Archive for the ‘Thiik Mou Giir’ Category


THE EQUATORIAN PEOPLE

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.  Proverbs (KJV)

By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

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November 8, 2016 (SSB) — Equatorians are peace-loving people.  As you are all aware, Jieng is a tribe; Equatoria is not a tribe.  Equatorian is a term coined to denote a person who is a member of any tribe that traditionally populated Equatoria Region. The behaviour of Equatorians varies, ranging from a Jieng-like tribe to a more peaceful tribe.  South Sudanese memorable history indicates that Mundari people, a Jieng-like people, have similar features as Jiengs.  They had, from time to time, killed a few Bari people as a result of disputes over grazing pasture.  Bari people never retaliated violently because they are peaceful people.  Furthermore, it is never heard of that Kakwa people waged war against Kuku people.  Both of them are peaceful peoples.  Most Equatorian tribes are generally peaceful people.

For quite a long time, the Arab Muslims became a common enemy to all South Sudanese.  When time came for South Sudanese to take action to liberate themselves from the grip of their common enemy, each South Sudanese tribe saw the contribution of the other tribes to the war efforts through their own tribal lenses.  In my previous article, I quoted the information that I had received from SPLA war veteran.  It showed that Jiengs’ (the violent people) contribution was the highest whereas the Equatorians’ (the peaceful people) contribution was the lowest.  For people who are violent, Jieng for example, it seems there is no other way for them to interpret the low turnout of Equatorians, but as a contribution coming from Equatorian tribes who are nothing but a bunch of cowards.

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Jieng’s character disposition: The Making of Jiengs Out of the Equatorian Community

By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia 

south-sudan-flagOctober 31, 2016 (SSB) — In this article, I will focus on Jieng’s character disposition.  In recent months, many Jiengs have been selectively targeted and brutally killed, if allegations are proved to be true, by the Equatorians.  After my first article under the same title, The Making of Jiengs out of the Equatorian Community, one of those who responded to it pointed out that the Equatorians have been killed too by Mathiang Anyor, the Jieng SPLA soldiers.

This situation our people are in now is partially a product of a friction that continues to exist between Jieng and the Equatorians for a long time.  The fire produced by this friction has and is continuing to kill the innocent people, Jiengs as well as the Equatorians.  It is necessary to understand how this animosity between Jiengs and the Equatorians has been developing over the years up to this day.

In order to do so, we must look at character dispositions of Jieng and the Equatorians.  This article is solely dedicated to Jieng’s character disposition.

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Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.  Proverbs (KJV)

By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia
the-fool

October 24, 2016 (SSB) — There is a profound wisdom in this biblical verse.  Since the outbreak of violence until this day, people continue to die and suffer.  No one knows whether there will be accountability.  No one knows whether people who have caused this turmoil will be brought to court where justice (law) will be allowed to take its course.

It is important for people to ask questions because, as one philosophers said, “the unexamined live is not worth living”.  We must examine and learn from this oblique situation.  Perhaps the answer to the following questions may assist us to reach a more positive conclusion as to what has got us this low and how we can rise again.

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By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

taban17

The swearing in ceremony of Gen. Taban Deng Ghai as the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, photo by Maal Maker Thiong on July 26th, 2016, J-1, Juba

September 22, 2016 (SSB) — In my last article, I mentioned that the community leaders met in my house in June 18/16, in Melbourne, Australia, and agreed to open a new page and to work in collaboration to serve all community members well, but then violence broke out in July in Juba, South Sudan.  From each point of violence in South Sudan, there arouse a mighty wave of hatred and spread swiftly across the world and it came to Melbourne and washed away what the leaders had agreed upon and had planned to carry out.

It is an amazing coincidence the very same day in which shooting erupted in J1 in Juba was also the day when my family and friends celebrated our wedding anniversary and my daughter’s birthday.  It is true that our daughter’s birthday falls on the same day of our wedding day.  Every year we celebrate a dual joyous event.  This year in Melbourne we celebrated at the backdrop of tragic events in South Sudan.

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By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

September 4, 2016 (SSB) — The vision I have come up with – Construct Our New Identity – has made me do and see things differently.  I have made this fact known since the time of its conception in 2014 until this moment.  I have been speaking about it, argued in defense of it, discussed its pros and cons with others, and, above all, writing about it.  I have done all I could to relate it to whoever is out there to listen and to read.

