Archive for the ‘Apioth Mayom’ Category


By Apioth Mayom Apioth, USA

bakulu2

September 28, 2016 (SSB) —-The Dinka are everywhere like the MTN network, as opposed to Vivacell mobile which has accessibility only in some areas”, the Equatorians would say. All tribes go through some sort of a culturization process where some ideas work and other ideologies fail to effect change. It is a common tradition in many African cultures that more people means more wealth. The Dinka had the sheer luck of having brought their best minds and intelligentsia together to create a situation where their population became more numerous. It is not that other tribes didn’t give it a good shot; they perhaps tried a couple of times, but it didn’t bear fruits.  Would it be such a bad idea had all the 64 tribes been equal population-wise? No, it would be a great blessing since that would be the easiest way to get rid of complaints and behind-the-back bad talks.

Now the Equatorians wait for the Dinka to pass about just anywhere and snatch the innocent lives out of them. The Dinka are being punished because we have a failed leader in Juba, who also happens to be from the said tribe. Our leader took a good nap for the last 11 years, and when he woke up, everything that was neatly organized at his house was nowhere to be seen; his house was completely emptied of everything he once owned. From a well, furnished house, full of amenities; his house now even has cracks all over and holes in the rooftop. It terribly gets cold at night. His life is in ruins. Of course this is not what Kiir’s life looks like in the real sense. This is an actual depiction of what a normal South Sudanese citizen has been through in the last two and half years.

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By Apioth Mayom Apioth, USA

pray for peace in south sudan

July 17, 2016 (SSB) — Tribalism is a corrosive hindrance to our socioeconomic progress in South Sudan. Once someone gets promoted to a supervising managerial role in a certain department; that same very individual quickly run to gather her tribesmen to get on board. Here and there, the land gets misappropriated for resettling one’s clansmen. National scholarship funds get to be dispensed solely to students of the state where one’s hails from.

It is extreme tribalism that led our chief of General Staff, Malong Awan to establish Mathiang Anyoor, a militia group drawn heavily from his home state of Northern Bahr Ghazal. Mathiang Anyoor later went on to wreak havoc on targeted killings of Nuer on the night of December 15, 2013. It is also an extreme tribalism that led a loose group of disgruntled Dinka elders to establish Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) to take on an advisory role with President Kiir Mayardit; when we all know that there is no place for such a set up in any democracy.

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By Apioth Mayom Apioth, USA

Lakes state Youth in Kenya

Lakes State Youth Consultative Council in Kenya

April 18, 2016 (SSB)  —-  Hip Hop has taken our South Sudanese youth for a nightmarish ride. In East Africa and in the diaspora, the social media is fully loaded with these youngsters trying to be rappers Drake and Kanye West. Every now and then, you are almost certainly going to find them promoting all kinds of music on Facebook and twitter. Let’s face it people; at the end of the day, not all of us can be great Hip Hop artists. Some are way more gifted than others. If you are not a natural born musician, then how are you going to reinvent yourself to become one? If all our youngsters want to be like Lil Wayne and Kanye West, then what are they going to do when they come face to face with their black Americans cousins, who are already well cemented into Hip Hop culture, three decades before none of them came into this world? The competition is going to be costly stiff and stressful. The music business is a sort of a calling. It is meant only for a selected few, who have the passion to make career out of it; some are meant to do something else with their own lives.

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By Apioth Mayom Apioth, USA

Sabina Dario Lokolong, deputy minister for humanitarian affairs and disaster management, Nov 2011

Sabina Dario Lokolong, deputy minister for humanitarian affairs and disaster management, Nov 2011

September 1, 2015 (SSB) —- In our contemporary South Sudanese society, office work is always associated with progress. As a result, people tend to look down on jobs that require manual labor, and many more professions that are seen, having nothing to do with sitting behind an office desk, such as doing entrepreneurial enterprise. In Juba, for instant, an Ethiopian water tanker’s owner, whose business charges 15 SS Pounds per home, could walk away with 3,000 SS Pounds by the end of the day after having visited 200 homes.

Meanwhile, a South Sudanese accountant, who obviously sits behind a desk from Monday through Friday, filing business transactions, makes about 900 SS Pounds a month. Furthermore, a whole lot of Bangladeshis are doing road construction, obviously brought over by the NGOs; whereas some of our very own people are going hungry, refusing to make something happen for themselves.

There had been no country in the history of our planet earth, where everyone did office work, and they had actually achieved economic prosperity. In the very office, where we supposedly to do work, running water and the light need to be turn on; and sources of these power outages are operated by a variety of workers ranging from technicians to engineers to environmental scientists: they are also mandated to travel from place to place, surveying their assigned areas, looking for obstacles that may get in the way of their work.

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By Apioth Mayom Apioth, USA

Darfur: Genocide in the 21st century

Darfur: Genocide in the 21st century

March 1, 2015 (SSB) — The latest episode of the Darfur Problem is the erection of concentration camp-like “model villages,” funded by the lush stash of Qatar. The Sudanese government’s forces have set up military bases on the outskirts, where they bulldoze through these makeshift residential homes to torture men and rape women and girls with impunity.

“The sexual violence has no military objective; rather, it is a tactic of social control, ethnic domination and demographic change. Acting with impunity, government forces victimize the entire community. Racial subordination is also an underlying message, as non-Arab groups are singled out for abuse,” said George Clooney, John Prendergast and Akshaya Kumar on a recent New York Times article titled, “George Clooney on Sudan’s Rape of Darfur.”

The Sudanese Arabs have their origins in the present day Saudi Arabia – Yemen area. They first came to the Sudan as salt traders. Entrepreneurship gave them the leverage to organize, and with this powerful weapon, the power vacuum easily fell into their hands after the Anglo- Egyptian colonial rule came to an end in the Sudan. Knowing who they were, they went on rampaging campaigns to make sure that all non-Arab ethnic groups were left out of the wealth sharing and developmental agendas.

And so the struggles for the many diverse black ethnic groups began. South Sudan, which was formerly known as Southern Sudan, began its campaigning for its share of the pie in the 1940s; a long struggle that culminated in the secession of that region from Sudan in 2011. On the flip side of the coin, Darfur began it rebelling campaigns against the Sudanese government in the early 2000s, citing lack of development and governmental neglect as to why they took up arms. Ever since their first assertion of their rights as equal citizens of Sudan through armed-struggle, the Darfur rebels seemed to be gaining ground against the government forces; the major setback has been time.

The longer the time dragged on, the more the rebel group splinter into smaller less powerful ones. In addition, many Darfuri work in the very same government which is ill-intent to push them off their ancestral lands. Why can all Darfuri people pull their resources together first before thinking of living a settled life? The Darfur people lack someone who can unite all struggling forces and create a united front.

And the one person who could have put an end to all the ethnicity problem in the Sudan was the late Dr. John Garang of Southern Sudan. He was the chief architect who led the Southern Sudanese rebels principally known as the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/SPLA) for twenty two years; whose fruits garnered the secession of South Sudan from Sudan in 2011. He knew that the Sudanese problem had little to with religion but rather much to with ethnicity.

The Sudan had always housed a large population of Muslims; and yet the ruling Sudanese Arab minority had always held back to share the wealth and political power of the country. Many parts comprising of Eastern Sudan, Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, the Blue Nile and even Southern Sudan had its own small percentage of Muslim population; the government made sure to never pass any resource allocation to the black ethnic groups of Sudan.

Apioth Mayom Apioth

Apioth Mayom Apioth

Dr. John Garang thought that for Sudan to be totally free from the ethnic politics of the Sudanese Arab; a total removal of their political power through armed struggle was the best alternate route. After his initial installment as the First Vice President of Sudan, he garnered a big following in tens of millions all over Sudan, and just as he was about to realize the dream of a land, totally free from ethnic bigots; he mysteriously disappeared in a helicopter crash on July 30th, 2005. His dream was never kept alive after his demise.

A little over a decade ago, the world’s attention shifted to Darfur when the Sudanese military, along with its affiliated Arab-Janjaweed militias were found to have committed acts of genocidal ethnic cleansing against the Darfur people. Now after the Sudanese government has sensed the world has its hands full with conflicts with ISIS’s terrorism and political strife in Ukraine; it has gotten back to uprooting the Darfur people as well as the rebelling Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile.

After the secession of South Sudan, the Sudanese were left with no oil reserves; two years ago there was a discovery of gold reserves in Darfur; now the Sudanese government wants the big belly’s share of that find. The Sudanese’s army forces go about razing down one village after another; once the villagers of these homes disperse, it solicits to house them in its military-controlled “model villages,” and while the military lie on the outskirts of these villages, it systemically goes about torturing men and unleashing sexual violence on women and girls.

The Sudanese government has also succeeded to thwart off journalists’ access to Darfur; and both the UN and AU peacekeeping missions’ offices have been shut down in Khartoum. By giving themselves free reign, they can easily commit the gravest atrocities with no one to hold them accountable.

The Sudanese government is systemically disrupting the social fabric of the Darfur people. By forcing them to live fragmentary and depressed lifestyles; these acts will eventually affect their ability to live meaningful lives, even leading to substantial infertility problems on both men and women. The men’s bodies are constantly in harm’s way and the women’s reproductive parts are time and time again being forcefully hammered to the worst extent possible.

These barbaric meticulous calculations are bound to greatly reduce the population of Darfur people in years to come. Black women have always faced the harshest wretched circumstances in history. During the slavery days in the Deep South, they were the play-vassals for the white men to flex their scourge of White Power. Flash forward to the 21st century, they are still under slavery in the West African country of Mauritania, where the Arab Berbers rape them at their whims.

Up north from South Sudan, in Darfur, the Sudanese army’s forces are once again wreaking violence on them: This time they are using the black women to replace the Negro race with their own kind. In the foreseeable future, when equality finally reaches its climax apex, what are the black women going to ask themselves? That their own brothers didn’t do enough to stop this monstrositic treatment? No matter how powerless we are against the moneyed petroleum of the Middle East: We don’t need to waste any moment at all, we should at least stand our ground until our own economic might reaches somewhere.

Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, the Blue Nile and the West African country of Mauritania, where up to 140, 000 blacks are still under the chains of slavery from the Arab Berbers, are few of the remaining places on earth where black people haven’t still gotten their full practicalities of civil liberties, and be able to think through what they can do with their lives and live according to their own terms. The injustice being faced by a black person, whether he/she lives in Mauritania or Darfur is an injustice to every black person that walks the earth.

The black person whose live is being dehumanized on any part of the world is no different from a black person who owns a cement company in Nigeria, or a black person who happily conducts wedding ceremonies in Malawi; all originated from one family tree: The black race. There is no black person who in his/her right mind would feel at ease at an injustice being committed at his/her fellow member, who was molded from the same family tree.

Among all the places where blacks are still under the chains of discriminating persecution; Darfur is one place among the rest, where our very own Darfuri are still struggling tremendously to be a force of deterrence. The only hope we are wishing to come sooner rather than later is the economic development which is sweeping through sub-Saharan Africa at a promising rate, although not fast enough to bring major changes to our ills and mistreatments. If we had a greater economic might, these sorts of mistreatments would automatically free themselves.

