“America will never be destroyed from outside. If we falter and lose our freedom, it will be because we destroyed ourselves alone”_ Abraham Lincoln.
April 5, 2014 (SSNA) — Just like it happens in the institution of marriage, death can also do nations apart. The so known as citizenry (not the geophysical unit) is the human entity we call “Nation”. Being mortal as they are, nations are born and die .South Sudan was born on July 9, 2011 and can die any time sooner or later if the founding ideals that gave it life in the first place are not meticulously nurtured and safeguarded. In another word, life span of a nation is solely dependent on competence or sobriety of the political leadership entrusted with its endowments and security. Comrade Edward Lino in his recent article entitled: “A Look at Ourselves the Way We Know Not” made the following delicate observation to depict the ongoing crisis in the country: “So sad did we learn even nations could be lost when we encountered the wise closing their eyes not to witness endowments swishing to a direction through which they fear things might disappear”. True, even the independent and sovereign nation can be lost.
Of late, Kiir and the company have been vocally citing the sovereignty as the sole power of state to shield tyranny but that is old school of diplomacy. Sovereignty is a possession of the people. Hence, you can not use it to kill the people and still claim that the nation is still a live. Like the humanity itself, sovereignty is vulnerable and mortal. The anal of world history is littered with several nations and empires that once lived but died and are still dead. The former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Tibet, Catalonia and Kurdistan are in that inexhaustible list of dead nations. It is called demise of sovereignty in the language of the international law. Our African continent is full of nations in their deathbeds at the time of this writing. Somalia, South Sudan, Libya and Central African Republic are currently in critical care units, if you will. According to the recent failed state index, South Sudan is one of the four most dangerously unstable countries in the world today and the December 15, 2013 tragedy proved that valid.
Having reached the point of no return in the decay of political militarism within the liberation movement turned- ruling party,( SPLM/A), South Sudan was plunged into a comatose by its own political leadership on December 15, 2013. The rest is history. All we have come to know is that dreams and hopes of so many millions who have invested so much in the leadership of the said liberation movement were dashed to ashes when the hell broke loose leading to a genocidal death qualitatively akin to that of Rwanda. It was an organized savagery in which the so called democratically elected President resurrected the ghosts of ancient inter- tribal feuds buried for years with a vengeance that turned the nation into a society of murderers. Neighbors killed their neighbors and soldiers in the army lynched their comrades in arms. Under the jungle state of emergency declared by the President, hailing from Dr. Riek Machar’s ethnic group became a death sentence without due process . Those who share racial features and tribal marks with that ethnic group equally paid dearly. The President who kept reminding the nation of 1991 inter-communal violence directly commanded his Dootkubeny tribal militia from the presidential palace to commit genocide, military vandalism, heinous war crimes and crimes against humanity in the name of fighting a fabricated coup. That operation of shame directly commanded by the Commander in Chief, sidelined the National Security and the Army dismantling the very core foundation of our historical national liberation army(SPLA).
To many of our people, that was a crude treachery to our liberation heroes and heroines who died together to bring us the freedom we lost on December 15, 2013. Our martyrs under the heroic leadership of Dr. John Garang De Mabior must have been rolling in their graves to see the surviving leadership of the revolution shamelessly allowing their sacrifice of blood and treasure to go in vain. Even more agonizing is the plight of those who returned home limbless with lives shattered from physical and mental wounds of war. I particularly feel for those who are physically confined to wheel chairs because of the struggle, war widows, war orphans and majority of our people condemned to illiteracy by the war of liberation and that failed leadership in Juba. Thus, I had to write this piece to mourn the eminent death of my nation, a nation I voted with my feet to liberate at tender age and defended with my pen at this age from overt and accelerated destruction. With this, I sadly acknowledge that the darker forces stronger than many of us have overcome concerted efforts by millions of patriotic South Sudanese to maintain the fabric of our hard- won republic. That is what I hinted in an article entitled: The Republic as a Responsibility stressing the vitality of collective responsibility to keep it a live and healthy which is remote and hopeless as things stand now.