One of the best ways people have been responding to this vision was when the two peak organizations in Melbourne, South Sudanese Community Association in Victoria inc. (SSCAV) and Federation of South Sudanese Association in Victoria inc. (FSSAV) leaders, decided to have their first meeting in my house in June 2016.

If there are five South Sudanese communities around the world that are considered as the most fractured as the result of violent events that started in Juba in 2013, certainly the community in Melbourne could be counted as one.  The two peak organizations, to which each member of the community affiliated himself/herself to either one of them, stand as an evidence of how our community is divided.

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Intellectuals – Manipulating Our People in South Sudan

Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

August 15, 2016 (SSB) — Following my last article, one of those who made some comments expressed his disapproval of my use of the term, “Intellectuals” to apply on those who are engaged in such kind of writings.  One out of four dictionary definitions he provided reads, an intellectual person is “an extremely rational person; a person who relies on intellect rather than on emotions or feelings.”  He went on to suggest that those who are inciting violence and promoting hatred as “War mongers” or “Propagandists.”  This is a good point but I would continue using the term “Intellectuals” for the sake of consistency.

The use of the Internet comes with responsibility or the lack of it.  We, who use the Internet in Diaspora, can use it to help our people build bridges (strengthen relationships) and that is a good thing.  We can use it in order to share ideas, ideas that would help us mature and let us make sense of our world, and that is a good thing.  We can use it, moreover, to help us resolve the issues we have had for so long and issues that have surfaced after South Sudan gained its independence, and that is a good thing.  In short, we can use it to build our new identity and that is a good thing.

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South Sudanese Intellectuals and the Trauma

By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

July 30, 2016 (SSB) —- The vast majority of South Sudanese intellectuals, especially those in Diaspora, have become part of the problem, a problem that is not helping our people to break the cycle of trauma – wars, perpetual wars.  Partially, through their writings, our people in South Sudan and Diaspora have been experiencing trauma directly and indirectly.

The intellectuals have been inciting violence and when violence occurs, people: adults, children, and even fetuses in the wombs get affected.  Those who are directly affected will have to live with trauma for the rest of their lives and that trauma will be passed on to their children and their children’s children.

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By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia  

Nuer white army

South Sudan Rebels: Nuer White Army Fighters

July 20, 2016 (SSB) — It is not normal.  It is too much time wasted when I wrote words and crossed them out, when I wrote sentences and crossed them out, when I wrote paragraphs and crossed them out.  I started writing all over again.  It is too much time wasted when I wrote, stopped writing, and realized that my mind had gone blank and out of focus.  I am depressed, depressed by all that had been going on in South Sudan in the last few days.

So many of our people have died, killed by their own brothers, not by an enemy, but by their own brothers.  So many of our brothers and sisters are calling for foreigners to go to South Sudan in order to take control of their home country, who, from the perspective of international community, have become like animals going wild and unruly.  What our people had longed for, suffered for and died for has now become a baby nation whose children are begging other people to go and become foster adults – United Nation Trusteeship or AU Peacekeepers – to our beloved South Sudan.

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By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

South Sudanese Community Association and the Federation of South Sudanese Association in Victoria meeting

South Sudanese Community Association and the Federation of South Sudanese Association in Victoria meeting

June 26, 2016 (SSB) — The community leaders in Melbourne have recently embarked on a long-awaited journey of bringing our divided community along tribal line together.  The efforts of the writer of this article have yielded fruits as claimed by some well-informed people.  The vision – Constructing Our New Identity – has been articulated through a word of mouth, through symposiums, and through a number of articles.  Many local community members have sufficiently understood it.  Its call was responded to, when in June 18, 16, South Sudanese Community Association in Victoria Inc (SSCAV) and the Federation of South Sudanese Association in Victoria inc (FSSAV) Chairpersons, Mr. Kot Manoah and Mr Kenyatta De Wal, came with about thirty community leaders, intellectuals, and members of community taskforce to meet, first time, in my Garage.