The petrodollars of Middle East are also fueling political instabilities in places such as Darfur, Northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram reigns supreme and, of course Kenya, where Al Shabab crosses over from Somalia to create hell out of a nation with lofty ambitions. In recent decades, China and Russia have had shady trade deals with rogue states such as the Sudan; but that doesn’t compare with lush funds which the Middle East freely hand to Sudan.

The Middle East has been supporting all the successive regimes in Sudan since the days when Southern Sudanese were exerting their armed struggle. Our magical wish would be to see an end to the rapid drying up of the oil wells in the Middle East.

Countries comprising of Ethiopia and Somalia had a history of enslavement and trade in human flesh. They imprisoned black Africans to the institution of slavery based on the differences they saw at the time: We had full lips; flat noses; short Afro hair; and muscular bodies. They had the long Asian hair and lanky skinnier bodies. Contemporary Somali and Ethiopians are spread out all over sub-Saharan Africa, roughing noses with the very same people they used to push to harm’s way.

When other black Africans ask them about their origins, they scream out aloud, “We are blacks! There is nothing more to add to that.” The wind of change is underway. We are in the last days of having our people being push from one thorny enclave to another phantasmagoric inferno. Every single day that comes to past, a brand new chapter is written into the history books; after everything is done with, history will be our undeniable witness. We don’t have to pressure the Arab-led governments of Sudan and Mauritania to do what is right; there will come a time when they will come knocking at our doorsteps asking for help.

It is better for these ethnocentric governments to stop their further marginalization of the blacks right now rather than later, because failing to do so will further entrench greater belligerent animosities between the two racial groups, which could further jeopardize reconciliatory missions to repair communal relations.

The Sudanese army’s forces are an experienced seasoned bunch; they came out of a 22-year civil war with South Sudan, which ended in 2005. Any opponent of theirs, need not make a lot of mistakes, because they will hit them hard at any sluggish sloppiness. Meanwhile despite how disorganized the Darfuri rebels are, they should keep standing their ground until the world’s attention shift back to their way. The South Sudanese garnered their independence through sustained and disciplined relentless organized fighting force.

Darfur, however, is a region of less economic important. There is not much that can interest many rent-seeking investors. Even if the whole world forgets about Darfur, the blacks should be the last people to do so. The Darfuri yearns for whatever help they can get: personnel, rations, provisions of logistics; and military intelligence.

References:

Clooney, George. Prendergast, John. Kumar, Akshaya. (2015, February 25). George Clooney on Sudan’s Rape of Darfur. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/26/opinion/george-clooney-on-sudans-rape-of-darfur.html?emc=edit_ty_20150225&nl=opinion&nlid=69268077.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.


By Apioth Mayom Apioth, USA

Independence day celebration in Juba, South Sudan

Independence day celebration in Juba, South Sudan

February 19, 2015 (SSB) —  The recent outburst by Governor Bakosoro of Western Equatoria State in which he labelled Dinka people as a community that is always swarmed by trouble wherever they ventureis a concern to many in a nation that is still reeling in a political malaise.

The Dinkas, since the second Sudanese civil war that took off in the 1980’s, began to resettle the Greater Equatoria area after fleeing their homes in the Greater Upper Nile and Greater Bahr el Ghazal regions, and from that time onward, most of them have made the Greater Equatoria region their home.

During the war of liberation era, they specifically preferred the Greater Equatoria region because it was closer to Kenya and Uganda, where the humanitarian relief agencies had a greater accessibility to provide them foods and other basic necessities for survival.

And up to this very day, the Greater Equatoria region is still the place to be in that the East African economic giants of Uganda and Kenya haven’t moved elsewhere; they are still the preferred destinations to do business and where you send your children for a top-notch education. South Sudan imports most of its food commodities from Uganda. So the Dinkas want to be close to where the action is.

In your own “me” time and your mind happen to be wondering about, and just in a nick of time, you start to wonder “why” out of all people of South Sudan, why does the Dinkas love to stay here and not somewhere else? Can they be up to something we don’t know? Perhaps we don’t really have to think too much about why the Dinkas shouldn’t be living in the Greater Equatoria region at all; in fact, what we rather ought to do is to welcome them and see where this melting pot of friction will take us to.

Chances could be that, the Dinkas were brought to the Greater Equatoria by fate. Maybe the Dinkas came to the three Equatorias so that the people of this land could understand them better and this could also be a better opportunity to start on building something completely new. This could be the start of fusing communal alliances into new stronger coalitions, where we are many in diversity, but one in unity.

Since Salva Kiir took over after the passing of Dr. John Garang, many diverse array of tribes have been calling for an end to the Dinka domination in the government, and their calling has not gone unnoticed. Things could have been a lot worse had the Dinkas stayed in their home states rather than here in the three Equatorias.

Because that way, we can all tackle our problems head on and quickly arrive at solutions for a better South Sudan, where we earnestly yearn to create a conducive environment of abundant for all to benefit.

Perhaps what we should start on working on is to start to practice the culture of tolerance. We all came from somewhere, and for whatever reason, we happened to be living at the same place at the same time. All our cultures are vastly different and beautifully unique in their own ways. In the midst of this melting pot of friction, no one wants to give up her sovereignty of her cultural background in that we all want to be represented at any given time or place.

None of us wants to waste an iota of her time arguing about our differences, we all want to pull our lives together one way or another. Every culture in South Sudan is equally valid; let’s start on refraining ourselves from bloating out the inner stereotypical conditionings of our ethnic backgrounds.

Those inner urgings are the attitudes that offend the members of other tribal ethnic backgrounds. In Social Sciences, we are taught that cultures are human-made; and there is no nagging behemoth dispute to that, and more importantly, what we can at least slightly agree with, is that culture is one of the few societal phenomenal values that every individual in the world inherits.

It is not a private inheritance like a house you may inherit from your parents or close relatives; it is something that you get to encounter from the time you starting bipedaling from infancy onwards. Culture contains all the past wisdom and other ancient sacred heritage of all the generations that have since past, and it doesn’t stop from there: you and I, are a continuation of that sequential process.

Any given culture is not something you can easily spit out like a bitter food bite; it may be the only thing that the person in question has always known as part of his/her world.

The time is ripe to start looking at ourselves differently; we may have different ethnic backgrounds, but those differences do not have to create a wedge between us.

We don’t really have to agree on everything; we really have to forbear each other’s differences, and at that, we have to realize that those unparalleled differences stand for something important to the culturally differing figure you are dealing with.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from

Mzee Kiir Mayardit: the Unchosen One.

Posted: February 12, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël in Apioth Mayom, Featured Articles

By Apioth Mayom Apioth, USA

President Salva Kiir Mayaardit

President Salva Kiir Mayaardit

February 12, 2015 (SSB) —  The rise of Salvatore Kiir during our times in the bush fighting Khartoum would not have gone unchallenged had his rivals not been overly ambitious to topple their leading colonel, Dr. Garang de Mabior. The likes of Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, Arok Thon Arok, Lam Akol, and Riek Machar, were talented enough to have replaced Dr. John when it was time for him to hang up his boots.

At the time, things weren’t straightforward as we would have like them to be; every one of these men was arrogantly coveting the top seat, and no doubt each and every one of them was saying, “What does Garang have that I don’t have?” In the end, all of them lost their way; with some switching to the enemy’s side; both Kuanyin and Arok met their deaths in the midst of those confusing times.

In the beginning, not many people knew whether Dr. Garang had the leadership capability to lead SPLM/SPLA; the Movement was a collection of southern Sudanese fastidiously lumped together to fight for a common cause: The liberation of southern Sudan from the marginalization practicalities of the Khartoum’s ruling elites.

Indeed, many of these compatriots were starting to get to know each other while they were putting together the Movement. As we looked back now, no one can point a finger at these compatriots, for they were rightful candidates in their own rights during the few years of the Movement; at the beginning of the 1990s, they should have back down just a little because they had the luxury of having seen what John Garang was capable of, during his short stint in power.

As things were, these camaraderie kept on calling for Dr. Garang to leave the Movement so as to put in place democratic reforms; however, they failed to have understood what they were dealing with in the first place: a guerrilla Movement. SPLM/SPLA was indeed a progressing Movement; but as things stood while we were in the bush, there wasn’t any spacious room to practice liberal ideologues of a democratic nation-state; a lot of things dictated the smooth flow of commandeering.

Dr. John de Mabior wasn’t that bad a leader as some people might have falsely made to believe; after the departure of Kuanyin Bol, Arok Thon and others from the Movement, he took in Nyuon Bany and the stormy friction that was commonplace when the likes of Lam Akol and Riek Machar were sharing the spotlight with Dr. John was gone.

I have a gut-feeling that Dr. John de Mabior was the right man to lead us back then, and even at these confusing times, his top-notch leadership hasn’t still been surpassed. His great workmanship with Nyuon Bany have time and time again shown that he was willing to work with anyone as long as they were willing to follow his lead because obviously his talents were superior than everyone at the time.

Things would have been different now in South Sudan had any of these compatriots waited patiently for his turn to take the top seat; the race for leadership that took to the fore in the nascent beginnings of the Movement finally plunged our nation into another war zone in December 2013, culminating in the deaths of thousands of our citizens.

I hate to say this, but let the truth be told: Dr. Garang was using both Kiir Mayar and James Wani because all the others wanted to bring the house down; a house that was sheltering the dreams of countless successive generations of South Sudanese. Garang’s intentions in using Kiir and Wani were for all our betterment; creating a nation we could all call home.

Here is how the governing house of Kiir Kuethpiny went haywire on him. Sometime after taking power, he began to surround himself with his closing aides. Rather than having the final say and putting in all the final touches to briefings he received, he was always willing to take the words right out of the mouths from his closing associates unaltered and without questioning how those decisions were going to affect the masses of the common South Sudanese.

Kiir’s African “big man” leadership is unlike many of the typical strongmen of Africa going back to the time of Toroitich Arap Moi to the present Robert Mugabe. Once similarity though, is the use of force to quieten their opposition forces. Other than that, those of Moi and Mugabe were (Mugabe is perhaps still) preoccupied with accumulating wealth from day one at the expense of their subjects.

Kiir, on other hand, perhaps wanted to share his leadership with his people. He probably had too much love for his people and mistakenly thought his leadership was for charity. He took it as though the leadership was a great wine to be shared among close friends. His leadership has been like a great wine being shared among friends and when everyone is in the wineroom, no one has the upper hand to dictate what every attendee says. Their utmost intention for being there in the first place was to relieve themselves from the stress and have a good time, a wonderful time to forget the daily grinds of the world.

As things took shape, and since he was legally sharing his leadership among his closest aides (according to him), he was taking an advice from Anei Wol today and the next day, he switched to Ring Biar. Events went haywire before his eyes by not taking precautionary measures to take what he was receiving from his advisers and let them pass through a filtration sieve; he had too much respect for them though, almost as though they were co-presidents with him on the throne. He was supposed to synthesize and make improvisations on the briefings he was receiving from his advisers.

