By David Matiop Gai, Juba, South Sudan
December 15, 2016 (SSB) — As a South Sudanese citizen, it took me three days when I proposed an opinion article with title National dialogue: A key step toward real, sustainable peace in south Sudan, or a key step toward positive assurance of real peace in South Sudan, published by PAANLUELWEL: SOUTH SUDANESE BLOGGERS on 12/12/2016 and I feel like the idea was a burning iron in my heart when I asked myself why do we talked of peace without inclusive national dialogue, a much process needed by essences of peace because I have learned mistakes made by our leaders several times when it comes to issues of dialogue, peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
As I mentioned it in the last article, leaders do reconciled at their national levels, and left behind people at the grass root levels with many grievances caused by them, while they treat themselves socially, geographically, regionally, spiritually, and psychologically as they forgive themselves.
But today on the 14/12/2016, it took me again a surprised moved made by H.E the President of the Republic, Gen. Kiir Mayardit’s speech, addressing the Transitional National LlegislativeAssembly, while his top agenda was, “The call for National Dialogue Initiative in South Sudan”, and with these fresh riches of National Dialogue necessities where my complaining was basing on at the grass root levels of Boma – Payam, or County-state levels, and national level.
I am so proud with the philosophy, and I feel like to go ahead with the idea of the Spirit of Pan- South Sudan nationalism: A rise of great state founded in peace in 20105-2011, but the history of this state was recited back in 18th centuries. Dr. John Garang said in 1994 when he was interviewed by Norwegian People Aid journalist, (NPA), “but Dr. Garang, why can’t you renounce war and join Khartoum since people whom you want to liberate deserted you and went back to Khartoum since Arabs use them as tools against you? “ And he said, “Our people have been enslaved for 150 years, if you fear death or you feel like Arabs will send them back to kill me, it is better to be a dead man than a slave.” Those were statements of the nationalist and we have to remember them in our current situation.
To begin with, Pan South Sudanism, the idea that people of southern Sudan of African origin have interested in ancient time, and unified as Southerners. Historically the idea had taken shape in political, cultural, religiously, and rebellion movements. In a narrow political manifestation, the Southerners envisioned on an unified African ideologies, African political thoughts, socialism, communism, realisms, and philosophies where they refused Arabs invasion and stacked to African ancestral homeland: A Southern Sudan with its border far away beyond Kosti town in current Sudan, and later on politically pushed to 1956 border which is now yet a problem to be either push by force or through negotiations.
Although major of South Sudanese know this history, South Sudan conflict, and the spirit of Pan South Sudan Nationalism or nationalists are often understood through their historical roots, and commitments, for example, in 18th -19th centuries of exploitation, slave-trade by Arabs, followed by Britain and Egypt imperialism, the African-South Sudanese were known as united, strong, respected, great fighters, and far enrooted in Biblical history both geographical, ancient Christian kingdoms, cultural, and spiritual.
Furthermore, Pan-south Sudan nationalists stood by their African culture bound in spirit against the imperialists or colonialism in the history of their time and politics. Here is how political unrest started in Southern Sudan, and the Sudan and forefathers stood steadfast against any political or cultural moved inflated into Africa.
In 1820-1821: Egypt conquered northern parts of the Sudan with clued idea to developed ivory collection, and slave trades whereby parts of Ethiopia, Southern Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, and Zaire or DRC were involved politically, economically, socially, and militarily, attach issues of River Nile Water in Nile Basin Countries is bond to that history.
In 1880s, the Nationalists led by Al Maddi, opposed Egyptian under British ruled and defeated them and Al Maddi established a theocracy government in Khartoum, but still Southern Nationalists were not convinced to be part of that government.
By 1890s, Britain government controlled the Sudan military led by Lord Kitchener in 1899, and both government of Egypt and Britain agreed to join the government of Sudan in Khartoum. In 1930, the Britain secretary in Khartoum declared Southern policy of two states because of religion, cultures, and regions with separated borders in the two Sudan.
