Posts Tagged ‘Ghok’


By Agereb Leek Chol, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

4/11/2012

“A society whose youth believe only in now is deceiving itself. It denies man’s basic and oldest characteristics, that he is a creation of memory, a bride into the future, a time blinder” Loren Eilsely.

I don’t even know where to begin because many things had happened in our community over these two names. We have debated these names in our gatherings, but we still couldn’t come up with a solution. We still don’t have a name that unites the Duk, “Twic East”, Gok, and Athoc. However, I have been contemplating to write this piece because maybe few individuals who can judge my argument from both sides rather than taking sides might find this piece useful. To irritate, Dr. John Garang de Mabior is known by his comrades as a patriot from Dinka Bor in the history of South Sudan. The question is did Dr. John Garang de Mabior secretly say to the so-called “Twic East” folks that they don’t belong to Dinka Bor? What is “Twic East” all over sudden? What is “East” in Dinka? All the counties from Cuei thon to Chuei-keer make up the Dinka Bor as per my understanding. This includes Duken, Litth, Ajuong, Pakeer, Gok, and Athoc. I hope no one is referring to “Twic Mayardit” from Dinka Bahr el Ghazal to make a reference. Some who know Ajuong’s clans believe “Twic” came from “atwiei” clan within Ajuong. The lingering question is when was this term coined anyway? Was this after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 or during the war? Don’t get me wrong, I come from both communities.

To begin with, I, the author, get pissed off, deceived, and frustrated about how our diaspora leaders from “Bor” or “Twic East” are handling development projects back home. I am not insinuating that they are bad leaders, but they are too blind to see how these names are affecting our communities in terms of development. Perhaps they noticed this, but they don’t have the guts to make this issue a part of their task.

I, the author, was brought up knowing that I am Dinka Bor from “Gok” region in Jonglei State. Within Gok, I have my own sub clan which I identify myself with. To go in depth, within ‘sub clan’ in Gok, I have a section that identifies me as well. As you can see, these categories paint the picture of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) because this can be confusing when politics takes its role. In addition, I was told that ‘there isn’t any single people call “Bor” other than those groups mentioned above. This name came about because the ‘land’ Bor gets flooded every season by the Nile River. Perhaps we shouldn’t worry about the name because the GoSS has a plan to drain the Sudd Wetlands so the water can easily run straight to Egypt.

The question is should I, the author, identify myself with my ‘sub clan’ within Gok or should i identify myself with the general name, Bor, which unites the aforementioned groups? This seems to be the problem with our diaspora communities particularly my community. I won’t speak about the diaspora in East Africa, but I will mention the killing of one student in a tribal brawl in Nakuru, Kenya last year.  More importantly, I want to extend my late condolence to the families who lost their son because of this renaissance.

When we came aboard, our goals were to go to school, work, and help our people back home. We send money home regularly, but that’s not enough. Some of these dreams can be achieved by individuals, but bringing “cities to villages” as Dr. John Garang de Mabior said is not an easy task for one person or by a single clan. Perhaps the philanthropist, John Khok Alat is the only man who is capable of this since he already funded Makol-Cuei project. He inspired me to ask myself what the former President of the United States once said, “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for you country”. Khok Alat champions Kennedy’s figure of speech.

To generalize, we the so-called “Bor” or “Twic East” around the globe are divided simply because of the name Bor. I will limit my generalization to the United States and Australia because I live in both places.

In 2009, the Dinka “Bor” in America elected their President in Michigan State, of which I was one of the voters. His name is Abraham Deng Lueth. The acronym is Greater Bor Community-USA (http://www.gbc-usa.org). Some people from Australia and Canada came to cast their votes. There were disagreements, which let some people to leave the meeting because they didn’t like the “domination of Dinka Bor” name as an acronym. These individuals were half my age, and I was born sometimes in 1983 when Kerubino Kuanyin Bol surprised the Jalaba in Madingbor. Luckily enough, the meeting went on and we elected our leaders. There is no doubt that these leaders have been working day and night to help our communities here aboard or back home, but they are weak because we the community don’t have their full support because of this name. Some individuals might argue that they are doing well because they are raising funds. To offer my judgment, some of us just do it to be politically correct or to keep our constituents.

For example, I, the author, know someone who nominated himself to be a Bor leader, but in the low, he denies the name and claimed that he’s not from Bor. He first identifies himself with his ‘sub clan’ over Bor.  How absurd can this be! What progress do we expect from this individual? Is he a “political prostitute” or is he lost in the system.

