On Overcoming the Stress of Being a South Sudanese in Diaspora

By Tongun Lo Loyuong

November 12, 2013 (SSNA) — Like the original version, my last revised article entitled “the Stress of South Sudanese in Diaspora: A Narrative from my Personal Experience” (easily found on my blog at: http://tloloyuong.wordpress.com/), was well received and generated much positive responses and encouragement. It was encouraging considering my speaking truth to power does not generally bode well with those at whom the truth is directed and their staunch supporters. Nonetheless, many South Sudanese but also our fellow Sub-Saharan Africans, who have for one reason or another been compelled to live in exile, mostly in the East and the West seem to have found solace in those pieces and could identify with my experiences, which was humbling indeed.

Some of the private electronic compliments I received in response ran like this quote: “Dear brother, I wanted to thank you for writing such touching article posted on South Sudan news Agency website. It is very powerful and a brain massaging article I ever read. Very painful, descriptive, and very encouraging indeed. Just hung in there and all these shall come to pass in the nearest future, hopefully,” unquote (by A South Sudanese based in the U.S.).

Another well-wisher who prompted the writing of the present article on overcoming the stress of being a South Sudanese in Diaspora, wrote quote: “Dear Tongun, I stopped several times when I was reading your article (http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/the-stress-of-south-sudanese-in-diaspora) and it was really sensitives and shocking in the other way round. It absolutly reflect the realities and you convince me that, you are still living with hope base on how you wrote this. That is exactly what is taking place everywhere. I’m in South Sudan and It hard me deeply hearing these kinds of discrimination. That is all about life brother, go ahead and make another article on how we can overcome these problems/challenges. Best regard!!!” unquote.

While I am grateful and humbled that people find inspiration and are moved by some of the pieces that I write, I do, however, have to admit from the onset that if anyone ever finds the panacea for permanently addressing the root causes as well as the proximate causes of our mostly social, economic and politically constructed grievances, kindly pass a small potion this way. Not that I am pessimistic about finding lasting solutions to some of our deep-seated grievances that have persisted for generations. In fact I am deeply convinced that if a handful of visionary, thoughtful and dedicated South Sudanese come together to wrap our heads around some of the social challenges presently confronting our society, you will be surprised how fast a positive social change can be engineered and a lasting peaceful solutions to our mostly cultural but politicized problems can begin to be found.

However, until that happens, I have discovered that at times when confronted with excessive and protracted difficulties, which are often not of your own making, it is prudent to insulate yourself. One way I do this is by being realistic and coming to terms with the fact that “the poor will always be around us.”

To put it in the words of the Arabs, unfortunately it is a fact of our world today that “sh’arie koumin ind’i koumin fawa’id,” meaning one person’s lost is another’s gain! The way I understand this is that it greatly helps to being honest and coming to terms with this reality of our world. It helps to acknowledge the human finitude and prevalent lack of foresight in our midst that makes us readily capable of easily inflicting pain and creating monstrous social, economic and political devastations, and keeps us unwilling to devising lasting solutions to these problems.

It helps to accept that there are powerful unjust forces that benefit or live off the suffering of others in much the same way that there exist powerful unjust social constructs coined to precisely serve this purpose from time immemorial in our being. This is just a fact that I find helpful to accept. The schema of reward and punishment where the good are supposed to be rewarded for being good and the evil are supposed to be punished for their misgivings has been distorted and turned upside down these days. The ancient Aristotelian anthropology that first created the idea of a social ladder largely determined based on religion, ethnicity, race, gender and sexuality remains alive active in our contemporary societies. The color of the skin rather than the content of the person’s character that served the Hellenistic and subsequent societies, cultures and sub-cultures well in legitimizing violence and the meting out social injustices against the vanquished “sub-human” souls, is tragically equally persistent. It is only that it has put on a neo-face.

Just look around you in South Sudan, for instance and you will quickly discover that your grievances are more likely to be listened by the powers that be under gunpoint and less likely under pen-point. In other words, it is easy to shoot your way into being heard under the loud and ruthless explosives of trigger happiness or of shooting first and aim later, than the silence and civility of writing.

