By Deng Diar Diing, Mombasa, Kenya
April 11, 2017 (SSB) — Dear colleagues, relatives, friends and contemporaries on Facebook, this forum has been a place of great learning and it is my strong believe that one can obviously gain knowledge, whether distorted or judicious one . It is conceivable that trends can be built in this fusillade of exchanges which may end up forming a certain domain of knowledge.
And when it is faulty as it clearly is, it must be rebuked. That is why I am specifically writing this piece to reproof with the reproach it deserves the uncalled for destruction of our history of liberation which is happening at our watch. And let everyone be warned that this is history and can never be shared, regardless of whether you are friend or not, it may hurt but I am sorry, I will have to put history as it is, not as it should be.
I want to admonish this cheap talk that is gaining unwarranted audience in our South Sudanese fora. It is specifically from today liberators of the yesterday war. This fortunate group that escaped the wrath and tribulations that came with our war of liberation has made it their business to distort history and vilify those who gave their-all to our freedom. They have even gone a step further to take up our gallant movement from our unsuspecting leader, to sidestep the owners of the movement by sacrifices not by buccaneering.
And as I write this, I would want a challenger of my information to be a jesh amer from either Fugnido, Bilpham, Therapham, Itang, Dima, or Politaka for they will be grounded in their argument not a mouth-runners who have been guessing history. I am talking about this group because they understand better the history of Jesh amer which became the “lost boys” in-depth.
The line of thought that people with no information about the war of liberation have been pursuing is misleading and must be nipped in the bud. It insinuates that other communities were being kept in front line by Dr. John Garang while he took his community, Bor, to schools. What a face-saving lie!
This is a wild lie and debauched discourse to say the least. It is actually sickening. It is a lie created by non-participants in the war of liberation in an effort in futility to justify their reasons for marginalizing the liberators. This well schemed to divide and dump the veterans. If they went to the bush, they would not be saying what they are claiming today. The truth is alive and safeguarded by the firsthand bearers of it.
Going to Fugnido was not a celebratory to schools neither was a smooth flight to the comfort of oblivion. Rather, it was a painful strenuous journery filled with wretch and deaths. Women wailed and keened, others committed suicide but their sons had to leave anyways to unknown distant lands. Courtesy of Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk, Gen. Awet Akot, Gen. Baba Africa, Dr. Riek Machar, Late Chuang Machar and other leaders who made this process possible.
Though I was a class one student in 1988 and could not be in the exact know of the statistics of jesha amer, I know that Group 1, and 2 were predominantly boys from Aweil, Gogrial and Lakes, while Groups 3, 4,5 and 6, were in a fair mix with slight majority of about 60% from Bor District. Group 7 was majorly Bor (Over 80% Athooch) and Group 8 (where I was, was over 80% Bor Gok.)
In the same vein, Group 9 and 10 were over 80% Bor (Twic and Duk) While Groups 11 and 12 were majorly, say 80% Bentiu. Most of boys from Panriang and Bailiet who joined from Bilpham and Therpham when to Groups 11 and 13 as well.
I did my own research on their figures to ascertain the population and the composition. These are figures and one can go to Gen. Pieng to verify them. I will concentrate on Fugnido because this there where majority of the current lost boys were.
The population was initially around 22,000 of which over 50% percent were from Bor District, Courtesy of Gen. Kuol Manyang who could not allow parents to handle the movement’s orders in their way. It later reached about 26,000 when those from Panriang and Bailiet joined us from Bilpham and a few from Mundari and Bor in 1988.
The statistics was basically in this order, that 12,000 were from Bor, 4,500 was from Aweil, Bentiu was 3,500 and Lakes State(Yirol and Rumbek) had 900. The rest were mainly from Panriang, Bailiet and Gogrial mainly from Twic Mayardit. The variation in numbers could largely be attributed to the distance to Ethiopia, the way majority of Aweil and Gogrial district made it to Wau, and then on to Khartoum.
On the use of the boys in the combats, there was continuous screening and integrations of the jesh amer to reinforce jesh aswat in front lines. The major enlisting took place in late 1990.
Of the 26,000 boys from Fugnido, 12(5,000) Taskforces who were brought to Kapoeta for military re-training then henceforth to face the life-thirsty operations of Seif el Obur and the Nassir Factions operations. And about 10(4,000 populary called jesha Amer Majak Agoot) task-forces went to Bonga for re-training and later to face-off with uyana operations that cost many of them their dear lives.
Most of them got lost in the hills of Gore, Domodolla and the forests of Western Ethiopia. They were commanded by Comrade Salva with Majak Agoot as operation commander. The survivors proceeded to face-off with advancing Nassir Faction forces in Payoom, Twi East and Bor where most of them lost their lives.
The figure that came to Kakuma was reported to be 16,000, this considers those who were too young then to be part of Jesha having joined in.
THE QUESTION IN MY MIND HAS ALWAYS BEEN, WHY DO THESE OPPORTUNISTS GET CONCERNED MORE WITH THE 4,000 LOST BOYS WHO GOT EDUCATION IN KENYA AND THE USA AND NEVER WORRY OR ASK FOR THE WEREABOUT OF THE 7,000 WHO PERISHED BETWEEN 1991-2002?
This information is available and it is in the interest of any opportunists who want to hijack and vilify the rightful liberators to justify their opportunistic gains. I know what I went through at a very young age when I went to Ethiopia and I also know how many relatives and close mentors that I lost to the war from Jesha amer. It pains me to see opportunistic individuals who never experienced this pain to simply try to wish away our suffering.
I challenge anybody who will dispute these figures with facts and I am ready to debate with him anywhere anytime. And I also challenge anybody who thinks he was targeted to go to front because he was not from Bor and mention those from Bor who were with him and spared from war.
The only thing we, the Bor, never gave to the war of liberation was what we never had. Even, our leader, Comrade Salva Kiir Mayardit knows this. I challenge anybody who thinks otherwise about this and especially those who were in the combat to tally the figures from 104, 105, Jamus, Tiger, Tumsah, Koryom, Muormuor, Zalzal, Kazuk, Intifadha, intisar, and so on to give statistics of the soldiers and apportion it to the population that Bor has according to 2008 census and the ration we are partaking in the government.
Individuals’ sacrifices can never be communal. I am writing about this on behalf of Bor community because the disparage is becoming unbecoming!!! Otherwise, I proudly have my piece of history to tell.
If you never participated or attempt to participate in the war, shut your hell out of the liberation politics. I salute and respect those who put bet on their lives by going to the bush. Their contribution can never be communally owned.
All though both men joined the movement almost with equal measure, Comrade Salva has advantage over Dr. Riek in leadership of South Sudan because of his consistency contrary to what Dr. Riek did in 1991.
Regardless of other shortcomings, he is always respected by those of us who went through the same experience with him. Comrade Kiir is simply reaping his historical investments and his inherent luck of being able to make the right decision and be at the right place at the right time.
What makes anybody think that our very painful experience and lives losses can easily be wished away and reduced into opportunistic design?
It is a matter of time and liberators will take back their party, the SPLM and its government. Let those who went in the hiding or remain in their villages plus their traitors accept their status in the history of South Sudan of Liberation. That is what they sow, they should harvest it.
I understand, it is easy these days to gain favors from corners of power if and when you specifically denigrate certain communities. Anybody is allowed to do so for his/her own immoral survival but not at the expense of History and role played by my GREAT COMMUNITY OF BOR WHICH SACRIFICED EVERYTHING FOR THE FREEDOM AGENDA!!!
You can reach the author via his email: Deng Diar <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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