Posts Tagged ‘writings of Dr. John Garang’

The Genius of Dr. John Garang: Letters and Radio Messages of the Late SPLM/A's Leader, Dr. John Garang de Mabioor (Volume 2) Paperback – November 27, 2013

The Genius of Dr. John Garang: Letters and Radio Messages of the Late SPLM/A’s Leader, Dr. John Garang de Mabioor (Volume 2) Paperback – November 27, 2013, ON AMAZON.COM

The Genius of Dr. John Garang: Letters and Radio Messages of the Late SPLM/A’s Leader, Dr. John Garang de Mabioor (Volume 2) Paperback – November 27, 2013, ON AMAZON.COM






Southern Sudan

February 5th, 1972 

Dear Dominic:

Thank you for the correspondence you dispatched to this end on January 25th, instantly. Very lucky, I go them today from Kampala through the lorry. It is lucky because I am leaving tomorrow morning for the interior, about 500 miles footwork from where we last met and I will not be back for over 7 months, maybe more.

Find here enclosed a copy of a letter I wrote to General Lagu and the negotiations committee (See Captain John Garang’s 1972 Letter to General Joseph Lagu of Anyanya One, January 24, 1972). I have handwritten it (it is 2:00 a.m) since I have packed my typewriter for tomorrow’s long journey. You may type it and if necessary you have my permission to use it BUT AFTER the negotiations ONLY so as not to prejudice the same. As you can see I am not in favor of these so-called negotiations nor do I have any illusions that much will come out of them. What is more, a settlement with the enemy at the present time is not in the best interests of the Southern Sudanese people, the Sudanese people and the African people for some of the reasons given in the attached seven page letter (refer to Captain John Garang’s 1972 Letter to General Joseph Lagu of Anyanya One, January 24, 1972).

Firstly, the “solution” will be no solution since the Arab military dictatorship of General Numeiry seeks to “solve” the problem within the spirit of Arab Nationalism and the context of a United Arab Sudan. Secondly, the Numeiry regime is illegitimate, a regime of blood, rhetoric, instability and theft, it is only a matter of months before the Numeiry clique is couped out of office by a similar scum of political prostitutes. To sign a “settlement” with such unstable barbarians is criminal and makes one a member of that gang though in a different outfit. Thirdly, the conditions for permanent revolution have not as yet been sufficiently created within our own motion.

The objective of liberation (of armed struggle) is firstly the riddance of oppression and exploitation and the simultaneous creation of conditions and structures for the permanent (continuous) release of our productive forces, which have been so historically damned, deformed, stunted and impeded by exploitation, oppression and humiliation. This last point is central as it focuses on the essence, the particularity of our movement.

About my role as Information Officer for the Anyanya, it is true that there has been such talk, but after I finished my infantry training last October, I made a concrete analysis of the situation and objective factors indicated that I could not make my total contribution in that capacity. You know what I mean. And if that be the case, it would be an intolerable situation. I joined the Movement with total commitment and dedication. I have sacrificed (I don’t consider it so) all the benefits paper dehumanizing education is supposed to confer on the dehumanized, decultured native holder, I am resolved to give the ultimate sacrifice, my life, for I am bound by nothing else but duty and commitment to Africa and the African people starting with the Southern Sudanese people, as a matter of course. African liberation can only primarily be effected through combat and everything else must be built around the combat, must enhance and give political character to combat. 

The Genius of Dr. John Garang: (Volume 1)

It would take me a book to go into analytical, historical and practical exposition of this line, but it is sufficient to say that this is why I turned down the “Information” work and chose active combat, and so tomorrow I go to the interior to (eventually soon) take over command of a full battalion. War is war, should anything terminate my usefulness (services) to the African people and revolution, it is incumbent upon you to continue with the struggle and/or to prepare the children and generations to come for the revolution. It is our duty.

I am indeed sorry about brother Vuzi Zulu that he comes at a time I have to leave. It would have been my duty and pleasure to cooperate with him since I presume we are engaged in the same revolution. (I would have also found that out). At any rate, pass my regards and explanation to him on his return. Some other time we shall meet.

Yes, I shot all the five colored films you gave me. After the training I went to Kampala but failed to develop them, as they don’t have facilities for developing Ecktochrome film in Kampala. When Allen Reed came he took them to Nairobi and they were developed and printed on slides. He then returned them and gave me a bill of 80/= (eighty Uganda shillings) which I promptly paid and I got all the slides. Two days later he came to me in Bumbo (twenty miles from Kampala) and begged me to borrow him some of the slides to teach his (Southern Sudanese) photography cadets who were there assembled in Kampala and that he would return them the following day.

He went and disappeared, till now I have not seen him—a complete breach of trust. Please convey the charge of theft to him from me, and collect those slides from him, I had actually told him that I was going to send them to you. The balance, I have left them locked up in Bumbo as I could not send them in time expecting Allen to return the borrowed ones and then send them in lump. This concurs with your other remarks.

