By: Morris Mabior Awikjokdit- Kuajok
Today our people are broadly celebrating the 3rd Anniversary of the Victory gained in the last twenty one over the marginalization and oppression from Khartoum led, July 9th 2011 – the Remembrance and Honors Day in history our liberation struggle.
These days all our compatriots by fulfilling their humane duties bow low and pay tribute to the sacred memory of those who gave their lives for the freedom of our Homeland and clear skies.
I consider it to be a profound honor to me to congratulate president Salva Kiir Mayardit and the rest of his colleagues war veterans from the bottom of my heart the distinguished participants of the war on this great occasion who still remain with us and show a spiritual example to us.
At the same time, I wish a sound health and long life to all our compatriots and veterans who labored hard in the home front and in very tough conditions made enormous contribution to the victory.
Today as we celebrate this great holiday, we remember how the Victory gained in the history of our liberation struggle was costly to our people as to many other nations, how many lives were given and losses were suffered by them in this terrible bloodshed, as well as the lamentations of numerous orphans and unprecedented pains and sufferings of our nation. And we can say that if we recall those troublesome times that decided the fate and future of the entire humanity, then we come to believe time and again that this bloody war shall never be erased from the memory of our people and shall remain in their minds forever.
The years, and perhaps, the centuries will pass but this cruel and merciless war shall remain forever in historical memory of our nation, because there is not a single family in our country that was sidelined by this appalling bloodshed. Especially, in these days no matter what person residing in our country you will speak to, irrespective of his nationality, language and religion, and no matter that 50 years have passed since then, they surely will recall with big pain and suffering about this war, its endless irrecoverable wounds, and particularly, the fact that it served for difficult losses to his family, parents and forefathers or relatives.
At the moment, the elderly who stay with their children at each and every household in our country, do celebrate this date, first of all, being grateful for reaching these radiant days and living with pure dreams and aspirations so that the evil of war never comes back again. Certainly, to dream and intend is yet one thing, but at the same time one must struggle not to allow for such tragic events to happen again, and if it needs, one must channel all his strength and capacities along the path of achieving this goal. This is an acute requirement of life and the modern times.
Each and every sober-minded person learns a lesson from history, thoroughly comprehends the worth of peace and thinks about devastating consequences of war, as well as strives to seek some ways to neutralize various threats and dangers emerging today and imbibe such a mood into our children who didn’t witness and see such sufferings.
I am convinced that especially our distinguished veterans and people who suffered the pains and hardships of war and the years after war think in such a way.
As we fairly assess the claims and allegations such as «It was us who carried the toughest burden of war» voiced now in some states, it would be true to say that the burden and hardship of this war were equally shared by all tribes which comprised the previous civil war and the outbreak of the current political conflict, their people and thousands of ordinary persons.
Speaking about this, I deem it worthwhile to give some figures.
Prior to war 5 million people lived in South Sudan, of which 1.5 million directly participated in the war battles, about 2.5 million of our compatriots passed away in this war and yet numerous of them went missing and returned home wounded and crippled, – and if we take those figures into account it won’t be difficult to imagine the scope of contribution made by our nation to the struggle against the evil of fascism.
I wish that no one should ever forget about these figures.
The life itself time and again confirms the following truth. That is to say, any person and any nation, who doesn’t know history, forgot it and doesn’t draw a conclusion from it, may go astray from its path and repeat the once made mistakes again.
The history teaches and warns. At the same time, the history advises us in choosing the right path. Who teaches us about what events took place in old times, what conclusions should be drawn from them, what mistakes shouldn’t be repeated and which path should be chosen to progress ahead? Certainly, it is history. Is there any other solid and influential power in the world? I don’t think so.
No matter how much time and no matter what periods shall pass, one must thoroughly comprehend the history and draw conclusions from it. Especially, I personally wish very much that today – on July 9th we shouldn’t ever forget this truth.
These very days when we recall time and again the difficult trials suffered by our people during the last civil war, certainly the bygone events make us think and call upon us to draw the necessary conclusions.
It is not difficult to observe and comprehend what restless and rapidly changing times we live in today with growing confrontation and raising threats and dangers around us.
It is not a secret to anyone that the war which has been going on in South Sudan for more than 50 years is the biggest threat to peace and stability today in our territory – the regional conflict of political interests.
