By Dhuor Reath Badeng
December 30, 2014 (SSNA) — As our Nation completes the one-year anniversary of the Dec. 15 of Gelweng attacks on the Nuer, let me join my other Nuer fellow as we pause and reflect upon the horrors of that day and its aftermath.While commemorating the event two weeks ago, the Nuer pondered and condemned the aftermath of the attack on their community—and indeed on the larger communities of South Sudan that became victims of Salva Kiir’s endeavor to protect his reign in power.
The Nuer were shocked, saddened and outraged at the vicious annihilation carried out on their own relatives—and they did not hesitate to voice their unequivocal condemnation. In fact, youths and leaders were among the first to react in an organized fashion to condemn the indiscriminate attacks on that very same day. Long before it became clear that individuals calling themselves “benykudot” were involved in the attacks, on Dec. ,16 and 17 messages soared on social media “We condemn in the strongest terms possible what are apparently vicious and cowardly acts of massacre against innocent civilians.” No cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts that were subjected on the Nuer.
Following the initial hours of shock, grief, and anger—when it became apparent that the suspects in the heinous killing of Nuer were trained militia of the Dinka tribe (predominantly from Aweil and Warap)—the Nuer fearless General Peter Gadet responded with a vicious backlash and captured Bor.
For many South Sudanese, the tragedy that befell our nation was doubly painful. First, many of us watched in stunned horror as the government spread fake information about a failed coup attempt by Dr. machar as a cover up to the ongoing slaughtering of the Nuer while the Gelweng continued to carry out killing of Nuer civilian through door-door search for the rest of the entire week. The Lou-Nuer white army upon learning that this was not a coup as claimed , but rather a ploy by Kiir’s government to get rid of the Nuer ethnic group, became very angry and together with Peter Gadet occupied Bor and even proceeded to areas around Juba in an attempt to save their love ones. This anger did not only fill the Lou-Nuer. The Jikany-Nuer, bentiu-Nuer also reacted equally and captured Bentiu and Malakal respectively causing panic to Kiir. “Thank to the UPDF”…those should be the words of Kiir, for had it not been the UPDF’s aerial intervention, Kiir would be no more by now. Most Nuer outside South Sudan by the time who love their people and just as much as everybody else, were equally traumatized after hearing the devilish act of Kiir and cohorts on their community. This overwhelming support was heartwarming and reassuring to community members that were in trouble.
Acts of Kindness and Compassion
While many Dinka showed hate and took advantage of the president’s coup narrative to settle old scores against the Nuer and others who resembled them (including the Dinka from Rumbek, Duk and Pigi who have marks like the Nuer), there were also countless acts of compassion, tolerance and friendship. Though many of these acts of compassion and tolerance were not officially demonstrated for fear of being victimized, their immeasurable value in saving the lives of the few that they met cannot be underestimated. These acts truly demonstrated the South Sudanese spirit of brotherhood of which some exiled SPLM members were victimized for. Neighbors volunteered to escort women to the grocery store, others offered their houses as a hide-out for Nuer from the acts of vandalism and arson that were ongoing.
Betrayal and Bribery
Its very unfortunate that after the disastrous actions of Kiir and cohorts on our civilians, some of our renown politicians instead of condemning the awful execution of innocent civilians, came out so proud and loud to deny that no ethnic killing was carried out by the government. Marial and Nyadak’s own constituency was bombed by Ugandan jet and none dared condemn such atrocity. As if that wasn’t enough, Nyadak came to Nairobi in an attempt to mobilize youths to rally behind the government and support her denial of any killing. For God never leave any person who offend an innocent person, Nyadak;s denial of Nuer killing was rewarded by the unfortunate premature delivery of her triplets(may their souls rest in peace). In another development, a group of Nuer politician was also sent to Kampala with the same agenda of mobilizing the youths to support the idea that there was no ethnic targeting and what happened was a failed coup by Riek Machar. The Nuer youths in Uganda unlike the youths in Kenya are people who do not entertain nonsense. This group was not allowed to sit in the meeting hall that they paid for. All they had to do was begged for their safe passage out of the hall. All these explain why we should always be careful in voting in some politician to public positions. Had an angel spoken to each one of us in our various constituents before the 2010 elections, some of these betrayers would be rubbing shoulders with some of us by now. Either in condemnation or support of what the government has done as mere citizens. All the same and as Nicole Richie once put it; “ its hard to tell who has your back, from who has it long enough just to stab you at the back”. These politicians have had our trust for so long and only to betray us at a time they should fight for us.
Looking Forward: Challenge and Resolution for Next Year
Indeed, the past year has been a most difficult one for the Nuer . In addition to the various setbacks detailed above, there have been countless challenges that are still facing the Nuer in the west, East Africa, Other African countries and most specially the IDPs in South Sudan. Just two weeks ago the IDPs were denied access to the local markets in Juba. This was intentionally planned in an attempt to starve them and maybe decide to surrender themselves to the government (God forbids!).
My fellow Nuer and other South Sudanese well wisher, as we mark this first anniversary of the indiscriminate killing of our own relatives, I personally ask for Unity among ourselves. Let the self interest group go on with their plan and let’s not be shaken and taken in by their lures.
I wish all of us a prosperous New Year 2015 and let it be our prayer that a sustainable PEACE is signed so that our relatives in the IDPs camps can get safe passage to their respective counties.
The Author, Dhuor Reath Badeng, is a Lou Youth residing in Uganda. He can be reached through [email protected]