Also please convey my sincere appreciation to FOPANO, ANAM, and OFPA for their endorsement “in principle” to cooperation with you and the Movement in our “efforts towards the liberation of Africa” and to Roy Inis and Core for the inclusion of “the Southern Sudanese Liberation Movement” in its support of African Liberation Movements.

Tell those citizens of Africa, snatched away from the great BLACK womb of our Mother, that time has come for their consciousness and ours on the mainland to merge (again) with one big black consciousness that will pull Mother Africa from the bloody teeth of the monster and usher in the total release of our productive forces long damned, deformed and impeded by centuries of oppression, exploitation and emasculating humiliation.

Greetings to all our students and brothers.

Brother Garang Mabior Atem

Southern Sudan, February 5th, 1972

The Genius of Dr. John Garang: The Essential Writings and Speeches of the Late SPLM/A's Leader, Dr. John Garang De Mabioor (Volume 1)

The Genius of Dr. John Garang: The Essential Writings and Speeches of the Late SPLM/A’s Leader, Dr. John Garang De Mabioor (Volume 1) on AMAZON.COM

The Genius of Dr. John Garang: The Essential Writings and Speeches of the Late SPLM/A’s Leader, Dr. John Garang De Mabioor (Volume 1) Paperback – November 15, 2013; by PaanLuel Wël (The Editor)




Don’t Get Derailed from your own History: Dr. John Garang Speaking on the History of the Sudan (1988) 

There is an exigency to go back to our historical roots, back to historical Sudan from the dawn of humanity to the present time. This is urgent and necessary because some people have been striving to erase us from history; they have been trying to derail us from our own history, from our own historical roots. Lest some people may get confuse and succumb to this misguided machinations from Khartoum that have been presenting the Sudan in terms of two parameters to the exclusion of the others—Islamism and Arabism. This ‘back to our roots’ initiative can be summarized in few points as follows. With respect to the history of the Sudan, there are some people, based on their own selfish interest, who say the history of the Sudan commenced with the arrival of the Turks in 1821. Others claim that the history of the Sudan started with the Mahdi, that is, when the Mahdist state (1885-1898) was established in the Sudan. There are some people, particularly among the Europeans, who insist that Africa history, along with the Sudan, began with European colonialism, that is, the coming of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan or the Anglo-Egyptian condominium (1898-1956). Just here in Southern Sudan, there are some people that even go as recent as 1947 when the Juba Conference was convened to decide whether Southern Sudan should be part of the Sudan or to separate and remain an independent entity or join up with the East Africa countries. There are some, still, who argue that the history of the Sudan started with the invasion of the Sudan by the Arabs from the Egypt and the Middle East. All these chauvinistic narratives on the history of the Sudan are according to some vested interests of certain speakers, of certain sections of the Sudanese society.

The first thing to be said is that we in the SPLM/SPLA go as far back as we can in the history of the Sudan. According to recorded and unrecorded history, archaeological and written history, human civilization started right here in the Nile Valley—in the Sudan and Egypt. And so the Sudan, along with Egypt and the whole of the Nile Valley, is a major part of human civilization, as we know it. This fact again is something out there for anybody to check and to verify. This is important because the historical roots are very important and they cannot just be traced to 1947 or to 1955 to 1880s or to 1820s or nineteen hundred or sixteen hundred. So we in the SPLM/SPLA go all the way back to the dawn of human history, and remember and reconstruct whatever is remember-able and whatever is reconstruct-able, because it is from all these roots that we will create the New Sudan.

So our history is not as shallow as some people would want us to believe. Our history is rich and deep, and we must get into that depth and that richness, and coming from there, taking what we can take and leaving what we do not want. It is up to us, it is our choice. In order to construct from the past, the very past, the medium past and the present to construct the future, we must go back to and reconstruct the very past. So a creation of the New Sudan would mean the complete reconstruction of the past. In order to create the present and the future, we must correctly reconstruct the past, not with lies but with the truth, not by saying John Garang is a descendant of Abbas. No, we must go on to the facts and these facts are readily available in history for people who want to know the truth. So we have said that in order for us to have a correct assessment of our present so that we pass into the future, we have to go all the way back and come with our history and combine whatever is useful to reconstruct our history as it should be, not as some are trying to portray it within the prism of their prejudiced outlook.