Both Daniel Moi and Robert Mugabe have been thus far better than him on one thing: They put in place an orderly security apparatuses to prevent their people from butchering each other, and in reality, their leaderships have been a one-man show; it was either a Daniel Arap Moi’s world, or a Robert Mugabe’s world; whereas in South Sudan, perhaps there were also President Telar Ring Deng, President Malong Awan and President Salva Kiir Mayar, all ruling at one go.

This was what brought the chaotic dysfunctional downfall of our nation. There were way too many people stirring the soup, creating a messy, murky situation.

 The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.


By Apioth Mayom Apioth, USA

ssic

January 21, 2015 (SSB) — Before the present war took us for a phantasmagorical ride, our neighborly East African communities, and especially those of Somali, Ethiopians and Eritreans, who originated from the horn of Africa, were doing exceptionally well in the area of business in South Sudan. The Somali took over a good share of the gas stations; both the Eritreans and Ethiopians were in the restaurant businesses.

Ethiopians used to work from 4am to 4pm; in just eight years, from their first arrival in 2005 up to 2013 when the war broke out, they amassed a wealth which became the envy of our South Sudanese communities. How did they garner such a wealth in such a short time, someone may ask? They reached where they perched through hard work, freeing themselves from cultural constraints, and concerted culture of an entrepreneurial mindset.

From the onset, we can all be lenient toward our people concerning the matter of development of an entrepreneurial mindset; some people may say all these communities had already built an entrepreneurial mindset, centuries or decades before they arrived in South Sudan, and there could be a shade of truth to that.

Our first task to make our present felt in this lucrative field of entrepreneurship would be to free ourselves from the constraints of culture. Our cultures are varied and vastly diverse; however, everyone in the nation put pride before everything else in the nation. A majority of our people think that doing business is beneath their level; in other words, they think people will culturally look down on them if they do those sorts of things. We have come a long way from the earlier times when we were preoccupied with farming and cattle-keeping to our contemporary times where money is the chief obsession.

When the East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania got their independence from their European colonizers; the Southeast Indians came in droves and settled down to do business. Now over 50 years later, they own the most profitable businesses in East Africa. The same episode is repeating itself clothed in different customs: mainly through our horn of Africa’s neighbors.

For those of us who have the biggest pride, let it be told that at the end of the day a pride is only a feeling; and money has the power to keep you afloat whereas the pride can’t help you in solving your personal problems. Why can’t you hide your pride under the carpet for a few years while working your hands to the bones at the shop and see where this might lead you?

You never know your pride might take you further and you might end up one day as the owner of Ramchiel Grand Hotel. Having reached that level, you may never bother with working with your hands; rather you could be doing presentations at the convention centers across town.

Another cultural setback is the baffling occurrence of sharing. In some South Sudanese cultures, there is no distinction between a person and what he/she owns, in this case, business. Friends, relatives and close acquaintances have an easy way to bankrupt the business by taking commodities without paying back a cent.

An age-old saying which goes, “Charity begins at home, rings magnificently here. There is nothing completely wrong with helping out a buddy every once in a while; but the principles of business dictate that proper management of assets must be held in high regard, otherwise you are making way for your own downfall. Those in the business are only in it to make profits; how does insatiable thirst for making profits become compatible with communal charity, especially if you are living in rags?

If you are just in a small business where your income is like those of our compatriots working in hospitals, dentistry, or what have you; why are you freely intentionally giving away the fruits of your sweat when everyone else in the community, like engineers, or geologists, are keeping full portions of their income? Anyone could be a great philanthropist when he/she is wealthy, and there is enough going around to keep his/her life intact.

By first freeing ourselves from the cultural constraints, we are doing ourselves an enormous favor by removing a threatening hurdle. When that is taken care of; everything else will fall into place. Anyone who dreams of living a good life must sacrifice something in order to reach somewhere; hence hard work is not a big issue here, anyone who dreams that big must work hard to realize their capabilities.

An entrepreneurial mindset will develop over time. An entrepreneurial mind involves being economically resourceful and knowing how every pound you invest is going to propagate something profitable.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.


By Apioth Mayom Apioth, USA

January 13, 2015 (SSB) — Africa’s population is projected to increase twofold by 2050. There is nowhere else where that revelation rings true other than South Sudan. South Sudan is not only the world’s youngest nation; it also has one of the world’s youngest population in its youth; 72% of the population is under the age of 30. For South Sudan to reap the rewards of demographic upheaval, much heed, hawkish eye must be paid to two areas of particular importance, namely:(a) Creation of systematic mechanisms to control pandemic, endemic and all kinds of infectious diseases that might arise in the possible future; in our times, HIV/AIDS has caused us a great deal (b) Social Inclusion.

Every single day, we lose about 4213 individuals to AIDS in Africa. That number equates to loss of 1.5 million individual lives every year. The savage disease continues to waste the precious lives of our people. South Sudan rising from the ashes of a fifty-plus protracted war against the ruling elites in the former Sudan has a high illiterate rate problem. The literacy rate of males is 40%; whereas for females, it is a disappointing 16%. It is highly touted that those in the loop of know-how, or who have a good possession of information are the ones who will stay ahead of everyone else in this fast-paced, data-obsessed age of globalization. The closer accessibility you are to the information, the well-off you are. Unfortunately, in South Sudan, the part of the world, we hail from, closer proximity to the information is not prioritize to be the motor engine to drive us forward. It would have been all well and good had our population had a high literacy rate; had that been the actual scenario, a pathetic pestering varmint such as the AIDs which doggedly, stubbornly refuses to go away could have been dealt a major blow. However, that is not always the case with our poverty-stricken population who always works their hands to the bone from dawn to dust. South Sudan as an emerging nation, is starting to come to its own, and thus for that sole reason, the health infrastructure is non-existent. The small pockets of literate communities have to come to the fore to help the mass of our people from the AIDS Pandemic. We need a community to community coordination efforts to drum the ideas of HIV/AIDS prevention into every social aspect of our nation. For those who have no accessibility of information to how HIV is transmitted: We could bring to their attention that people get infected through coming in contact with the body fluids of those carrying the disease; it can also be transmitted through sharing of infected needles; and last but not the least, healthy individuals do get infected through sexual intercourse. Now, some of us may be wondering how we are going to accomplish this behemoth task of creating a systemic awareness of the HIV prevention in the nation of diverse cultures, where some are extremely conservative to shy away from a mere mention of issues pertaining private romantic intimacies.

Besides poverty, AIDS is another great tragic war we ought not to sleep over with. It has great wretched potential to continue playing with our dear lives. For South Sudanese youth to catch up with the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, and therefore, in due time, join their colleagues in sub-Saharan Africa to make Africa a global force to be reckoned with 35 years from now when the working age population is forecasted to double; we have to start positioning our youth in activities that will create a competitive edge some decades to come. We don’t really have to mind the rigidness of our cultures since we have already witnessed first-hand the devastating casualties of AIDS; we are silently waging a war against a virulent menace that if it is left unabated, it has tragic enormous reach to steal our very own one individual at a time. AIDS awareness doesn’t have to be confined to the classrooms of learning; from the centers of prayers, ceremonial festivities, football fields, and any possible place where people gather from two individuals to crowd of many; volunteers could take the lead to inform our communities about the immediate dangers of acquiring AIDS. Artists from the grassroots to the national level could employ their artistic talents to showcase graffiti on walls and create signboards across towns and cities in the country. An ailing sickened population which is bogged down by all kinds of diseases won’t be able to cope with a much healthier, vigorous rivals from different parts of the world. I know this may be too much a task to bring to the attention of our policymakers, but the case of the AIDS epidemic might be just the right call needed to start the actual establishment of a vibrant health infrastructure which could act as a protective shield to shelter us from all kinds of diseases that might arise later on down the road in the possible future.

Besides investing substantially in creating a systematic mechanisms of diseases-control and overall health infrastructure, another area we could help our youths is by involving them in activities that make them believe they are the custodians of our part of the world. By pouring the appropriate amount of investments into educational and infrastructural sectors, we are not only creating paths for them to take part in endeavors that might make a huge difference in their lives, we are also being indicative that they are full members of our societies.Social inclusivity doesn’t only involve providing full access to males only; it requires full participatory rights to everyone including women who have been historically and traditionally excluded from exercising their civil liberties.What does gender equality accentuate? Gender equality entails equal access to opportunities. When a girl-child is educated, she later on, as a grown up, helps in reducing both infantile and maternal mortalities, and providing nutritious, well-balanced meals to children to avoid stunted growth; while at the same time, when circumstances dictate, and she does end up as a single mother, she can bring in the much-needed income to her family. Women represent over half of the agricultural farming community in sub-Saharan Africa, and if they are given means to farm, they can improve agricultural yields by 20% – 30%. Similarly, once women are given accessibility means to work in careers that were traditionally held by men, they can improve workforce productivity by 25%; an area of performance which is direly needed to cater to the needs of the fast-expanding sub-Saharan Africa’s middle class. Studies have also shown that women participation in the political affairs of their respective constituents tend to ameliorate governance.Furthermore, women ought to be obligated gender and propagative rights; by which they can choose their life partners whenever they want instead of traditional forced marriages.

Men can only keep the women down for a short while. Why does men have to dictate what and why women can’t do certain things? Men had no say in the creation of women. We weren’t their makers. Both men and women live freely under the heavens. Last year, a population survey was conducted in one of South African’s provinces: men were found to have numbered about five million; women came first taking a whopping seven million. In almost every generation, there seems to be more women than men; I don’t know why that is so; perhaps it has something to do with the fact that we are all made in a woman’s womb, or perhaps the male’s fertilizing cells, sperm, is smaller in size to the female’s egg, when the two come together to form the whole being; and that way, the bigger propagating cells, the egg, take the big belly’s share of the pie. Women have the numbers to make a mark in our world. At the elementary level, there aren’t a lot of differences between a human brain and other animals of the wild. What distinguishes humans from other organisms in the Animalia Kingdom is the sheer size of our intelligence; our intelligence is superior to all the other creatures on planet earth. What distinguishes our intelligence from the other creatures is how superbly the neurons in the brain connect with each other to behave ambitiously, and thus enabling the human brain to become exploratory objects of wonder. When we talk about equality between men and women; it is not the physical strength that the men possess that make them superior to women, rather what makes us all equal is the capacity of our brains; our brains have the ingenuity to produce spectacular creations, only imagined in dreams. We are slowly moving away from the old era where we had to constantly use our strength to do things for us to our modern times where we are preoccupied with using our minds to make things a little easier for us; nowadays, the majority of us uses forklifts to lift materials from the floors to the trucks instead of the old time manual lifting with our shoulders.