Acknowledging this fact carries me a long way and helps shoulder a good deal of the burden resulting from inequities thrown one’s way in this life’s journey, even as I categorically refuse the former way of the gun, violence and physical coercion as a means to negotiate grievances and injustices. I prefer to persevere until such becomes a time that the latter means of negotiating grievances through non-violence and civility comes to prevail.

When I was a kid, my parents used to advise me to stay away from trouble. But in today’s world, when I have kids, I will advise them to not only stay away from trouble, but to hope that fortune favors them and harm does not cross their paths. This is just the contemporary reality, where trouble is commonplace and can easily gate-crush your party without an invite, while you are minding your own business. Being realistic and lowering expectations is the key, regardless of how much education you have received and how many degrees you have worked hard for and earned.

Education and professional experience and expertise rarely counts for employment opportunities these days, in a world many agree thanks to globalization and advances in media and technology and the free flow of information and knowledge, is increasingly wracked by poverty in moral universalism and integrity. Being realistic is therefore, being humble and by which I mean hoping and working for the best while anticipating the worst.

This has helped me in striving to preserve a smile rather than wearing a frowned face when reality hits and it becomes evident that you are powerless and weak amidst all this organized chaos. Weakness and not might must be taken for power and strength. Only when one accepts one’s vulnerability and weakness in the face of injustices, is one truly strong. Unfortunately, as is the case with almost my entire life experiences, I have had to learn this the hard way and often after as the saying goes at home “the bird has eaten the grain!”

Let me further illustrate the notion of how truth ultimately prevails over lies by citing the following dialectic anecdote, an electronic correspondence, one of many I have had with those who took the exception of taking issue with some of my writings. Here the aim is to show that in life you will always encounter detractors or people who will not even believe in your experience, never mind taking your existence serious. Worst still you will meet political scavengers who benefit from the divisive and oppressive social constructs and injustices, and gain from someone else’s lost. This is to say that life is a comical concept where not only mutual trust between people barely exists, but the place is also replete with zealots who will stand ready to defend an unjust system with their lives if needed be and by distorting the truth, if such a system best serves their interest.

However, the reassuring fact is that unlike a cat and no matter how long it takes, truth always comes home and good ultimately triumphs over evil. All one can do is stay true to one’s conscience and be a non-violent advocate of truth, if only such a truth does nothing else in your lifetime than setting your own self free! The reason why I decided to use the following encounter beyond just as a manner of elucidation on the topic at hand is also in memory of a man who I did not know personally but who had his last words with me before his life was snatched away in a hit and run incident moments after our encounter. For ethical reasons I use the initials rather than the full names of those who participated in this heated email dialectics, save for the names of the main protagonists and the alpha-males, as well as my own name which I cite in full. I hope my readers have time to kill!

Just over a year I go I wrote a piece entitled “Tribute to a Man Whose Life I could have Saved, but Failed,” published on Gurtong news website (and easily obtained from my bog: http://tloloyuong.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/tribute-to-a-man-whose-life-i-could-have-saved-but-failed/). Several days later I received an email shared in a group of medical doctors in South Sudan where one of the alpha male doctors took issue almost to a personal level with that piece and vehemently accused me of propagating fictitious story about a man who was hit by a car and the driver got away. This fellow by the name Thuou Loi decided he was going to expose me by taking my integrity to task. He was categorically certain that the subject of the story and the whole narrative was in his words, “concocted.” What follows is how the main arguments of the email correspondence developed:

Thuou Loi: “Dear all, I have read with interest an article which was written by Mr. Tongun Lo Loyuong and posted to the forum by Dr. P. S. The article was written under title "Tribute to a Man whose life I Could Have Saved, but Failed". The article raised an issue of a senior medical doctor who is said to have been a senior advisor for Juba Teaching Hospital. According to the article this doctor was knocked down by a V 8 car and the driver (the owner or whoever was driving that car) run away and he is nowhere to be found.