The journey of creating a more cohesive South Sudanese Community started with two symposiums that were inspired by the above-mentioned vision last year.  The venues of the two symposium events were carefully chosen.  Members of SSCAV easily accessed the venue in Footscary area, whereas members of FSSAV easily accessed the venue in Dandenong area.  Just as SSCAV was formed to represent all South Sudanese in Melbourne, FSSAV was also formed to represent all South Sudanese.  Jieng members outnumber any other tribal groups in SSCAV Inc. and Nuer members outnumber any other group in FSSAV Inc.  SSCAV and FSSAV were simultaneously formed in the same month.  It is to be noted, though, that FSSAV formation came about as a way out from the grievances its members had had in regard to the way SSCAV was formed.  Animosity has always been in existence in the community since the outbreak of violence in December 2013 in South Sudan.  Relationships between friends broke down and South Sudanese small business owners suffered.

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By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

opinion, perspective

opinion, perspective

May 21, 2016 (SSB) – Last week, I wrote:

“I have created a South Sudanese Society in my mind.  I have done it.  It is embodied in the vision, ‘We are to Construct Our New Identity’.  This society is beautiful and vibrant.  It is all in my imagination.  Do I have enough lifetimes to just do something in order to bring my dream to reality?  Please, help me.”

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THE HYPE OF HATRED VS IDENTITY (Part 8)

Posted: May 1, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël in Columnists, Thiik Mou Giir

Conclusionary Part

By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

 kiir and garang

May 1, 2016 (SSB) —  During the last seven weeks I have been trying to address issues, which I believe have contributed in creating a downward spiral social situation in S. Sudan as well as in Diaspora.  These issues which are the topics of my articles.  They are: the saying that ‘Jieng people are: ‘The Foolish Majority’, ‘Jieng are Cow-headed People’, Land Grabbing, ‘Born to Rule’, ‘We Liberated You!’, and ‘Jieng council of evil!’  These issues we have created act like virus in our subconscious.  When they influence what we do and what we say, we find it difficult for us to form positive working relationships.  Lack of trust and love deprive us from having a sense of community and of nationhood.  Our people think they have a country to themselves, yet if they cannot travel anywhere they want within S. Sudan without fear of being persecution, if they cannot build their livelihood and avoid being forced into refugee camps or forced to take refuge in neighbouring countries, what does liberation mean to them?  Let us work together to get rid of any virus.

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The Hype of Hatred and ‘Jieng council of evil!’

By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

President Kiir with members of the JCE

President Kiir with members of the JCE

April 23, 2016 (SSB)  —- There has been a sustained criticism of Jieng Council Of Elders (JCE) and this criticism gave rise to it being renamed as jieng council of evil (jce).  This criticism also has become one of the ingredients that have intensified the hype of hatred, the hatred that exists in South Sudanese society as well as South Sudanese communities in Diaspora.  I once heard a radio interview.  The interviewer asked one of the members of (JCE) to explain why they formed (JCE).  (JCE) member said that (JCE) is not the only one operating in South Sudan.  He said elders representing other tribes have formed councils in order for them to look after their own tribes’ affairs just as Jieng elders have formed their own council in order for them to look after Jieng tribes’ affairs.  Many people, I assume, who heard this interview must have wondered as to why (JCE) has been singled out and criticized while others have been left out.  Let us examine and answer the question why there have been an outcry about (JCE), its activities and its relationship with the government?

Let us imagine that there are sixty-four married women who are standing around their husband.  The husband then announces that he is planning to go for holidays and spend some months in one of the most exotic places in the world and that he is going to be accompanied by one of them.  The women’s eyes are now seriously bent towards him; each woman is trying to detect the turn of his head and eyes in order to figure out the favoured woman.  He made his move and all knew which among them is the one.  The favoured wife made promises to buy gifts to each of her husband’s wives.  Then, the favoured wife starts to walk towards him.  In spite of all her promises, each step she takes towards him is met with unsaid verbal abuses.  Unsaid, because African tradition prohibits them to express their feelings of jealousy publically.

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The Hype of Hatred and Land Grabbing in South Sudan

By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

land grabbing in South Sudan

land grabbing in South Sudan

April 02, 2016 (SSB)  — There has been an outcry about this issue of land grabbing which was, and still is, taking place in Equatoria.  To make this sound worse than what it is, some people use general terms by saying, ‘Jieng people are grabbing lands in Equatoria’.  However, I have met some Jieng people who say their lands have been grabbed … by who? by Jieng perpetrators.  Jiengs taking lands of Jiengs!  I have not yet come across anyone who told a story of lands being grabbed by non-Jiengs.  This does not mean that non-Jieng members do or do not seize lands from others.  Since members of Jieng, especially army-linked individuals, bear most blame, I will focus on Jieng.  Land grabbing is one of the issues that have intensified the hype of hatred in South Sudan as well as in Diaspora.  In order for us to somehow have a grasp of what drive certain individuals to grab lands that belong to other people, let us look at three phases: the background, the middle ground, and the foreground of the land grabbers.

