Remembering the Launching of the SPLM/A Liberation Struggle, 1983 – 2005

Posted: June 15, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers, Speeches, Thiik Mou Giir

This is a speech I delivered during an event that took place on 10/6/2017, in Melbourne, Australia

By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

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

June 15, 2017 (SSB) — The saying of a Chinese philosopher goes like this: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. The step of the liberation journey that eventually led to the independence of South Sudan was marked when Late Major Kerubino Kwanyin Bol who commanded Battalion 105 launched an assault on Government troops in Bor in 16th May 1983.

That Civil war ended on 9th January 2005.  The time span of 1983 up to 2005 was a long time.  That war caused the death of two million people.  That was a high price to pay in exchange for your freedom and my freedom.  That was a high price to pay for the freedom of our children and our children’s children.

Freedom does not come easily; freedom comes following the shedding of the blood.  Freedom, brothers and sisters, comes when a price is paid.  Our brother Malcolm X once said, “The price of freedom is death.”  Major Kerubino Kwanyin paid the ultimate price, so did the rebel movement leader, Dr John Garang De Mabior, so did Commander William Nyuon Bany, so did many more heroes and heroines. They paid the price so that we may all be free.

To crown what those heroes and heroines did and those who have survived the war, including the incumbent president, President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Vice-President, Wani Igga, the people of South Sudan, all over the world, casted their votes in the 2011 Referendum.  Following that referendum, South Sudan officially became an independent African State and not a Middle Eastern State.

Our people did all this, but are we now free?  Have we ever come to the end of the journey of the liberation struggle?  Have our people stop dying and suffering in the name of liberation?  Are we now enjoying the freedom our people had fought for?  If we had lived through out the liberation war most of our lifetime, if not all, can we now say, “Our children are free and our children will continue to live knowing that the home country where their fathers and mothers came from is free from war?”

The thought that we had held for so long, the thought that in freedom, our aspirations and our promises would come to fruition, has been dashed, has been turned to nothingness because of the violent acts that have prevailed since 2013.  That thought has turned out to be an illusion.  It has become a nightmare.

This is so, because, the eternal enemy, in the form of the Arab Muslims, has been replaced by our own internal enemy, in the form of ambition, greed, corruption, nepotism and tribalism.  This enemy, also, lies in the path of our liberation journey.  This enemy must be confronted and destroyed, before we can finally say, “We are free!”  We can destroy this enemy, not by the use of guns to physically kill our own people, but by the use of pens, dialogue opportunities, demonstrations and so on and so forth.

The purpose is to convert the heart and the mind and not to kill one’s own countryman and countrywoman.  Anyway, the liberation journey that begun long before Major Kerubino’s giant step and Dr John Garang’s profound leadership has not ended.  We must continue.  We still have miles of liberation struggle to travel.

The next phase of the journey calls for a new vision.  I have provided a vision.  This vision is this: We Must Construct Our National Identity.  It is a two-hundred-year vision.  It is the best vision that our people can possibly have.  This vision, though it is individualistic, its full scope is external; it is outwardly.  It gives one an ability to say to the other, “You are part of me; you and I are one”.

It gives an individual an ability to say to members of all South Sudanese tribes, “You and I are one people, indivisible”.  Words are not enough.  We must show this in whatever we do.  It is a tuning of one’s mind.  If we all do this, we are heading off for something greater than one-self.  We will certainly end up being of one identity.

Even here, in Australia, there are things we can do in order for us to demonstrate how acts, inspired by this vision, can work.  For example, we must reach out to others, to those South Sudanese who are not at peace with us.  We must let them know that we love them and that we should dialogue so that we find ways to resolve the issues that are dividing us.  This, we must do before we can seriously begin to construct our national identity.

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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