Pray for Jonglei, South Sudan—and Civility

By: Julius Nyambur Wani, New York, USA

War must not be undertaken unless its supporters believe they could, in theory, sit down with soldiers on their side and explain why their deaths were necessary to some larger cause—Unknown

March 20, 2012 (SSNA) — Fighting, save for three types of fears, has the strongest affinity of inviting our participation. Un/fortunately, not all of sane human beings honor the invitation to conflict with equal ego. The good news is that not all of us are brave enough to withstand the threat imposed by the consequences of fighting; the bad news is, not all of us are cowed at equal rate by the fears.

But in Jonglei, the South Sudan’s largest state, both geographically and populously, everybody is arguably a warrior. A warrior is different from a hero. A hero is objective and defined by noble qualities. He can act by his own but for the good of another or of all others. A warrior is driven by tribal loyalty and sheer selfishness. He goes to war in company of his fellow tribesmen. His allegiance and honor is to his ethnic identity, not national or state pledge. A warrior is arrogantly proud, and not afraid of chastisement by any legitimate authority, as long his tribe rallies behind him. This explains why, in Jonglei, nobody can afford swallowing his pride, that is why no tribe is frightened of perceived and real repercussions of fighting, and that is why inter- tribal and intra-clans clashes never cease. Jonglei is claiming default, characteristic of state of lawlessness.

During the ancient time this quest for “liberty” to do as one desires would be granted without due restriction, except for meeting similar “liberty” in the battle arena. However, we are in a different era—we are past the “once upon a time” riddle when survival was contingent upon the “fittest.” The contemporary human existence is in the decades whereof elimination by natural selection or artificial extermination is no longer the norm. It is immoral nowadays to watch mass killing tolling up and yet take no remedial actions. That is why all eyes are on GOSS, not GHOST.

Definitely not the GHOST because the GHOST, whatever names given to her by the TRIPLE TRIBES, is eating away the moral fabric of the triangular communities. And that brings us to why prayers and civility ought to be invoked, urgently. In my school of thoughts, I know not of too many ways to salvage violent confrontations. Nonetheless, there are at least three means of intervening in conflict, namely government, civility, and divine intervention. Let me not waste time to embellish the first one—about the role of the government—because both GOSS and Jonglei have conceded failure. This leaves us with the last two: civility and divine intervention.

Jonglei is not just the South Sudan’s largest state in mass and population, but it is also the state with the highest number of Protestant Christians. Historically Catholics have been associated with mass wars, but luckily this is not the case with Jonglei. This leaves a lot to be thought about. How else can one fathom the magnitude of the menace going on in Jonglei? Could it be that Protestant teachings permit and emphasize warfare as legitimate and normal? Perhaps, not true. Here is why I really, really, really think that there must be a mystery surrounding the manslaughters in Jonglei, and which, in my honest opinion deserves prayers and civilized attitudes: the west Dinka, the Mundari, the northern Bari, the Lotuho, the Boya, Diding’a, and the Toposa, all have cattle, but rarely are there news that each of these tribes has attacked her neighboring counterparts in quest for cows and children. Finger pointing, as to who started what, aside, why do the Christian populations of Jonglei State think that only revenge will ultimately quench their bitter grudges? Don’t they also reckon that the very same problems facing them apply to residents of those other States, yet are putting up with them, for the sake of national cohesion and stability? Jonglei must spare South Sudanese public embarrassment!

I think there are mythologies Southerners might want to know among the triple tribes. There seem to be Creeds, which, if not exerted outward, work their curses inward, destructively. Yet it would be inconsiderate—and perhaps unethical—to judge as to who is and is not, on the wrong, insofar as the retaliatory assaults are concerned, without ascertaining the underpinning circumstances. Traditionally, it’s almost a taboo to point out guilt while the fighting is still on course. Yet this is not to say the public condones the devastating mayhems. In fact, the holistic shame the clashes continues to expose is drawing bitter resentment among the Southern masses.

This is because externally, South Sudan is viewed as a monolithic entity. Therefore it’s irrelevant for any South Sudanese to fend off the negative trepidations caused by tribe A or B. As a result, we have satisfactorily proved to the entire world that our “Detractors/Oppressors” were right when they preempted to the entire world that their biggest fear was that if they leave us alone, we would turn against each other, thus a possible failed state. Whether they were right or wrong depends on how one understands the current state of affairs.

Summarily, all facts speak for themselves. Our balancing point is known. Now that our independence honeymoon is over, may we all pray for love but not hatred, peace but not war, unity but not division, humility but not arrogance, tolerance but not sensitivity, honesty but not blackmailing so that our actions, attitudes, and decisions are guided by sobriety, candidness, and civility. Let’s all beseech divine intervention so that GHOST and GOSS failure do not infiltrate into, and scuttle, our national cohesion and harmony wherever we might be.

Julius Nyambur Wani is a Youth Activist and can be reached at [email protected]. He may also be visited at:

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