“I was shocked when I was reading the article and had to make several phone calls to find out who is the senior doctor that got killed by V8 and the culprit run away. After several calls and investigations, it is obvious that there is no senior medical doctor who is an advisor for Juba Teaching Hospital who was knocked down and killed by a V8 car. I talked to many people including Dr. K. A…and there is nothing like that.

“I think we need to be informed by Mr. Tongun Lo Loyuong about who is the senior doctor that was knocked down and killed by the V 8 car in Juba. Let me take this opportunity to tell this forum and Mr. Tongun Lo Loyuong that I do write and that I do criticize many wrong things that are happening in this country, but that must be based on facts that must be available for anybody to verify.

“Please Mr. Tongun Lo Loyuong kindly tell us more about that senior doctor who was knocked down and killed by V8 and I am are ready to take this matter to the highest level possible, otherwise apologize for not telling the truth.”

Tongun Lo Loyuong’s response after being agitated by being dismissed as a liar without receiving the benefit of the doubt: “Dear Honorable Dr. Thuou Loi: While I do appreciate your efforts in trying to identify the deceased medical doctor, your accusatory tone and questioning of my credibility is deplorable. I am an academic and religiously adhere to ethical principles of academic research. The opinion piece I wrote as the genre of the writing suggests was not an academic research paper, but a recollection of my encounter with a man, whose last words were with me before he was hit by a car. The incident happened several weeks ago in Munuki road by the Kuwait housings [sic]. As my article suggests, I was told this elderly man was an adviser or a consultant to medical doctors in Juba. I was clear that I did not know the man personally, but I was also clear that we need to look at the bigger picture with sober minds, and without apologetic and emotional arousal.

“Does it really matter for the man to be a doctor, in order for you to take the issue seriously and to the highest authority? An innocent life was taken, due to your highest authorities not doing their jobs. If you are concerned as I am about the issue, you have the law enforcement agents in Juba where you can investigate about the background of the man. All I was informed was that the man, who was grey haired, and about in his early or mid-seventies was alleged to have worked as a medical doctor, including in Iraq, and was a Bari by tribe. Beyond that I do not even know the man’s name, as was amply pointed out in the article. All I do know is that traffic law enforcement must be improved, and if you can help communicate that message to the responsible authorities, it would be mostly appreciated.”

Thuou Loi: “Dear Mr. Tongun, There is no doubt that you are not telling the truth. In your article you hinted that you know the man, not only that you know even his house. You wanted initially to direct him to his house, but you decided to leave him alone!!!!!!!!!!!. There is no senior doctor from Juba Teaching Hospital who was killed and the culprit run away. I have the copy of your article (both hard and soft copy). I am not defending anybody.

“If there are few people in this country who have been vocal about issues such as reckless driving, I am one of them. Please refer to my column in Juba Monitor (formerly Khartoum Monitor). My column is known as "Genuine Point" and you will read my thoughts about all sorts of issues including the reckless driving in Juba. I also run a weekly TV program known as" Ask the Doctor" and among many health related issues I raised was the many cases of road traffic accidents in Juba solely caused by irresponsible driving in the town.

“The man you talked about doesn’t have to be a doctor for me to care about him, but you were very specific in your article. Please read your article again and again and you will release that even if you wanted to communicate a message you did communicate that through very obvious concocted story. It would have been fair enough for you to raise the issue of irresponsible driving in Juba where indeed someone died and the culprit run away directly, but not through such unethical approach.”

Tongun Lo Loyuong: “My brother, why are you seeking an argument where there’s no reason to argue, and why are you accusing me of unethical approach in my opinion piece when I was relating a tragic story of a man whose life was brutally and prematurely taken by reckless driving? Is it ethical of you as a medical doctor to cherry-pick the lives to be saved and those not to be saved based on their social status? What has become of the Hippocratic Oath you took, which includes pledging to keep the sick from ‘harm and injustice?’

