Why it is so Hard to End War and Achieve Durable Peace in South Sudan

Posted: February 18, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Atem Biar Atem, China, Beijing

four vice presidents of south sudan

February 18, 2018 (SSB) — In the spot of public attention, it’s in a rare occurrence in the world to see a peace agreement reached for the country only to plunge back into violence just a couple of months later, no doubt South Sudan exemplified itself. In 2015 Peace accord was signed between two elephants after grasses suffered, new governments formed and sworn in and institutions were to be built to channel conflicting interest in a post-conflict environment. This was popularly seen as a formal termination of violent conflict marking the beginning of what was believed to be a long and winding road from war to peace once again.

After the experience of violence and in the wake of new unified leadership, no doubt hopes were high that South Sudan has finally returned to peace. The expectations of the people who were personally affected by the fighting in all aspects of lives and who have to find their way in the newly achieved peace were believed to be paramount in the heart of our leaders. But again the hopes and wishes of the suffering civilians within our borders turn into a nightmare when the armed confrontation erupted again at the center of South Sudanese authority in 2016.

The current fateful and lukewarm position of the country leaders to achieve peace on the regional table of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) evokes hopelessness in the severely affected country-wide population. Nowhere is this sense of despair more evident than South Sudan. No other country has ever experienced a more deadly combination of invisible external aggression embedded in the thirst of our gifted natural resources, foreign-linked factionalism, intra-tribal violent, factional strife and politically motivated ethnic rivalries.

Nowhere else ever in Africa has a power struggle conflict of interest exacted a more horrendous price in human lives lost, economic and financial resources squandered and developmental opportunities wasted. The scale of disaster as I speak is in sharp contrast with the polite indifference of international community in the face of this unprecedented human tragedy.

When one considers the multiplicity of conflict dimensions take for example the fluidity of factional alliances, the spillover of ethnic violence within the country borders and extreme fragmentation of social fabric and the lukewarm of leaders in bringing sustainable peace, then it is easy to see why the international community should have second thoughts about the wisdom of a concerted peace initiative as would be an alternative conflict resolution.

At the eve of revitalization was the ceasefire and cessation of hostilities which indeed purportedly adhered to and signed thereafter by warring parties, yet the secession of fighting would always lead to a more permanent peace but a phenomenon in our case remain indifferent, following series of violations with impunity few hours before the ink on the paper could be dried, making the one to clear his throat and ask of where about the peace around the corner. But again, this would be compelled layman citizen on street to ask what is that our leaders want, peace or war.

Of course, none of the parties would say war being an option. And perhaps peace, null and void a proof of withdrawal from the talk. If we cannot overtly proclaim to go to war and not finding avenues to search for compromises and flexibilities to achieve peace, then what next to do we go for that lies between war and peace? Moreover, why do we invent war if we cannot stop it? Did we prepare for war to get peace? Absolutely no, we would have gotten it since enough has been enough.

Now peace is gone and disappeared in a thin air, communities are left to think that the fabric that once made up social life and that provided some reference as to what is wrong and right will still remain in shambles. Physical scars will cease to heal, and perhaps, will continue to be more visible, personal ones will remain in hiding, the destruction of infrastructures will continue to devastate. How can we continue to make sense of our living again amid an unsympathetic economic crisis of no alternative?

 I presume that the hell is between war and peace in our case. Even in the bible where everyone of Christian background is spiritually held to choose by his/her deeds between hell and paradise, no one would intentionally dare to undertake the former as our leaders are now hypothetically opted for war than peace as the only cost benefit in the conflict resolution.

If we cannot potentially bring lasting peace and we don’t overtly admit to having chosen war, then where do we fall between the incompatible parameters? The inevitable answer could be hell since there is no middle ground thereof.

The author is a student at Tsinghua University in China, Beijing pursuing masters of International Development and Government. He can be reached at atemakei@gmail.com or +8613146030355

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, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël website (SSB) do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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