by Mathew Pagan

(A response to Isaiah Abraham’s Article: Premature for South Sudan to celebrate Obama) 

Dear brother Isaiah, thanks for the article, well argued from your perspective. But I beg to differ with you. Obama, in simple words, manifests the power of hope.

Hope that shatters the shadows of doubt, not surrendering to charity of being fed in the mouth with a spoon. But demonstrating to have a bigger share in the history of humanity and in the making of human culture. If so, don’t we as Southern Sudanese deserve to be part of that history? Part of that jubilant humanity? Can we not have our share in it? Or shall we ask the old question: what do the Southerners need? I thought the CPA has resurrected the dormant minds from the tombs of despair squelching the old favourite question. If our past had no guiding norms, then conscience and principle must define South Sudan of our era.

One fact must remain clearly distinct in our minds, that the celebration does not make us sharers in his political program. And not any political program is acceptable wholly by its very voters. We only celebrate humanity, the dignity of a man that acquires a right after long years of agony. We join Obama as human beings, his  fellow brothers from Africa and nothing more.South Sudan must celebrate. It must celebrate human liberation from tyranny of self interest and domination. History does not forgive. Sharp minds and good conscience perceive its pervasive and protracted hand. It is history that commands South Sudan in conscience to such a noble act. And he who shed blood yesterday for freedom, is obliged by the very same principle to be precursor for human liberation. Solidarity is asked of him, when others celebrate their freedom. Do we dig heads in the sand? No, no, COURAGE!!  Dear Isaiah, your article failed to comprehend the gravity of the injury caused by slavery in the USA. You  failed to evaluate its devastating consequences on our brothers the Afro-Americans and even on us in Africa. Either you hastily brushed aside that whole bulk of history, as a minute appendix in the history of USA, or  our  interest as Sudan is what matter more..

Obama as any president of any nation will have to secure the stability of USA economy. Economy is the backbone of any nation, everything depends on it. A strong USA is born out of a strong economy. Let us not expect, or harbour illusions, that the Republicans or Democrats would intervene in any part of the world, with empty stomach. They will not. Obama was elected by the Americans to solve their problems first and maybe later help the nations in need. Why do we cause problems and expect other nations to solve them? Mature nations find solutions to their internal problems. For how long will Africa remain a child, looking beyond its waters? Are we not able to dialogue to settle our problems? Do we need other people to impose on us their viewpoints? Kofi Anan and ex-President of Mozambique, and Tanzania did an excellent work in Kenya, after the election chaos. The IGAD did a marvellous work with the CPA. Can’t we strengthen, and pledge our support for our African institutions to be more effective in settling our issues? Do we need to call upon USA or Europe or China every time we differ?In your article, you reject Obama, while the world or people far off the African coast cheer him.  One can easily infer that you seek the interest of Sudan which implies  forgetting the Afro-Americans who do not have health insurance, education and housing (due to Republican policies). In other words as long as our (Sudan)  interest is served we don’t care about anything or anybody else. Unfortunately, such a deformed mentality of seeking my interest,  is the basis of the world economy and politics, but Wall Street has shamefully fallen. What next?  Is Obama the saviour of the USA or of the world? Surely not! Jesus is the only Saviour of humanity. But I have no reason whatsoever to doubt these words of Obama: “I understand the skepticism, but that there was – and always had been – another tradition to politics, a tradition that stretched from the days of the country’s founding glory of civil rights movement, a tradition based on the simple idea that we have a stake in one another, and that what binds us together is greater than what derives us apart, and that if enough people believe in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done” (Barak Obama, Audacity of Hope).

Obama’s SOCIALISM is defined by these words we have a stake in one another. Such a logic is against CAPITALISM, against seeking self-interest mentality. Obama concludes with the following words:“This nation’s founders, who somehow rose above petty ambitions and narrow calculations to imagine a nation unfurling across a continent. And those like Lincoln and King, who ultimately laid down their lives in the service of perfecting an imperfect union. And all the faceless, nameless men and women, slaves and soldiers and tailors and butchers, constructing lives for themselves and their children and grandchildren, brick by brick, rail by rail, calloused hand by calloused hand, to fill in the landscape of our collective dreams”. (Barak Obama, Audacity of Hope). Are these words not enough to award the brand of a person he is? Do we need to prove him a monster beyond the eloquence crafted in these words?Wole Soyinka in his book Iasrà writes “And you dare expect no gratitude, only more demands, more expectations, and miracles, yes, nothing short of miracles. But gratitude… And yet despite that suspicion, and in spite of the divisions and present bitterness, Isarà had that sense of community, quite unlike Abeokuta. When their procession joined up with Olisa’s at the meeting place, with a wide space between to proclaim the division to the wide world but not, he hoped, to enshrine it, all of Isarà would be there, a feat which would be impossible in Abeokuta…” An it soon became clear that the homage was cast wide, that it embraced more than the rider. As often as a group surged forward to touch the horse, or Saaki’s robes, a figure, or groups of two or three, emerged quietly at Soditan’s side, beaming or giggling, manifesting their personal forms of pride and gratitude, sometimes, a claim of simply belonging.” (Wole Soyinka, Isarà).South Sudan must celebrate the victory of Obama, if the whole world from Peking to Moscow, from Teheran to Tokyo, from Rio de Janeiro to Mexico City, applauded his historic election, then we have the more reason to celebrate as Africans. 

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People in this conversation

  • Guest - James Okuk

    Yes Brother Mathew Pagan, we must celebrate the power of unwavering hope for a better change in the conduct of human affairs; be it in America or elsewhere.

    Even if we have fears and reservations about the victorious Obama, at least we should put aside the despair and join our good conscience for this tremendous moment in history of humanity without racism.

    Cheers with Obama and Cheers to all his Jubilant admirers.

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  • Guest - Tipo William Mel

    thank you greatly Mr/ Mathew Pagan for your brilliant article.we needs to work very hard to educate our people so that they will be librated from inferiority complex and beggar mentality. Senator John Mccain said in his defeated message that "Americans have spoken clearly" by electing there prefered president who will solve their problems in the coming four yours, why don't we choose or help our president to solve our internal problems instead of looking for the outsiders to secure the CPA.

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  • Guest - Tipo William Mel

    I mean four years

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