“Clearly, if anyone is suffering from internal ethical struggle, it would seem we are looking at him. Or maybe you and I have different appreciation of the value of the human life?! Go read my article again, where I said I did not know the man personally. Obviously, I did a little investigation on the background of the man from the people who were with me [in that venue right after the man left, just out of curiosity and not knowing the man was about to meet such an untimely and tragic end to his life—emphasis added] and have seen him frequented that location, and they told me he lived at the end of the block from the bar. What is so difficult to understand? Please if you want to have a healthy conversation, you are welcome, otherwise do not waste my time.”

Thuou Loi: “Mr. Tongun, The unfortunate bit of this conversation is that all the members of this forum are silent and not coming out to tell you that there is no senior medical doctor from Juba Teaching Hospital who was killed by a V8 car and the driver run away as you concocted in your fiction. I write my opinion openly, but not through fiction. This is the unethical approach that I am talking about. I am not sure you are the right person to lecture me about the Hippocratic Oath. Those who know me, know what I think, say and adhere to consistently.”

Tongun Lo Loyuong: “Ya dector (hey Dr.)! I am aware of my academic moral obligations. I hold two master’s degrees from the best academic institutions in the U.S…so I know what I am talking about. Unfortunately, it is precisely because of my academic ethical duties, that I am unable to disclose the names of my sources who believed this man was a senior medical doctor in Iraq before retiring and serving as a consultant to medical doctors in Juba. This is so, because of the first academic ethical standard of protecting the human subjects who serve as your source. But obviously you wouldn’t know that would you? Further, my second academic ethical principle requires from me honesty, namely to mention upfront if the genre of my writing is a fiction or otherwise. What I wrote was an Op-ed. Why do I keep saying a bull, and you insist for it to be milked? Thirdly, ethically I am required to share a scientific discovery with my peers, which is precisely what I did by paying a tribute to man who was unjustly killed. Besides, the moral lesson of the piece was to encourage my compatriots to be each others’ brother and sister keepers, and to forge a collective national identity that unites. Now how unethical is that? Unless of course you are a benefactor of the order of the day in South Sudan, and would like to maintain the status quo by distorting what I wrote then that is a different story. Otherwise, we are on the same side! As for the others who are not sharing their opinion on this dialogue, I am not subscribed to this forum, and therefore, they do not receive this correspondence.

Thuou Loi: “Mr. Tongun, you are absolutely a liar to repeat yourself many times that someone who you said was killed was a senior consultant for doctors in Juba Teaching Hospital. For your information I am a Director of Medical Services in the Ministry of Health and I know all the doctors, be they seniors or juniors in Juba Teaching Hospital. Now that you are insisting in defending your concocted story to be a true one, I am going to invite other actors to thoroughly investigate this matter. Please help me and others to get hold of the facts regarding your story. I will report this case and all the communications that I had with you for further investigations, so that the victim is identified first and the culprit is brought to book or for you to apologize for not telling the truth and for creating unnecessary shock among many colleagues especially those in Diaspora who didn’t hesitate to call me and others to find out who was killed among the many senior colleagues in Juba Teaching Hospital. I will also talk to Dr. J. A. who was in Iraq to help us in this.

Majok Malek: “Dear Dr.Loi, let me come in and cut your discussion short,why don’t you leave the man alone!May be he was just trying to air out his bizzare dream, some dreams come true and some not.Oh God do not make the dream of that man comes true.”

Tongun Lo Loyuong: “Sounds good, but the tragedy is that you have already judged me to be a liar without giving me the benefit of the doubt. I know Dr. J. A., and he might be the right person to ask about this man, since they are both from the same tribe. Again, as I clearly pointed out in my article, and I quote from the opening lines:

"Few weeks ago, I was spending a casual late afternoon with a bunch of friends in a grill-bar in Juba. Seated at an opposite table next to me, and separated by a window was an elderly man whose name continues to elude all who were present at that spot that day, including myself. He was, however, a regular and was well known as a medical doctor emeritus. Until his sudden death caused by a hit-and-run car shortly after he left that venue that same late afternoon, he was working as I was told as a senior medical adviser to medical doctors in Juba" (end quote).