In 1946, Britain and Khartoum agreed again out of Egyptian knowledge to join south –north Sudan in a single administration which was extraneously caused of opposition, and Southerners complained isolated. In 1947, Juba conference was conducted where southerners tried to pushed dialogue but it was boycotted by Khartoum government or called it deadlock.
The First-Civil War 1955-1972; In January 1956, independence United Sudan celebrated out of Southern Sudan commitments and charity. But before Independence in 1956, the first civil war erupted in 1955 in Southern Sudan town of Torit. And in 1970s, the process of peace was initiated, but in 1972, the peace accord was led under World Councils of Churches, (WCC), and broke a deal between Southern Sudan Liberation Movement, (SSLM) and government of the Sudan.
In 1978, the oilfields were discovered in Upper Nile and Southern Kordofan, and oilfields were discovered again throughout Southern Sudan in 1980, the Sudan government tried to redraw boundaries of Southern Sudan transferring oilfields to the Northern Sudan, but when the Khartoum failed, they used force by cutting areas of Unity state, Upper Nile and renamed them in Arabic language.
The Second civil War in 1983-2005; in the late 1970s, around 1975-1979, Khartoum started violated Addis Ababa peace agreement. In May 1983, the battalion 105 stationed in Malual-chat in Bor, the Anya-Anya 1 troops led by Kerubino Kuanyin Bol opposed Khartoum and fled to Ethiopia. But in June 1983, the government in Khartoum began abolished the agreement. In July 1983, the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) was formed in Ethiopia, and Dr. John Garang was elected by high council of liberation to lead the Pan South Sudanese Nationalists movement.
In September 1983, President Nimeri declared Sharia law throughout the country. From 1980-1890, SPLA captured many areas in the South. A military man called Thoura Daub took over from Nimeri, he was defeated by Dr. John Garang, but in late 1980s, Sadie Al Maddi took over and signed a peace deal with SPLA, but in June 30th 1989, he was ousted by Omar Al-Bashir with Hassan Al-Turabi until today.
In 1991-1992, Salva was forced out from Ethiopia when Mengistu Haile Mariam was overthrown and UNHCR open Kakuma Refugees camp and Sudanese were received in the camp and in 1993, the process of peace initiatives began among IGAD countries. In 1999, 4,000 lost boys were accepted for resettlement in United States, and in 2001 President George Bush appointed a former U.S senator John Danforth as the president’s special envoy for peace in Sudan.
In January 9, 2005, the final comprehensive peace agreement, (CPA) was signed in Nairobi Kenya. On the 30th of July 2005, Dr. John Garang died in helicopter crashed, and in August three weeks after the first vice president was sworn in, the peace agreement continues. In 2010, Sudan general election was held, and president Kiir win 75% but on January 9, 2011, South Sudanese voted for referendum stimulated in Comprehensive Peace Agreement, (CPA), with the total of 99.9%, and in July 9, 2011, South Sudanese people celebrated and grantee a journey of thousands miles of struggles to join the rest of the world in league of nations, and being proud as citizens in their own country or first class citizens.
As an opinion writer on this historic exercise, there are reasons behind the steps of dedications of South Sudanese generations right from the beginning. The right foundation established by our grandfathers and grandmothers in the ancient history as a guiding star was because our forefathers were not so much educated the way we are, but they were not so much divided. In fact there were few collaborators with Arabs and British, but not all sections.
Therefore, if there are nationalists, and the president had called for the national dialogue initiatives as it is in hearts of many people, it is better as South Sudanese to remember our long journey, and embrace peace, unity, forgiveness, and reconciliation through this consensus of national dialogue in the country. Indeed I always complain with the facts.
This national dialogue needs South Sudanese nationalists, for sure we are all South Sudanese people but we are not all South Sudanese Nationalists, there are South Sudanese who are cursed by Dr. John Garang when he said, “some people will cut our land with pangas and sell it cheaply with bottle of beer”, these people are to be brought back to their senses through dialogue by nationalists.
It is good we evaluate peace and its benefits and then evaluate war and its benefits, but I think we have already known through this current economic crisis, the problems of war or conflicts.
The author is a co-founder of South Sudan mental health care Organization. He can be reach at email@example.com
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