Nuer Youth Union in Ethiopia, Mr. Koat Gatkuoth Thoat welcomed the proposal by Gajiok community for appealing to [the] Nuer community around the World to remain united and for the root cause of the conflict to be addressed by IGAD. Koat commented in public gathering at the second day of commemoration in Addis Ababa.

“Although the community had been hurt, we need to keep the spirit of unity among ourselves.” Mr. Gatwech Ruach Bol, a South Sudanese Canadian added.

Furthermore, Gatwech Tut who studied Peace and Security Studies at Addis Ababa University was among the attendants. He urged the warring parties to drop their demands and work for peace.

Godon Koang Duoth said that if this war is to be used as a tool for self-benefit, two things are luckily to happen. These are:

The regional war and punishment from God – on those states who are responsible to calm the senseless war, but silence while kids, women and elderly people die every minutes in South Sudan. “We, as musicians need nobody to die. We neither need Riek Machar nor Salva Kiir to die, but we need Kiir to resign for peace to come”, the King of Musician Group represented by Gordon Koang finalized.

Both warring parties are progressing on the negotiation table in Addis Ababa in which their discussion trapped on the position of two ministries and control of the armies’ forces during the would-be Transitional Government of National Unity.

Finally, the Head of Security and Organizing Committees for the Commemoration Day, Gatwech Hoth Wal appreciated his friends who voluntarily work during the last two days and Gajiok community for commemorating the December 15 Nuer massacres. “You mad it! The days were calm, clear and safe”, Hoth Wal said.

The author can be reached on: mekonentefere@gmail.com

Tribalism is not Profitable to our Nation

Posted: December 20, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël in Featured Articles, Machar Dhieu

The Spirit of Nationalism

One Nation, One People

One Nation, One People

By Daniel Machar Dhieu, Juba

I

I have a duty to share my thoughts on tribalism with those who look up to me for guidance in the spirit of One people, One Nation as our president initiated to us from the beginning of violence until now, for the benefit and stability of this nation and also tribe has nothing on development but as the main cause of the crisis. Furthermore, I salute all comrades who made it possible to defense this country from coup plotters of 15th December 2013 despite of your tribe; you really make it and defeat those who did it.

To those who revolt against the government with the aims of dividing our nation into tribal state you are completely condemned by the die-heart of this nation. On other-word, the mentality of being loyal to one’s tribe than to one’s country or other social group is wrong. I am proud to be born and raised in South Sudan this is my homeland and I will make sure that I help my country in developmental insures. However, I am not proud of the fact that tribalism has found a fertile ground in our country. In other words, there is nothing wrong to belong to a tribe but we should not destruct our nation using our own people to disgrace our independence that is not our mandate as citizens of this country.

There is nothing wrong to practice as per the constitution of the Republic the cultural and traditional norms of that particular tribe. However, it is wrong to use one’s tribe negatively and retrogressively and this is where we are seen by our fellow compatriots as possessing monopoly of tribalism in South Sudan.

Let us face it. Tribalism is not profitable. It is a fact that, not everybody specializes in tribalism. The authentic tribalists are numerically few but very tactical. These are disgruntled members of our community found in Public Service, in Political Parties, in Villages and even in Church of GOD. They have a strong say and influence within their community. They have many supporters whom they mislead and sometimes they acted negatively toward nation building.

To them, tribalism is in their heart-point and it is their second religion. Most of them are highly educated and are able to mislead traditional authorities to act as they wish. They target traditional authorities because traditional authorities are the custodian of values and norms. They use the tribe as a vehicle and people as tools to achieve their desired individual goals.

The reasons for practicing tribalism is always centered around competition over limited natural resources such as land dispute, grazing area, competition over government position, competition over government services, competition over political positions and even competition over church positions. They refuse to solve conflicts peacefully instead they resort to tribal conflicts.

Tribal conflict is not in line with the constitution of the Republic of South Sudan or any country. Tribalism has the potential to disturb peace, political stability and derail socio-economic development because no one will want to work or invest in a conflict area.

It is unfortunate that instead of us investing our energy and time in eradicating poverty, hunger and diseases we are tribally sorting each other out as enemies of their owns. Our brain size is overloaded with tribal thoughts of how to destroy each other.

