January 25, 2014 (SSNA) — “The world has a moral obligation to see to it that Benny Salva Kiir is indicted for crimes against humanity,” Luk Dak and Daniel Abushery wrote in their recent article,Indict Mr. Salva Kiir Mayardit, published on South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) website.I wished they’d add Riek Machar next to President Kiir.
What worries me the most in regard to the current crisis in South Sudan isn’t the slaughter of innocent civilians in all corners of South Sudan. Indeed, my main worry is what this tragedy has done to people of good intellect and conscience; people who could stop such massacres in the future.
I’ve seen people I greatly admired lose their cool and reduce themselves to itsy bitsy of tribal demagogues or even careless firebrands. This means that another tragedy is most likely to happen in the future given the mindlessness of our intelligentsia, young intellectuals and the would-be leadership of South Sudan.
I read that tribally charged article (SSNA- January 24, 2014) written by the above mentioned individuals and I couldn’t believe what I was reading. These two individuals are some of the finest writers in South Sudan. Unfortunately, the current tragedy has reduced them to tribonationalists of their former nationalist selves.
I’m responding because I respect these two writers enormously. Their role should be to devise ways in which we can make trust-building possible instead of being short-sighted and divisive.
One can understand their level of anger and emotive suffocation they are experiencing given the massacre of innocent Nuer civilians in Juba between December 15 and December 18. There’s so much for them to be angry for and to call for president Kiir to be indicted for war crimes. No right-minded South Sudanese wouldn’t condemn the deaths of innocent Nuer civilians in Juba. I’ve written extensively about it on different South Sudanese news sites and on social media front.
Hear it from me again! The massacre of Nuer civilians in Juba is an undeniable fact!
However, I have to note something here because our future depends on it: the danger of hypocrisy. There is truly a need to bring ALL perpetrators of the massacres to account. However, there’s also a need to be truthful in what we write and say. There’s so much hypocrisy going around. I didn’t expect this level of hypocrisy from the likes of Luk Dak.
I get it, there are mindless Jiëëng people, who only talk about the massacres of their Jiëëng people and deny the Juba Massacre of Nuer civilians. I’ve condemned this tribonationalist attitude several times. And this is the same unfortunate, myopic attitude Luk and Daniel are encouraging!
What’s happening in South Sudan isn’t an apocalypse. It’s a national tragedy that’ll come to pass. Why are we behaving like this is the end of the world? How about tomorrow? Do tragedies kill our intellective and logical selves? To encourage Nuer Tribonationalism is to disrespect the massacred Nuer in Juba!
Why couldn’t Luk and Daniel acknowledge all the massacres committed in South Sudan? Why this level of hypocrisy from distinguished South Sudanese writers? Why are they exploiting this unfortunate issue instead of prescribing methods that can help us live in peace and harmony? Who’s going to hold South Sudan together if thinkers and intellectuals withdraw into their tribal shells?
“What we really need at this juncture is for all of the Nuer people to move back to our homeland. We don’t need to be in Equatorian’s land, or the Dink land for that matter. We have enough land and resources of our own. So let’s go back to Akobo, to Bantiu, to Fangak, and to Nasir, knowing that this nightmare will somehow come to an end,” Luk and Daniel wrote.
This is certainly simple-minded and dangerously ignorant. Is this the South Sudan these esteemed South Sudanese want?
How about other suffering South Sudanese?
Are Luk and Daniel blind in regard to the massacres of Jiëëng people in Akobo, Bentiu and the town of Bor? Are Luk and Daniel insensitive to the women killed in the church in the town of Bor, the rape and the killing of the sick and elderly in the hospital in Bor? Are Luk and Daniel blind to the utter destruction in Bor and the Nuer tribonationalists writings on the building walls in the town of Bor?
Disregarding the suffering of others is antithetical to any call for peace! Do these gentlemen know that?
I’ve lost relatives in this tragedy including an aunt who was killed with the women in the church. The people of my county, the Twi County of Jonglei have suffered severely from Lou Nuer and Gaweer raids and massacres. However, as a person with a national duty, I still believe we have to remain objective and stick to the facts that can help bridge the divide. 1991 Riek’s and Lam’s defection destroyed my home area but no one was held accountable. We still forgave one another and moved on.
We can speak for our people, I understand; however, we shouldn’t turn a blind eye on the suffering of others. The two gentlemen didn’t send a message of condolence to all the dead civilians and acknowledge the displaced residents of the town of Bor and the Bor County generally. Is that the call for peace?
I do believe Kiir as the president needs to answer adequately for the deaths of Nuer in Juba. However, it’s too simplistic and erroneous to say that Kiir ordered the massacres of Nuer in Juba. Daniel and Luk are smart enough to know that. It’s no doubt President Kiir hates Riek Machar with passion, however, to say that President Kiir hates Nuer people and that he wanted to wipe them out is a mindless sensationalism and hate-mongering that should have no place in South Sudan.
Kiir is a weak and incompetent leader. We know that. Kiir has, inadvertently, allowed Nuer to be butchered under his watch. But that gives no one of us any reason to be blind to the suffering of others and fuel more hatred and bloodshed.
“Don’t get us wrong, we are not war mongers, instigators for revenge or for continuation of this horror; we are peace loving people asking those who are still serving under a tyrant and thuggery regime to quit before it’s too late,” the two gentlemen wrote.
Seriously! This is where I lose hope in South Sudan. Everything in the article is about Nuer suffering and how Nuer in the government should quit and how Nuer should retreat to their homeland…blah blah…! Does that sound like a call for peace and togetherness? Can Daniel and Luk mention to me one sentence in the article that honestly negates their tribonationalist myopia and divisiveness?
Why do we blame President Kiir if this is the best our intellectuals can do? Given the fact that they’ve intentionally ignored the suffering of Jiëëng and focus on the massacre of Nuer, wouldn’t they do to Jiëëng civilians what Kiir’s forces did to Nuer if they were in position of authority? How are the two gentlemen different from other mindless warmongers and tribalists?
And to add insult to injury, and to really prove that they are calling for more blood-bath, the two writers didn’t mention a single condemnation of Riek Machar and the atrocities committed by ‘white army’ in the article.
So the gentlemen think that killing of women in the church, the killing and rape of the sick and elderly in the hospital in the town of Bor shouldn’t be condemned because the victims are not Nuer? Who’s to be held accountable in the gentlemen’s opinion? Kiir?
Shouldn’t Riek Machar as the leader of rebellion be held accountable? Of course they are Nuer triboationalists and only the suffering of Nuer makes sense to them? Were the two gentlemen like this all along or was this tragedy too strong for them to remain logical and nationalist?
I know Riek Machar didn’t start this tragedy. He was forced into it given the facts we know. However, he supported a rebellion that caused senseless deaths, suffering and destruction. This same suffering happened in 1991 and no one was held accountable. It happened again in 2013/14. And the two gentlemen are silent on it.
I’m deeply worried about South Sudan. I agree President Kiir MUST GO, but not through the barrel of the gun, gentlemen!
Kuir ë Garang is an author of seven books including “South Sudan Ideologically” and “Is ‘Black’ Really Beautiful?” For contacts see Twitter: @kuirthiy or his blog, www.kuirthiy.info.