The meaning of Independence Day for the South Sudanese People!

By Luk Kuth Dak

“Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

July 11, 2011 (SSNA) — Not even in my wildest dreams have I ever thought that this day will eventually emerge. After all, it took a little over five decades of vicious oppression and countless innocent lives lost in the process for the Sun to ultimately shine in the skies of South Sudan, announcing that a new day has indeed arrived

On July 9, 2011, the world’s newest nation named the Republic of South Sudan (ROSS) was born. A nation of God given rights. A nation of patriots, who because of their bravery, honor, and sacrifices, there will live a free people on that soil.

Like any baby, ROSS will be vulnerable and fragile. Indeed, any mother will tell you, the hardest part of delivering a baby is not the pain, but what awaits the newborn. Obviously, any women can deliver a baby, but not every woman can raise a child to become a good member of the human society. In another word, the toughest part is the upbringing of that child, especially if the mother is a single one.

By the same token, ROSS is just another baby who if not taken care from an early age, it can be added to the list of the so-called “ street- children” or ends up being behind bars for the rest of his/her life. The question: Is that what we really want our precious ( baby) to be like?

I don’t think so.

With our independence comes a great deal of responsibility; a task that will require hard work and perseverance that we all have to shoulders, if we don’t want to see an example of Somalia staring us in the face. I strongly suggest that after the celebrations are over, we ought to take some time out to think positively and critically about the future of the country we have just inherited. A better place to start from is to take a closer look at some of the failed states and the successful ones all across the globe. In so doing, we would not only learn not to repeat what let to the failure of some of the states, but we could also emulate the successful ones such as the United States and Ghana, to mention just a few.

Too often, as we struggle to move forward as people and a one nation, we seem to highlight our differences, those things that set us apart, and we forget to focus on our commonalities, the things that bring us together. I’m a firmed believer that God Almighty created us looking almost alike for a reason. On a personal note, those who do not know my Nuer heritage think that am from the Dinka or and the Anyuak tribes, respectively. I have no problem about that. After all, I have a daughter who is a half Nuer and a half Dinka. At 9 years old, Mirry, has never asked me what her tribe is, but when she does, I will gladly tell her that it’s the Nuer, and that’s it. What I will not tell her, however, is that the Nuer are better than any other tribes in South Sudan!!

We have to do better, and better we must. There are hundreds of millions of people across the globe who have been inspired by our independence. We cannot let them down. We cannot let our children down, by leaving them behind with a failed state.

Yet, as challenging as the events may be around us today, I truly believe we will overcome them if we continue to be solidly united as we have demonstrated during these past few days of our independence. We cannot turn back the clock. We must move forward. But, as we do so, we must always remember those who paved the way for us with their precious blood and soul. Those are the real heroes of this historical moment.

I wish you all a blessed Independence Day.

God bless the Republic of South Sudan.

The author is a former anchorman at Juba Radio, and he can be reached via e-mail at: [email protected].

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