For over the past period the new generation, who doesn’t know what peaceful life is all about, has grown up in this much-suffered land. The children who were born when the war has begun now turned 30-35 years old especially myself the author who was born in 1983 in the rural village of Malith Ajang Kon 20 miles away from Thiet. Yet another new generation following the footsteps of this generation is growing up. What can they witness during their lifetime? They can witness nothing but war, killing people and bloodshed. Are the lives of this youth getting confined to it? Think for yourself, can we call it a life?
Let no one ever suffer such a tragedy befallen on the shoulders of the Southern people who have seen much in their lifetime. One must be vigilant of this and draw a certain conclusion.
Today many international politicians assess the current situation in South Sudan to be destitute, very difficult and fragile state after former vice president Riak Machar attempted coup turned into a rebellion.
Simply speaking, the confronting parties are becoming ever convinced and many people are acknowledging the very fact that this bloody war ongoing for many months cannot be resolved by a military force.
If we pay attention, the entire international community the African Union (AU) and IGAD are calling upon to put stop to this senseless war as soon as possible and bring peace to the land of great abundance South Sudan. The situation went to such an extent that some parties who were viciously against tackling this crisis by political means are changing their minds about the ongoing peace process in Addis Ababa- Ethiopia .
Speaking otherwise, the only way to address this crisis is a political way, and no matter how it is difficult, the fact that the confronting forces should be brought to consensus through negotiations is getting ever confirmed. In this context, many people underscore that an opportunity emerges to establish an interim government, hold the elections and turn to tackling the acute problems faced by South Sudan political figures.
The President of the Republic of South Sudan General Salva Kiir Mayardit took floor in the 20 Anniversary of Rwanda genocide in capital Kidgali and spoke clearly about the ongoing peace process in Addis Ababa of our country in this issue to the representatives of powerful states in the world and particularly his counterparts president Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, H.E. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and H.E. Paul Kegame of Rwanda. This is the best president presentation president Kiir has ever presented and should thank him for that.
As we see, the practical and constructive proposals enunciated by President Kiir at that Summit are still actual and urgent today. On the contrary, they acquire yet more acute significance.
From of old we lived side by side as neighbors with the people of Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda, used to give our daughters away to them in marriage and took their daughters in marriage. Residing on both banks of the Nile River we have always visited with one another. From this point of view, the individual Nuer people, who take the South tragedy closer than any other nation, absolutely differently let through their mind and heart the events unfolding in this land.
Those who stay far from this area of bloody standoff, unfortunately, comprehend and take them completely differently. For example, if there is a talk about the war against Nuerawi, Dinkawi, Equatoriawi and vis versa. What kind of the country we fought for the last 50 years before we achieved our independence led by the Southern 62 tribes in 80s of the last century, the people in some faraway countries can recall those events by saying that South Sudan is in other part of the world particularly in Africa continent and the events in this land have nothing to do with them. However, our fate with regard to the problem of fighting against ourselves is that we don’t have any right to think in such a way and to have such an approach, because the history will return to its course again and send trouble upon a person who doesn’t draw a conclusion. If we are going to think about the fate of our children and grandchildren, today we must seriously elaborate about this problem.
They say, the history tends to repeat itself. Calling upon the representatives of international community in the AU IGAD, on behalf of President Kiir it was clearly said to them to take into account that it was impossible to tackle the South Sudan conflict by military means. It was resolutely said that if they tend to think about how to stop the war ongoing for over 8 months it could be tackled not by military, but only the political means.
Since then six years interim period have passed. At that time the representatives of big states, European Union and other countries didn’t take into consideration the practical proposals and conclusions enunciated by the Leader of South Sudan as if by saying what he was talking about.
So, what is happening today? Those very politicians have to accept these proposals to be the most correct ones, i.e. all of them are concluding that indeed there isn’t a military way to tackle the South Sudan conflict. They are becoming convinced by themselves that this war cannot be stopped by means of struggle, bloodshed and killing one another. Indeed, how one can endure this appalling massacre anymore?
I repeat once again – this crisis can be addressed only by a political dialogue. Unfortunately, at the moment some forces loyal to former vice president Riek Machar outside South Sudan in pursuit of their interests are opposing the cessation of hostilities agreement of the crisis by political means.
I wonder how many more early lives can take such a dead-end situation, how many more children can it turn into orphans, the women into widows, or innocent people into wounded and crippled? However, as we see, there isn’t any practical action being taken in terms of tackling this issue. We speak about arrival of an entire new generation, but they are also turning into victims of this war. What this is all about? In this regard, we are speaking about the fate of an entire nation and one entire country.
