Apaak vs Reel: Atuot Community in Intensive Care Unit of Ethnic Identity Crisis

Posted: August 24, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Columnists, Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Madol Chien Achieny, Juba, South Sudan


Telar Ring Deng, later South Sudan President Salva Kiir’s nominee to become the new justice minister, 21 June 2014

Friday, August 24, 2018 (PW) — Before I could rush in listing the names of the architects of two wings of Atuot who need to tear the community apart, it is important to bring my readership to light of what has ensued over the last months. On 1st Jan 2018, Atuot Youth in Juba convened in Millennium Hotel to form an organization that would have been called ‘’Atuot Youth Association-AYA’’ for purposes of unity and social organization.

That noble idea was hijacked, politicized and used against an intact community to incite their ignorance to maneuver political ambitions by Juba politicians. Atuot, time immemorial, was a union of 6 Jieng subsections of Apeek, Rorkech, Jilek, Kuek, Luac and Akot, the order is random. Geographically, they live in the western part of Yirol.

The whole idea was taken out of context to divert the purpose as contentions of whether Atuot is a subsection of a bigger Jieng or not and whether Apeek is a subsection of Atuot or not were created by two prominent Atuot politicians and picked by few hired naïve youth to give their political calculation popularity. The idea was to divide the bigger tent (Atuot) into smaller sections that could be accommodated by the politics of sectarianism that is practiced in Juba so as they remain relevant to the policy of tribal representation in national cabinet.

The two Mps in the upper and lower houses of legislation respectively, masterminded the Apeek-ya identity and funded some boys to campaign for the new identity on social media so as they break away from Atuot, a subsection of Jieng. A move that they substantiate by alienating other five subsections of Atuot from Jieng umbrella on grounds that the other five subsections of Atuot speak ‘’Thulreel’’ that is more of a Nuer to Jieng dialects. It is not by itself an identity crisis but a political blackmail of Atuot who speak thukreel or Reel dialect to majority jieng to seek sympathy for political appointments.

Jieng is not a tribe per se but another union of different communities though with some similarities in cultures, language and religion, to foster their social, economic and political setups. Nobody among the subsections of jieng can trace its ancestral lineage to a person in Jieng. It was an assumption, believed and accepted to live on without any single person or subsection with a legitimate right to annihilate its existence. This deity is the same to any union of Malual, Reek, Atuot, Moro, Murle etc and it must be preserved by every member.

Time immemorial, Apaak community converged at their current area from different immigration routes to settle with their first contact (Rorkech) who accommodated them. In the process, other group like Awan, the major subsection of Apaak community, who were Abukaya from Equatoria area abandoned their cultures, dialect and religion and adapted Rorkech dialect, cultures, husbandry and gotten completely assimilated into Jieng. It was the same process to other subsections of Apaak who Mundari then became Aliab and then Apeer of Apaak community.

Even at one point, the Rorkech, Apaak and Kuek communities were having one payam under a single chief/sultanate. It only changed when communities enlarged and they were gradually divided with Kuek community having splintered first and later the Rorkech and Apaak were separated on administrative convenience.

Now, who is more Jieng than whom?  Or who has never been Jieng? The Rorkech introduced Apeek to Jieng through assimilation into Atuot community who are subsection of Jieng. What is this Jiengness that Apaak community wants to claim through Apeek-ya if it’s not politics? Politics of division has caused this country in many ways in many times and such elements of sectarianism must be responded with robust intolerance and condemnation as early as possible.

Apeek-ya campaign, unpopular call to break away from Atuot, is an incitement of tribal conflicts on areas of pastures and water among  uncivilized and illiterate cattle-keeping youth. Among the Atuot, search for water and pastures do not have boundaries and any member of the Atuot subsection can move to any place within the Atuot country without limitation or conditions. This is because they have lived knowing themselves as Atuot for ages. Unless if we want to create unrest in Yirol, this diabolic campaign must be called off immediately before it gets hold among the population back at home.

If Apaak community was not Atuot; how would Atuot be known of Atuot Machar Anyijong in which Machar Anyijong was a son and chief of Apaak community. History has it that Atuot warriors were Awuou Kon and Dhieu Alam who were sons of Apaak community.  The Atuot Member of Parliament is Deng Athorbei from Apaak Community. The Atuot Community Elder is Deng Athorbei from Apaak community. Atuot Member in Council of States is Majak Macar from Apaak community.  On moral grounds, who is more privileged than whom in Atuot union?

From the onset of this Apeek-ya break away from Atuot, it was thought to be a normal and usual facebook debate until when the so called Apaak Youth Volunteer Team met and had their resolutions with hallmark of Hon. Deng Athorbei published by Panlwel Wel website.It is high time that Hon Deng Athorbei, a community elder and MP, comes out from silence and convene a community meeting to settle this matter on time to void growing suspicion that he is the main brain behind Apeek-ya campaign. Two months are more than enough to test peoples’ respect and patience to their leader on matters pertaining unity of a community.

It is my humble appeal to the Council of States, Jieng Council of Elders and formidable Atuot community to desist and resist this deceitful ploy by some few politically retarded members of legislature who are misleading the public for their selfish interests. It is also my rightful obligation to denounce any blackmail of other subsections of Atuot who speak “thongatut” or “thukreel” by alienating them from Jieng fraternity on grounds of dialect. Association is a choice and a right and Atuot are subsection of jieng with “thongatut/thukreel” Or without.

You can reach the author via his email: madolpeter@gmail.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 Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website 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.

  1. Majok Makuei says:

    Peter Madol wrote bad mockery article,an article that has incorrect information,apaak are non apaakya but “Apaak community”your article definition ,1st ,you define the name #atuot? 2nd,where do Jilek, Akot,Luac,Kuek,&Rorkec came from and when and which language (s) they speak(spoken)?Where do Apaak its 9 sections that formed up Apaak community came from and which language (s) they speak (spoken)?yes you mentioned only Awaan who came frome equatoria but what about other 8 sections?Rorkec didn’t accommodated apaak,that’s a big ly and apaak is known for speaking dinka language since up to date but atuot with a confusive dialect which do causes some difficulties when you meet jieng groups that do force you to speak dinka dialect in order for you to understand each otherwise people seek translator .for example in 2013,11,when Bahr El Ghazal Region Governors’ Conference held,the paramount chief ,Bahon Mabor failed to speak dinka dialect but spoke up thokreel,Telar Ring was his translator.Apaak are Dinka not Atuot.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s