In closing, our working age population can only fare sickeningly when they go head to head with their rivals unless a vibrant health infrastructure and social inclusive environments are created. Another major concern in the scientific community is antibiotic resistance. A whole lot of bacteria are becoming resistance to medically subscribed drugs. Not only that, recent economic crisis around the world have pushed the funding sources to the brink of precipice. Research institutions are clutching at the straw to find sources of funding so they could continue on their journeys of finding drugs to combat one of humankind’s everlasting foes: diseases. Overuse of drugs is the chief suspect proven to have brought many cases of bacterial resistance to drugs. There are lots of drugs on the streets, and most of it ends up going down our drainage systems where majority of bacteria lives. When the bacteria finds an abundance of the very adversaries that were designed to eliminate them in the first place, they always find it easy to mutate, and when the same drugs get to be subscribe to different patients; the bacteria happily say “We’ve got you” these drugs won’t work on us because we have already come in contact with them in the drainage systems. The scientist community is madly raving about a possible post-antibiotic era where easily treatable illnesses won’t drugs in the market due to the high resistance developed by bacteria. Having a lively health infrastructure is majestically important to keep our populations on living full, meaning lives.On the flip side of the coin, we won’t further our exploratory objectives unless the other half of our population is given full throttle ownership of their rights. Women have their own minds, and we can use their talents to propel ourselves forward. Men aren’t the only people endowed with the full share of intelligence; women have their own share of intelligence. We will be missing out tremendously if we fail undervalue the sheer brilliance of women. May be the reason behind some scientists take 15 to 30 years to make important discoveries is because the women have been underrepresented in that arena. In the end, gender equality entails healthier communities, and shared prosperity to all the stakeholders.


By Apioth Mayom Apioth, USA

pioocku

January 5, 2015 (SSB) — I once asked a colleague of mine to tell me what the Dinka called a snow, and he said, “Deng tueny abik,” literally translating to a “rain that pours a flour.” A flour in the sense of the word in that a snow looks powdery in its form. In the above translation, one word, the snow, splintered into three words of Deng, tueny, and abik.

Not that there is something there is something grossly wrong with combining commonplace words to coin new words; it is just that the translation read like a sentence; when it should have been a word to word transaction; with one word begetting an equitably another word.

In its counterpart English, two different words are combined all the time to create new words. Words like shoreline, motorboat, and many more come to mind. Along the same lines, the best translation would have been “dengabik.” Combining commonplace words to coin new words is no a no-brainer indeed, however, creating entirely new words is the best way forward. It helps in enriching our language, thus making it richer and diverse to create space for a culture to expand its horizons.

Globalization is at our doorsteps, and how we filtered it to make it works best for us, rather than allowing it to sweep us away with its junkie’s tidal waves is everyone’s business.

The best stage actors who can help us tremendously in spearheading this initiative are our elders, traditional chieftains, and the creative class, and by the creative class, I mean those who make their living in the arts and entertainment business. Our comedians, singers, and artists reign supreme here. Singers, comedians, and artists are always the first people who get to interact with new technologies and cultural events before everyone else.

In addition, their businesses force them to deal with large audience from time to time. Since the creative class are the first people to interact with new occurrences, they would do us some greater good to come up with new words every time they run into such things, before rushing to sell us their products.

One slight problem about our elders and traditional chieftains is their conservative grip of the culture. They pride themselves as the guardians of the culture; so once a new strange occurrence arrives on the horizon, they are bound to fight it with all their might instead of incorporating and create something new out of it.

On the other hand, they could also be a good untapped resourceful reservoir because their familiarity with the Dinka language could help to come with new words since they would be standing on a familiar ground. That is only if they could open up for the sake of our people.

I could have mentioned our writers without any hesitancy, however, they write in foreign languages such as English and French, and so they are busy enriching those languages with their gifted talents.

Having seen what the other actors are preoccupied with; the major task falls heavily on the creative class to do our bidding. First and foremost, the coinage of new words and the task of incorporating them into a language is not as easy as a child’s play. One of the fastest route to its incorporation into a language is when famous people take the lead and dutifully use their facilitatory means to inject them into their works.

In addition, caution must be taken at all times to avoid creating words that don’t make sense, meaning it would be a total injustice if anyone of this creative class starts creating words out of the blue, and those words happen to be unrelated to anything in the Dinka language, or the Dinka traditions and customs.

A language is a storage granary of a people; it showcases epochal growths of a people, highlighting how we reach our modern times, and a possible guiding framework into the future.

When we are talking about a possible encroachment of a foreign language or an element; we are merely mentioning how we can possibly position ourselves to adapt to those new changes.

Street Kids Are Our People Too!

Posted: December 28, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël in Apioth Mayom, Featured Articles

By Apioth Mayom Apioth

The number of homeless children in the South Sudanese capital has more than doubled since 2009

The number of homeless children in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, has more than doubled since 2009

On October 22, 2014, the New York Times ran an article titled “From a Rwandan Dump to the Halls of Harvard.” The story was about a young man named Justus Uwayesu, who was rescued at age 9 while living on the streets of Kigali; and through a principled composure, and high aptitude to learn with a little help along the way, he found himself in the most prestigious university in the world, Harvard, this past fall.

To extend over the story to the predicament of our very own street children in South Sudan, we would come to realize that the genocidal story of Rwanda wasn’t so much different to what South Sudanese went through for over half a century. First, the second Sudanese civil war left a deep scarred wound among South Sudanese, culminating in the thousands of street kids we saw before the current political malaise broke out in late December last year. And second, the December 15’s political crisis just added a salt to an already precarious painful wound by orphaning a new wave of street children.

South Sudan, in terms of size, is bigger than either of Kenya or Uganda; however by population-wise, its population stood at 8.5 million at the 2008 census, making it four times less populated than Uganda, and five times less numerically numerous than Kenya. In addition, South Sudan is endowed with a few mineral resources; with oil footing the majority of the bill. We have been extremely lucky to have been endowed with a country that is not heavily populated and that means less competition to knock elbows for resources. Fifty years from now, we might be tuning ourselves to a different ball-game.

Once the Peace Agreement is reached between the SPLA-IO and the SPLA-Juba, we are going to witness the same plundering of public funds all over again. We won’t have new chiefs in town; we will have the same Kiir Mayar, Riek Machar, Pagan Amum, and Majak Da Agoot beating the same old drums of saying to each other, “I will never stop building one mansion after another.” With the amount of money that gets embezzled through different cracks of government ministries every year, and how the not so large population of our country is, a small sum could be used to build street children’s shelters in all the state capitals of the country; at these shelters, a few paid workers could be employed to take care of these clientele kids. Building shelters for these kids sound like a better idea than allowing our government to bank-roll their living expenses while living under the custody of adopted foster parents; foster parenting would cast a big load on the government’s budgetary expenditures.

In addition, state capitals seem like good spots because they are always the business hubs of most states, and for that reason, they draw many people from different pockets of the states to their cores. Sometime last year, an article on Sudan Tribune came out reporting about a 14-year- old South Sudanese girl who used to get raped every night by police without giving her a penny for her services. Imagine, if that was your daughter, sister, niece, or another close relative, how would that make you feel? People who wouldn’t have a bad feeling about those brutal monstrosities are mainly the ones who committed those despicable crimes.

In sub-Saharan Africa, we are free to blame most of our societal ills on corruption, and our opinionated views are rightfully deserved. Corruption eats away at our much-needed resources of development like a beastly bottomless sloth. The reaches of corruption are deeply entrenched in the many sectors of our governments. And no matter how wretched the corruption is creating havoc to our developmental ambitions; we are not to blame for most of the societal ills that the corruption has thrust upon us, because the democratic institutions needed to properly run our governments haven’t flowered to maturity just yet; they are still in their infantile, nascent state. Apart from Mozambique, which was ruled by Portugal for some 477 years; Europeans rule in much of Africa didn’t last long for institutions of democracy to fully blossom to maturity like it did in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Corruption as we know will continue until the democratic institutions of accountability have matured. Humans are known to spoil themselves once they have gained something substantial. That is the reason behind why some of us go out on the weekends to have a few sips of beer; some of us call it the “head out” to relieve ourselves from the stress we accumulated during the course of the week, but in reality it is spoiling our dear selves. It is along the same lines that we see a lot of our public officials indulging in embezzlement of our funds because they find these resources easily accessible to them, and since we all have a weakness to spoil ourselves every once in a while, they sometimes go right ahead and take whatever they can while they are at it. So while many of us have been crying for a change of direction since the dawn of Independence, much of the blame should have been squarely targeted at weak governing institutions we hired from the colonial governments.

As long as there are no laws enacted to scare public officials from stuffing their treasury cabinets with public funds, we won’t have a day of rest. Strict laws indicating that public officials who have been found guilty of taking from the government’s treasure trove might be deprived of their offices; that misappropriated resources might be confiscated; and that any guilty party might be send to spend some time in an institution of confinement; all these laws might deter our politicians from participating in acts of self-indulgence. All public officials who serve any section of the citizenry must allow anticorruption agencies to scrutinize all their assets every year.

All in all, since the dawn of independence from the colonial regimes, the political philosophy of much of Africa has been guided by governments ruling their people through upright moral principles, since institutions of accountability have been slow to blossom to maturity. We, in South Sudan, can apply the same upright moral principles since we are the most infantile, nascent state of the continental Africa to have a second look at what we can do to alleviate the burden of impoverishments our street kids are going through.

By doing that, our government would be saying a one good big “thank you” to our martyrs and heroines who lost their lives in over half a century of struggle to find our footing in the world. Just like Justus Uwayesu of Rwanda, some of our street kids are probably scavenging over debris right now wondering whether they will find anything at all to sustain their miserable lives, and just like Justus Uwayesu, if they are given food provisions to nurse their hunger and a home to shelter themselves from the weather, one of them might make it to the residential halls of Harvard one day.

By giving these kids a chance to put their lives together, we are not only bettering their future prospects; we are also helping ourselves from turning some of our own into criminals who might one day come back and make our lives a living nightmare.

References:

Wines, Michael. (2014, October 22). From a Rwandan Dump to the Halls of Harvard. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/23/us/from-a-rwandan-dump-to-the-halls-of-harvard.html?_r=0.


By Apioth Mayom Apioth

Artificial Intelligence could be our gravest existential threat, graver even than the possibility of a nuclear war. It would involve programming vast fields of human knowledge into machines we thought were going to make our lives easier and wealthier. A mere Google search can generate thousands of results. If we were to perpetually embark on feeding our vast arrays of knowledge into the machines, what will become of us when the unthinkable happen?  We have already witnessed how many deaths occur every year due to automobile accidents. Those accidents keep on happening even when we are controlling our vehicles; well, what about when we decide to let unmanned (independently uncontrolled) machines walk among us? Imagine, what could happen to a shopping mall whose robotic security guards suddenly turned violent due to a programmed defect of some kind in the system? The major cataclysmic threatening event they could inflict on us is of course war.

