Garang Memorial University: Violence Permeates into Academic

Posted: July 20, 2019 by aljokd in Education, Junub Sudan, Malith Alier

By Malith Alier, Sydney, Australia

Saturday, 20 July, 2019 (PW) — “Traumatised” was the description used by former South Sudan ambassador to the UN, Mr. Francis Mading Deng, to described South Sudanese behaviour post CPA and resultant independence. Many people including this author protested this depiction. We thought that even if that was the case, it shouldn’t have come from the highest voice of the country to the body of all nations.

There is a saying in  Jieng that “nobody allows their camp to be infiltrated” at any time – day or night. Francis Deng should have not, so we thought, allowed foreign nations picked into South Sudan affairs so easily by saying something like that.

For sure, some of us might have revised their thoughts in regard to the issue of trauma and the past long war between the north and the south. The unmitigated violence since 2013, armed or otherwise may be a result of trauma or paranoia. It may have inadvertently become a culture of settling disputes; big or small.

A week or so ago, the minister of information from Jonglei state released information about an incident that happened at the only university in the state. That a student was assaulted by unknown assailant in Bor. The chain reaction grew into its own magnitude only normal in the nascent state of South Sudan.

A student-courting-a-local-girl. The student-assaulted-by-known-stickman. The student-taken-to-hospital. Fellow-students-on-regional-solidarity-mobilised-and-assaulted-a-tea-woman-to-revenge. If the chain reaction  is unbroken, it may involve parents of the girl and the relatives of the tea woman taking the law into their own hands and you know what the perfect storm would look like. John Garang University would be locked down and the war of words begin between the states.

The universities in this country proved  not to be immune from the every day violence we see before us. The violence that has displaced millions in to refugee camps. The violence that made million internally displaced people. The violence that has made thousands orphans. The same violence that killed over 500,000 would be productive citizens has permeated into echelons of learning, the universities!

Juba university experienced this kind of violence just before the country’s independence. Students were pitted against one another based on regional or tribal spectrum.

“The university rush” may not challenge or change a lot of things in the short-term. This is so, because students still believe in the cattle camp way of solving conflicts. This is the proverbial “zebra going to America” which returns the same zebra physical  features and  the accompanying animal instincts.

The minister of information in that state would want to diminish the issue at hand by saying that it shouldn’t be magnified. She considers it as minor. This shouldn’t be the case. Garang university was established over ten years ago and nobody should consider this as one of the “teething problems.”

John Garang’s Memorial University of Science and Technology brand may be tarnished by the actions of it’s recalcitrant sons and daughters. It doesn’t matter what state, region or part of the world they come from.

One thing people who are seeking knowledge should be aware of is the sensitivity to local cultures. If you come from South Sudan you’re aware of the significance communities attached to their daughters. Students should respect local customs and cultures. This is the ultimate guide to going places.

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 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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