The same year, I went to Australia and I was fortunate to meet my uncles, aunts, mothers, sisters, brothers, and friends during a Bor meeting. I felt like I was back in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. The meeting was well attended, but fights broke out over personal issues. However, what baffle me is what I later realized that the meeting didn’t include everyone except those from “Gok” and “Athoc”. I wasn’t sure if these two sections were the ‘legitimate’ “Bor”. Interestingly, the “Twic East” and Duken” were holding their meetings separately. I would assume their meeting pertain development in Jonglei State similar to the Bor Community.

My question is why are some people blindfolding the entire community to be part of “Bor” while in fact they don’t really embrace the name? Why are we raising funds in the name of “Bor” while in fact there are some people who want to serve their respective clans? How sustainable are these projects if we aren’t united to support them? Does anyone notice this trend or am I missing something?

Since “Bor” is denied by many people because it doesn’t represent them, we should go our separate ways in order to bring development in our villages. This doesn’t mean we hate each other, but to ease up these unresolved tensions in the meetings.  Whether the legitimate “Bor” meet together in Australia, the “Twic East” and the Duken individually, it doesn’t matter as long as they are planning to help people back home. The Greater Bor Community in the United States on the other hand, is even more confused like a child brought up in a village and relocated to a cattle camp for the first time. There are a lot of ambiguities because people don’t know who to support. This attitude is one of many reasons why people are reluctant to be part of development. How do we avoid this?

In my opinion, we should not raise funds in the name of “Greater Bor Community” here in the U.S because this name offends others who believe they are marginalized under this name. This thinking prevents them from helping our communities. We hope this thinking will cease since we are getting ‘higher education’, but it is not happening. Perhaps the wise Dinka man who said “a horse can finish University, and he will finish as a horse” was right. This is a direct translation. We shouldn’t forget that when the Murle raiders attack the Dinka in Jonglei State, they don’t say let’s go and raid “Bor”, “Twic East” and Duken for their children and cattle. In BOR POLITICALLY POOR POLITICIANS, Tearz Ayuen writes, “For how long will Bor people drink water straight from frog ponds? Even when the other South Sudanese middle-aged men are proudly developing pot-bellies as a result of Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Bor men still have flat stomachs. In case you spot a Bor male adult with a big belly in Bor town, he must be suffering from bilharzia or tapeworm that normally enlarges the belly. The dude still drinks dirty water!” Let’s keep Bor for political purpose, and let’s get down to business!

Recommendations:

  • Let’s abandon the so-called Greater Bor Community (GBC) for the sake of development. This name is destructing many people who want to help back home.
  • Form four major associations, which include “Gok, Athoc, Twic East, and Duk around the globe. These groups should raise their funds separately to avoid these conflicts.
  • The ‘legitimate Bor who happens to be Gok and Athoc should form one association since they don’t have a problem with the name.
  • Every year, each association should balance their check book with their partners, and report to other leaders from Cuei Thon to Cuei-keer. After these leaders balanced their check book, these communities can then sit down and prioritize two to three projects back home.
  • Renovate current schools, health clinics, and roads instead of starting new projects. We often failed to think about sustainability. How long are we going to raise funds individually?
  • Build a training center in Jonglei State like Don Bosco in kakuma, Kenya, so that our youth and wounded heroes could get skills instead of relying on Kenyans, Ugandans, and Ethiopians to do manual jobs.

As a member of this community, I deserve the right to criticize what’s happening in our community. Our leaders need to re-evaluate their rule of engagement given those aforementioned recommendations. I feel bad for those individuals who are trying to help, but they have no ‘plan B’ to sustain their projects. Let’s not be another World Bank and the IMF institutions. Until the Dinka “Bor”, “Twic East”, Duken, Gok, and Athoc in the U.S, Canada, Australia, and Europe unite and think of one project, what Tearz Ayuen narrated in his article will continue to hunt us years from now. Many of us left East Africa in early 2000 and we’ve been collecting money every year. What’s the result? How long can we send our people to neighboring countries for treatment and schooling?

