The Dying Optimist in Me (Part I)

By Kuir ë Garang

February 14, 2013 (SSNA) — I always remain hopeful even when there’s nothing much to be hopeful about in South Sudan. Well, my state of mind or state of heart wouldn’t change anything in South Sudan, would it?

Whatever I think, things would still take their natural course. President Kiir will rule for another two decades like his mentor, Yoweri ‘Museventy’; Dr. Marial Benjamin will yap to journalists about something he has no idea what it means; Dr. Riek Machar will call for reconciliation and peace without any structured procurement strategy; South Sudan will concede contested areas without any plan B and the dear leaders will keep on saying ‘they are our lands and we’ll get them back! But how, I may ask? ‘Oh God!’ gave us CPA and he/she will give us our contested areas! Oh, give me my energy drink!

However, human beings, knowing such facts, still get up every morning and brood over the seemingly inevitable natural course of issues in South Sudan.

I’d like to be a pessimist in this article. Whatever I write in my useless, whining writs is just from someone far more divorced from the realities of things in South Sudan. If you’d like to change things in South Sudan, then stop writing and come down to South Sudan where people who’d want to change things come, goes the warning!

Really? Many of my colleagues packed up their bags and their diplomas with novel flares and ambitious optimism to go and ‘build’ the country. They’ve either mellowed out or they’ve become Romans; well, South Sudanese…no, they’ve started to bite at the… whatever? So why am I pessimistic?

The oil was shut down by people who had no idea what the heck they were doing! I’m hopeless because SPLA soldiers, who are supposed to be the defenders of the country, are dying of hunger when ministers sit indifferently in their comfy offices.

By the way, those offices look like high-end homes of some Beverly Hills celebrities in Los Angeles. Do these ministers have conscience? Now that there is a looming war with Sudan or the threats of war, who do these ministers think would fight? Oh, I’m being stupid! They’ll run away and feast on their stolen millions in foreign lands!

Maybe Dr. John Garang and his colleagues were right in their SPLM Manifesto! They argued that some Anya Anya One fighters took up arms to fight for jobs. Once they were promised jobs in 1972, they stopped the war! They didn’t care about the fate of South Sudan thereafter.

Well, Dr. John, this seems to be unfortunately true with your ‘freedom fighters’. They took their jobs and forgot about what they took up arms for. Civilians starve to death but they don’t even pay any lip service to the fact. They just ignore it. That’s why I’m pessimistic about South Sudan.

I’m pessimistic because educated people like the witty and highly critical Elhag Paul, know that I’m critical of the government and the pandemic incompetence in Juba. But still, he either can’t get it or he ignores it. He wants me to condemn the leaders not as South Sudanese government, but as a Jieng government. (Video Message to Mr. Paul)

I see corrupt, incompetent, and callous men ruling in Juba, but my brother sees Jieng men up to destroy the country. Any time my brother looks at me, he doesn’t see me. He sees the corrupt Jieng men in Juba. Any time he sees my writings, he reads my words upside down because of the haunting phantom of the corrupt Jieng men in Juba!

Why should I be optimistic when the best and the brightest only read their own words with interest but read others’ words with a pre-conceptualized prejudgment? No, I’m a South Sudanese and I’ll see corrupt men for who they are: Corrupt South Sudanese! Not Bari, Not Nuer, Not Jieng, Not Nyangwara…

Are some Jieng leaders corrupt? Yes! Are some Jieng men taking some innocent Equatorian people lands? Yes! Is the government of South Sudan dominated by Jieng men? Yes! Did some Jieng commanders kill some innocent civilians such as Taposas, Didingas, Nuers etc. Yes!

But my brother doesn’t want me to write ‘some’; he wants me to write that ‘ALL JIENG’ are destroying the country; even me thousands of miles away! Even that old Jieng lady in my Payam headquarter, Wernyol; who just had her kids killed and her cattle stolen by unknown gunmen.

Maybe my brother Paul needs help understanding what I write. But he’s a smart, intelligent man, who willfully ignores my position, as a government critic!

If the government is controlled by the Jieng, and I am a critic of the government, then how in the name of the carpenter’s son do I condone Jieng’s engendered problems? So I have no reason to be optimistic!

And why should I be optimistic when Juba is becoming a death bed for many South Sudanese and the government has no strategic plans for a fundamental change to the country’s problem? And why should I be optimistic when everything the SPLA fought against has been instituted in Juba. 

Even a more satanic thing is this: Church leaders are questioning the separation of the state and the church! Yes, you heard, they are questioning the separation of the church and the state in the national constitution! I hope they are not on some divine booze! And our Vice President thinks there’s something to be discussed about that! What exactly?! That people have to say Jesus in the Parliament? How about Allah and Mohammed as we have Muslims in South Sudan? And how about Adhiok’s Deng Pakeny, my ancestral, traditional god?

If you, South Sudanese, thought there is poverty of political leadership; then there’s sure no sanity in the South Sudanese church! So South Sudan should be a Christian nation? I hope they don’t have liquor stores in the church!

We fought against theocracy, dummy! We have ‘Oh God?!!” in the national anthem! What the…the…forget it! What again do you want? That ‘Oh God’ shouldn’t have been in the national anthem in the first place because South Sudan is a secular nation that respects the religious values of everyone. God or whatever that you worship should be private not a damn public issue! We fought for freedom of religion and we have it in South Sudan! Get off the separation of the state and religion!

The church is not enough for you so now you want to get into the state house and the parliament! You’re damn crazy! Questioning separation of the church and the state should be treated as treasonous!

Pray in your churches, mosques, shrines…Jesus of Nazareth? Which state in South Sudan is this Nazareth located anyway?

This meddling doesn’t make me optimistic! No offense to good, religious people but the bad, religious people should keep their gods in their churches…or where they implore him/her! And by the way, don’t get angry at me because Jesus and his father have divine powers to come after me! So Chill!

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese author and poet. His latest books are ‘Is ‘Black’ Really Beautiful? And “Deng, Nyan-nhialdit and the Talking Crow (a children’s novel). For more information about the books, visit or . Follow the author on Twitter: @kuirthiy

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