Last month on 15th December 2018, the people of South Sudan commemorated the 5th anniversary of the Juba ethnic cleansing of the Nuer people by the Juba regime. That was a very tragic event that shocked South Sudanese to the core. No one in their wildest of dreams ever thought or expected that a South Sudanese government would be able to do such horrific things on fellow South Sudanese. The history of this country under the Sudan had conditioned them to expect such things from the Arabs of Khartoum. For similar events carried out by the Arabs on 8th July 1965 in Juba and within that very week Wau and Malakal the other two major towns in South Sudan were also subjected to the same fate. South Sudan lost a huge section of its intellectuals and civil servants in these carnages with a big number fleeing into refuge in the neighbouring countries of Uganda, Congo, Central African Republic and Kenya.
The madness of 15th December 2013 brings memories of the carnage meted out against the then southern Sudan vividly to the mind of the people who experienced it. Shock, confusion, disbelief and despair hit the people of Juba in particular, and South Sudanese in general, sending the entire country into a state of helplessness. The sight of military trucks in broad day light ferrying the dead with limps dangling as if these murdered beings were animals traumatised the public.
Noticeably, on the day of the 5th anniversary neither the newspapers nor the government made any reference to this dark event in the history of the country. However, the social media was awash with articles of remembrance. In all those articles none said “Never again”. Without a clear stand against the prospect of such horror taking place again, it does not bode well for the future. Without emphasis and belief in the phrase “Never again”, it means most South Sudanese still have not committed themselves to a violence free future. It suggests a large section of the society may be contemplating revenge at a certain point in the future.
In ‘The Storm of Change Gathering to Sweep Kiir and JCE from Power’ (http://www.southsudannation.com/the-storm-of-change-gathering-to-sweep-kiir-and-jce-from-power/) we learn how the feelings of revenge can be suppressed by the victims in their time of weakness in anticipation of pay back. This is why it is all the more important that the perpetrators of the Juba 15th December 2013 horror be brought to book, so that society as a whole holds them to account in order to take away and put to rest any feelings of revenge. The enlightenment thinkers worked out long ago that nobody remains powerful forever because nature itself through the cycle of life dictates that from birth to the grave people go through phases of change: at the time of birth, one is helpless and vulnerable and so one is looked after and cared for. When one grows into adolescence one becomes strong and stronger and continues with strength until they hit 50s for the down ward spiral to set in. From this point degeneration kicks in together with weakness. So, the fallacy of remaining strong is stuff of utter short sightedness. The realities of our life cycle dictate that everybody will experience strength and weakness in their life time. This same process also is applicable to societal affairs. No human group remains powerful forever. It is for this reason that Jean Jacque Rousseau, the French enlightenment thinker, coined the concept of social contract where people pool their whole resources together to protect each other all the time, in strength as well as weakness. This concept is what gave rise to the development of states and governments as we know them now. In theory the government in Juba has a duty to protect everybody, citizens and foreigners residing in their territory alike. Unfortunately this is not the reality with South Sudan as played out on 15th December 2013 as well as other incidents. It suggests that the SPLM/A party of blood-spillers may not actually understand what a state or government is. This in itself raises the question of the viability of the state of South Sudan. Unless South Sudanese respond to the abuses of the current regime in a matured manner, this country is likely to remain unstable for the foreseeable future with the state being abused constantly by various tribal cabals.
Why then is the Juba regime committing ethnic cleansings? Initially, everybody attributed it to the political wrangling in the party of the blood-spillers: the SPLM/A. With the benefit of hindsight now, it turns out that the SPLM planned the current chaos back in 1980s. President Salva Kiir whether knowingly or ignorantly revealed the secret in Lobonok in his speech during the blood-spillers retreat over there. Careful studying of the period from 5th March 2013 to the implosion of the SPLM/A in December 2013 indicates the regime in Juba seized the political turmoil in the movement to implement its overall central plan of creating an ethnic state. So the ethnic cleansing of the Nuer in December 2013 was the start of the implementation of the policy of panel beating South Sudan into an ethnic state. According to President Kiir the cleansing of the Nuer and all the crimes going on in the country is a “normal process” to shape the state. This phase in the plan of the party of blood-spillers is earmarked to take 15 to 20 years from now. Please see ‘President Kiir’s speech at the SPLM Retreat at Lobonok, South Sudan’. (https://paanluelwel.com/2018/12/06/president-kiirs-speech-at-the-splm-retreat-at-lobonok-south-sudan/)
Shaping a nation in sociological perspective simply means construction of a country to certain ideological characteristics. President Kiir’s use of the word confirms his JCE’s obsession to establish an ethnic state with them being the masters. The evidence is everywhere in the country. Look at the army, security services, judiciary, higher education, ministries and Foreign Service is 90 percent replete with the president’s kith and kin. This filling of government offices with the President’s ethnic group has nothing to do with qualifications and merit. Semi illiterate people are just promoted and appointed to fill offices to ensure proper domination. In a sense President Kiir is creating and normalising their construct in the country.
No wonder, chaos is everywhere in the country. This chaos makes sense because it is crucial if the other ethnicities have to be subjugated, displaced and replaced by the expansionist agents of President Kiir. Basically, the President is talking about the establishment of a Dinkocratic state in South Sudan.