Before, those who have arrogantly alleged that the war could be overcome only with war and the South problem could be tackled only by force now went low-profile and gave up such arrogance. Now they have to speak that the war cannot be overcome by such a way. Almost a majority comes to believe that bombing the villages and towns, as well as setting fire aggravates the confrontation, and one cannot tackle anything by this way.
Anyone who preserved a bit of such qualities as conscience, wisdom and wit, kindness and humaneness is admitting this truth.
Unfortunately, it won’t be wrong at all to say that in South Sudanese and around it, as well as in places far away from this country, there are those who are interested in war and those who are at the helmet of it. They put their evil interests before the lives of thousands of people. And sadly enough, there are many those who try to achieve their sinister aims for the purpose of raking in enormous riches, large profits and billions of dollars.
One can speak a lot about it. However, it is obvious that those who make riches and possessions by such hideous ways won’t truly enjoy them.
I would like to underline once again that today various politicians and observers concertedly state that there is no way of establishing peace in South Sudan other than achieving mutual accord and starting a mutual dialogue between confronting forces. Indeed, I am confident that if such forces are assembled in one venue irrespective of that how difficult it might be for them, as well as mutual anguish and animosity, and if they are told that the solution to the issue is in their hands and that there is no other way of stopping the war and if the world community, firstly, the major powers strictly hold on to this political position, then the solution to the problem will certainly be found.
But, unfortunately, the major powers are busy with pondering over how to divide the world among them, where and which region to exert their influence to and whom to control. Since, in my opinion, the stronger each and every big state becomes and the more potential it accumulates the more it thinks about itself, pursues its own interests. Such «games» used to be in the past, exist today and will be in the future. Our nation has experienced them a lot in its history.
Quite unfortunately, this development will increase the danger of escalation of struggle between confronting forces, rise of terrorism, arms and drug trafficking, intensification of religious and inter-ethnic standoff, as well as recurrence of civil war.
I speak about it with great concern and yet disappointment. It is a reality of life and one cannot escape from it. Our people must know about it.
Responding to the question of what our approach and our policy should be with regard to this issue, I would say that in this perilous situation taking all necessary measures to sustain the national development and growth rates of the country, and most importantly, ensure peaceful and tranquil life of our people remains to be among priority tasks before us.
Living in peace and tranquility with neighbors; and protecting peace and interests of the country.
All of the aforementioned is a demand of lessons of our recent history and extremely difficult time in which we are living now.
concerning this problem. For instance, being far away beyond oceans one group of politicians made many promises by saying they were ready to establish peace in this land. Yet another group kept to a blunt talk and claims. And there are many of them. We can see in many examples that instead of extending a practical support and offering useful suggestions they were busy with various subversive acts and chattering. Thus, they have impeded the recovery of the situation. To be short, it is becoming more obvious that politicians of some countries launched a big «game» around the South Sudan problem like Norway, Sudan, USA and the rest of other states.
At first, it may seem that everybody wishes peace. However, if they are asked what they are doing in fact then they will have a hard time to come up with a clear answer. Various conferences, summits, numerous meetings and dialogues take place on this topic. Briefly speaking, anyone who considers himself to be a politician wants to gain authority by discoursing on this topic. God bless you, if you don’t have a concrete suggestion or practical program why you are distracting both yourself and others?
Drawing a conclusion from all of this, what do we need? We need peace! I repeat that we need peace and accord with neighboring countries. Based on such a conclusion, we have legally defined the comprehensively well-founded principles of our foreign policy.
If we have interests and if the people of South Sudan have interests, we will establish only the bilateral relations and support such relations.
Our nation, which has a great life experience, well knows how to cherish good neighborly relations. Since, we have always maintained our national identity, kindness and mercy in relations with our neighbors. The appeal that we need peace must become a single and sole appeal of our entire nation. South Sudanese needs peace and tranquil life. We don’t need any obstacle to our progress. We don’t ever want to get in trouble by joining a «game» orchestrated by Riek Machar led rebellion and some other countries supporting him.
I underscore it once again that we will not join any military block. Whatever their naming is, if we look at their true essence, they turn out to be a military structure. We will not participate in such blocks as president Kiir is a peace loving leader.
I want to emphasize it time and again that we announced to the entire world that we have chosen the right path for us, i.e. conducting our policy based on learning a lesson and drawing a conclusion from history. There is not a single country in the world which has opposed our decision since we took up against the Khartoum government.
Certainly, there are those who don’t like such a policy. However, our policy fully complies with the United Nations Charter and resolutions, as well as the principles of humanism. Therefore, these forces cannot express their dislike openly.
President Kiir’s policy is to maintain peace and stability conduct the policy with the nation’s future in mind and unite our society around these objectives.
