Why toxic tribalism is destroying our society and what to do about it

Posted: January 17, 2019 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Michael Chol Tor, Juba, South Sudan

tribalism in south sudan

Thursday, 17 January 2019 (PW) — This topic is especially relevant to our modern climate not only the South Sudan nation but the overall world. We have become intoxicated by toxic tribalism and the group mob mentality. We have unconsciously been seduced or persuaded by the idea that one group is “wrong” and “evil” while our own group is “correct” and “good’’. This mentality leads to a whole list of disastrous consequences which I will explain it later on in this publication.

But, the first things we must understand is what exactly is toxic tribalism and where does it come from. What is toxic tribalism and where does it stem from? First, let me provide a definition of what toxic tribalism is. Toxic tribalism: A loyalty to one’s own tribe or social group to the point that dogma and dysfunction become the standard. Afterward, let me provide 2 key characteristics in which an individual has become drunk with toxic tribalism.

Demonization, this is the first and the foremost quality of someone who is toxically tribal. If there is any labeling of the other group as being stupid, evil, racist, demons, scum, and then you can almost be sure that they are in the mindset of toxic tribalism. Unconscious Behavior and attitudes, one of the hallmarks of someone who is engrossed in toxic tribalism is a lack of conscious behavior. Unconscious behavior comes in many forms such as screaming, not entertaining contradictory idea, being closed minded, violence and the list goes on.

You can’t be dogmatic if you are truly conscious in the present moment. Dogmatic behavior can only take place in unconsciousness. “Parents and schools should place great emphasis on the idea that it is all right to be different. Racism and all the other “isms” grow from primitive tribalism, the instinctive hostility against those of another tribe, race, religious, nationality, class or whatever you are a lucky child if your parents taught you to accept diversity” Roger Ebert I quoted.

What are some examples of toxic tribalism? Democrats vs. Republicans, Atheists vs. Theists, Black people vs. White people, Rationalism vs. Empiricism vs. Idealism, South Sudan vs. Sudan etc. What are the consequences of engaging in toxic tribalism? They are litany or series of consequences that come with this mental operating system. Here are some of them; violence & genocide, inaction from tribal squabble and degeneration.

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself” Friedrich Nietzsche I quoted. How can we destroy toxic tribalism?

Become An Individual: Becoming an individual means following what interests you, becoming who you alone want to be and developing a quality of independence. Many people who aren’t independence or who haven’t become an individual get persuaded by the context of a group. They crave the sense of community which is innate and get sucked into whatever the group dogma is. This comes with major consequences and can result in the worst of humanity such as the Soviet Union. Don’t be misled by the notion that you’re a good person and aren’t capable of evil because for most of history this was exactly the case.

The majority of people within community were normal people who had been swept up by the drug of community. Question your assumption: You must question your assumption deeply. Look at yourself from an objective measure and take a bird’s eye view of your life and what tribe you find yourself in and get stuck. Entertain contradictory Ideas: Entertain ideas that go against your current beliefs and world view. This will help you become more open minded on your journey. Have discussions with other people, go to lectures.

Reading & Research: This will open your mind to new perspective and allow you to step away from the subjective aspect of your life. Travel: Traveling is a great way to experience other cultures which just shatters your assumptions and ideas about cultural norms. The more you travel the more experiences you have to gain wisdom from. Be kind: This one seems ridiculous to mention but I think that it’s one of the most powerful things we can do to combat toxic tribalism. Approach everyone with kindness. Treat those around you how you, yourself want to be treated.

The toxic tribalism become a model and friendly strategy for the political rookies in the Nation and worsen in State level. This situation was intricate by radical novices. Used by opportunists and betrayers to overhaul their political pathway. Frequently, the toxic tribalism impacts might have influence South Sudan leaders. However, the impacts were spread into whole nation. First, the nation got divided to 32 States. As a result, the nation splitting gone to local level therefore, Melut County was divided by Tribalists, seconded by voracious and enjoyed by conspirators and vampires.

This Tribalism maybe developed in era of Mr. Kun Poch the former Governor of Upper Nile State (UNS) and embraced by insecure leaders and seized by envy leaders. Those insecure and envy leaders might have adopted Mr. Kun Poch system of rule and division. Since, they were from Simon Kun political School “Baby Class”. Our leaders were expected to behave likewise to enable to attain their political curiosity.

Afterward, we got divided to 2 independent States Central and Northern Upper Nile. The NUNS former regime stood to death with deadly tribalism slogan and greedy tactic where it constantly divided Melut, Maban and Renk into segments. This tactic was used to conspire Maban vs. Melut communities. The regime further divide Melut and Adar Chiefdoms to 13 Chiefdoms under unified paramount Chief.

The former Governor might have mistaken somewhere but he was a little bit fair since he had maintained the unity of social Organizations. Unluckily, our former government head has been influenced by Toxic tribalism the atomic bomb of the desperate persons. If Renk Municipal Mayor become big deal why not if we create new Ramchiel Town to avoid the claim of who consumed right of town ownership.

Look at political rookies of new political camp in Melut County whose strategy is division of civil Organizations e.g. Melut Sons’ Association. What Credential will Tribalists Earn? I believed unity is the force. However, if spiders agreed to put their nets together they can capture the elephant. Since the unity is the victory our leaders must leave unusable strategies of dissection.

What is going on in Melut County between Commissioner and MS Association is a good illustration of the Toxic Tribalism. It is my humble appeal to NUNS regime to circumvent the conspiracy strategy and embrace love as sons and daughters of the NUN State.

The writer can be reached through Email: Choltor45@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. […] “Why toxic tribalism is destroying our society and what to do about it” by Michael Chol Tor at PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd – South Sudan is licensedunder CC BY-SA 3.0. […]


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