Evidently, Kiir Kuethpiny Mayardit and the coterie at the helm do not want to read the writings on the wall that like all nations that died violent deaths, South Sudan can be relegated to the dustbin of world history at any time now in their bloody hands. One is well aware that talking about the death of the nation we all gave live and love is psychologically unacceptable but it must come home to all of us that death is doing us a part. Experiences and experiments else where like in Rwanda and Yugoslavia have proven that the premeditated death known as genocide inflicts deep scars on the collective psyche of the nation. Genocide breaks the socio-cultural fabric of the society in question. It is a violent social earth quick that shakes the very core and threads of nation’s existence (trust and confidence). I have always held the opinion that South Sudan is trust. Once that is broken, the nation ceases to exist and that is what genocide has done in South Sudan. Genocide breeds deep-seeded mutual mistrust, victim mentality and collective denial of the death itself. The criminal psychology of genocide is a vicious cycle of self-destruction that endures and rages to kill the nation in question at the end of the scores.
Genocide traumatized nations like South Sudan do not stand to honestly face the filth and the ugly face of genocide. They rather tend to live under perpetual denial and collective defense mechanism that does not help the cause of both the victims and offenders. That is why even well documented crimes like Holocaust in Nazi Germany and the genocide in Armenia are still denied by some racist bigots. I have been reading some writers from the government fraternity defending the genocidal death by equating the genocide in Juba with the revenge killings that ensued afterword. True, as Comrade Morris Yoll asserted, “the death of all, whether in Juba or any other parts of south Sudan is death that must be condemned”. However, what is deliberately kept under the carpet is the cold truth that those deaths were caused by that premeditated deaths (genocide) ordered by the President of the Republic in Juba. Hence, the logic of cause and effects has it that the criminal responsibility of all those deaths still weighs heavier on the President of the Republic who planned and executed that barbaric campaign of death and mass-killing. All the other deaths were collateral damages that are difficult to control even under the simple law of physics.
We can read this article and other relevant literature on nation’s death and state failure but it will do little justice without asking the following questions: what kills nations and what is the common cause of nations’ death?. Well, empirical researches in this field have arrived at a scientific conclusion that all the collapsed and failed states in Africa and beyond were ruined by coconut-head despots like Kiir Kuethpiny Mayardiit of South Sudan. The Despots first kill the state and the state failure leads to the death of the nation. Despots are nearsighted creatures who see things only through the spectacles of power games and brute force to cling to morally bankrupt political power. The despots and their vampire sycophants don’t care even if the country collapses over them as long as their pond is secure. The despotic regime as we have seen in South Sudan will eventually self-destruct from within largely owing to internal-contradictions and divisions but it can eventually take down the nation to the grave with it at the time when no body can save its last breathe.
As analyzed afore, under Kiir, death is doing us a part. The man is good for nothing but cold blood killing and military vandalism using foreign mercenaries to set his own town like Leer, Bentiu and Malakal on fire. One South Sudanese politician who worked with Kiir since the liberation period described him as a typical village tyrant. I would rather describe him as Idi Amin of South Sudan. In my book, mediocrity, sloth, godlessness, cowardice, using the law selectively or ignoring it, hopeless corruption and ruthless inter-tribal violence will define the new country under Kiir Mayardit. In South Sudan today, the government has morally lost the reason for its existence as it becomes a source of insecurity for the populace. General Salva Kiir has subjected the nation to a police state and red terror in Stalin’s fashion. Fear and violent death lurks on every nook and fissure of our social firmament. Development has gone with the winds. Hunger, ignorance, poverty and disease are presently ravaging the land, while the government bulks feebly before it, incapable of arresting its rampaging onslaught on its subjects. One ethnic group in the country is lumped together as coup plotters or fifth columnists and left only with the choices to die in cold blood, wage a war of survival or take refuge in UNIMISS camp where future is never certain. In this political thuggery, the president has murdered over 20,000 of his voters mobilized by none other than his Running Mate and the Deputy he plotted to murder on December 15, 2013 but still claims legitimacy by virtue of being elected in the year 2010 and mandated in the year 2011 to continue up to the year 2015. This defies logic and common sense if common sense is ever common. That is why we are adman that Kiir Kuethpiny Mayardit must leaf us a lone if we are to avoid the eminent death of our nation. Otherwise, our destiny is one like conjoined twins. Only death will do as a part. That is why we must all work hard to avoid this collective death. As we seek peace and reconciliation, let’s meet each other halfway, understand, compromise, tolerate, love, share, listen, recognize, accept, support and ultimately reconcile without Kiir. Should that fail to settle well with all of us, then what rises from the ashes is a country that few of us will recognize, like, or learn to accept submissively and that is what I call the death of the nascent nation.
Stephen Par Kuol is a former Deputy Ambassador of the Sudan to the United Republic of Tanzania and the former State Minister of Education in the Government of Jonglei State. He is also a researcher and freelance writer on academic topics pertinent to Human Right and Post-conflict Criminal Justice Administration.