Unfortunately, Dr Riek Machar who could have provided a patriotic leadership of the people of South Sudan regressed into the very tribal politics of President Kiir and the JCE. From 15th December 2013 to date, Riek failed to show any patriotic leadership. He has ended up dividing the Nuer igniting Nuer on Nuer violence that is the whole mark of the current conflict thereby complicating the dynamics of the struggle. The wars going on in Upper Nile is Nuer on Nuer carnage supervised by President Kiir through his commanders on the ground. Most Nuer up to this point have not yet worked it out that they have lost the war with President Kiir and JCE emerging victorious. Some people may dispute this fact – the regime of blood-spillers has won. But if one carefully analyses the divisions within the Nuer and the greed over political posts, evident with their scramble to Juba for jobs; it becomes apparent the Nuer have lost while Kiir’s agenda reigns supreme.
Riek’s capitulation to sign the Khartoum Peace Agreement (KPA), which is manifestly worse than the Agreement for Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan of August 2015 (ARCSS), is the concrete evidence of his total surrender to the regime in Juba. It must be noted, it is not Riek alone who surrendered to the regime. All the opposition parties that joined him and affixed their signatures to that worthless document equally surrendered under the slogan “We want to bring peace to our people.” Really?!! How can legitimising President Kiir’s rule for 3 more years and granting him total control of the parliament in R-ARCSS to continue with his violence be called “peace”? How can blessing President Kiir and the JCE to ‘shape’ South Sudan into an ethnic state be called working for “peace” and “development? Am I going mad or something is wrong here with those who surrendered? Something obviously is amiss when all those people who signed their rights away in R-ARCSS do not see the bigger picture. Perhaps their action is in some form a herd mentality responding to the carrots of political positions dangled by the party of the blood-spillers. What a shame and disgraceful act?
The shameful capitulation of the opposition under the banner of peace now means the resistance and struggle for a bright future in South Sudan is left to the South Sudan National Democratic Alliance and the People Democratic Movement under Dr Dario Hakim.
This behaviour of the signatories of KPA should not surprise anybody as such behaviour according to literature is associated with oppressed and subjugated people who have lost hope. It has been proven beyond doubt that oppressed peoples as in the cases of domestic violence and hostage-taking in a weird way develop sympathy for their abusers (Stockholm syndrome). No matter what advice or persuasion is given to such people it is met with irrational excuses. Therapists know the hard work and the long time that must be invested to save people from that state of mind.
Sadly the oppressed (politicians masquerading as leaders) who have lost total hope will choose to joyfully serve their oppressor in the false belief that they are doing something helpful and in the worse case as that of the KPA they may even think that they are fighting their oppressor. They wilfully shackle themselves blissfully. They will irrationally give a lot of excuses and baseless justifications for their sorrowful actions. Just think about the signatories of KPA. Some of these people were jailed and abused by President Kiir as recently as in the Autumn of 2017 and yet in delusions they joyously take photographs with President Kiir expressing feelings of pride. Ironically, they have the cheek to point fingers at those who are resisting their abuser as ‘spoilers’. Do you see the madness being displayed here?
Abuse does wonders to the mind of the abused. It is unbelievable with all the experiences (ethnic cleansing, displacement of people, mass rape, killing of women, children and the old people) of what the party of the blood-spillers have done already and what they are planning to do - hitting the opposition once and for all, the abused flock to sit near their abuser like sitting ducks waiting to be shot.
This behaviour of the signatories of KPA unfortunately sends messages of hope to President Kiir and the JCE that they are succeeding in their callous plan to construct an ethnic state. So they may be thinking that they are on the right track with their murderous policies. Hence, President Kiir’s statement that what is going on in the country is “normal process”. Luckily, these very messages that give the regime of the blood-spillers hope equally to a large extent is misleading to them. The hope they have will turn out to be a false hope for something that is still working its way in the collective pyche of the people of South Sudan.
Many people have not noticed that South Sudanese have been in a state of shock for the last five years and this has disabled them. This shock is now ebbing away and it will be replaced by anger as is the case in all situations of catastrophes. Therefore, the collective is just emerging from this shock and confusion. The intense anger that is now building in the South Sudanese community against the regime will be such a force that will sweep everything in its way.
This brings us back to the point that there is a need for a scheme of comprehensive accountability for all the crimes committed in South Sudan since 1983. At the root of these crimes, which also is the root cause of the problems in the country, is the conviction of the JCE that they are superior to all others and the country should be shaped to their liking. President Kiir has declared this intention clearly in Lobonok. What is taking place in the country as far as President Kiir is concerned is a ‘normal process’ of shaping the country. So the ethnic cleansing of the Nuer, mass rapes, mass murders, mass displacements of the various ethnic groups, and wilful distribution of the country’s resources to the benefit of President’s ethnic group etc, are done so as to cause the vision of an ethnic state to become a reality on the ground.
It is sad that President Kiir and the JCE have not learnt anything from the history of the world. They would have benefited from the wise observation of Frederick Douglass, the American social reformer and abolitionist who preached in his Speech on the 24th anniversary of Emancipation in 1886 in Washington DC that, “where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails and where any one class is made to feel that society is organised conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them neither persons nor property will be safe.”
In short, the project of ethnic supremacy which the regime in Juba is pursuing at all costs, is likely to end in disappointment.
[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]
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