A THIN LINE BETWEEN A “TRIBE” AND THE “STATE” (Part 2)

Posted: February 23, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël in Columnists, KON Joseph Leek, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Kon Joseph Leek, Juba, South Sudan

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February 23, 2017 (SSB) —- Just like somebody else, I personally became a member of my current tribe simply because someone in the past, one of my fraternal genealogical great grandfathers decided to. My current village whether it’s Kangapo, Nyaken, Abiriu, Lui or Baidit became my last-village because somebody many years ago came and settled here, that alone has granted me an unlimited automatic citizenship of the area.

For the grand reason that we became members of these tribes through migration and resettlement or that our forefathers migrated here then what is utterly wrong for not keeping that flexibility of our grandfathers which helped them to buoyantly blend with others? Can’t we also blend with other diversities just like our ancient dead guys? The word tribe is not complete to itself, it is not eternal, it is not born as a child neither is it born with or in us. Tribe is not what you come out with in the womb, neither is it that too specific and definite that once you are a Kachipo or Lokoyo you would always be that!

Tribe is an external pride that is possessed through training and learning, tribe is a lesson – it is taught and learned, it is what we are told to grow up with by our external directors and actors to become like them. They (external actors) act as our supervisors and guidance to smoothly grow into a true man or woman of the said tribe.

Tribe is in the culture and the language; tribe is made complete by the possession of a language and culture. A language act as facilitator of culture, it is hard to separate the culture from the language because culture grows and matures within the language and this is why up to today, a child who speaks more of a language he/she grows up in becomes more of the people of whom he/she speaks their language.

For this matter, a child abducted for instance by the Murle at the tender age from Patuenoi, Bangashorot, Puongborong, Panyanbil or Muot’tot grows up a Murle. He/she grows up knowing only them because they are confined where they would neither see nor hear somebody else but Murle in order not to confuse the toddler’s sense of cognition. The child would only be allowed to see and hear the usefulness of the new environment by speaking the sole language of those people and imitating their cultures. A child would eventually grow slowly in to a complete Murle!

A child just like any other normal being would of course develop love of what he/she knows and what a person knows is what he/she sees or hears daily! Ultimately, a child would slowly start forgetting as he/she is trying to adjust self to a new system thus becoming a member of a new found environment.

Many children have been retrieved at adult age by their blood parents from the Murles but they could still goes back to Lilkuangule or Gumuruk (where they grew up from) because they are only known to the ways of life of where they grew up. And in most cases as far as adoption is concern, the grown-up abducted children upon hearing their kinsmen going for an invasion where they would possibly go and kill, abduct and raid cattle, those children would eventually join them as it becomes a life and probably a culture of their new found environment where they would of course have more chances of either killing, abducting or raiding!

And the people of whom they are doing these to them are their blood people. They may know it but the culture of which they grew up tells them that “let’s do it” and they have a right to do it because it is a cultural obligation to do so. Why? Because he sees himself a member of the invading tribe and you as a traditional nemesis because he grew up being told that he is a Murle and thus learned a language which hitherto helps him to integrate to that society through the culture and later marries and his children and their children’s children down to the umpteenth generation would henceforth be of that tribe to the infinitum!

From wherever you call yourself a proud member of certain tribe if tribe is something to be swollen with pride of, who knows maybe your grandfather was an immigrant to that land/tribe? Who knows if your grandfather was abducted just like a child(ren) above? Who knows if your grandfather was a bustard? Who knows if your grandfather was adopted? Who knows!

We have many Dinkas and Shiluks who are presently Nuer and so are Nuer who are either Dinkas or Shiluks but have not been chased away, maybe your story is akin to that! We have Dinkas who are presently of different clan, we have South Sudanese who are Ethiopians, Ugandans, Kenyans and Sudanese and they have not been chased, maybe your story is akin to that as well!

Reality of all is that we are not tribes because we are born so; we are simply tribes because we are told by our parents and other environmental elements around us. For instance, how did you know that you were a Dinka? Isn’t it that because you were told by your father? How about your father, how did he know that he was a Nyepo? Because his father (your grandfather) told him so isn’t it? Down to your great grandfathers! And if you become kin enough maybe one of your great grandfathers was a Nyangbara but decided to work in Maridi where he married a Baka and stayed there until today that his offspring are Baka!

Therefore, being a member of a certain tribe is as flexible as a language itself. It keeps changing with environment and situation. Where are the Luos, Aluris, Acholis, Langos, Japadholas and the Kakuos who were once upon a time South Sudanese? Where are they now? Kenya and Uganda isn’t it? Before you became South Sudanese who knows maybe you were blown to South Sudan by whatever magic that flew the Luos, Acholis etcetera to Uganda and Kenya?

So, we need to be inclusively careful with our behaviors which seem to provoke or irritate others, migration hasn’t stopped yet or else you are rejected next time you would want to change your tribe.

Subsequently, we don’t need TRIBE to be the cause of our problems otherwise you may not belong to that tribe you claim to be. Let TRIBES be our source of strength and integration, source of cultural identity and diversity but should you make it as a font of conflict and disintegration then you will belong to different tribe tomorrow. Historians could only tell us of the tribes which once existed but existing no more now. They do not exist not because they have no seeds left but that they migrated, others got integrated and fully dissolved in to other existing tribes.

In the nut shell, all we need is LOVE. Where there is love there is peace and harmony, there is development and growth, there is life. Love’s what made our grandfathers allowed to be accepted in our current tribes, love is what helps us coexist as people, love is what make us accept ourselves and love is what bring peace. Tribe is just an identity, it is our address. Should we misuse it, should we make it as cause of our problems then we will end up without a State but only pieces of lands curved out in tribal distinction to torment ourselves

Reach the commentator on j.onleek@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 from.

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