A Symbol of National Unity: Story of SPLA Soldiers in 1990s during the bush era

Posted: January 4, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël in Columnists, David Matiop Gai, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By David Matiop Gai, Juba, South Sudan

May 16th: Celebrating the Founding of the SPLM/SPLA

January 4, 2017 (SSB) — The 1st LT Peter Gola calling the meeting to order, the telling story of ten (10) SPLA soldiers, likewise the entire SPLA/M unity in the jungle, whose survival in the bush era was through their ultimate unity, love, goodwill, and sharing of ideas during the struggle in 1983-2005.

Who knows diversionists would divide us and buried our SPLA logo and moto of “Comrade” meaning my colleague or my dear friend, that the current tribalists have push us backward into a worse scenario of my tribe, or our tribe, where the liberators want to forget the course of liberation, and tribe is now becomes better icon in South Sudan?

Who knows tribalists, destructors, murderers, killers, separatists, gluttons, and betrayers of South Sudan would overcome our loyal sacrifices to this nation since the birth of SPLA until CPA? It is so sad. Those who are betraying South Sudan will not succeed whatsoever, because they don’t have truth in them, and in their actions.

Look here how we survived and achieved SPLA objectives, vision, and mission under a symbol of national unity before South Sudan even becomes a nation in July 2011. Coming back to the meeting order and the storytelling of South Sudanese hunters during the bush era, its reflects back on our previous unity when we were fighting the Arabs, and the means of survival because our forest is the richest jungle in Africa with bountiful animals, and natural resources in it, so Junuub fed us sufficiently, our big family than its population fed us for 22 years.

The hunting story was a live story of ten (10) South Sudanese soldiers under the leadership of Chairman of SPLA/M Dr. John Garang de Mabior, and his deputy, the Current President Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit in the late 1990s. Under the SPLA leadership, we were not bond on division of individuals, tribe, ethnicity, or regions. We were tribes or regions in one person, and we used to recognize the importance of our different diversities.  During the struggle, people used to survive through hunting, eating leaves of trees, wild yams, wild honey, and so forth. So from that time the ten South Sudanese soldiers were symbols of unity across southern Sudan regions.

Being together it was something important in life. A person you are living together with is better than your immediate brother and sister of the same father and mother. Imagine the soldiers were brothers in the bush with one mind, one heart, one spirit, one objective, and one goal, but they representing three regions of Southern Sudan. The five soldiers were from Greater Upper Nile, three from Greater Bhar-el ghazal, and two others from Greater Equatoria. Their names are here as follows:

  1. 1st Peter Gola – Greater Upper Nile region from Murle
  2. Moses Khueer- Greater Upper Nile region from Murle
  3. Daniel Korok- Greater Upper Nile region from Murle
  4. Mach Riak-Greater Upper Nile region from Dinka Bor
  5. David Matiop – Greater Upper Nile region from Dinka Bor
  6. Pierinde Amet- Greater Bhar-el ghazal region from Dinka Gok
  7. Anai Anai- Greater Bhar-el ghazal region from Dinka Aweil
  8. James Baak-Greater Bhar-el ghazal region from Dinka Agar
  9. James Odwa- Greater Equatoria region from Latuko
  10. And Abraham –Greater Equatoria region from Baka.

If our unity was in question like today, we would have not survived and achieved the goal and fruit of liberation struggle which is known as CPA.  Believe me or not we all know where the problem came from, and if the liberators narrate their lives-histories since the formation of SPLA/SPLM in 1983 until 2005, one may get shock because some of the stories were very interested, and others were very sad, and that is why it is so painful when hearing those who are tarnishing the imagine of South Sudan at the time when it becomes a sovereign state among the nations. Its sound lukewarm on the ears of liberators when the nation again is being destroys for no good reasons.

To continue narrating the story of South Sudanese hunters at that time, although Soldier were suffering of hunger, SPLA that time was fighting to liberate South Sudan for all South Sudanese regardless of wherever they come from, and whatsoever it maybe. And before I joined SPLA, I was told in 19985 by Soldiers battalion of Koryom and later on by the battalion of Mormor that Jec-elar mer, which mean red army, we are fighting Khartoum to free you and generation to come from the Arabs colony, thinking that the war they are fighting maybe the war of two-three years, but they were not aware that I and my age mates will join them in the course of liberation process.

But in 1987-2005, I and age mates joined the SPLA/M, and I became part of SPLA beginners of the year 1983, and we learned and adapted to speak the language of SPLA/M of “Comrade” whereby every south Sudanese is recognize as lovely brother and sister, a language of Socialism, and communism that gave us directions with strong logo of unity, objectives, vision, and mission to liberate and set free our people under the sun in South Sudan part of African continent despite the challenges of SPLA split in 1991 where major division gearing toward failure of SPLA faction in Nasir, and SPLA faction in Torit, but our soldiers loyal to SPLA in Torit faction remained committed and loyal to the SPLA mainstream and soldiers remained under Dr. John Garang and Salva Kiir were not seeing anybody in a tribe angle although your tribemates rebelled.

In conclusion, the objectives, logo, vision, and mission are still the same and in place. We are the same South Sudanese. Look the above ten people are south Sudanese who stayed together in the bush. If one is not around, the rest will not eat until he comes back, and they shared food together. Remember, our leader was 1st LT Peter Gola, and we used to share whatever one of us got on his own. Nothing can divide us that time whether family members, sickness, and guns we were carrying, or tough journey, and so forth. There was nothing that could stand on our ways.

Therefore, the lives of South Sudanese in bush rightly challenge the current national relationship inabilities at all level of social contacts. If today we want peace, democracy, and politics of social development, we have to recall back the symbol of national unity where we can notice areas of disagreements, and not conflict but unnecessary conflicts, because disagreements are not conflict itself but differ in opinions, and how you views, and evaluate issues pertaining perceptions, concepts and perspectives.

The author is a co-founder of South Sudan Mental Health care Organization, (SSMHCO). He holds Bachelor degree in Social Work and Social Administration from SSCUST, Bachelor of Theology from CLT, Bungoma, Kenya/Kalispell, USA, and a fellow researcher. He can be reach at tonggaid551@yahoo.com/david.matiopgai@gmail.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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