By James Okuk, PhD
"Unexamined Life is not Worth-living" – Socrates, and so is Unexamined Government
April 8, 2012 (SSNA) — The ongoing war between the Sudan and South Sudan at the border zones can be described as nothing but insensitive and destructive pride emanating from the former foes ruling now in both Juba and Khartoum. These rulers seem to be running the two countries without paying necessary attention to the above-quoted wisdom of Ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates. This could be rephrased as "unexamined government is not worth-governing.
This unfortunate border war is not a guerrilla one where the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) can think to be victorious using AKs47 on the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) as it used to be done in the past. Also history is not going to repeat itself where the SAF used to mobilize the Jihadist (or the so-called popular paramilitary defense) in order to go to Southern Sudan for show of terroristic courage.
Thus, the guerilla’s morale is nothing but a suiciding call for the SPLA soldiers at the moment who might try courageously to fight the sky while poorly lingering on the ground.
Also the Jihadist call is nothing but a mismatching mobilization for the Jellaba where the war now is not aimed at Islamization of South Sudanese infidels but at the land and its natural resources, especially oil or petroleum.
On one hand, Khartoum has done the best that it could to teach the ruling SPLM leaders of South Sudan some lessons of humiliations on the unmarked territory, where it is tricky to justify trespassing if not aggression. But one day this pride would come to an end.
On the other hand, Juba has done what it could to teach the ruling NCP leaders of the Sudan some lessons of possibility of the capability of the new-born country of getting its rights by military force rather than through ruling of the International Court of Arbitration. But also one day this reactionary style would also come to an end.
From the evidences of air strikings that were carried out by the SAF on the assumed territory of South Sudan, it is no longer speculations that Khartoum is indeed interested in waging war at any cost with Juba.
It is notable with the circumstances of the ICC arrest warrants hunting for chances of getting hold of the Sudan President Al-Bashir and his Defense Minister together with the Governor of Southern Kordofan State, that it is logically natural that the trio would prefer hot graves rather than air-conditioned cool prisons at The Hague.
What keeps the trio safe now is the government power they have in hand. Hence whoever tries to mess up this power for them is immediately and instantly confronted with disproportional state force and merciless violence. Not only that, but also whoever tries to mess up the economy of the Sudan that can bring the trio on their knees as people’s living standards becomes unbearable, is also leveled as biggest threat to their security and red enemy NUMBER ONE.
Thus, if Juba is really interested in war with Khartoum what it needs currently and critically for military victory over the advanced Sudan Air Force is a NATO’s type air defense similar to what happened in Libya before the bloody and hyena exit of late president Gadhafi. Anything less than that is just a military foolishness as we have just witnessed in case of Panthou (the so-called Heglig) where the SPLA were dispersed by intensive SAF air bombing within hours after their (SPLA) short entrance.
But how much will that advanced air defense cost Juba given the austerity measures South Sudan is undergoing now since the time it decided to close down its oil revenues (which actually accounted for almost all its hard currency income)?
Should the SPLM old government guards in Juba borrow dollars and incur debt burdens on South Sudanese coming generations in order to buy such very expensive air defense missiles and fighter-jets or should they hire mercenaries to do the dirty job on their behalf against the merciless NCP Khartoum?
Things are really getting tougher and worst in South Sudan as well as in the Sudan. This bad situation may continue, until some messianic statesmen emerge for the salvation of the two neighboring countries from the looming evils or, perhaps, until the current leaders start to sense it that both of them are in danger of public wrath if the life standards continue to deteriorate after the separation of South Sudan from the Sudan.
It is said that war is not good and peace is the best but for how long would the Sudan and South Sudan be preparing for the unfortunate war if Khartoum and Juba want peace really?
Is it by mobilizing the residents of the bordering states with the Sudan and arming them to teeth or or by mobilizing the youth all over South Sudan to do the military defense work that should be the sole duty of the already-recruited SPLA on salary now?
Or is it by reviving the Jihadists mobilization in the Sudan against South Sudanese so that history of their foolish martyrdom could get repeated in order for their blood to irrigate Islamic adventures forcefully into South Sudan and the rest of black Africa?
If the English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes could get re-incarnated to come and see the situation the Sudan and South Sudan have been put under, he would surely admire the fulfillment of his theory of beginner states: each lives in constant fear of its neighbor while armament race, war of nerves, cold war, economic blockade, espionage, propaganda and ideological warfare fill the interval between open hostilities.
For me, war is not in advantage of the Sudan and South Sudan. The war may strengthen Al-Bashir’s regime in the Sudan to unify the Jihadists against South Sudan? It will also add to austerities that the majority of South Sudanese as well as Sudanese are undergoing now.
A Catholic Church philosopher called St. Augustine who hails from Northern Africa said this in regards to the value of peace:
"Whoever gives even moderate attention to human affairs and to our common nature, will recognize that if there is a man who does not wish to be joyful, neither is there a man who does not not wish to have peace. For even they who make war desire nothing but victory – desire, that is to say, to attain peace with glory. For what else is victory than the conquest of those who resist us? … For every man seeks peace by waging war, but no man seeks war by making peace. For even they who intentionally interrupt the peace in which they are living have no hatred of peace, but only wish it changed into a peace that suits them better."
Let Khartoum and Juba stop the current war of offense and defense they are insensitively engaged in. Let them swallow their previous warring destructive morale and find peace for the common good of the nations of the their neighboring countries.
Exaggerated nationalism has never been a virtue but a vice from which most of the chaos spring. Also sovereignty should only be a means to an end, the common good; when it swells to such a size that it blocks that path to the goal, it must be trimmed down to its proper proportion.
Even if war is a pride, peace is not a humiliation. Countries never thrive in war but peace never thrive where there is no truthfulness. Peace is the only known environment for prosperities, be it politically, economically or socially.
It is time to examine the life of the governments of the two ruling parties in the Sudan and South Sudan, the NCP and SPLM. No more war, we want peace and nothing less than true peace.
Dr. James Okuk (PhD in Political Philosophy) lives in Juba and could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org