Captain John Garang’s February 1972 letter to Ambassador Dominic Akech Mohammed

Posted: October 26, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël in History, Letters, Philosophy

Captain John Garang’s February 1972 letter to Ambassador Dominic Akech Mohammed

Southern Sudan, 5 February, 1972 

Dear Dominic:

Thank you for the correspondence you dispatched to this end on January 25th, instantly. Very lucky, I go them today from Kampala through the lorry. It is lucky because I am leaving tomorrow morning for the interior, about 500 miles footwork from where we last met and I will not be back for over 7 months, maybe more.

Find here enclosed a copy of a letter I wrote to General Lagu and the negotiations committee. I have handwritten it (it is 2:00 a.m) since I have packed my typewriter for tomorrow’s long journey. You may type it and if necessary you have my permission to use it BUT AFTER the negotiations ONLY so as not to prejudice the same. As you can see I am not in favor of these so-called negotiations nor do I have any illusions that much will come out of them. What is more, a settlement with the enemy at the present time is not in the best interests of the Southern Sudanese people, the Sudanese people and the African people for some of the reasons given in the attached seven page letter.

Firstly, the “solution” will be no solution since the Arab military dictatorship of General Numeiry seeks to “solve” the problem within the spirit of Arab Nationalism and the context of a United Arab Sudan. Secondly, the Numeiry regime is illegitimate, a regime of blood, rhetoric, instability and theft, it is only a matter of months before the Numeiry clique is couped out of office by a similar scum of political prostitutes. To sign a “settlement” with such unstable barbarians is criminal and makes one a member of that gang though in a different outfit. Thirdly, the conditions for permanent revolution have not as yet been sufficiently created within our own motion.

The objective of liberation (of armed struggle) is firstly the riddance of oppression and exploitation and the simultaneous creation of conditions and structures for the permanent (continuous) release of our productive forces, which have been so historically damned, deformed, stunted and impeded by exploitation, oppression and humiliation. This last point is central as it focuses on the essence, the particularity of our movement.

About my role as Information Officer for the Anyanya, it is true that there has been such talk, but after I finished my infantry training last October, I made a concrete analysis of the situation and objective factors indicated that I could not make my total contribution in that capacity. You know what I mean. And if that be the case, it would be an intolerable situation. I joined the Movement with total commitment and dedication. I have sacrificed (I don’t consider it so) all the benefits paper dehumanizing education is supposed to confer on the dehumanized, decultured native holder, I am resolved to give the ultimate sacrifice, my life, for I am bound by nothing else but duty and commitment to Africa and the African people starting with the Southern Sudanese people, as a matter of course. African liberation can only primarily be effected through combat and everything else must be built around the combat, must enhance and give political character to combat. 

It would take me a book to go into analytical, historical and practical exposition of this line, but it is sufficient to say that this is why I turned down the “Information” work and chose active combat, and so tomorrow I go to the interior to (eventually soon) take over command of a full battalion. War is war, should anything terminate my usefulness (services) to the African people and revolution, it is incumbent upon you to continue with the struggle and/or to prepare the children and generations to come for the revolution. It is our duty.

I am indeed sorry about brother Vuzi Zulu that he comes at a time I have to leave. It would have been my duty and pleasure to cooperate with him since I presume we are engaged in the same revolution. (I would have also found that out). At any rate, pass my regards and explanation to him on his return. Some other time we shall meet.

Yes, I shot all the five colored films you gave me. After the training I went to Kampala but failed to develop them, as they don’t have facilities for developing Ecktochrome film in Kampala. When Allen Reed came he took them to Nairobi and they were developed and printed on slides. He then returned them and gave me a bill of 80/= (eighty Uganda shillings) which I promptly paid and I got all the slides. Two days later he came to me in Bumbo (twenty miles from Kampala) and begged me to borrow him some of the slides to teach his (Southern Sudanese) photography cadets who were there assembled in Kampala and that he would return them the following day.

He went and disappeared, till now I have not seen him—a complete breach of trust. Please convey the charge of theft to him from me, and collect those slides from him, I had actually told him that I was going to send them to you. The balance, I have left them locked up in Bumbo as I could not send them in time expecting Allen to return the borrowed ones and then send them in lump. This concurs with your other remarks.

Also please convey my sincere appreciation to FOPANO, ANAM, and OFPA for their endorsement “in principle” to cooperation with you and the Movement in our “efforts towards the liberation of Africa” and to Roy Inis and Core for the inclusion of “the Southern Sudanese Liberation Movement” in its support of African Liberation Movements.

Tell those citizens of Africa, snatched away from the great BLACK womb of our Mother, that time has come for their consciousness and ours on the mainland to merge (again) with one big black consciousness that will pull Mother Africa from the bloody teeth of the monster and usher in the total release of our productive forces long damned, deformed and impeded by centuries of oppression, exploitation and emasculating humiliation.

Greetings to all our students and brothers.

Brother Garang Mabior Atem

Southern Sudan, February 5th, 1972

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