Rays of light in the darkness of trauma (Part 2)

Posted: September 22, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël in Columnists, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers, Thiik Mou Giir

By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

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The swearing in ceremony of Gen. Taban Deng Ghai as the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, photo by Maal Maker Thiong on July 26th, 2016, J-1, Juba

September 22, 2016 (SSB) — In my last article, I mentioned that the community leaders met in my house in June 18/16, in Melbourne, Australia, and agreed to open a new page and to work in collaboration to serve all community members well, but then violence broke out in July in Juba, South Sudan.  From each point of violence in South Sudan, there arouse a mighty wave of hatred and spread swiftly across the world and it came to Melbourne and washed away what the leaders had agreed upon and had planned to carry out.

It is an amazing coincidence the very same day in which shooting erupted in J1 in Juba was also the day when my family and friends celebrated our wedding anniversary and my daughter’s birthday.  It is true that our daughter’s birthday falls on the same day of our wedding day.  Every year we celebrate a dual joyous event.  This year in Melbourne we celebrated at the backdrop of tragic events in South Sudan.

One of the things that we had planned to do that day, 8 July, was to go out to where our daughter insisted for us to dine in and where she could eat prawns she loves, a Chinese restaurant.  After we made sure that we had turned off all the lights in the house that evening, we drove to the restaurant.  It took us about twenty minutes to the restaurant.  Immediately, after we sat down, preparing ourselves to order food, my wife said she was responsible for ordering food.  In all years of restaurant going, she had never said such a thing.  She ordered and the food she ordered was not much.

I ate tiny breakfast and tiny lunch, hoping that I will eat delicious large dinner and now it was this tiny dinner?  I complained and my wife refused to give in.  I was not happy about that.  “What are your plans and it is already 7PM?  You can’t go and cook for us after 7.30PM, can you? … I can eat three times as much as this!” I argued.  She ignored me.  Because it was a great day for all of us, I resisted the temptation of having a prolonged argument about food.

Surprisingly, we had spent almost two hours in the restaurant and then we drove home.  As we approached the house, I saw through the door glasswork that the house was lit up.  “How come the house is lit and we had turned off all the lights before we left?” I said, alarmed.  I checked the windows and the main entrance door.  There was no sign of a forced in entry to the house.  I opened the door and what met my eyes was “Happy Wedding Anniversary!” stuck on one wall and “Happy Birthday!” stuck on the other.

Then we saw warming trays that contained food, big enough for a party.  Beside the food, there was a bottle of Champaign.  Beyond the bench, on the dinning table, lay a large decorated cake.  Our house had been taken over by a group of friends.  As we walked in, we heard a familiar voice of Victoria Lolika and the familiar voices of other friends.  There was laughter as we were being greeted and congratulated.  It was a surprise party, organized by Victoria.  It was my wife, Stella Andrew Lado, who gave her the key that she used to let the group enter our house when we were away.

Victoria knew who our friends are and she invited them one by one.  Those who wanted to contribute something to make that moment as pleasant as it was had the pleasure of doing so.  No one else was surprised the most by this gesture of love and of appreciation but me.

We are members of different tribes.  I am a Jieng and my wife is a Bari.  Our guests who took a role of becoming our hosts (my wife, children, and I were their guests) are from different tribes.  Were we thinking of being members of those tribes that day and at that moment?  I don’t think so.  Whenever we are at our best, we tend to think of nothing else but to concentrate in doing something good, something that show we are people of the same land called South Sudan; we are brothers and sisters.  They did it because they knew me as a person, a friend, and as a person whose vision – Constructing Our New Identity – had made a difference in my life and in the lives of people around me.

Of all those who attended the party, the presence of my friend, Paulino Albert Loro, touched me the most.  I knew Loro for years and when we became friends, he supported the activities I had been organizing in the service of South Sudanese community in Melbourne.  For months, this year, Loro had been fighting cancer.  Despite of his suffering, he and his wife, Esther Keji, came over in order to celebrate with us.  When his wife decided to go back to look after their kids, Loro told his wife that he wanted to stay until the end of the party.  When the party was over, I took him home.

