“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it’s a constant attitude.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Luk kuth Dak – USA
March 18, 2012 (SSNA) — Don’t we all know that there is no other place on the face of the earth, where forgiveness is desperately needed other than the Republic of South Sudan (RSS)? And anything short of that, means that the future of the newest – born nation will always be surrounded by uncertainty?!
There are many, many books about forgiveness – and everyone I have ever read, the latest of which is “Dare to Forgive: The Power of Letting Go and Moving On,” by Edward M. Hallowell (2006, HCI). This engaging book offers powerful testimony on the importance of forgiveness and moving on with our lives.
Thus, most books, if not all, about forgiveness say: “Forgiveness is a choice. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. Forgiveness equates with freedom from the shackles of anger, bitterness and resentment.”
Our distinguished Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar did himself a lot of good by apologizing to the Bor community, for his role in the massacre of helpless civilians under his watchful eyes. He can now travel to Bor without having to look over his shoulders.
Quite simply, that’s the beauty and the power in forgiveness.
“The time is always right to do the right thing.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
But there are very many other politicians in South Sudan, who committed similar acts of evils but, who do not want to take responsibility for their treacherous actions , and ask for forgiveness from the families and the communities of their victims. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, Dr. Lam Akol has never apologized for his role in other massacres in some parts of the country, particularly in Nasir Area. Perhaps Dr. Lam and others, too, should follow Dr. Machar’s braveness and acknowledge their disastrous roles in which some precious innocent lives were lost all across our land.
Of course, we can’t bring the dead back to life, but for fairness sake, the families and the communities, who have lost some loved ones, need to come to a closure, so that they can move on with their lives. It’s a win-win situation, however, for both the victims and the victimizers. As Dr. Machar kicked it off, those who will follow his foot steps ultimately will find out that they have liberated themselves a great deal to live the rest of their lives free from the burden of the guilty conscious that could bog them down forever.
But all of us citizens of the Republic of South Sudan share a responsibility to promote and maintain peace among our ethnic communities. We should be highlighting the things that bring us together not those set us apart. Our culture, our history, our struggle together for freedom. I remember quite vividly when I growing up in Nasir, that the Nuer often cross the Collo land without food or water, but when the Sun goes down, all they had to do was to check into the nearest house, where they would be given food and a place to sleep, before the continue their journey to Malakal, the capital city of then Upper Nile Province.
And in my hometown, Nasir, we had a huge presence of Collo, Dinka, Anyuak and a few Murle communities, but who’ve lived side by side with the Nuer in a harmony and respect. In all truth, I do not recall any conflicts among them. In fact, most of my closest friends were from the Dinka and Collo respectively.
The central now becomes: What has changed?
The answer to that question: There’s no other evil in South Sudan other than those greedy selfish politicians, who are using their communities for their individualistic goals. Instead of creating an atmosphere for peace and harmony, they are engaged in highlighting our differences – the things that break us apart.
If we would only refrain from looking down on other ethnicities, stop using negative adjectives about them, and if each of us would go to our respective communities and talk to regular folks about our commonalities – the things that unit us, we’ll have a chance to coexist, and no one will break us apart.
We look almost alike for a reason!
The author’s a former anchorman with Juba Radio. He can be reached for comments at [email protected].