By: Bol Garang Bol
Australia, April 14, 2014 (SSNA) — While the world watches killings of innocent civilians in South Sudan, the government of South Sudan and the rebels under Dr. Riek Machar were committing silent genocide in South Sudan. In the name of aborted coup since 16, December 2013, many civilians have been and still being murdered under the government watch in Juba, Bor, Malakal, Leer, Fangak and Bentiu. More than 10,000 people according to government statistics have been murdered. Without doubts, the numbers of people murdered are more than the reported figure. They are mostly children, women and vulnerable innocent civilians. The tide has turned for the worse and usually where we would see a number of cases of murders, tortures and brutal killings of especially Dinkas and Nuers people living in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity State.
The numbers have now gone up drastically. Even leaders of not only political parties in South Sudan but of the government itself is guilty of covering up this silent genocide that would even make those that mention the thought of genocide labeled as tribal killing.For the last three months, the South Sudan government has turned the three States, Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity State into large venues for the mass grave. The government instructing its soldiers, security organs to terrorise the civilians in the Greater Upper Nile Region by using extra-judicial killings, rampant rape and detention of thousands. The beginning of terrible conflict which engulfed the country in December, 2013, surprises many of us whether the United Nations, the EU, the US government, all the way up to the White House and the UN National Security Council, are very aware of the situation of South Sudan and the silence genocide committed by government and rebel forces against the civilians in the country. If The US, EU and the UN are aware for the danger the country is heading to, we will take the famous word of Martin L. Kings, which stated clearly that in the end we will not remember the words of our enemies but the silent of our friends.
Those who want to prevent genocide in South Sudan must study carefully the definition of genocide and then analyze what is going on in the country because genocide may be taking place slowly, incrementally and silently without being noticed. The armed killing of targeted groups which is now taking place in South Sudan, carried out by Juba government and rebels is the silence genocide and we must take immediate action. The kind of genocide that takes place silently and incrementally overtime is difficult to detect and much less to condemn.
Let us reassess the simple definition of genocide which has the following five elements:
- Killing members of the group
- Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
- Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
- Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
- Forcibly transferring children of the group to another.
The characteristics of genocide mentioned above proved it that those are similar to what happening in South Sudan which include targeting a particular group on the basis of race, tribe or ethnicity, religion, political or social group. The destruction in whole or in part can be done at once or incrementally (in small amounts at different times) using various means including economic instruments. Deliberate and targeted destruction cannot take place without the involvement of or coordination by government. The crime of genocide can hardly be committed without at least an indirect involvement of a government and it is unlikely that such a government would bring before the court individuals responsible for such crimes. That is why acts of commission or omission of genocide are no longer considered as a matter exclusively within the domestic jurisdiction of the state concerned. Therefore the United Nations has a moral and legal right to intervene to prevent genocide or punish those responsible for it. The United Nations adopted a resolution on the protection or prevents acts of genocide against humanity; therefore, it has reasons to act now.
Since many South Sudanese are not familiar with the way genocide begins, they must take example from Rwanda genocide. The UN, EU and the United States must response to the silent genocidal acts against the people of Greater Upper Nile that have happened incrementally over many months which will result with adverse physical and mental impact. The silent genocide against Greater Upper Nile Region committed by South Sudan government and the rebels under the command of Dr. Riek Machar has gone too far as expected. The government is committing silent genocide in the name of fighting rebels. With most of the people viewing the cases not part of the actual genocide, whose justice was it really? I wondered about many host families, and the kids suffering at refugee camps in Uganda without knowing the cause of their suffering. Does locking perpetrators up behind bars in these faraway camps actually mean anything to them? Does it give them closure or any sort of benefit? Maybe in the long term, why do we allow our future generation suffering by subjecting them to hardships? Arresting Hon. Pagan Amum, Dr. Majak Agoot, Gen. Oyai Deng and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth in Juba will not ultimately benefit people in Uganda camps and Kenya camps as well. The children suffering in Uganda, will they be able to come to terms with being orphans simply because their men who organised the massacre killing their parents are in jail? What justice is served for every child who lost a parent, every family who lost years of life and education in a refugee camp, and every generation of lost children?
It is really difficult to see something you know needs to be resolved and want to help out so badly but feel like there is no solution. Such a feeling of uncertainty has almost driven me away many times. I remember thinking how easy it would be to pursue a lifestyle that ignores all of this inequity. I have a privilege to do that but how could I live with that when I know that not everyone is in a situation to do that, and that because of our interconnectedness I would somehow be benefiting from others’ pain. Many people choose to take this life of privilege without looking back, especially South Sudan leaders. It is so easy to do, and this is where greed comes in, this is where genocide and violence happens – in forgetting the other, in thinking only of oneself, of one’s own survival. But what would the world be like without the other? Don’t we all shape each other? Aren’t we all apart of each other? To me, justice is denying the option of turning the other way, acknowledging our own personal involvement in every situation, and working to end the negative ramifications of our individual action in South Sudan.
The UN estimated that around 62,000, both Dinkas and Nuers sought refuge in UNIMISS centers within, Bor, Malakal and Bentiu. There is a massive blackout on crime statistics, and all statistics which are released are fraudulently altered by the SPLM government. The government of South Sudan came with the Uganda military which have mentality of defeating, dispossessing and exploiting the native populations who had lived in relative peace. The civil population in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity State was crushed by SPLA with supports of Uganda Defense Force (UDF) who had brought with them third generation weapons. The post-independence politics in South Sudan that divided people into Dinka, Nuer and Equatorial was used by individual’s politicians to make the two groups of Dinka and Nuer fight each other to achieve their political gain.. These government engineered atrocities had tremendous negative psychological impact on both Dinka of Greater Upper Nile and Nuer in the same region. The situation in the country under the SPLM government led by Kiir Mayardit at the national and States levels has worsened day by day. The conditions for the people of Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity State have deteriorated very fast due to the action of the military.
To sum up, the combination of these silent and incremental activities affecting the three States fit the first four points included in the definition of genocide as recorded above. Those who threaten that raising these issues with possible genocidal implications will not be tolerated because it is unpatriotic and designed to incite the public to commit genocide. I call on the United Nations to examine what is happening in the South Sudan to make sure that what has happened in Rwanda in 1994 does not happen to anyone else or if it is already happening silently it is stamped out without delay.
Bol Garang Bol is a South Sudanese living in Australia. He can be reached at [email protected].