“Kindly, focus on the key phrases: ‘spending a casual late afternoon with a bunch of friends,’ the man’s name ‘continues to elude all who were present,’ he was ‘well known [by those present that is] as a medical doctor emeritus,’ and ‘was working as I was told as a senior medical adviser to medical doctors in Juba.’ From these few key phrases, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to know that the premise of my article is personal encounter with a man who before his sudden death charged me to ‘protect him,’ and whose background information and facts I gathered from the people who were present in that venue, and who had known the man by virtue of his frequent visits to that location.

“Now, whether or not the man was really a doctor remains to be investigated. And even if the man turns out not to be a doctor, I do not have to apologize, because it is not my fault that many believed he was, since my article is based on the information they provided about the man, and not what I know about the man because as I said in the beginning of the article I did not know the man personally. In short, do your investigation and keep me abreast, and as I said, the man was grey-haired, probably in his mid-seventies. He was thin, well dressed and [apparently] carries a brief-case with him at all times, and was hit by a V8 in Munuki road by the Kuwait housings, and he was a Bari.

Tongun Lo Loyuong: “You are absolutely right Dr. Majok. I don’t even know why I am having a conversation with folks who in all likelihood are the symbols of the oppressive, corrupt and napping regime in the South. Or else, what is so difficult to believe by ‘medical doctors’ about a human life that was tragically snatched away in circumstances that could have been prevented had we have a vigilant government that is not busy in looting, nepotism and squandering the loot? I will continue to dream that one day the young South Sudanese like us will rise to the occasion and steer this country away from the destructive path of ethnic particularism, unashamed nepotism and fanatical corruption that we now see in this country. And just so we are clear, I do not belong to any political party, my party is South Sudan and the poor people who are suffering as a result social myopia practiced by our new rulers, or should I say masters!”

Thuou Loi: “Dear Dr. Majok Malek, many thanks for your valuable advice. I think this is what I should have done right from the very beginning.”

Dr. Daniel Madit Thon Duop: “Dear Drs. Loi and Majok, Well done. Wise people don’t chase ghosts.”

Dr. V.: “Dear all, this shoking story was forwared to me by a friend in Diaspora before being posted by Dr. R. P., to be honest I was worried and the first person I contacted was Dr. M. the SMO of JTH and then Dr. Loi but I cooled down when I learned that they had no clue but this cannot exclude the fact that a Senior medical officer would have been knocked down by a car as the author put it clearly he was told that the deceased was a senior medical doctor /consultant in JTH ( i quote was told ) , so maybe  he was not given the correct info which makes me wonder how someone in his calibre would post second hand information with no concrete evidence and make it public , my advise is to  avoid harsh exchange of words in the forum , I would advise the author and Dr. Loi  to cut this argument short because it’s not of help to anyone in this forum.”

Dr. P. S.: “Dear Dr V., Loi and all who have been following up this story with concern,

I was too loaded with work and paternal duties to have time to sit on my computer and add on the exchanges that took place. I read this story on www. gurtong.net, a site I have lots of respect for considering the records of its founders, its performance, consistency and strive to serve people of quality South Sudan news. Many of our dear colleagues, because of frustrations, ills and what you have there that follow doctors in the underdeveloped  world countries…many have succumbed to the bottle and would have saved if we and  our many underperforming governments especially in Sub-Saharan African had been responsible enough.

“I am so sad that following my forwarding the article, uncalled deviation communications resulted from it. I was moved by the fact that one of our own was reported to have been living a life out of frustration by the implied indulgence in firewater (liquor). I know of my colleagues (medical doctors), age mates, junior and senior who have taken that path; not only that, there was a time where I asked for a log of alcohol detox centers within and without Africa via an email to this and diverse for a because of a close family member. Our senior colleague Dr H. E. was able to share valuable regiments on mail and the SSMJ on the drug regiment in alcohol detox (benzodiazepines being the mainstay).

