16th May 1983: Childhood Memories of Yom Sitashar Mayo

Posted: May 16, 2019 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Deng Diar Diing, History, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By John Deng Diar Diing, Mombasa, Kenya

Thursday, May 16, 2019 (PW) —– When my dad, who was then residing part-time in our Court Centre, Pawel (Kongor Centre) came that particular evening to tell my grandmother that a war had broken out in Mading (Bor) between South Sudanese soldiers and the Arabs and that there was a mass exodus of students, soldiers and civil servants from Bor. I thought it was an intermittent event that was going to come to a quick halt. These students and soldiers formed the first Battalions of Jamus, 105 and Tiger.

When he came back five days later to inform us that the leaders of the soldiers were around and that Arabs were chasing them, I thought it was just a government chasing criminals. But then he talked of this balded plump and stoic man who was the leader of the soldiers. He called and advised them to look after the population and went on to inform them that a war that needed human and materials support had just begun. They should therefore be ready to mobilize human and material resources for the cause.

It was when my dad came back a month later to tell us that all the teachers and students had followed soldiers and their leaders to the East, and that all the schools were closed when I realized that something serious was going on because uncle Daniel Ajith Garang Bior and nephew Bior-bedru were not going to continue with their schooling which I enjoyed seeing them doing.

And worse more was when I witnessed a generation oozing out of Bor areas through a place called Pakuch-chaak..Many of whom I only heard of their fall later in Jekou, Malual-Gahoth and Owiny-ki-bul…This generation formed the biggest division, Koryom majority of whom were from the Leader’s home, Bor. Out of that 12,000, less than 5% saw the end of the war.

John Garang, Kerubino Kuanyin, William Nyuon, Salva Kiir and Arok Thon

As someone whose generation witnessed this day which brought the onset of the last leg of liberation struggle, a struggle that dragged and rugged generations through painful excursion, I am humbled by the tenacity showed by South Sudanese which ultimately led them to attaining their Nation state to stand proud with our unique features among the League of Nations.

As a child whose hometown(Kongor) was a key waystation to Bonga before the capture of Pibor and Kapoeta which opened the eastern corridor, I am humbled by the willingness South Sudanese had to sacrifice everything to have a country that owned them and in return they own.

As a son of a man who had to scratch his head every three months to decide whose turn it was to sign up for the liberation, I salute the chiefs and administrators who had to brave sending sons to wonderlands possibly not to be seen again for the cause they had no direct benefit, either because they were too old or not political enough to appreciate the liberation like affluent population did.

Arok Thon, John Garang and Deng Aloor Kuol

As a child who left his parents at less than ten(10) years to live among over 22,000 other strange boys and survived to witness liberation to its conclusive end, I salute the spirit of resilience of jesh al amer.

As a child who among his agemates at 10 years, dug a grave and buried a colleague, I will always be respectful to those kids who got caught up in a cause they did not understand but yet were ready to sacrifice everything for it.

Kerubino Kuanyin, Arok Thon and William Nyuon

As a child soldier who witnessed some of our elder colleagues mobilizing to go to frontlines, most whom we never saw again, I always remain reminded that I must make sense of their sacrifices by contributing to a South Sudan (New Sudan) they aspired to and for.

As a child soldier who got himself drowned at some points in a dusty sky of gunpowder of missile flares, I salute those heroes who gasped their last breathe yet with solemn loyalty to their cause, FREDOM. Many died with the slogan SPLM OYEE as their last word on Earth.

As a young intellectual in the taildays of the movement who witnessed political isolation and the balancing Dr. John had to make to bring us to this end, I salute this man who liberated us without a single trace of mortgage on our future. His wit, selflessness and moral aptitude are the epitome of our existence.

Let’s salute our heroes and heroines. Let their sacrifices always remind us that we survived the war to give liberation sacrifices a meaning, a nation whose citizens walk and stand proud amidst humanity.

Long live South Sudan!! Long live our heroes!! Long live Dr. John Garang De Mabior!! Against all these odds, we still hope, we shall make you proud in your graves someday! 16th May Oye!!

The author, Eng. John Deng Diar Diing, is the Deputy Director for the Infrastructure Development and Management Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority. He can be reached via his email: diardeng@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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