What criteria and factors should we lean upon in implementing this policy?
The first and foremost factor that we should firmly lean upon in our endeavors is peace and tranquility.
We all know that whenever and wherever our people make supplications they, firstly, ask for peace and tranquility. They invoke it from the God Almighty. These two words lie in the blood, deep in the heart and bones of our people and turned into the meaning of their lives – a priceless value.
Our people accept the bright sun shining over their heads and this blue sky as a great happiness, take as a sign of peace, tranquility and prosperity. The people living under such a clear sky with feelings of gratefulness want to share this happiness and joy with others, enjoy the life with their families and friends. A human being is actually created for happiness. A human being is born to live a life deserved by a human being.
As we know, soon we will solemnly celebrate the 3rd Anniversary of Independence of our Homeland. Summing up the traversed path for over the past period, we can say that we have been achieving enormous growth rates in the development of South Sudan, securing results and goals which raise sympathy and draw attention of others. No one can deny it. Peace and tranquility, interethnic and inter-national accord, mutual kindness, courtesy and unity stand as major factors of all our accomplishments.
Indeed, the progress shall be there where peace reigns. The development and prosperity can never be consolidated in a group or a country torn by a mutual envy, incitement and discord. We must imbibe this truth deep into our consciousness and never forget its value.
The second issue is that peace will not come out of nowhere. Since, peace and tranquility stand as basis of our independent development and prosperous life, they must be fought for, and if necessary, the selflessness must be displayed along this path. The times of such unacceptable views as lazily waiting for something to be done for us by someone have long gone. Our today’s youth will never accept these narrow-minded views. Our sons and daughters, who realize who they are and whose descendants they are, master the modern science and professions, think totally different now as the so-called Bahr el Ghazal youth Union in Uganda and Kenya back calls the democratic elected government led by president to step down without indicating professional and standard reasons of why they demanded the legitimate elected government to step down? For those who read this Article in Sudan tribune website wants to disgrace the integrity our brothers and sisters in East Africa for their own common interests. There is no legal youth Union called Bahr el Ghazal youth in Kenya and Uganda rather than Bahr el Ghazal students’ youth Union. The so-called Daniel Garang Yel and Bol Mourwel are not called BG youth in any term possible or having any mandate to represent BG youth in any forum through mass media and social media in any case possible. BG youth and elders have one voice, one objective and one goal supporting their democratically elected son president Salva Kiir Mayadit. I understood the two boys are starving in East Africa and if they want to support Gen. Dau Aterjong, they should support him in any means applicable to them. I personally condemned their misbehavior and who are they to allege back calls for president to step down? Stepping down of president Kiir is a complete genocide for those who are praying for it.
The most important condition of peaceful and tranquil life, as well as stability is not to allow for negligence and carelessness, be always vigilant, alert and cautious and live drawing conclusions from both history and life. I wish such views and sentiments turn into a life goal of our each and every compatriot living in this dear Homeland of South Sudan.
It is easier for a vigilant man to foresee and prevent the danger emanating from elsewhere. If troubles are not taken care of in due time and if they are neglected it will be extremely difficult to overcome them. This truth was proven for many times during our several thousand years-long histories.
If the danger is foreseen, then it can be dealt with, if not – there will be neither time nor means to fight against it.
In this regard, I want to draw your attention to yet another idea. If people living in our beautiful and unique land, above all, our youth – my children – will live and declare that «This Homeland is mine. Who will struggle to protect and defend it from dangers and troubles, if not me?», if this approach turns into the biggest appeal and life motto to our growing children, secures a deep place in their souls and minds, then tell me, can such a nation be turned off its path and can it ever be defeated?!
If each and every one of us will live in this difficult time with such a noble goal, first, we shall be inferior to no one, and second, the future and bright frontiers will certainly be ours.
The main conclusion from this ceremony and this holiday is that if we consider all the hardships, numerous sacrifices, losses and sufferings of our people and country, I am confident that our nation has never failed in front of such ordeals, upheavals and storms. Our nation has always commendably overcome all troubles, displayed bravery and steadfastness, as well as has never submitted to anyone, and I am convinced, it will never do so, and certainly will achieve its goals and objectives.
My wish is let God Almighty protect our country and people from evil eyes and envy! Let each family, each human being and our each and every compatriot be happy! Let peace and tranquility always accompany them!
The author is a freelance opinion writer and a professional experience teacher based in Warrap state- Kuajok. He can be reached by email: email@example.com, or contact: 0954243501, 0912646306