“I called two Drs in Juba Teaching Hospital as to whether there was a death of one of our colleagues, the answer was in line with What Dr Loi has already said. Considering the fact that the author testified to the death of someone (whether a doctor or not is not really necessary). Considering that every person from a nurse assistant to a consultant is a doctor in South Sudanese Society may also mean that, the person who might have been knocked down may still be affiliated to the medical profession. The problem will only be if the reported writing was not true.

“I have no problems with political articles being forwarded and positively or constructively discussed in this noble forum. Name calling and unnecessary rages is what should be discouraged as we are all a family of concerned South Sudanese and belonging to one professional tribe; Medical Doctors. That should be our noble cause and call. Some time back, we were able to witness our own senior colleagues being appointed to Ministerial Positions within the Country…this is a cause for joy and smiles on our faces for they shall be policy makers and hence transform our poor health picture.

“I conclude that I contest the notion of politics not being a business of doctors; politics has been misunderstood by many of us to be ‘dirty’…to me it is not politics that is dirty but people who are dirty and make politics to look dirty. We look forward to one of own one day to be a uniting and exemplary leader not only in South Sudan but in the United Nations and its reputable Organs from the World Bank to the WHO, UNFPA, UNAIDS.

“I am one of those who was so so happy when President Obama endorsed the American candidate, Jim Yong Kim Korean-American, physician and anthropologist, co-founder of Partners in Health and 17th President of Dartmouth College who was finally elected on 16 April 2012.  Dr Loi, keep up with being involved in such discussions because it is in these that we sharpen our communication skills and diplomatic prowess. We need doctors not only to treat and manage patients but make the World a better place for us, our patients and all that inhabit it.”

Dr. M. L.: “Hi everyone, I think this discussion is very healthy as pointed out by a number of you. So let me add my voice…If I read the story well, there is no time period put as to when this incident happened (correct me if I am wrong). And it is always my believe that there is no smoke without fire. The story sounds a bit like fiction…but most fictions have a base in reality. And by the way I have been in Juba for the last few years or so but never heard of a colleague in JTH who was knocked down by a V8. However, what I heard and know (and indeed I escorted a friend to the funeral) was an elderly medical assistant who was knocked down by a bodaboda (motorcycle) along Bilpam road. He resides in Juba na Bari opposite Munuki Block A (a short distance after the ‘Kuwait’ bridge on the highway to Bilpam) and indeed the bodaboda man escaped and the fellow later died. And his name is Abuna Yosefa, a Kuku by tribe.

“Anyone who is interested can go to his house and consult his relatives about his untimely death…that is if we are talking about the same person.

Stories usually change as they are told by word of mouth from person to person and as Patrick put it, everybody in South Sudan is a doctor…right from witch doctors (politely called traditional doctors) to graduates of medicine…So guys, take it easy…

“However, what I am dying to know is what Dr. Loi would have done in case it truly turned out that an advisor in JTH has been knocked down dead by a V8? The answer to this is very critical incase one day some unfortunate person is knocked down and the culprit escapes…be it a bodaboda or V8. So Dr. Loi, please tell us the way forward in case of any such happenings in the future…. Have a blessed day ladies and gentlemen and please remember, we are discussing this as colleagues and not politicians!”

Thuou Loi: “Dear Dr. P. S., there is no uncalled communications resulted from the article that you forwarded to the forum. The truth is that this fiction caused shock among many colleagues in this forum especially those in Diaspora. I received many calls that same night asking me about the senior doctor who had worked as a consultant for doctors in Juba before he could be knocked down by V8 as indicated in the story. I think this discussion would have been avoided had you investigated the story first before you could post it to the forum. I think Dr. P. you owe this forum an apology for posting fiction story that have created unnecessary shock among colleagues. You are a medical doctor and I am sure you know all the senior consultants in Juba and so it would not have been difficult for you to find out the fact before sending wrong story around. I do write and I am sure you do read my articles. I criticize openly, but not through fiction. I come from a cultural background where people speak their minds openly.”

Dr. P. S.: “Loi, now it  is the Messenger is the messenger’s turn  be crucified?”