Jieng land grabbers have a background and this background is the same background that all Jiengs, or at least Jieng of my ancestry, namely Jieng Rek, shared.  Jieng people have a code of conduct in regards to stealing or robbing (land grabbing falls under robbery).  These acts are prohibited.  Jieng never had jails but it had a system of punishing those who were proven guilty of theft and robbery – isolate them and sing songs that tell their stories.  These two ways of punishment were effective enough to put everyone in line.  Girls did not want to associate themselves with perpetrators who were bachelors and that made it almost impossible for those wrong doers to get married.  Were a perpetrator in Jieng land given the option of a ten-year jail sentence or have a story of his theft told through a song and face isolation for stealing a goat, for example, I am sure the perpetrator would not hesitate to opt to spend five years behind bars.  Unfortunately, there were no jails in Jieng land!

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The Hype of Hatred and “Dinka People are the Foolish Majority”

By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

our founding fathers, splm-a

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

March 19, 2016 (SSB) —- Probably, a non-Dinka person said “Dinka people are the foolish majority long time ago and this negative description was taken up by people, Dinka and non-Dinka alike, and disseminated in the society.  It went from being something casually said by an individual who was participating in a conversation, to become a saying in the society.  When people do that, some people start to believe what it means as truth.  It then sinks into their subconscious.  It does not sink into subconscious of Dinka alone, but also into subconscious of the non-Dinka people.  It affects both sides negatively.  Dinka people take a defensive position, the position of proving that they are not what the statement claim that they are – and who can blame them for doing so?  This abusive statement makes it hard for Dinka as well as members of other tribes to forge a working relationship.  This expression came into being as a result of tension created by people with different mindset.

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Preface: The Hype of Hatred vs. Identity

By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

Dinka and Nuer

Dinka and Nuer under one nation, one people

March 13, 2016 (SSB)  —–  I have finally become a mechanic, a real overall-wearing, hard-working, sweating, groaning and spanner-holding mechanic.  Just as a mechanic sees everything, as if it was the case of which nuts need to be tightened or loosened with a spanner, so do I see our social and political issues, as if they were cases from which I could come up with some solutions that may assist us to construct our new identity.  Our country is in turmoil; our communities around the world are fractured.  It is a loose and a wobbling situation and some nut tightening work need to be carried out by all of us.

In 2014 I came up with a vision, Construct Our New Identity, which I think should replace the vision “unity within diversity” and other visions that have been around for quite a long time and have waned to nothingness.  We need a new vision for without a vision, I do not know where we will end up.  I have proposed this new vision and shared some ideas with South Sudanese community members in Victoria, Australia, hoping that it would change our miserable lives.  Although people have responded positively to them, they have told me honestly that, unless things are settled in our home country, nothing will move on here.

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The Hype of Hatred and the ‘We Liberated You!’ Syndrome

By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

CDR NYACIGAK NGACHILUK AND CDR MARTIN MANYIEL

REMEMBERING CDR NYACIGAK NGACHILUK AND CDR MARTIN MANYIEL AYUEL

April 16, 2016 (SSB) – If you are an outsider and you hear a Jieng person saying, ‘We liberated you’ to a non-Jieng person, you would conclude that Jieng people who did the liberating were also outsiders.  You would have thought that Jieng fought singularly the enemy until the enemy let South Sudanese people go free.  The statement is exclusive.  We all know that this was not the case.  Jieng people fought side by side along with all members of other tribes.  They, together with others, fought the common enemy until the common enemy let the South go, let South Sudan become an independent country.  From the day S. Sudan became an independent country, development was expected to happen quickly.  Instead, so many people became affected by the hype of hatred of which ‘we liberated you’ is one of the ingredients.