II

In actually sense tribalism has block our route to development and has totally make us build selfishness in the government. We see no good in each other. We see evil in each other. We mistrust each other. We mistreat each other. We misuse our position of trust. We misguide, misdirect and dilute the minds of the young people with tribal indoctrination. We make tribal mistakes but we do not learn from them. We misunderstand each other and yet we must build South Sudan together.

Tribalism invites misery. Our highly local leadership, including our able Regional countries such as east African countries and international communities such as United Nation (UN) and united State of America (USA) and other few genuine international agent Leaders are on record in warning us the people of South Sudan to refrain from tribalism instead we switch-off our ears and switch on tribalism network. I would wonder, if our president Salva Kiir and rebel chairperson Dr. Riek Machar are to meet in Ethiopia Capital, would they run from each other or would they embrace each other as people from the geographical origin of South Sudan? It is a question? And I need an answer, now.

Further, as a citizen of this nation and independence Journalist I have already observed that South Sudan a new state has a high number of registered both local and international Companies compared to other countries. Economically, it is employment creation which is good but security wise it is a security threat. Imagine a situation or should they remain on tribal war as by now, surely some of the owners of these Companies will use their guns and ammunitions for self-defense against other tribe especially there security companies that got registered to our government such as KK security agent and many more on list. The end result will be loss of life, revenge killings, untold suffering, displacement of people and the list is long. This is a serious national security threat and the state must think twice.

As a young person and Journalist of this nation, I want to humbly and respectfully appeal to my elders at the left side of my body and the right side of my body because my body is them and I am them to guide me and all young people of South Sudan towards a progressive platform of Anti-Tribalism Movement and say no, NO to tribalism and yes emphatically YES to unity and nationalism. It is possible.

I want every people to return back into history and copy the good / hard times when those who were in Anya-Anya 1 and Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army could seat together and plan about freedom of black people of South Sudan. This is our time and the future is ours. We need to change the minds of some of our elders who are highly intoxicated with tribalism.

The growing distance of animosity between president Salva and Dr. Riek Machar must be solved by themselves. As such I propose a Joint national Conference to talk about tribalism, its manifestation and how best we can expose hostile elements who brew tribalism within our community. The national conference resolutions could mount a more anti-tribal movement concrete programme of action for a better South Sudan and for a better future.

So let us organize the conference ourselves and leave our government to achieve its set priority areas of its demand. I remain open for new ideas or better alternatives from any progressive South Sudanese.

The writer is a student at South Sudan Christians University in Juba; you can reach him through machardhieu@gmail.com


Dr John Garang

The SPLM/A as a tool for liberation vs SPLM as a forum to initiate and implement development, and to seek justice from. The idealized world vs the realized world.


UNMISS HRD – Rebel Attack on Bentiu October 2014

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About the report:
This report offers preliminary findings concerning allegations of gross abuses of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by opposition forces when theyattacked Bentiu on 29 October 2014. It is based on investigations conducted by the Human Rights Division of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS).

Statement by Amb. Seyoum Mesfin at South Sudan Peace Talks

Posted: December 19, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël in Press Release

Statement by Amb. Seyoum Mesfin at South Sudan Peace Talks

ADDIS ABABA (18 Dec.)

The chief mediator of South Sudan’s peace talks, Ambassar Seyoum Mesfin, prepared the following statement for the opening session of the IGAD-led peace negotiations which resumed in Addis Ababa today.

He said negotiators on the security committee and economic committee would meet over the next few days and then report to the mediators on 21 December. All negotiators will convene also on that date for a plenary session before another adjournment.

This address was delivered by IGAD Special Envoy Lazaro Sumbeiywo, in the absence of Mesfin, who was not able to attend the opening session.