This author is concern citizen. He can be reach at madingbor1983@gmail.com

—–
By PaanLuel Wel, Washington DC, USA
My Unsubstantiated View
Twic East has more to do with “Twic East” people opposition to “Kong’oor” name; a reaction or rather a rejection of the name “Kong’oor” which was previously used in place of today “Twic East.” It origin goes back to the acrimony, within Twic/Twi people (derogatory referred to as “Tuei” by Tears Ayuen), over the naming of the Dioceses in as far as whether the name, as then proposed, should be “Diocese Kong’oor” or should be changed to something else… something more inclusive of all sections that make up the “Twic” clans. The objection to the name “Kong’oor” stem from the fact that there is a clan within “Twic/Twi” that is specifically known by that name–Kong’oor. The other clans felt shortchanged and belittled for being referred to as “kong’oor” yet the name belong to one specific people. Eventually, to resolve that un-inclusiveness in the naming of the proposed “Diocese” it was decided that the name “Twic East” should be adopted–East in contrast to “Twic Mayaardit” of Bahr El Ghazal of which “Twic East” shared some linguistic aspects  and names, for instances, than they do with “Bor” of Athooc and Ghok of Jonglei.
Naming is very controversial. For example, Dukkeen, comprising Nyarweng and Hol, refused to be referred to as “Twic East” and they were given their own county and proposed diocese within the ECS. Lith was a termed used mostly by Pakeer to refer to the rest of Twic Clans except themselves–called it everybody north of Pakeer that include Ajoung, Awulian, Ayuaal, Dachueek, Kong’oor, Adhiook, and Abek. Later when Awulian, Ayuaal and Dachueek adopted the name “Nyuak” to refer to themselves, the name Lith become a default name for Kong’oor, Adhiook and Abek. Currently though, with Kong’oor by itself with the name Kong’oor Payam, Lith has become a group name for Wernyol Payam of Adhiook and Abek.
Of  course, that does not mean that there has never been a controversy over the name “Bor” when it is referred to all Dinkas of Jonglei. The question as to why the ECS diocese was not named “Bor North” as the county was then known is one indicator of an underlying disquiet. The author should have covered some historical background in terms of how much the SPLM/A–driven by need for easy categorization/groupings to ease administrative and logistic issues during the liberation era–contributed to the genesis of “Bor” as unifying name to all Dinkas of Jonglei. The author should have also looked into the time when Ajang Duoot (together with Machiek Deng of Bor South and Deng Malual of Dukkeen) was said to have been the paramount chief of all Dinkas of Jonglei; was Ajang Duot a paramount chief of one people referred to as”Bor” or of three separate people namely Bor, Twic and Dukkeen? If Ajang Duot was a paramount chief of “Bor” as in Bor being Twic, Dukkeen, Athooc and Ghok, then the hypothesis would be that that was the starting point when the name “Bor” became the universal names among the Dinkas of Jonglei. The author should also have posited what the local illiterate people back in the villages think of themselves: do old illiterate men and women from all these communities consider themselves as “Bor” or differently? The author should have also weighed whether or not the connotation in which the name “Bor” is used do rhyme to the same connotation to which the name “Kong’oor” was used to refer to all people of “Twic East”. And as mentioned above, the role played by the Diocese created by the ECS is another aspect that could have been explored by the author.
It is debatable whether the controversy over the name “Bor” is precluding social and economic development among the Dinkas of Jonglei. On the one end, more hands mean more effort, hence more things accomplished and more communal objectives attained. That is, if “Bor” were to unite under the name “Bor”, much can be achieved given more pooling of resources. On the other end, there is definitely no disagreement over the names Twic East, Athooc, Ghok and Duk-ku-Duk within those subgroups and yet they have got nothing to show for their unity under those names.
It is upon patriotic individuals–John Khok Lat, John Daau and Daniel Akech Thiong etc–who have done more to serve the community than those clanial groupings. While much could be attained with unity, it may not be guaranteed that unity translate into automatic development of “Bor” villages. As for the name, the rest of the Dinkas, plus all other South Sudanese will continue to refer to all Dinkas of Jonglei as “Dinka Bor” or “Bor Dinka.”
So while the debate may be raging within the “Greater Bor Community”—that is how I prefer to call them,—over whose and what names they should be collectively known, it would change little in terms of social harmony (there is no all-out war going on), political unity (they are all Dinka Bor outside the cocoon of their respective counties) and economic development (individual initiative, rather than communal handouts, will determine the pace and magnitude of economic development as exemplified by Khok Lat).
Dr. John Garang will remained a Dinka Bor to the rest of South Sudanese and the world no matter what local arrangement or disagreement the local groupings might have on their sleeves.
——-
By RaanLuel Wel (he is different from PaanLuel Wel please; he is an admirer of PaanLuel Wel, hence the closeness of the two names).

