By Dak Buoth, Nairobi, Kenya
January 13, 2017 (SSB) — Early this week, some South Sudanese social media Users have vent their ire on Egyptian’s authority for what they called sheer disregard and blatant insubordination of South Sudan and its citizenry. They felt disgusted with the way South Sudan’s flag was displayed during the recent Salva Kiir’s visit to Cairo on 10th January 2017. On his arrival at the Airport, the national flag was seen hanging upside down, that mean the green color was facing up and the black was facing down.
The Makers of South Sudan’s flag have arranged it in such a way that, the black color would always appear on top whenever it is hoisted. The flag is composed of five colors namely black, white, green and the blue. The red color epitomizes the blood of the heroes, heroines and martyrs who struggled unwaveringly during the days of the liberation, black symbolizes South Sudanese citizenry, white color represent peace that we yearn for, green is fertile land, the blue represent the immortal waters of the Nile River, and the Star is our guider as we seek peace, justice and prosperity.
South Sudan’s flag is identical to Kenya’s national flag. The only slide different is the tiny blue color and the star. However, this similarity between South Sudan’s flag and Kenyan’s national has done us bad than good. We are being belittled and laughed at.
You will be told, the South Sudanese in Kenya have suffered insults and constant ridicule from unfriendly Kenyans who keep telling us ‘‘why do you guys copy paste our national flag?’’ ‘‘Why can’t you use other colors and design?’’
Even when we tell them, maybe it’s because we have some shared social, and cultural values, they rubbishes this ‘proximity’ claims as nonsensical. Instead, they keep telling us that we are not just being creative; that we just want to lean on Kenya’s back as parasites and so on and so forth.
In light of this, these fellows argued saying, though we have shared values and similarities with Ghanaians and Ugandans for instance, that they did not copy paste their flags’ colors on pretext of share values or cultural and social proximities.
In spite of the fact that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which brought our independent to fruition was brokered in Kenya and signed at a ceremony here at Nyayo Stadium in 2015, still many Prominent Kenyans including legislators referred to the republic of South Sudan as ‘Southern Sudan’, True or false?
If i compare these two cases, to me, the ones who we blamed for hoisting our flag wrongly, and those who called our country ‘Southern Sudan’ are nearly the same, and they should be treated alike.
In real sense, if one named us ‘Southern Sudanese’, he simply means to say, South Sudan is completely not sovereign state; that it’s still part and or the territory of Khartoum Sudan. As we speak, some Prominent Kenyans do not know that South Sudan is an independent country. And if they are not just aware, then it means they possess an ignorance of highest degree.
I often asked myself, if these neighbors do not know when South Sudan seceded, would they really know the existence of Somaliland inside the trouble Somalia?
In a nutshell, I must reiterate that, those who called us ‘Southern Sudanese’ have committed grievous offence, others who we blame of having hoisted the flag wrongly have just faulted, and as such, theirs was a misdemeanor.
Categorically, the people of South Sudan, region and the world at large ought to be informed eloquently that the current South Sudan flag belongs to SPLM political party and its army wing. Not every South Sudanese is member of SPLM party which purported to be ruling party; not everyone subscribed to its futile ideals and objectives.
We are using the current South Sudan’s flag temporally. It is a provisional flag. Even the current south Sudan’s constitution is provisional one. When the Peoples’ progressive party ascends to the helm of state affairs, it would not be call ruling party like SPLM/A, it would be call governing party.
Soon after the post SPLM/A era, all Symbols of national unity including Roads and Avenues would be subject to radical change. Complacency and Copy pasting of other peoples’ national colors will be thing of the past. Plagiarizing Kenya’s national flag was very unfortunate and regrettable. When the time comes, we would pay them whatever redress desirable.
Dr. Garang Mabior was a genius and political guru; a man who possessed rare combination of agilities. May he Rest in Peace. But he was not immune from errors. I attributed this blame on him. He erred for adopting Kenyan’s colors and design. He would have come up with original and unique flag that represent the unique people of South Sudan. He ought to have foreseen these repercussions that we face today.
I think Dr. Garang and company crafted the SPLM/A’S flag while in hurry, and perhaps they designed the current flag to look like Kenya’s flag so as to obtain and solicit political sympathy from KANU during his days in the bushes.
Dr. Garang’s predecessor in the person of Salva Kiir failed to admit or institute changes on all aspects, and it is this reason why we are at war. An Africa’s proverb says, ‘‘you cannot change the win, but change the scene’’ SPLM/A is trying to stop the win of change in the country but in vain. It will certainly go, it’s just a matter of time. The SPLM/A’s regime have gone beyond complacency and confusion; right now they are at comma awaiting detonation.
However, hope is not lost in expense of hopelessness. When the new crops of leaders take over the reign of power from President Salva Kiir and his cousins, there would be serious rearrangement and total reinvigoration of the nation in all aspects of our society. Right from the start, several national committees would be constituted to formulate and Fastract fundamental reforms and transformations. In any case, we should respect this provisional flag for now as symbol of national unity and identity notwithstanding these unresolved issues surrounding it.
Let me bring this crucial conversation to a close by saying, the row in Egypt was not intentional, but human error. I have seen the photos showing how the flags were arranged at the Airport in Cairo. All national flags were put on same line; and they were hanged on the same metallic poles with equal sizes.
If you look at the photo I saw, you would realize the Egyptian’s national flag was next to South Sudan flag on the right. You would also notice the Egyptian’s national flag had three visible colors, red, white and black. Unlike South Sudan’s flag, the white color appear on top followed by red and the black is upside down. In light of this, I presumed that the Egyptian staff who hoisted these flag thought that black color on South Sudan was supposed to be upside down like the Egyptian’s national flag. I believe if the black color was often put up on their flag, he would have done the same.
From the meanings of our five colors, you will appreciate that each color represents a very vital purpose. However, no one can rank them for whatever reasons. In other words, we cannot differentiate those who shed blood for our independent and the people who enjoy the independence brought by our heroes and heroines whose precious blood was represented by the red color. Moreover, we cannot say that (black) people are better than (white) peace. Human beings become real persons when they are peaceful to themselves and others.
The people and peace are inseparable. Peace is an inherent human trait. Where there is no peace lives become unbearable. Peace makes us meaningful, and it is inside us, we just displaced it intentionally.
Moreover, People do not live on sky but on land. We cannot differentiate between our green land and the people who just occupied the land. We survive on the land. In absence of the land, we cease to survive. Our Martyrs sacrificed their inalienable right to life in defense of the land not individuals. The Land and the people are two sides of the same coin.
Even to downplay the significant of the star that guides us in expense of other colors is like putting the cart before horse, because we won’t move steadily but unsteadily.
In view of the foregoing, I’m of the view that the colors on South Sudan flag have no hierarchy. In other words, the colors on South Sudan’s flag have no hierarchy in term of importance. No color is better than the other. The five colors of South Sudan’s flag are one and the same; and they are just interdependent.
The colors of South Sudan’s national flag are like the human’s heart, lung and the brain. If one of them dies, the person ceases to function. The black South Sudanese cannot exist without her green agricultural land and peace.
Our black complexion would be valueless if our martyrs did not shed red blood. If we were to rank these colors in term of value, then the red color would appear first before black.
In everything there must be the start and the end, and entry and exit point. Just because the black color is on top does not mean the last color cannot come first. I HELD that these colors are interchangeable. It was by chance that the black color appear on top, otherwise they are equal in their significance and values.
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