Tension between hope and despair: Violent vs non-violent revolution in South Sudan (Part 2)

Posted: September 24, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Columnists, Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers, Thiik Mou Giir

By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

Social media warriors

Social media warriors

September 24, 2017 (SSB) — Since the outbreak of violence between the soldiers loyal to the government and the soldiers loyal to the opposition in Juba and as well as in other parts of South Sudan in 2013 and which have continued up to this very day, the consequences are now well known.  It is very important that we should reflect and learn from something that has touched every South Sudanese negatively.  In this piece of work, I have examined what violent and non-violent revolutions look like.

This part is that last part and it deals with Non-Violent Revolution.  You may agree with me in saying that non-violent revolution is the lesser evil than violent revolution.  The best and the safest way of changing a regime is through a democratic means – an election.  Anyway, aware that you may want to participate in the discussion, I have assigned a number to each grid for referencing purposes.

Factor Advantage Disadvantage


The behaviour of a regime leadership during a non-violent revolt.



·         The regime could support a democratic process for a regime change through which negotiation, dialogue, debating, and discussion will be the norm;

·         They may come up with projects such as building more schools, hospitals, bridges and so on and so forth, to prove that the non-violent revolutionaries have nothing to complain about and fight for.



·         Who will be able to tell whether the next regime, set up by non-revolutionaries, would be any better than the previous one?

·         May exhibit a muted dictatorship





The revolutionary leaders, dissents, and the masses




·         They may become embolden by the support they receive from the masses;

·         They may establish solidarity with members of different tribes through the political parties they will form;

·         They will strive to gain the trust and the confidence of the majority of people regardless of their tribal backgrounds;

·         The revolutionary leaders and dissents will focus on pointing out the shortcomings of the regime’s and on finding strategies that will convince the people that the regime change is to their own interest.



·         Some revolutionaries, dissents and ordinary people may be tortured, detained and even killed;

·         They may be forced by the security agencies to flee the country;



The importance of non-violent revolution in times of need




·         Non-violence promotes and embraces multi-tribalism which could eventually lead to the formation of a new national identity;

·         Tribal and cultural frictions are minimized;

·         It sets a positive precedent for the next generation; that, whenever people feel there will be a need to revolt, non-violence is lesser of two evils that they would think of;









States and counties during a time of non-violent revolution




Those areas will still maintain some degree of stability:


·         Government institutions will continue to function;

·         Schools will continue to operate;





·         Because the government’s incompetence, people will experience economic hardship;

·         Crime rate will rise;

·         Foreigners will find the situation a reason to have somewhat freehand to almost everything



Communities/tribes affected



·         People will stand up together to claim their human rights;

·         People in their areas will learn other ways of generating some income and not to solely rely on the failing government;

·         The masses will identify the parties and the policies of parties that will serve them well



·         The majority of people will become depressed



Diasporas affected during non-violent revolution



·         Some people in diaspora may try to assist by contributing ideas




·         Some South Sudanese in diaspora may give up intervening in South Sudanese politics and affairs and will just focus on their own issues in the countries they will try to settle in.



Revolutionary leaders, heroes and heroines




·         People will look up to them for guidance;

·         Some of them will be propelled to prominence at which time they will be considered as national leaders;

·         What they will stand for may inspire the next generations positively



·         Some of them will be jailed, tortured and even killed for what they will stand for;

·         Some of them may flee the country for their safety.



Families affected during non-violent revolution




·         Members of the families will learn to cope with the situation as much as long as it will take;



·         Members may suffer hardship and depression.



Children’s schooling affected during non-violent revolution



·         University students and teenagers will learn the root causes of the non-violent revolution and those causes could form the topics that they will discuss in their classrooms and debate in school yards;

·         University students and teenagers will be involved in the non-violent activities such as taking part in demonstration in streets;

·         Children, having learned valuable lessons during the non-violent struggle, may emerge from it more intelligent, more confident, and more hopeful.



·         Senior children may be involved in activities that may turn violent such as when they will participate in demonstrations during which time they may cause damages to properties;

·         School may temporarily be closed down;

·         Children could be jailed and beaten up and killed;

·         The strain in the economy may cause children to go to school without sufficient food and that may hamper their learning abilities.



Civilians affected during non-violent revolution





·         The situation may force the civilians to struggle and learn lessons from their non-violent struggle;

·         The bond and loyalty between them and their revolutionary leaders will become stronger.




·         The civilians will suffer hardship and depression;

·         As a result of poor economy, corruption and mismanagement, the majority of people will lack basic needs of life.