There are two ways to view and understand our history as Sudanese people: the history as in the past and history as of the modern times. I call them Sudanese diversities. For this purpose, I want to go down the corridors of history to show that we, the Sudanese, are indeed the historical people and that the New Sudan has an anchor in history. Having an anchor in history is very important because if we cannot find an anchor in history, then we can create one, lest the struggle at the end of the day is meaningless. I will therefore present this anchor in history in terms of the present character of the Sudan and as it connects with our historical roots. The Sudan is characterized by two diversities: contemporary and historical diversities that go back thousand of years, indeed to the dawn of humanity. By historical diversity I mean that we did not just pop up as Sudanese from nowhere. We have been here, we have been there and we are still here now. And the proof of that is, of course, I am standing in front of you here. It means that I must have come from somewhere. When you look at the history of the Sudan, you can find it in old books. In the Bible, for example, where it makes references to Kush and/or Ethiopia; and these are interchangeable names for what is now the geographical Sudan. In the ancient times, we had the kingdom of Wawat, the kingdom of Irtet, the kingdom of Majda and the kingdom of Annu. Annu is believed by some historians to be the present Anyuak or Annuak people that were believed by ancient Egyptian to be the gods of the Nile. That set somewhere in the south to be the source of the Nile, and that was giving water to Egypt, and as the Bible says, Egypt is the gift of the Nile. So it is the gift of Annu or the Anyuak people of Southern Sudan to the Egyptian people.

The Genius of Dr. John Garang: (Volume 2)

You come down the corridors of history to the Nubian Christian kingdoms of Merowe, Makuria, Alwa and Soba. The first non-Jewish Christian or the first gentile Christian was a Sudanese. You read it in the Acts of the Apostles [Acts 8 V 27], as the Ethiopian Eunuch. That Ethiopian Eunuch has been researched and he has been found out to have been an official in the court of the king of Merowe. Merowe is north of Khartoum. As mentioned before, in 1821 was the Turco-Egyptian Sudan, the spread of an occupation of the northern part of our country by the Turco-Egyptian rule, down to the Mahdist state (1885-1898), down to the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan or the Anglo-Egyptian condominium (1898-1956), the modern independent Sudan from 1956 to the present. All these I called the historical diversities. As you can therefore see, we have a long history. People and kingdoms have lived, thrived and disappeared in the geographical area that constitute the present modern Sudan. Yet the present and previous rulers of Khartoum present a false picture of our country as if the Sudan started with them and as if the history and reality of Sudan consists only of two parameters—Arabism and Islamism.  Of course they argue this way so as to stake a claim to the Sudan and they do this to the exclusion of others. This is why there have been wars in the Sudan. Our contention in the SPLM/SPLA is that the Sudan belongs to all the peoples that now inhabit the country, and that its history, diversity and richness is the common heritage of all the Sudanese people. The attempts have been made in the past to try to push some people out of the rail of history and I am not accepting this. That is why I want to anchor our movement, and our struggle and the New Sudan, to anchor it deeply, in our long history. This is one form of diversity, the historical diversity.

The second form of diversity in the Sudan is the present diversity, the contemporary diversity. The Sudan has over 500 different ethnic groups, speaking more than 130 distinct languages. These ethnic groups fall into two categories, roughly the Africans and people of Arab origin in the Sudan, but they are all Sudanese people. The Indigenous African Sudanese—those whose mother tongue is other than Arabic—were 69% of the population according to the 1955 colonial census, while the Arab Sudanese—those whose mother tongue is Arabic—were 31% of the population according to the 1955 colonial census. Another fact that many people do not know or do not want to know is that indigenous Africans are more in the North than in the South: 39% of the total population as compared to the South’s 30%. Ethnicity is thus one major form of contemporary diversity. Another form of contemporary diversity is religion. We have two major religions in the country—Islam and Christianity, and traditional African religions. The Muslims are mostly in the North and constitute about 65-70% of the total population, while Christians and followers of Traditional African Religions constitute the remaining 30-35%.

These two forms of diversities, the historical and the contemporary, constitute the Sudanese reality, and thus, any form of governance must be based on, and must take into account, these two forms of diversities. However, all governments that have come and gone in Khartoum since 1956 have attempted to create a monolithic Arab-Islamic state to the exclusion of other parameters of the Sudanese diversity. They simply ignore or deliberately fly in the face of this Sudanese reality. This is the fundamental problem of the Sudan, and the justification for our armed struggle. What has happened is that a group of people in Khartoum, in 1956, hijacked the Sudan. They hijacked the Sudan and defined it in their own image, that the Sudan is an Arab-Islamic state. No, it is not. I called it hijacking because Sudan is a Sudanese state for the Sudanese people, not an Arab-Islamic state for Arabs and the Muslims.