 In the case there is the possibility of a nuclear war; states could take sides, and thereby helping in the creation of alliances. And our human empathy could kick in when the victorious side is seeing the defeated side in dire circumstances. In the possibility of a nuclear war, once side could end up winning the war, leaving that side in a good shape, while in the case of machines rising up against us, we could face a never before seen annihilation of an apocalyptic proportions. Machines don’t have emotions, and so they don’t experience compassion the same way we feel pity for others who are going through tough times. We could never deny the fact that not all machines would turn against us; however, the thought of having an adversary’s side completely comprising of machines versus us with our allied Artificial Intelligence is a burdening concern. Our adversaries could come completely programmed with smarter devices, capable of ending all human life forms on earth. Our human brain is, in a sense, limited to store countless portfolio of information the way machines are created to do. Machines, on the other hand, have the storage capacity to take in whatever we can throw at them, and they can even process that information with greater power of efficiency, unlike our much slower brains, which are prone to take a 15-minute break in between.

To avoid the existential threat posed by Artificial Intelligence, we should invest much of our time, energies, and resources on those devices we can operate, and focus less on Artificial Intelligence that could operate independently without our humanly touch. The more we allow Artificial Intelligence to take over our social environment, the more they are going to hit us hard. We will be okay if we keep all our created devices at a lengthy distance.  Our biggest threat will come from diversification of Artificial Intelligence with everything pertaining our lifestyles. Creating independent Artificial Intelligent is tantamount to giving them our human spirit; which also means they can do everything we are all capable of, and much more, even driving us to the point of extinction. Obviously we are the brain behind all the modern Artificial Intelligence’s devices, and all the planned futuristic devices, so what is the big fuss all about? Anyone may ask. The speed by which they can attack our human race could be so damaging, that regenerating our kind may seem impossible to contemplate. Our brains go through some sort of procedures before they can actually come up with some inventive ideas.


By Apioth Mayom Apioth, USA

The true size of Africa

The true size of Africa

“Coffee is about white people,” was the statement recently unleashed by a Chinese cafe owner, in his self-defense as to why he refused to hire a black Brazilian as a barista in Sydney. It echoes a racialized remark spewing out of the harsh times of the segregated Deep South, isn’t it?

To decipher the hidden meaning of his statement, one would think he also meant coffee holds a significant value to the Western culture; sort of like a pleasantry they consume while enjoying the immense wealth of their civilization.

On the other hand, black culture doesn’t value coffee to the same exalted status as it is in the West; black civilization is still mired in its crippling malady, refusing to straightened up to realize its full potential. In coming to realization as to what this signifies, we refuse to let the East becomes the new heavyweights of prejudicial mythologists of imperialism.

In colonial Africa, explorers were the first fabricators who fictionized Africa to a mere land empty of people but a place where anyone can make a name for himself, or see a grandiose specter of bountiful safaris ever found on planet earth. The first task of the explorers was to exaggerate the truth about Africa; they did so to generate future sponsorships and business deals for maintenance of their already established colonies, and for creation of the new colonies.

Even today, in our 21st century, people are still sleeping on this fictioning of Africa: My Samoan associates at work only talk about going to Africa to hunt animals; and in today’s Hollywood’s animations such as the Lion King, Madagascar, and so on, you only see the animals without a single African soul making it to the screen.

I have to admit that part of the reason of why we get to see animals getting animated every so often is blatant racism; the Western world doesn’t want other people to compete with them in the film industry, especially films that are designed for their audience, because in doing so, it would be tantamount to glorifying other people’s cultures, leaving them in the dust; and the other partial reason is filtration of past colonial myths that turned Africa into a land devoid of people, where adventurous vacationers got to see copious safaris without any human interruption.

During my college days, one of my friends, who happened to be Eurasian (actually he was half Caucasian and half Chinese), reiterated to me that Asians and Caucasians get along very well. Going back to the above statement, one would walk away fully satisfied that his reiteration wasn’t far from the truth; that they are cabals clandestinely working together to mold the world to their liking.

Even today, at this very second, there are some social milieu in the Western world who think blacks and Hispanics, are the bottom pit of the global hierarchy of power, while the Asians and Caucasians are at the foreground leading the pack with a tantalizing authority.

Thus, when a Chinese entrepreneur says coffee holds a monumental value to white people, he is merely giving a laudatory complement to another camaraderie who he sees hold a sweeping exalted statutory culture to his own.

So, what is the answer to the million dollar question; “When are we going to stop writing about Africa, and black people in particular?” That is the question that Chinua Achebe thought hit the target on the nerve when he was asked by an Australian student during one of his lecturing tours about washing our hands clean from imperialist practices and racism.

And the answer to that question is precisely clear: We will interminably keep on writing until we run out of ink. Writing as an art of expression keeps on changing dimensions from one era to the next. Black people write to educate people who refuse to look at them from the perspective who they truly are.

We keep on pushing pens to cut the umbilical cord from the new generation of imperialists who wish to recycle old practices of racism, and let it dictates our futures. In addition, writing covers vast medium of cultures, epochs, and places, for example, in my country of South Sudan, people have been going through almost interminable humanitarian disasters for three generations and counting.

So, from an era starting in the 1940s up to until now, all kinds of writers have been conditioned to become news writers; it didn’t matter, and our time still doesn’t give a hoot about whether you were born to be a fantasy, adventure, or an entertainment writer; time will come when everyone involved in this art will take his or her rightful place of expression. 

The East doesn’t have to go through that sad route again; it won’t do an absolute justice to the rest of human race who happened to be none other than Asians or Caucasians, if they become the new torch bearers of prejudicial imperialism.

The East have gained greater strides in the international mercantile system in the last three or so decades. Western racism on their people has fastidiously been on the decline once after they rose to the helm of the global socioeconomic ladder; there are some few pockets of Europe that still racially harass Asian students every now and then, but other than that, things are looking bright for Asians at the moment.

Meanwhile, Asians other counterparts, the blacks, still face widespread racism in Europe: In football stadiums usually populated by over 70,000 people, you can see some sections of the fans chanting monkey, and throwing bananas at the black players; and these things happen right before our very own eyes in our today’s highly social media platforms and live television programming.

The reason why European racism is lenient against Asians and heavily targeted against blacks is simple: Our economic influence in the global playground is lightly concentrated, while the Asians have a heavily clouded influence to air their grievances to whoever is mistreating their lot.

Globalization is moving heads as we speak: countless populations from many different parts of the world are moving from one part of the globe to the other, seeking new opportunities to improve their lives; and it is in this spirit of this global phenomenon that we should let something that is beyond our control takes its course to a new world order.

Be it the Westerners, Asians, Africans, or Hispanics, we ought to play it safe to the ever-demanding tune of “cultural diversity.” When that day of reckoning comes, each and every one of us will have to contribute its share to the future ambitions of humankind, since we don’t know what the future will look like, and catering to the needs of a diverse world, wouldn’t require the ideologues of a selected few; stagnation would ensue on their part.

That is why it is very important now more than ever, to give chances of life improvisation to everyone involved so that we can approach our problems on a leveled-playing field.

 

Have a Little Compassion on our Beloved Nation Mr. Kiir!

Posted: August 11, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël in Apioth Mayom

By Apioth Mayom Apioth, USA

rssin mess

Our so-called head of state, Kiir Mayardit, is only a leader in the name only. He loves being in the limelight that he would go to the extent of even selling his own soul for it. I think there is a plaguing disease of leadership addiction that is so entrenched in our culture that would give many of us a break when it is rooted out, however, I doubt it would go away very soon.

A lot of people believe that when you become a leader; your status and that of your clan is elevated. In other words, you automatically become the son/daughter of a great man overnight. That ideology is not analogous to the culturization of leadership in some other cultures around the world. In Kenya, for example, anyone would kill to become a leader just to make ends meet. Compassionate governance is the missing ingredient in the carefully polished recipe of our developmental agendas. A truly remarkable leader must possesses the love and compassion of his/her people. Put it another way, such a leader must try to feel the distress and calamities that his or her people are going through. She must also realizes that she is the sole pillar given the responsibility to shoulder and alleviate that burden.

Our Kiir Mayar has been sleepwalking through the corridors of Juba government’s pedestal for the last nine years to no avail. We have seen a disturbing invasion of foreign enterprises in many towns across the country. The cries of South Sudanese people have been heard from afar and beyond. The South Sudanese people have been calling to put an end to his hands-in-the pocket administration and bring in someone who would channel in tangible results. Again, being a leader is a big deal in our culture that he would never give in no matter the consequences that people experience.

Over the course of his reign, we have witnessed unprecedented cropping up of foreign hotels and restaurants everywhere, and the people that get employed in these businesses are none other than the foreign cohorts themselves. Not that there is something grossly wrong with the private sector taking center stage; it is the way we are approaching it, is what is terribly out of place. For crying out loud, how are we going to get a penny out of it when our very own are not even considered by these foreign bullies? We can’t just say he is coming to sell us something, and she is here to do business with us; we must allow all these junks to go through a filtration sieve, and pick the best among them to help us last time until we get on a proper foundation.

The sadistic truth to take home is that we are not entirely sure whether these foreign contingents are going to blend in with us, or stay culturally apart from our mainstream South Sudanese culture for many generations to come. The Indians of East Africa and Southern Africa have stayed culturally apart from the rest of Africa; some are fifth generation Afro-indians. Last year at an Indian wedding ceremony in South Africa, the Indians refused to be served by black Africans; citing the inferiority status of our race. The Indians do however own a large share of the private sector in sub-saharan Africa; however, they pay low wages and keep the rest for their kind. I have to acknowledge that progress does not come through the channels of private sector alone; it is a multifaceted phenomena that also involves the public sector.

We have had the lack of stringent laws to keep things in perspective once Kiir Mayar took over after the awful passing of John Garang. These laws could have allowed a certain percentage of posts to be set aside for South Sudanese in the foreign-owned enterprises. We could have turned a blind eye to the foreign business owners, had we any slight hint of who they are going to turn out to be in the distant future; but the truth of the matter is that, we yearn to take the business space they are flocking to take all for themselves. That business space is the enterprising field where we are going to develop our entrepreneurial capacity, and thus, that is where we will develop our very own human capital.

Once that business space is taken from us, it is probably going to take another frightening fight to get it back. We love our other sub-Saharan Africans, and things aren’t so comfy as it is with other foreign cohorts; however, these friendly rivals are going to use the proceeds from their businesses to develop their home economies before they start handing out donations to our communities.

When the United States got its first start to become one of the wealthiest countries in the world; she didn’t look elsewhere for talents to kickstart its nascent economy; she had its own home-based entrepreneurs waiting on the wings to get the job done. Morgan Chase had his banks; John Rockefeller had his oil; Cornelius Vanderbilt had his railroad, and Andrew Carnegie had his steel. And the story of America came to life with the quintessential painstaking efforts of these men. America was connected by railroads from east to west; banks were installed in every city to ensure fast processing of transactions; and homes were lighted by oil.

In coming to realization of the prominence important of the private sector as the backbone of the economy, and as the reservoir to look upon with kindness to build our roads, schools, and health centers; we also don’t want the foreigners to own everything that is ours, even garments on our very backs. To combat this alienation of these foreign cohorts, we want stringent laws to keep unwanted solicitors at bay!