Full text statement, 18 December 2014:

Distinguished delegates of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan;
 Distinguished delegates of the SPLM/SPLA (In Opposition); Distinguished delegates of the SPLM Leaders (Former Detainees);

Distinguished Eminent Personalities,
Distinguished representatives of Civil Society, the Faith-based institutions; and the women’s bloc;
 Distinguished representatives of the AU, UN, Troika, EU, China and diplomatic community; 
Excellencies, my Colleagues the IGAD Special Envoys, members of the secretariat, and members of the media; 
Ladies and gentlemen;

Welcome once more to Addis Ababa, and to what I hope will be a productive and intense session of negotiations. I make the following remarks on behalf of Amb. Seyoum Mesfin, who is not with us here today but will be returning to Addis Ababa in a few days’ time.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

More than a year has passed since the onset of the crisis in South Sudan. Three days ago, I appealed to all the citizens of South Sudan to not be drawn into a return to violence, retribution and destruction; to not be influenced by rumours and unhelpful rhetoric, by hatred and vengeance, and to choose peace over war, harmony over division, creation over destruction and empathy over hate. The alternatives have only led to horror and tragedy. I urge you, their leaders, to make the same choices, and to bring this crisis to an end.

Let us make this the last, appalling year of horror and tragedy, and not an indicator of South Sudan’s future. Let me assure you again of the region’s commitment to help the people of South Sudan find a peace that is more than the absence of war. A peace that is meaningful, durable and prosperous. It is my hope, and my plea, on behalf of the IGAD leaders, my colleagues the IGAD Special Envoys for South Sudan, and the partners and friends of South Sudan, that the leaders and people of South Sudan make this choice, too: to consign the means of violence to history, and not to see violence as the way to resolve our political problems.

Unfortunately, fighting continues in South Sudan. Violations in Pigi and Fangak Counties have been verified by the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism established by IGAD, which has attributed responsibility for these violations to Government Forces. The Government itself has publicly claimed control of Fangak County, in violation of its commitments. I call for the Government to immediately end hostilities and respect the commitment of President Salva Kiir made to the IGAD Summit on November 7. Recently, I have also received a letter of protest from the GRSS accusing the SPLM/A (IO) of violations in Renk County. Our Monitoring and Verification Team has been instructed to immediately investigate this allegation and report to the mediation accordingly.

Furthermore, the SPLM/A (IO) issued a statement two days ago, in which their forces claimed to have escalated the conflict in the Equatoria region. Such actions are completely unacceptable and are direct violations of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. The Leaders of IGAD, the IGAD Special Envoys and the international community are profoundly disappointed by these outrageous actions by the parties. We renew our call to the warring parties to fully respect the numerous commitments made to end the war. It is vital that you give peace a chance, and that the conflict end without further delay.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you recall, at the last IGAD Summit on November 7, the IGAD Heads of State and Government agreed to the request of the two Principals to conduct consultations on the question of the structure of the executive of the Transitional Government of National Unity, as discussed at the Summit.

Over the last few days, I have consulted with the Chairperson of IGAD, H.E. the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, who plans to convene a Mini-Summit imminently, comprising himself, the Rapporteur of IGAD President Kenyatta and the two Principals, to complete the Summit negotiations where they were adjourned. The date of the Summit will be communicated to you shortly. Until the Summit convenes, the negotiating teams must continue with the other outstanding thematic issues, as previously agreed at the conclusion of our last session of talks in November.

There is still much work to be done here. As you will recall, the transitional security arrangements committee and the resource, economic and financial management committee have outstanding agenda items to continue from where we adjourned on November 4. As requested, we have secured expert resource persons to assist the two committees: Mr. Jeffrey Mapendere and Mr. Richard Rands for transitional security, and Mr. Parminder Singh and Mr. Paul Lambers for the economic and financial management committee. Additionally, an expert on governance, Dr. Gheberhiwot Tesfai, of Addis Ababa University, is available to assist the negotiations on the question of federalism.

Since this session will be very brief given the forthcoming summit and the adjournment for Christmas, we must work very hard towards a positive outcome, resolve outstanding differences, and move closer to a final agreement on these thematic areas. I would request that the committees plan to report to the Envoys on December 21, to indicate the progress made so far, and for a final plenary discussion to be made on the same date before the adjournment of this session.

It is my fervent wish that this Christmas season brings peace to South Sudan, and that the leaders of the country ensure that this is the last year of unnecessary suffering for their people. Let us ensure that this session of negotiations contributes to that aim. Thank you.