·         The desired lifestyle could not be attainable under those unstable conditions;

·         Some people could take advantage of the situation and create an environment where the poor will become poorer and the rich will become richer.



The economy/resources of South Sudan




·         People will learn to use the limited resources they have very well


·         The economy will be weakened;

·         The political turmoil will keep investors out of the country



Development of the country







·         Slow



Human development




·         People will learn new life skills in order to cope with the situation;




·         Jobs will become scarce



Sub-communities’ disputes and fights



·         The government will do their best in order to stop communal violence and restore peace so that the revolutionaries would not take advantage of criticizing them for their failure;

·         The non-violent revolutionaries, on the other hand, will try to point out some areas where the government is weak.














·         The government will try to eliminate corruption in order to show that they are doing the right thing;

·         The revolutionaries will try to prove to the public that the government has failed because the government itself is corrupt.




·         Corruption becomes widespread and the government will no longer be able to do anything about it



Non-South Sudanese interference in the affairs of South Sudan during non-violent revolution



·         Members of the international community will come into the country for the purpose of showing human solidarity with those who are in need;

·         They will be considered neutral; therefore, trustworthy








Social media apparatus

·         Peace makers;

·         Conscience raisers;



In diaspora

While the majority of the users are not on the ground themselves, they will effectively:


·         Attempt to build positive bridges between people;

·         Attempt to make peace;

·         Attempt to present alternative visions to the South Sudanese people;


In South Sudan

·         The professional journalists and not pseudo-freedom fighters, interceptors, saboteurs, liars, propagandists, and rumourmongers, will play a positive role in supporting the non-violent revolutionaries.




·         The hatred generated by a violent revolution is no longer there to make the following activism necessary:

·         Freedom fighters;

·         Interceptors;

·         Saboteurs;

·         Liars (propaganda);

·         Rumourmongers



The time period it takes to overthrow the government



·         Advantage, if short and the majority of people like the change they had been fighting for.



·         Disadvantage, if long and the majority of people don’t like the change they had been fighting for.



After defeating the government



·         Advantage, if the non-violent revolutionaries will take over the power and the majority of people will be able to see that the revolutionaries are working very hard in order to bring the objectives of the revolution to fruition.


·         Disadvantage, if they fail to win the hearts and the minds of the large section of the society;

·         Disadvantage, if the non-violent revolutionaries will not be any better than those who preceded them



After defeating the non-violent revolutionaries



·         Advantage, if they will prove to the public that the failed revolutionaries were actually not worth fighting for.



·         Disadvantage, if the political differences will still keep the nation polarized and dysfunctional.



Comparing the sum of the losses during the non-violent struggle period with the sum of gains throughout the period the revolutionaries will be in power.




·         Advantage, if the revolutionaries will be in power and they will be working hard to achieve their objectives and goals and make the nation better than what it was before they took over;

·         Advantage, if they will be able to pull the country together as one;

·         Advantage, if they will be able to contribute to building and strengthening the nations’ institutions



·         Disadvantage, if they will come out with policies that will continue to polarize South Sudanese along tribal lines



Setting a precedent for future governments



·         Advantage, if it will be the last resort after when democratic procedures of having a regime change fail.



·         Disadvantage, if people resort to it before democratic procedures are followed and exhausted.

The Tension between Hope and Despair

Here is a Jieng’s proverb:

“Don’t warn a person who is traveling a road that leads to danger.  The person wouldn’t listen to you. Rather, warn him when he is returning, then he will surely listen to you.”

I wanted, in the past, to apply that wisdom to our situation, but then I thought, “What if the actions – social media propaganda – of some of us are going to cause the death and the suffering of our people in South Sudan?  What if the divisions between our sub-communities here in Melbourne and our sub-communities in other parts of the world are going to reach a level that would permanently paralyze us and stop us from laying a strong foundation of our unity?  What if the person who is traveling this road isn’t going to come back?”

I, therefore, decided to keep on warning my fellow South Sudanese saying, “Be careful what you say and write!” and, “Here is a light; let us use it to find a better road.”  The light I meant is Construct Our New Identity (CONI).  Then, the person looks at me with eyes that made me feel as if I’m an old, rugged prophet who is saying things that are irrelevant to our present day (night) situation.  He keeps traveling the same road, disappearing into smoke and leaving me sad and speechless!

Thiik Mou Giir, Bachelor Degree in Education from the University of Alexandria, Egypt; Post Graduate Diploma, from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.  He can be reached via his email contact: thiik_giir@hotmail.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is 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, plus a concise biography of yourself.


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