Once this depressing war is over, we will only ask for basic enforcement of the rule of the law; for we can’t do without securing ourselves from the lawlessness that is commonplace right now in the country. We won’t even start in asking for establishment of courts that are slated to offer impartial justice, or call for free press to openly express ourselves without intimidation; everything will come much later after the provision of human security from some of us who would continue to go astray. The casualties of the war have been documented in every arena possible.

Thousands have lost their lives; 100,000 more are living in squalid UN-protected camps; and 1.5 million have been uprooted from their homes, and possibly afraid of returning back knowing their homes are far less secured from marauding of the rebels. Kiir continues to witness the daily scourge of the rebellion, and he remains inept to take a stand against the pitiful dire conditions that South Sudanese go through day in and day out. You can’t surround yourself with sycophantic advisers and expect them to steer you ashore. Kiir Kuethpiny, those bootlickers are only in for the loot! They don’t care about your legacy or whether from the depths of your heart, you deeply wish to improve the lives of the common South Sudanese.

No one between Kiir or Machar is cheerfully readily wanting to give in to the demands of each other; either one is always saying, “it has to be my way, or else, nothing is going to change.” South Sudanese gave up on the prospecting leadership of either Kiir or Machar long time ago. The records of both Kiir and Machar have been scrutinized squeaky clean, and they have found what was not intended for them to see in the first place: There was widespread corruption, and there was a puppetry government in Juba that just stood by while everyone was fending for himself/herself; causing havoc to the common person.

We don’t ask for Kiir to give everything up for Machar to take over; contrary to that, if Machar is harboring such thoughts, then let the whole international community be the judge, and we will find out sooner rather than later that Machar plans to take the big belly’s share of the seats in the government. We only ask for Kiir to stop keeping things at loggerheads with Machar; to look at our misfortune with compassion; to alleviate our hunger, to abate the predicted famine from ever coming to annihilate us.

After all, isn’t that what all leaders aspire to attain? Being compassionate: to have a deep feeling to what has stricken your fellow human beings, and trying to change their situation. The souls of South Sudanese have been deformed for over half a century; first they were kept under the dustbin by a number of successive persecuting regimes in Khartoum, and now they are experiencing another despondent situation of the same magnitude again. Kiir and Machar have turned the people of South Sudan into gladiators, and are cheerfully watching on the sidelines as spectators urging them on to finish themselves.

We doubt if Kiir and Machar will ever get their prospecting chances of leading South Sudan, if they continue to be bystanders in the moments of our needs. The development they bragged about can only be realized when the basic necessities of life are made affordable according to the common person’s disposable income; nine years have passed, and the provision of basic necessities such as access to safe drinking water, health, and food, remains to be seen.

The international community needs to intensify its pressure in order for these warring parties to struck a compromising agreement. The international community is an influential party, but first our warring parties must be willing to negotiate on good faith with each other. In any international playing field, one must be too meticulous not to lose touch with reality, and in the case of the international community, we can’t be entirely sure whether clandestine operatives like the CIA, are providing lush funds to either of these men, or intend to bring in a leader of their choosing.


By Apioth Mayom Apioth

kiir and riek pic

Riak Machar Teny thinks he has found a pinata in Salva Kiir; a dim-witted character, who is too slow to think, too slow to act: a true definition of a puppeteer who knows how to pull strings at his puppets whenever he deems necessary. On the other side of the coin, Salva Kiir believes he has nothing to worry about as long as he has the control of South Sudan’s army (SPLA). Today, the rebels are going after Ayod, and tomorrow, Juba has taken back Ayod. Why can these fighting groups join up with scamps on the streets and play 1-2-3 instead of wasting our precious time with this insipid game?

By the looks of things, this political turmoil is going to take sometime to resolve as no one, between either Riek or Kiir, wants to give peaceful and reconciliation means a chance to take center stage. We are in for a tough ride, folks! The saddest truth to take away from this eye for an eye neighborly war is that our most precious and cherished resource, that is, our people, are the ones who are staring death in the face. Right back then, large population of Southern Sudanese was domiciling in East Africa. The situation was deemed safe for every man to wield his gun without worrying about injuring the elderly, women and children.

In the Sudanese civil war, Riek Machar could easily be deprived of resources from his base in Nasir, since large swaths of Southern Sudan was under SPLM/SPLA; a precarious situation that made him escape to Khartoum to create unsustainable mutual relationship with Bashir. Now, he is notoriously capable of drawing his army and other military supplies from the civilian population. When we were fighting for our independence from Khartoum, we were saying to ourselves, okay, let’s not worry too much about development right now; we will work on that after we have gained a solid footing.

We knew then and up to this very day, that freedom is an invaluable right we cannot live without. When someone takes that away from you, it would be unwise to sit still without using your full potential to gain back your stolen right. Freedom is the staple that makes us whole; without it, man couldn’t have dare dreamed to touch the tears of the moon. Gaining our freedom from Khartoum was the first step towards developing our human capital.

After gaining our right to live as free peoples, we decided to lay dormant, while at the same time, pull out a major impediment of development by starting this unnecessary war.. In less than nine years, after spending decades on the fringe of Sudanese politics, we have had Late George Athor, David Yau Yau, and Riek Machar; people who all took up arms after failing to secure the posts they sought. The list is still short, however, it has given us a wake up call to stop this madness before it becomes ingrained into our culture, like other African diseases, such as corruption.

How hard could it be to obtain a political position through the vote? Besides, using your tongue never hurts anyone compared to ending people’s lives through the barrel of a gun.

This political malaise was already a tragedy waiting to happen. This is what I said before the December 15’s outbreak of the current humanitarian crisis in South Sudan: “The urge for a change to a leadership in Juba is urgent. It has gargantuan consequences to touch everyone across the board in South Sudan; from a subsistence farmer in rural communities to a doctor in Juba Teaching Hospital; no one will be left unscathed. If things are left truant and stagnant the way they are, more and more people are going to be left with few alternatives for survival.

And what come next is high crime rates, unemployment, poverty, diseased and disgruntled wronged population crying for a change to appear on the horizons. Take for example, I am possessing a hundred South Sudanese pounds and I happened to be roaming the streets of Juba one day, and out of nowhere, three stern-looking youths appear and snatch away my monies. And with my monies gone, I could end up hitting the streets the next day if I had nothing to fall back on. It couldn’t be me alone who could get victimized that way; another South Sudanese could get assaulted during the ransacking of his/her property on the other side of the town.

The transition from a deafening civil war to our current rogue civil peace isn’t working for the collective betterment of all South Sudanese. That is why countless cries have pierced the sky calling for a genuine leadership to take over in Juba; a simple call that shouldn’t take a mere eighty seconds to drag your feet over it. What is civil peace? Civil peace is being able to come home after a long gruesome day of work and rest your feet over a warm aroma of lukewarm water without worrying about scrounging a portion of my income to street kids who have a habit of visiting me so often.

SPLM chairman Salva Kiir (R) greets former SG Pagan Amum (L) as Riek Machar looks on, January 14, 2010

SPLM chairman Salva Kiir (R) greets former SG Pagan Amum (L) as Riek Machar looks on, January 14, 2010

Hitherto, if I end up sharing my income every so often, I could end up getting shove out of the door by my employer because I have nothing to feed myself. So the leadership issue is becoming more and more personal to everyone who shares the fate of South Sudan. Civil peace has ostensibly nothing to do with being afraid of going out of night once the sun disappears from the view.”

What is derailing the peace talks in Addis is an enthusiastic eagerness on both parts of Kiir and Machar to leave behind their personal ambitions of either staying in power or rising to the helm of presidency, and prioritize the great interests of the people of South Sudan as their only call to duty. For either one of these mad dogs, No one knows why God always put these pathetic leaders to do our bidding in the continent of Africa.

Sometimes it is either a military general or highly corrupt statesmen who all believe that they have been anointed by God to rule, and in the process, fictioning the people that they do not really exist, that the very people they are there to serve are simpletons to play games with.

What is always bothersome to swallow is the sheer visibility of poverty everywhere you go whether in South Sudan or somewhere else in Africa. On the streets of Juba, you could meet an impoverished shopkeeper who own nothing but five South Sudanese pounds, and if you come to think of it, how are you going to live on that for the whole month? If you are an African politician, would you have a decent urge to take the monetary resources from the people that are really that poor?

Such downtrodden poverty doesn’t bother our politicians and they even go to sleep at night with a cold drink at their bedside. Some decent politicians with a noble cause wouldn’t wink at night thinking about the great needs of the African people.


By Apioth Mayom Apioth, USA

africa colonies map

There has never been a better time than now to return to our African linguistic roots. The 1884’s Scramble for Africa (also called Partition of Africa) brought us unforeseen divisions and rivalries whereby we are explicitly known as Francophone, Lusophone, Anglophone, and Italophone, respectively. At any given moment, whether it is a conflicting issue that needs resolution, African states leaning toward the axis of Anglophone orientation gang up against the Francophone, or it could be Afrolusophone versus Afroitalophone, muddling it up over matters of economic interests.

It is not a question of whether we are enriching the European languages with our ingenuity, rather it is a call to put our authenticity in perspective that we will never discover our true genius by continuing to use other people’s languages. We could still enrich foreign languages by way of translation; a true literary work of genius could get noticed at any instance the word is out. Literary works, such as Camara Laye’s The Dark Child, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s horseman, and Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Weep Not, Child, are exceptionally rare works of intelligence.

Indeed, those are true gems of literature, but could they have done more, or how come they stopped from there? To put it another way: Was their ingenuity complete, or was it in fragments? What if there are still some undiscovered geniuses lingering in the hades of the unfamiliarity with these foreign languages?

When Europe was mired in a debacle of the dark ages, they didn’t have the enlightening period called the Renaissance, until they discarded Latin. For an African Renaissance to take off, going back to our native languages is the first step towards launching a dawn of a new era. Our native languages are rich with a burgeoning tradition of progress; for no matter how tempest the foreign languages they maybe, we do not have a deep understanding of their sly ways. We have an exuberant attachment to our native languages, almost spiritual.

That connection makes it easy for us to wade through impossibilities, and, in the midst of this scuffle, our languages and us, have fused into one thing, becoming inseparable over time. It is not just our genius that we are trying to unearth from our native languages, myths, fables, and even, knowledge of ecosystems and species of both plants and animals, and their interactions with our domiciling environments, could all be lost if we do not come up with a swift answer to this nagging hurdle. Every once in a while, a scientist would appear and state, I have discovered this species of plant, and I have discovered that species. What these scientists always avoid to take into account before rushing to publications of their discoveries, is failing to ask the indigenous communities if they knew anything about the species in question.

It turns out that most of the time, the names of the species of plants and animals, they are belatedly discovering were already commonplace in the local languages of the said communities. Not only that, many of today indigenous communities have the ability to derive certain medicines and medicinal herbs from the varied wild species of plants and animals, they have been interacting with for centuries in their ecosystem milieu.