Thuou Loi: “Dear Dr. P., if it is mandatory for me to be a messenger, I will not allow myself to be a blind messenger who can just take anything and distribute without knowing the consequences of what is being distributed.”

And finally, E. L.: “Dear Dr Loi and all, I just want add my voice to this conversation that has been swaying from side to side ever since the text of the article was posted on this forum. In fact the silence that you regretted, of not hearing from other members of the forum, could be attributed to many issues among which is to try to dig for the facts first. I doubted the first instance I heard the story because I never knew of any medical doctor from Juba Teaching Hospital having been knocked down by a V8.

“Before I delve into that, let me clarify something as one of the moderators for our forum members who may see the article as a none issue. I think the interest in the story stems from the fact that a medical doctor has died. The circumstances of his death is secondary. We have always been sharing the sharing news, be it sad or merry about our colleagues. In the recent past, we had paid tribute to senior colleague Dr T. M., Dr A. J. and Dr K. K. It is thus befitting our tributes that members of the forum try to seek more information about the deceased doctor. When the story broke the way it did, with interest when little facts are available, it is easy to point fingers and apportion blame when no answers are forth coming. So I did my own digging after to try to reach the bottom of things.

“Like many of you mentioned, no doctor or consultant working in Juba Teaching Hospital has died. After suspecting who the person could be, I passed the story to an in-law of the deceased to confirm that we are talking about the same person. He confirmed to me that the story fits the person we had in mind but the writer did not have the facts right and has added many aspects. To him the center of the writing was not who the deceased doctor was, but rather the state of our country and its health care (which took a greater part of the article). So here is what I found:

“1. A senior doctor was knocked down by a V8 on the Bilpam road just after Seven Days Adventist Compound when he tried to cross the road to go home near the two petrol stations on opposite sides of the road. The driver got away.

“2. The doctor did not work in Juba Teaching Hospital. He studied in Bulgaria a long time ago and worked in Iraq for many years. When he came to South Sudan he worked briefly with ministry of social welfare (More information later)

“3. The deceased doctor had retired recently. Because he did not work in South Sudan as a medical practitioner, he is quite unknown in the medical circles.

“4.The deceased name is Dr. Andrew Nathaniel Gedwin. His house, where the funeral took place is in Hai Kuwait (near El Misir newspaper?).

“My conclusion is that, if we agree he was writing about the same person detailed above, the writer added a lot of unchecked facts about the doctor due to lack of details. I believe the focus of the article was on the  other issues as explain therein. With the little facts contained in the story, we now know where it led us. Was the story about the same person? Who has the truth?”

Tongun Lo Loyuong: “Dear Dr. E. L., thank you for shedding much needed light on the background of the deceased doctor. Yes, this was the same elderly man that I had the honor of having the last words with, before his tragic death. His charge to me to protect him was what moved me to write the article. And you have confirmed that the story was not a fiction as some have shortsightedly and misleadingly purported. As for the facts that you seem to suggest I may have added to the story, but are baseless, I do not know which part of the article are you referring to, which does not cohere with the information you have just provided? In all, however, thank you for providing us with the information we need to put this debate to bed. Dr. Loi must now apologize for his draconian approach in handling this issue.”

Unfortunately, that was where the anecdote ended, without even the courage of issuing an apology by the main instigator, the Loi man. The pertinent point here is that despite hurdles that are thrown your way, if you are a disciple of truth, you will ultimately prevail, because truth ultimately triumphs over falsity and justice over injustice, one way or another. This applies even to those who continue to be subjected to living undignified lives or those whose lives have been unjustly claimed. For me what is important is being humble, lowering expectations and accepting your weakness and limitations even while persevering on living a truthful life, which I believe aids me in overcoming the stress of being a South Sudanese in Diaspora.

Tongun Lo Loyuong is reachable at [email protected]; and can be followed on twitter @TongunLoLoyuong. Numerous other food for thought and intellectual exercise on South Sudan’s issues can be found at: http://tloloyuong.wordpress.com/

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