There are so many scenarios in the debate of Bor is this and Bor is that:

1. The origin: How the name came about to generalize Hol, Nyarweng, Tuic, Athooc, and Gok. If people know much about the history of origin, it would greatly help in solving the issue. It seems like the naming occurred in different time and generations. For example, time of Ajang Duot, Deng Malual, and Machiek Deng is totally different from Garang Mabior and Garang Anyieth’s time. Each group added a different level to the name. For instance, Garang Mabior-Garang Anyieth’s group coined up “the Cuei Thon to Cuei keer” or “Cuei Keer to Cuei Thon” phrase. Therefore, the challenge is up to the current generation to either abandon what has been already started or come up with alternative and universal name.

2. Bor Asili-Bor fake scenario: There are some people called themselves buor-asili and that isolates rest of the members. It is understandable that everything has an origin, but extremists from other part of the larger community feel excluded. The best example is “Twic-Bor” phrase. Some members from Tuic don’t want to be referred to “are you from Twic-Bor,” as opposed to Twic Mayardit. Therefore, all extremists from all sides made it hard to forge a unity and move on.

3. Bor South-Bor North scenario: There is always a question of why is it Bor South County and there is no Bor North County or Bor Central, in that matter? In this scenario, Duk-Duk has never considered itself as a part of Twic, Athooc, or Ghok. Twic, in other hand, wants to remain as Twic East County. Then Athooc-Ghok wants to own the name Bor County with no South attaches to it. Therefore, it has to be Bor County instead of Bor South Couty, since there is no Bor North, Bor West, Bor East, or Bor Central.

4. Garang Mabior’s credit scenario: Given the scenario #3 above, there is a question of who would take Garang’s credit, mainly good credit during the struggle of liberation. If what now called Bor South County becomes Bor County, then good credit will go with them and leave Tuic where Garang hailed from with no credit. Therefore, Bor South County has to be renamed Athooc-Ghok County and let go Bor name to everybody as unifying name, which is quite contradicting to other scenarios.

5. Other Sudanese communities’ scenario: There is an argument that other Sudanese communities know us Bor so why don’t we keep this universal name?! In this scenario too, there is an issue of other communities hate us or even kill us as Buor so why don’t we leave little things that separate us and be together?!

6. Stereotype and prejudice scenarios: This interesting scenario is very much based on the judgment that don’t ever call me Bor, because Buor are thieves and deceitful people who eat frog; don’t call me Tui, for Tuic are dumb and stupid people who know nothing; and that don’t connect me with Hol and Nyarweng, for they are very close to Nuer and people who jointed Nuer during 1991 massacre. Therefore, everybody is rejecting everybody based on stereotypes and prejudices.

All of the above factors, plus many others contribute to the debate of “Greater Bor Community” name in one way or the other. In my opinion, every side has to be accepted and given a special attention in any discussion. Some people take it personal and some people keep it cool. If members of the said community really want to debate the issue in question, they must discuss it openly and professionally. Otherwise, it gets out of hand easily.

——-

By Comrade Chol Kuch

I have tried very hard to stay away from this debate; however, I realize that this may be the single most existential threat to the citizens of Athooch and Gok (sometimes refereed as Boor or Bor), Twi East, and Duken (to stick to the term held dear by the respective sub-groups), whether they realize it, is another matter all together. It’s an existential threat because the hostile neighbors of these groups do not recognize their bickering differences and frustrate them equally. Politically, they are now fractured that each of them do not really matter anymore on the political arena and therefore, they are exposed to political abuse and resources distribution marginalization. Politics is a number game and hence the winner must side with large groups all the time. It is not a rocket science to see that their splinter is not in their long-term interest.

Having figured out how detrimental the lack of a proposed solution to this issue is, I would urge all our citizens from each subgroup to put forward a proposed solution, rather bandaging the problem. I know for a fact that each of these communities knows exactly the cost of their division, but they have allowed themselves to be caught up in their own hubris. I feel really bad for the common man among these groups for they are being taken for a ride by politicians on each side and also by the few who claim to be the community intellectuals. Both politicians and intellectuals who favor this splintering maybe be short-sighted and some are only interested in the short-run gains and should not be trusted.

The name issue is going to be a polarizing item for eternality, unless it is tackled at the highest level (our leadership in the government, council of elders, youth groups, mothers groups, and religious groups) knowing that each of this group ends up being the sacrificial lamb when things goes awry. I want to warn my brothers that the answer is not in the Diaspora; we can be participants, but we cannot provide the answer to this problem; people back home should.

Here is a simple novel idea: how about allowing both groups to remain as they wished to be call such as Bor, Twi East, and Duken. Then propose another unique name to unite all the groups. Let’s us all vote on the unique name that has roots in all. Now, that’s a challenge worth pursuing!