In the foreseeable future, it is predicted that global cultures and languages that encompass national borders are going to take center stage. As times goes on, more and more languages, are going to bow to pressures of the most influential languages. Many more languages are going to disappear altogether from the face of the earth. Language as a medium to carry one culture from one pocket of the globe to another cultural hub, is going to be more prominent than ever. And since we have no idea of where the next hegemonic, all conquering languages, are going to hail from, shouldn’t we put our house in order right now, before the sun calls it a day?

This is where our return to our native languages comes shouting hard on our necks. Our native languages were taken only for a ride by the imperial capitalist West. They were only taken for a nightmarish ride up to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, but they were eventually returned to us, changed, and needing a new system of mothering. The reservoirs of our native languages are still wet, they haven’t entirely been laid to waste by the poisonous fangs of the European languages. All they yearn for is the constant nourishment by the beloved sons and daughters of the continent.

Our world is increasingly becoming smaller, and all we have to do is to return to something so familiar, something we have all known along, but have neglected for far too long, our mother tongues; be it a Dinka of South Sudan, Shona of Zimbabwe, or Yoruba of Nigeria; We call for something that has our authenticity written all over it; something that will carry our unique experience to the world stage. It is time to wake up our hibernating and graying native languages from the chambers of our granaries, where the termites have been eating their way into their hearts for quite some time now.

Once the world finally succumbs to the common phrase called the “global village,” it would not be our interest to gloat over how much we have achieved as a race, rather, our humble preoccupation would be to contribute our unique experience to the global plate; where it would be intended to improve the futuristic aspirations of mankind. Our world is always ever-changing, and we are always in need of ingenuity to rescue us from moments of frustration, even experiences of life and death. It is time to invest more of our effort and resources into our native languages, entities that hold sacred followings, in a sense, analogous to the spiritual attachment of the land of Africa itself.

In case, we fail to pay heed to this urgent call, we won’t have much to contribute to the betterment of mankind since we will only be playing on unfamiliar grounds of the European languages, which are bound to produce second-rated ingenuity, if there is a boon at all.


By the end of the six year Interim Period I want Southern Sudan to be earning at least two billion dollars from oil revenues, two billion dollars from tourism, at least six billion dollars from agriculture and other enterprises, so that we have annual revenues of at least ten billion dollars. All this requires peace and stability all over Southern Sudan. Over the six years I want Southern Sudan transformed into the heaven on earth of Africa….” Dr. John Garage De Mabior, June 30, 2005.

By Apioth Mayom Apioth, USA

In sub-Saharan Africa, peasants excel in great numbers. Because each peasant lives in total solitude from the next neighborly peasant, they have no means of collectively coming together to become a force to be reckoned with in the political affairs of their constitutional governments.

Meanwhile, the rent-seeking statesmen in the cities, who are far less copious numerically than the peasants, have the political clout to make their voice heard. For the peasants to be effective drivers of economic developmental efforts, they ought to be given full throttle ownership of the land on which they farm; and that could be extended to banishing state-ownership, a dubious relationship which is seen time and time again as a major hindrance to the capital accumulation and entrepreneurial capacity building.

Whenever political elites skew away the savings, garnered from doing transactions with the peasants, the peasants are in turn left with scant proceeds to innovate and expand their technical expertise.

Also, by becoming the sole owners of the land, they can prevent environmental degradation from soil erosion and the likes of deforestation. Vibrant financial establishments, free from the squalid influence of the ruling elites, need to be created to help further the provisions of research and expertise facilitation.

International donor agencies could chip in once in a while to help protect peasants from further scavenging from the ruling statesmen. They could also lend their technical know-how to the peasantry communities until they have developed the entrepreneurial capacity to take a lead in spearheading their affairs. South Africa is unique from their counterparts in sub-Saharan Africa in that the peasants do not make up the big chunk of its population.

For that scenario alone, the ruling statesmen do not have the peasantry population to tamper with. Even if that were the case, their rights could have been protected by the constitution, a sagacious judiciary, and an independent mass media that acts as a fortification shell from unwarranted encroachment of the political elites.

All in all, the peasants in sub-Saharan Africa need a conducive bridging vehicle to the international markets, rather than constantly lay in wait to sell their hard-won products to the private-owned cooperatives of the ruling statesmen, which are the sole thieving culprits of their agricultural surpluses.

For democratization to become the launching pad, and thus, the guiding light of our progress and prosperity, it must be equitably extended to all the major actors involved, leaving no one untouched including the elite statesmen and the peasants themselves.

Since the dawn of independence, our elite statesmen have been using the state power to live lavish lifestyles to the detriment of our poverty-stricken masses. They saw climbing to the top tier of the political order as an easy route to wealth acquisition.

Industrialization failed to take a quantum leap largely because they were laying in waste of melancholic stupor doing all sorts of unimaginable things: chief among them was heavy taxation; charging high energy bills; making it less likely for the private owners to innovate from the lack of accumulated capital.


By Apioth Mayom Apioth

Pawuoi Ajokbil holds an indomitable eccentric figure. “Indomitable” in the sense that when something is bothering him, he would go to enormous lengths to emancipate himself from whatever is holding his nose in the dirt. He was born a Twi Dinka, formerly a sub-tribe of the Dinka tribe, and now irritatingly believed to be a sub-section of Dinka Bor. Twi Dinka has been moved around the block ephemerally since the Anglo-Egyptian colonial days; first, when Jonglei state was part of the Upper Nile province, Dinka Twi, along with Dinka Nyarweng, Dinka Hol, and Dinka Bor, were all part of Duk Payuel district; and in the later years, when Bor became a district, it became one of its fledging pawns, again together with Nyarweng, Hol, and of course Bor, which was originally divided into two main sub-groups of Gok and Athoc.

These days, Bor district is defunct and a thing of the past, but the name has stuck in the minds of countless diverse people worldwide. On Martyrs’ Day, or any other communal gathering, Twi people are seen celebrating in isolation from Dinka Bor people. Many witness accounts have also reported encountering Dinka Bor people holding separate fund raising events, away from Twi people. Major cultural distinctions, such as the dialect, have remained intact unadulterated from the infusion. The frictions are still looming large in the air, and, Pawuoi, among all people, is losing his mind over the squabble. He blames the Twi elders and the youth for sleepwalking over the issue for far too long. The Dinka are the most economically powerful and make up about 11% of the overall total population of South Sudan. The Nuer are the next populous ethnic group totaling 5% of the South Sudanese population.

“Had the Twi elders and youth taken the cantankerous issue to all the Dinka elders, they would have talked it over, found a solution and everyone would have been saved from many insomniac sleepless nights over this problem?” he questioned his conscientious inner self, thinking the consent was needed first from the Dinka elders before everyone starts campaigning for Twi autonomy from Dinka Bor hegemony. “The source of the problem is the Dinka community itself. Once the Dinka community acknowledges the pure intentions of Twi people, then all well and good, they would go ahead and spread the news to other ethnic groups of South Sudan who knew little or nothing about Twi,” he remarked, still stuck in his latest depressed state.

“Perhaps, the transition from Duk Payuel to Bor came when the history of South Sudan was generating stormy dust to change its course of being a remote peripheral region of Sudan to become an independent state of its own. Whatever melancholic issue is holding Dinka Twi a prisoner to become a world renounced Dinka sub-tribe of the Dinka, in the same category as Dinka Malual, Agar, and many others, is too much a task for one man to handle solely,” Pawuoi would thought. In these dubious times of the fastidious academia, it may be too late for Twi Dinka to reclaim its past glory of their namesake because once something becomes entrenched in the scholarly circles, it would take a painstaking effort to erect it back to their rightful owners. Not to mention finding funding sources to keep the research from derailing off the tracks.

After South Sudan gained its independence, Dinka Twi emerged as part of Dinka Bor. While the whole world was busily welcoming the newly independent state of South Sudan to the coliseum of nations, Twi Dinka remains eclipsed behind the limelight shadows of Dinka Bor. On that fateful day when South Sudanese were granted the freedom to be the masters of their own destinies, with its intoxicating cascading jubilee dancers going merry-go-round from place to place, the global audience captured only one name to champion the cause of every event to come in the foreseeable future and that was Dinka Bor. After an intrepid “Dinka Bor” ship weathered a torrential weather at sea, Dinka Twi name will be lost to the bottom pit annals of world history; a place where anyone would find it hard to nurse it back to fruition. History has revealed itself to Pawuoi time and time again that at the birth of anything, the name that is given to any creation at birth, is the name people will remember for futuristic events.

“Even after much tampering with the Dinka Bor name during the course of its lifespan, the new name that will prop up would probably have nothing to do with the subordinate names that were incorporated into Bor when it became a merger of the Twi, Hol, Nyarweng, and Bor,” he concludes. Subordinate “Twi” name it may seem, Pawuoi is now more than convinced to live as free-spirited and original as his legs can drive him.

Lately, the major causation of Pawuoi’s irritations, has been springing from his Dinka brethren. At Trident Seafoods Corporation, in Akutan, Alaska, where he works as an environmental contaminant consultant, Pawuoi has been facing an uphill battle against the waves of unpleasant conversations hurdled his way by his Dinka brethren. Be it a brother from Dinka Malual, or Panaruu, the conversation keeps on swaying to the same direction.
“Riek Machar’s militias are displacing our people in Bor,” Bith Miyak, a Dinka Panaruu added. “The events of 1991’s Bor Massacre are repeating themselves again,” said Diing Akol, a Dinka Malual. “Guys! Guys!” Cried Pawuoi, his voice becoming lethargic from the high-pitched shouting. “You may have been misled into believing that I am a Dinka Bor, however, in the purest reality of things, I am a Twi Dinka.” “Pawuoi, brother come on now, haven’t you heard that Twi has already been subjugated by Dinka Bor?” shrieked Thon Aguto, a Dinka Bor.

The much heated debate went on for about twenty five good minutes until it was disrupted by the call of their foreman to get back to work. There seemed to be no mention of Dinka Twi by any non-Dinka Twi in every conversation circulating the galley – a kitchen lounge building that offers meals to the company’s employees. Pawuoi was getting despondent with this Twi-Bor arm’s twisting and decided to do something about it. First, he thought: ‘Where there is no central force commanding obedience among the horde, disintegration into a total anarchy is imminent.’ The atmosphere was getting stale and he wants to shake things up a notch.

By becoming the general in command of the Dinka nation at Trident, even for a mere five minutes at lunch, he would accomplish his personal mission. And for this matter, he thinks he has found the answer to this stalemate. For him, it wouldn’t make any significant difference if his commandeering turns a little dictatorial as long as they understand his envisagement. The following evening, after work, he went to a Ship’s specialty store in town and bought himself a rather awkward looking club, four razor-sharp nails and a glue. The club came with four holes on each side of its head. To avoid the harvest from easily slipping back into the sea, fishermen simply plunged threaded nylons into those four holes. And thus, the normal function of this club is to pull nets out of the water after its preys have been tamed.