The other person whose attendance was worth mentioning was Mary Nyabong Biel Riek, a Nuer.  Her husband, Chang Wuol, did not come with her.  As she was setting up the table for our special dinner, I approached her – with a complaint!  “You have come to celebrate with your sister (my wife, Stella) and me.  Where is my brother Chang (a Nuer), to celebrate with us?”  I asked.  She gave a reason why her husband did not come with her.

After the party was over and all the guests, or rather the hosts, had gone, I was still feeling that, although I considered the party to had been one of the most beautiful and precious events of my life, something was missing.  It was just short of being a perfect party.  It so bothered me that on the next day, when I was coming back from shopping, I stopped at Chang’s house.  I knocked and he opened the door.  He welcomed me into the house.  I took a single step into his house and stopped.

He also stopped to listen to what I had to say.  “We celebrated yesterday; you didn’t come … let us go now and celebrate”, I said.  “H’m?”, he asked.  “Yes,” I replied.  Then, I turned and walked out of the house and he followed me.  Once we were in my house, we celebrated.  Done!  It was a perfect Wedding Anniversary and a perfect Birthday Party.

Following this dual event we continued to hear bad news from our home country and we continued being saddened by the health condition of my friend, Loro.  In August 31/16, Loro passed away.

Did all these chain of tragic events erode the gesture of love and of appreciation of our lives?  No, not even death was able to spoil what has become to those involved like a ray of light in the darkness of trauma.  In life, it is normal to agree or to disagree.  Whatever is the case, we should love one another to the end.

This is what my friend Loro did by attending the event in my house, by attending other social events, and by demanding that his remaining sacraments be performed, including matrimony.  He loved and he loved well till the end.

In conclusion, our enemies have created a traumatic condition for us. To make matters worse, we have perpetuated the traumatic condition.  Out of this condition, a monstrous hatred has emerged.  We have created this traumatizing monster.  Men more than women, the old more than the young, armed people more than the civilians, the Internet propagandists in Diaspora more than the Internet propagandists in South Sudan, have created this monster.

This monster is devouring us daily.  We have reached a breaking point from where we cannot go farther.  All we need to do now is to go against the grain.  The starting point is one’s self.  The sense of being a member of a tribe is the starting point of this journey, and our new identity constructed, will be our destination.

You can reach the author via his email: thiik_giir@hotmail.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing.

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Comments
  1. Elijah Samuel says:

    Thiik,
    Oneness is result of Justice, and equality. The Jiengs can bring to south Sudan by doing few things
    1) Stop the JCE agenda of Dinkanizations, Do not allow your battles keepers go to remote corners and far away places from Jieng lands and claim it theirs.
    2) Annul the Dinka centric 28 states.

    For ones is in Justice and Equality. The respect for other peoples right is peace. As long as this is understood, We shall continue to have bloodsheds.

    Like

    • Thiik Giir says:

      Dear Elijah,

      Please read my article entitled “Jieng Council of Evil”. You will know what kind of council I wish to be functioning in South Sudan. We all want a change. We need to be working to bring into existence the Change want, not by wrongful means (killing and all that) but by peaceful means. It will take time but it.can be done.

      Like

  2. Thiik, you have made my day clear and you Elijah Samuel, please those who have settled in those areas haven’t gone there without purpose. Juba, for example is a capital of South Sudan and then those working there must have houses/homes and some were sold by their owners. In every clans, there are people who must be rude and those who are honest and if you instructed the writer of this article to stop claiming others land as Jieng land, perhaps he is not having one, who knows, it seem you are spreading hatred, stop it also.

    Like

  3. Majokdh says:

    Hi, there you put it

    Like

  4. Deng Ajak says:

    Thank Thiik, your personal marital example mean a lot, I can’t believes you would day turm gun against Chang or Bari your in law. Your children can’t identifies with physical characters as Dinka or Bari but Australia-South Sudanese. Once again thanks, I hope we all understood your intended message, intermarriage is one factor to bring true understanding and reconciliation.

    Like

  5. Mr. Thiik, do more and we are with you, I love nationalists.

    Like

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