This put-down-opponent expression, ‘We liberated you’, has caused so much resentment among non-Jieng.  Non-Jieng feel that the contribution that the members of their tribes had made over the years of the liberation struggle have not been recognized by one of the largest tribes in South Sudan, Jieng.  The statement has solidified the relationships of so many non-Jieng people who bend their anger and hatred against the entire Jieng tribe.  It has worked in polarizing the people of South Sudan.  This is dangerous.  This is destructive.

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The Hype of Hatred and ‘Born to Rule’ in South Sudan

By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

April 09, 2016 (SSB)  —  Some non-Jieng say that ‘Jieng say, ‘we are born to rule’.  Let us try to imagine the social context in which this statement was made.  A Jieng man was engaged in a light-hearted conversation with his non-Jieng friend.  This happened when Abel Alier was the Vice-President of Sudan.  He arrogantly said, “Jieng Bor are born to rule!”  It was something said by an individual, not by a tribe, to another non-Jieng individual.  The statement went viral.  Ever since, people, mainly non-Jieng people, have been complaining about the expression, as if the expression came from every single person from Bor and, later on, from the entire Jieng people.  The name of the person who said it first time has never been passed on.

Why?  Because if the expression were thought to have come from the entire Jieng people, rather than from a single Jieng person, it would have the impact of fanning the hype of hatred more intensely.  That was exactly what people wanted.  It was intended to turn all of us to become Spanish-like bullfighters.  The drawn out like-minded Jieng against the drawn out like-minded non-Jieng.  How exciting!  It was initially said in jest at that time and ever since it has been said in earnest.  “You! Jieng Bor, you say you are born to rule, eh?” a non-Jieng individual said sarcastically to a Jieng person.

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The Hype of Hatred and Jieng/Dinka is cow-headed/rassoo beger and naked Jieng/arian Jengea

By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

cow

high dowry price in South Sudan

March 25, 2016 (SSB)  —-  Jieng people love their cows so much that the majority of them do not think being called rassoo beger/cow-headed is an insult.  How could they, when they drink cow milk, eat its beef, sleep on its skin, use oil made from its milk as ointment and use cow dung ashes as body fly repellent?  How could they, when their prayers pass on to Nhialic/God through consecrated cows, when they dream about them, fight over them, offered them as dowry, imitate their horns when dancing and, use cow colours as their personal nicknames?  Calling them cow-headed/rassoom beger is like saying to fish, ‘You are wet!’

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By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

commander lual diing wol

Commander Lual Diing Wol with John Garang, Salva Kiir, and Yusuf Kuwa Mekki

February 20, 2016 (SSB)  — Now let me turn to what I think is needed; namely, one more struggle for the liberation of South Sudanese.  It is a project that will let us overcome our innate weaknesses and also a project that will let us overcome the evil schemes of our foreign enemies, some of who pose as our friends.  We now have multiple foreign enemies, not just one; bear that in your mind.

If these enemies want our people to fight each other, if they want to keep our people divided for the next one hundred years in order for them to exploit our natural resources, they might have already, skillfully and successfully, built within our people the internal control mechanism that threatens their very coexistence.

There is nothing more for them to do but to sit back, enjoy and watch our people demand more weapons and they provide and our people then kill themselves with those weapons.

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By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

speeches before independence, cover

Salva Kiir Mayaardit: The Joshua of South Sudan. Grab your copy at Amazon.com

February 19, 2016 (SSB)  — This message is dedicated to Uncle Daniel Koat Mathews and those who struggled with him in the liberation movement.  It is a second version of a speech I delivered at the launching event of his book, entitled, The Struggle for The Liberation of South Sudan, in Melbourne on February 06, 2016.  The Federation of South Sudanese Association in Victoria hosted the event, under the chairmanship of Mr Kenyatta Joshua Dei Wal.

Uncle Daniel Koat Mathews has written one of South Sudanese treasured book entitled, The Struggle for the Liberation of South Sudan.  This book enables a reader to reflect on our past as the veteran narrator touches on the events that led to the liberation of our people whereas my talk, which I have entitled, One More Struggle for the Liberation of Southern Sudanese is an attempt to provoke your own ideas, your own dreams and your own aspirations about the future.  His book deals with our collective past; my speech is concerned with our collective future.  If we do not study our past, we cannot walk well and wisely into our future.  Books, like this one, contain the truth and the spirit of our time.

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