The next day, at lunch hour, Pawuoi hurriedly walked to his room in the housing building complex. The housing units are a three minute walk from the fish processing plant where he inspects the worksite for environmental contaminants. In his room, he quickly grabs his three components of the weaponry: the club, the four nails and a glue. Staying vigilant of the limited time allotted to him for lunch, he stomped back towards the direction of the galley. But what was that? He realized he must hide his unassembled parts of the weaponry to avoid the bullish garish faces of the security guards stationed at the galley’s entrance. He hides both the glue and the four nails in the linen of his bump cap; a cocooned head cover he uses to protect the center of his thinking machinery against overhead scuffling.

As with what to do with the club; he conceals it inside the woolen fleece jacket he armors to shell himself from the cold winters of Alaska. Walking past the security guards, he puts up a truant happy face to draw the attention away from his much anticipated adventure. Inside the galley, he runs to the vacant storage room, recovered the club from his warm body, swung out the nails and a glue for assemblage. He pours the glue into the four holes of the club, shoves the nails inside and forty five seconds later, the nails were cemented into the club as the hardened granite bricks on the walls of the Great Zimbabwe. The final product resembles a hammer with four distinctive porcupine’s needles adorning its head.

As he was readying himself for the possible final showdown with his Dinka brethren, he plastic-wrapped the porcupine-headed club so as to fool the other lunch breakers from discovering his contentious plot. He opens the door for a minute just to check whether the Dinka boys were seated at their usual spot; at the roundtable desk with two benches on each opposing end. Diing Akol, Thon Aguto and Bith Miyak, were all seated at the spot simply dubbed as the “mini Juba” among some quarters of the company in reference to the South Sudanese politics frequently heard wafting from that parliament. Springing out of the storage room with a flood of confidence, holding the club on his right hand, he bypassed the meal-hand-out window and headed straight to where the boys were seated. Arriving at the table, he placed the club down on the table, now fully unwrapped from its plastic sheath, and sat down next to it. Everyone exchanged greetings.

Then Pawuoi began: ‘Brothers, you know how much I dislike being called a Dinka Bor, don’t you? So from here and now, I am begging all of you to always refrain from calling me Dinka Bor and adopt Dinka Twi instead.’ “Pawuoi! Pawuoi! How many times do we have to tell you that no one under the sun knows Dinka Twi anymore?” Bith Miyak remarked, swinging his head from side to side as if he was possessed by a meningitis disease. “Is this how you want it, ha? Here I am, begging my heart out to you guys in an effort to accept my sincerest desire to live a dignified life with honors in the same carefree manner my grandfather did; who lived as a Twi Dinka all his life without ever experiencing Dinka Bor’s predatory long reach. And what I get in return for my naïve pleadings are insults. That is it, I have had enough of this deafening hell talk,” Pawuoi added, with sporadic slippery dew seen escaping from his spread out teeth. He stood up, grabs the club and GOOM! He hits the table with a Tsunami type of earth shaking force, making the four saber-toothed club to stand with two nails pointing upward, while the other two nails etched inside the wooden layers of the table, never letting go.

“Do you want me to make a minced beef out of every one of you, just to understand where I am going with this talk?” he asked, looking them squarely in the eye to provoke them into submission. The Dinka boys were flabbergasted, having never seen such an egregious behavior from someone they have always known as a down to earth person. The whole table hummed in total silence. “Silence means I remain to be called a Twi until the day I exit this earth. It doesn’t matter if everyone in South Sudan get converted to Dinka Borism. Standing up to what I believe in means the whole universe to me,” Pawuoi said. “Who is creating all this commotion?” questioned the security guard, who was alerted in the midst of altercation among the Dinka contingent. His employment came to a screeching halt. He was found guilty of threatening his associates with violence.

The next morning, he was on an Alaskan Airlines flight, back to Washington State; a hibernating place he calls second home, while lurking in wait for an opportune fortune for life reconstruction back home. Later that day, thinking of his exploits, he felt there could have been no other way to reclaim his lost dignity other than to let his club do the talking for him. Those few moments of silence he received from the lads meant Dinka Bor wasn’t so mightier than a saber-toothed club after all. For now, he will have to live as free as a wind, savoring the freedom granted to him by his beloved barbed-toothed club, until the new Dinka Bor sympathizers arrive on the horizons.


By Apioth Mayom Apioth

Slavery’s last fortification in Africa is Mauritania. According to a November 11, 2013, New York Times’ article by Adam Nossiter entitled ‘Mauritania Confronts Long Legacy of Slavery,’ close to 140,000 or 4% of the total population is in chattel slavery: meaning it is passed down from one generation to the next. Centuries after the slavery was abolished in the Americas and Europe, Mauritania is still holding a dirty secret, right in our backyard.

Two days ago, I had a heated conversation with a Berber man, and not much to my surprise, he refused to accept the very existence of slavery in Mauritania. Apparently, he is one of the masterminds working behind closed doors to keep the system of slavery tightly concealed from the outside world.  News reports are cropping up everywhere and yet the Mauritanian government is perpetually remaining reluctant to bring those who are responsible for this practice forward. When the victims of this practice try to speak up they are threatened with deprivation of food, even death.

Great social revolutionaries like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X helped bring about social change in the face of the mighty Americans,and yet the Africans who are properly equipped with tools of social change are allowing evil to continue to  prey on their people right before our very own eyes. We are not talking about slavery in far-flung places like India, we are talking about enslavement in Mauritania, a desert sprawling country up north of Senegal. This incident will go down in history as the greatest failure of our generation because after a wrestler has beaten his opponent, he doesn’t bother looking too deep into his scratch after the competition. He always rises above that scratch and say that is nothing compared to what I went through.

Black people went through thick and thin fighting institutionalized racism in the racialized Americas, Europe and colonial Africa. And just when we were about to reach the promised land, we started faltering and failed miserably to look beyond our borders and strike down our mud-headed neighbors who won’t allow others to be the masters of their own destinies. When you take away the dignity and self-respect of others, you make your life less worthy to live. The following Bantu’s saying tops them all: “A human is human because of other humans.” Our lives become worthwhile because of the shared intricacies we each contribute to our immediate societies.

In Colonial Africa, Europeans disregarded African’s sculpture as meaningless. In the later period, Pablo Picasso began incorporating African’s artwork into his masterpieces; a quintessential period that would skyrocketed him into the worldwide icon. The world would have probably never come face to face with the genre of the art that Picasso created, had it not been because of Benin’s sculptures. No matter how different we look, our diversity has a greater role to play in overcoming the multifaceted challenges humanity has been facing since the first day we started inhabiting our planet earth. Imagine, if the Asian people were the only human race inhabiting the earth, our world would be blanketed with the same monotonous thinking from here and there. Every human race has a fair share of its hidden treasures to contribute to the global audience.

References:

Nossiter, A. (2013, November 11). Mauritania Confronts Long Legacy of Slavery. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com


By Apioth Mayom Apioth

To all our Dinka Community members, please I am hereby urging you to continuously refrain from inciting internecine war of division among ourselves. There is no proven scientific data evidently available that the Dinka of Jonglei state are more intelligent than our brotherly counterparts in the Greater Bhar Ghazal or other parts of the Greater Upper Nile region. This baseless and senseless apathy has to stop from here. What we rather should be doing is to perpetually pull our resources together with an aim of catapulting our varied Dinka communities forward instead of turning against one another; as this could allow others to take advantage of our cohesiveness and benefit tremendously from our war-lording.

The sole purpose of this short paper is to drum the ideas of unity and forward-thinking into the minds of all our brethren instead of heralding divisive unfounded grudges from here and there. Our brotherly counterparts from the Greater Bhar Ghazal region have been doing exceptionally well in all spheres of life; A few examples of the many spheres of life where they are mammothly represented are politics, business, science, and education. If you have been paying a special attention to the news harbingers in South Sudan, then I probably assume you have read about how some students from Marial Baai Secondary School in Northern Bhar Ghazal State came out ranked in the top 10% nationally last year. There is nothing wrong with being more intelligent than others, however, there is no palpable data available in the market to prove anyone right. If anyone from the Dinka sub-tribes of Jonglei State would dare to name their highly successful lot, then other Dinka sub-tribes from other regions would follow suit and play that game of tit for tat. Tribal grouping is the fate we won’t escape anytime soon. If there were some few talented individuals among the many sub-tribes of the Dinka nation, then we ought to harness their creativity among ourselves to bring out the best in the Greater Dinka Community. Imagine, in the foreseeable future, there are no tribal affiliations in South Sudan and everyone is known as just a South Sudanese or Juwamese ( from Juwama), how do you think we should be remembered as one of the many tribes that once roamed this beautiful land of ours? In this case, there are no individuals that go with the names like Maker Nhial, or Alic Deng, but the new generation of South Sudanese go by the names like Lado Marial,  Thon Puot, or Atem Uduong. In this time of distress in South Sudan, everyone is yearning for economic prosperity to take over in the greater realm of our nation. If our tribe successfully managed to become the greatest game – changer in the political affairs of our nation, then history will be so kind to us and remember us vividly in that light. For us to garner anything substantial, we have to make unity the daily staple of our day to day activities. Change is inevitable and we rather change with it or die out altogether without living any trace of our past existence.

As an old saying puts it appropriately: “ A besieged castle, no matter how weak its defense walls are, it can only crumble from the inside”; Our internal war-lording could be the start to our eventual demise on the face of the earth. The idea to always forge ahead and be better than others is part of our human phenomena. Instead of always trying single-handedly to be better as an individual, why shouldn’t we always aim to escape from our ills as one wholesome community. The decisions we make as a community have both good and severe consequences in the not so distant future.

How does strong wind of change come about? It comes from every walk of life, even from a mere humble beginning. For the Dinka community to have a solid grounding in the Greater South Sudan Nation, we need to constantly nip out petty voices whose immediate goals are to destabilize our greater aspirations of making South Sudan, a greater power to contend with the world over. Our first priority ought to be solidifying our strengths and emerge even stronger; that way we can successfully emerge triumphant in pacifying the vast diverse communities of South Sudan. Our people are still being discriminated against in many parts of South Sudan up to this day. In places like Mundri, Kajo Keji, among other places, they are being questioned about why they are still staying there and the war is over.

How can we win the hearts and minds of the vast different tribes across South Sudan? In order to banish the negative perception that we are the new colonizers of South Sudan; And since they see as guests who won’t just go away, we rather ought to be more inclusive and be open-minded about those immediate communities that are housing our communities. For this to come to fruition; we can just employ an atmosphere of mutual understanding by letting them know who we really are, and, on the other hand, embark on a mission of understanding the greatest things they mostly cherish in their cultures. Exchange of ideas, norms and societal values are the keys to bettering our relations with those who see us as brutish occupiers. By having done so, those who were carrying beclouded washed-up animosities against us would instead let their guard down and welcome us with open arms. No one under any circumstances should be regarded as a foreigner in his or her own country. However, not every citizen of South Sudan sees it that way. A tribal grouping comes first before the ideals of nationalist awareness and consciousness.

Apioth Mayom Apioth. Email:generalpito@hotmail.com