Let’s embrace a message of peace in South Sudan (Part 3 – 4)

Posted: March 19, 2019 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Baak Chan Yak Deng, Commentary, Contributing Writers, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Baak Chan Yak Deng, Wau, South Sudan

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 (PW) — Peace does not rest in the charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of all people. So let us not rest all our hopes on parchment and on paper, let us strive to build peace, a desire for peace, a willingness to work for peace in the hearts and minds of all of our people. I believe that we can. I believe the problems of human destiny are not beyond the reach of human beings. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it.

Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. If there is a mystical chord in democracy, it probably revolves around the notion that unexpected music can resonate from politics when people are pursuing questions larger than self I have seen that ennobling effect in people many, many times expressed by those who found themselves engaged in genuine acts of democratic expression, who claimed their right to define the larger destiny of their community, their nations.

The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls. What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others. This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war but we have no more urgent task. War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses. If we desire a society of peace, then we cannot achieve such a society through violence. If we desire a society without discrimination, then we must not discriminate against anyone in the process of building this society.

If we desire a society that is democratic, then democracy must become a means as well as an end. The principal factors which influenced my life are 1) nonviolent tactics; 2) constitutional means; 3) democratic procedures; 4) respect for human personality; 5) a belief that all people are one. Life, Personality, Respect, People When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.

To be afraid is to behave as if the truth were not true. If we desire a society in which men are brothers, then we must act towards one another with brotherhood. If we can build such a society, then we would have achieved the ultimate goal of human freedom. If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another. There is a higher court than courts of justice, and that is the court of conscience.

It supersedes all other courts.  Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than it’s opposite.

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. Anxiety is the illness of our age. We worry about ourselves, our family, our friends, our work, and our state of the world. If we allow worry to fill our hearts, sooner or later we will get sick. I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward.

There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death. You never change anything by fighting the existing. To change something, build a new model and make the existing obsolete! Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.

Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace. Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve the purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political and economic change. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anaemic.

Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love. Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions.

But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times.

We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors. Continue from there next time, please.

The author, Baak Chan Yak Deng, is a concern South Sudanese citizen for peace and can be reached via his email: Baak Chan Yak <baakmajook44@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.

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