This is our point of departure from those naysayers. Therefore, it is necessary for each of you to study, to learn what is available out there, without preference, about our historical roots and about our rightful place in the history of mankind. The fact that we are here in 1988; the fact that the various Sudanese nationalities are here—that alone, the reality of our presence in the Sudan today, shows that there was a civilization(s) here. Otherwise, we would not be talking today as Dinka or as Nuer or as Shilluk or as Zande or Latuho or whatever all the nationalities there are in the Sudan. It is the solidity of their cultures that has made them to be present today in 1988; otherwise, they would not be present, for they would have been lost like many lost nationalities of human race. So the assertions, the lies that are said, what is said that Sudanese civilization or state started in such and such a year should be far from our thinking, because the Sudan is rich with cultures that go very deep into the dawn of humanity itself. If we study these cultures in historical motion, we will find their richness and depth undisputable. This is an important point of departure that unites us, and it is in sharp contrast to the narrative of those who want to hijack the Sudan by making it in their own artificial image. This is because if you take the history of the Sudan from one point of view, because if you say it is Arab civilization or a Dinka civilization or a Nuer civilization or a Shilluk civilization or a Fur civilization or a Latuho civilization or Nuba civilization and you speak to that viewpoint only, that would be a sectarian culturalism because you are taking one of the cultures and defining the New Nation through a single cultural entity. Absolutely not, for you cannot create a new harmonious nation out of imposition of one culture on the rest, this is impossible. So we take that point of departure and we will be consistent with it.

I acknowledge that it is difficult to be consistent with it when people are confused, when people have vested interests, when people are sectarian, when people are tribalistic, when people are sectionalistic, then it is difficult to be consistent because the vested interests will divert people. But the real revolutionaries understand that point of view and they will go consistently with it. The language I am using here is of course an inflammatory language that states ‘don’t tell me about Arabs’. But this is not our language, this is the language of someone that is angry and he can be excused because he is angry for a reason. It is necessary to be angry in order to become a revolutionary. You must be angry in order to rebel against oppression as was mentioned earlier by comrade Yusuf Kuwa Mekki. After you become a rebel, you transform yourself into a revolutionary. So we will, and you must, accept this language as coming from an angry man and we understand why he is angry—he is protesting against his deletion from history.

Therefore, we will immerse ourselves into the Sudanese situation, we will transform the Sudanese situation, so that they believe in the objectivity of the New Sudan, in which there is no anti-Arabism, and no anti-Africanism, no anti-Islam or anti-Christianity but we form a new synthesis, a new synthesis that is a culture, that is a nation, that is a state, that will have its role to play on the African continent, in the Middle East, in the World, because we have to make our contribution to the human race and we have the capability to make this contribution. So this is the intellectual background of our objectives as a Movement—the SPLM/SPLA.

From this intellectual background anchored in history, in order to have success, we must envision what success is, what it looks like, what it feels like. So what do we mean by success? One, we must form a revolutionary state in Khartoum, and secondly, that revolutionary state must have a revolutionary army in Khartoum, because you cannot have a revolutionary state without the revolutionary army. It is a contradiction. Likewise, you cannot have a reactionary state and a revolutionary army because one would take the other away and it has happened in many places. For example, a minority cliques can stage a coup d’état, install themselves in power and proclaim revolution. They claim to have made a revolution while the whole army remains reactionary. There is General such and such and he maintains his position and Major General such and such still maintains his position, and he likes his position and the privileges that his position avails him and he has his local and international connections. It is a matter of time before the reactionary army gets rid of the revolutionary state.

The summary of this argument boils down to one objective: the establishment of a revolutionary army and a revolutionary state in Khartoum. This, more than anything else, is the true meaning, and our definition, of success. If we have not achieved these two objectives—a revolutionary state with a revolutionary army—then we are continuing the armed struggle until these two are formed because one would not succeed without the other, they are complementary, one is indispensable to the survival of the other. And it is not the SPLM/A only that is going to form the state because there are other revolutionary forces in the country. Our task is how to fuse together these revolutionary forces in order to establish these objectives of a revolutionary state with a revolutionary army. I gave you the other background before in order to arrive at the necessity of these objectives because without the revolutionary state and the revolutionary army to safeguard it, you cannot destroy neocolonialism, you cannot destroy religious fundamentalism, and you cannot destroy racism in the country.

Certainly, you need a revolutionary state with a revolutionary army in order to do these because any other situation won’t work, and won’t succeed, simply because say if we get rid of Sharia and there is somebody who is not a revolutionary and you tell him to cancel Sharia, he would think that he would go to hell and who would want to go to hell? He won’t do it because in his mind, there is a hell waiting for him. How do you convince someone to embrace going to hell? Of course we know that this is a misguided view but it is a fact we have to deal with; armed revolutions are conducted within the paradigm of the prevailing reality, whether that actuality is based on facts or on myths is beside the point.  So you need a revolutionary state and a revolutionary army in order to implement the revolutionary program. The revolutionary program also has to be constructed, and you need a revolutionary state and a revolutionary army in order to construct and implement the revolutionary program. This is our history since the dawn of human age and this is our noble goal and objective to the suffering people of the Sudan: to establish a revolutionary state with a revolutionary army to construct and implement a revolutionary program of the New Sudan Vision.