By Dr. Bior K. Bior, PhD
April 27, 2015 (SSNA) — We South Sudanese, like any other people in the world, have no special divine powers to undo the past. That we aren’t able edit the shameful events with which our nascent history is riddled shouldn’t deter us from learning from the bitter experiences of those events. In a sense, we can only use the past to guide how we mold our future. We therefore must be cognizant of how we record the past, lest we may construct our future wrongly.
The raging catastrophe in our country has brought about unfathomable degree of suffering among our innocent civil population. At the onset of the conflict, the ruthlessness with which different armed actors handled themselves has left this nation permanently scarred. In Juba, many organizations, both domestic and international, have gone on records decrying the apparent targeting of civilians of Nuer ethnic origin. These killing, if they actually took place as reported, were unnecessary; they have betrayed the trust that our citizens have bestowed on their security forces. It will take a while to rebuild this trust.
The reports are conflicting on the actual number of people killed, but as far as the criminality of the act is concerned, the accuracy in numbers is immaterial. Even if five Nuers were targeted for simply being Nuers in Juba, it is still a crime punishable to the fullest extent of the law. If it turns out that the Nuers were actually targeted in Juba, then the government will have to satisfy the citizens as to why such an act was ever justifiable, even under the distress of war.
However, two wrongs don’t make a right. From the rebels’ camp, a moronic theory has been advanced since the commencement of this conflict. Instead of condemning the tribally-motivated targeting of Jieng in the rebels controlled towns and territories, the rebels’ various spokespersons have always steadfastly held on to the idea that the killings that took place in Bor, Malakal, and Bentiu were excusable on the ground of vengeance. This theory holds that the Nuer fighters who targeted the Jieng in those towns were acting on cheer vengeance, and that there was nothing planned and coordinated.
This rectum-derived jungle edict is tastelessly medieval, and if the rebels’ administration is serious about being considered as a legitimate political group in this country, they must stop being schizophrenic in their views. They need to be straight up with the people of South Sudan on why they unleashed such a terrible mayhem on their unsuspecting fellow citizens. It is vexingly hypocritical to decry the murder of a certain type of South Sudanese while actively trying to downplay, or outright deny, the murder of the other. If the rebels are interested in justice, as it is abundantly claimed in many of their emotional speeches, then they must first and foremost admit and condemn the barbarous murder of South Sudanese citizens in Bor, Malakal, and Bentiu. They must also be seen actively trying to bring to book those who were engaged in such malicious undertakings instead of doing what Comrade Mabior De Garang is trying to do, which smacks of lunacy, outright schizophrenia, and silly scapegoating.
In many of his random social media tirades against his perceived oppressor, Mabior De Garang, the official spokesman of Riek’s Machar’s tribal outfit, the SPLM-IO, comes out as someone who is an outright schizophrenic, as evidenced by his weird ability to hold two contradictory theories in his head to explain the same phenomena.
Mr. Mabior’s head is evenly split as follow: One head part of his head tells him that the civilians who were killed in Bor Town and in the surrounding villages were killed by the indiscriminate bombing of the Ugandan people’s Defense Force (UPDF) bombers. Without any attempt to examine the absurdity of this claim, Mr. Mabior holds it in his head like an article faith, and his boss, Dr. Riek Machar, whose lunacy is probably matched by Mabior’s, is okay with it. The disciple has spoken the truth.
When subjected to evidential scrutiny, this theory falls flat on its face. It turns out that none of the victims killed in Bor was killed by a bomb. A detailed repudiation of this moronic claim can be found in one of my social media postings, which attempts to address this very issue. This piece is quoted in its entirety here:
“Is Mabior De Garang becoming an insensitive freak or what? According to Mabior De Garang, the people who were killed in Bor during the commencement of the raging crisis were killed by the UPDF’s bombers. This is one of the absurd claims that the rebels have been spewing out in the media. Mabior must know that he is the master of his own destiny. He has all the right to side with any politician he feels more attached to ideologically. However, he doesn’t have the right to lie.
FACTS: After the chaotic showdown in Juba between the coup plotters and the government, the first victims to be slain in Bor Town simply because they were Jieng were two Aruei brothers from Kongo’or. Apparently, their house was located in a suburb of Bor Town called “Chi-Nuer-ben.” On the night of Dec. 16th, 2013, their neighbors came to their house and sliced them to pieces with machetes. That was not UPDF’s plane doing that, and yet Mabior De Garang wants the world to blame the death of those innocent boys on the UPDF bombing in Bor Town.
The patients who were killed in the hospital in Bor were shot at a close range, as shown by the bullet exit wounds on their bodies. They weren’t blown to bits by shrapnel. In the Church in Leudier, the elderly churchgoers who were raped and killed showed signs of strangulation. The house where they were found was intact; no bomb had fallen on it.
The other victims who were found dead in their homes were also shot in various places. Some were shot while either attempting to flee, or were caught and shot execution style. The sizes of the wounds as examined before the mass burial indicated that small caliber guns, specifically AK47, were used to commit those murders.
At the Royal Garden School, 35 street children, between the ages of 12-18 were killed in the school compound. These kids thought that the conflict didn’t concern them so they stayed behind in town until the White Army came and killed them. They were not killed by a bomb. Their bodies were littered with bullet wounds. Their attackers killed them in rage.
What about the elderly women and men who were hunted down in Mareng Village, Anyidi Payam? Were they also killed by the UPDF’s bombers? No, they were caught and executed. Their bodies were left in the sweltering sun, without any decent burials. They were mothers and fathers to some people. They didn’t deserve to be killed humiliatingly.
The retreating Riek’s forces from Juba also killed civilians indiscriminatingly along Bor-Juba road, especially in places like Malaual Agorbaar, Pariak, Panwel, Kolnyang, Panpandiar, and Malual-chaat. These victims were also shot, or knifed. Some small children were dismembered and thrown to the birds.
We also have to recall that while all these killings were taking place, Nyandeng De Mabior, Mabior’s own mother, was being secretly recorded by the national security operatives warning “her” people to leave Bor Town because “things weren’t going to be good there” since Wen De Adit was coming back. Who was Wen De Adit? Does Wen De Adit fly the UPDF bombers? These recordings are present in the social media for anybody who cares to listen. It is useless molding excuses now. There will come a time when people will answer for their crimes.
Mabior’s unjustifiable tirades against the Jieng Council of Elders (JCEs) also need to be addressed. He must understand that the Jieng Council of Elders is merely an entity that is comprised of innocent and concerned statesmen, just like Mabior, who are expressing their views about the current affairs in the country. If Mabior and his mother are entitled to their political opinions, even when they are out inciting mass violence, why are these people, the members of the council, not entitled to the same democratic right? Has Garang’s family been elected to represent anybody in the Republic of South Sudan? Hypocrisy of this nature is infuriating, to say the least.
One just has to be sorry for this boy who has never amounted to anything in his life. Somehow, he erroneously believes that the fact that he is merely marinating in his father’s juice has made him a big shot. This is absurd. If Dr. Garang amounted to anything, it was because he was an accomplished person in his own right. This loon, however, is a miserable failure; he is a disgrace to Garang the person. If he thinks that Riek is his ticket to the political stardom in this country, then he will have a rude awakening if this dream will materialize. Akuot Atem once tried this, but it ended horrifically for him. He was killed humiliatingly by the very same people that Mabior is seen hanging around with.”
On the other hand, Mabior’s other head tells him that the civilians in Bor were killed by the White Army (WA) as a revenge for the killing of their relatives in Juba (The alleged Juba Massacre, which has successfully served as the rebels recruitment tool in the Nuer villages is again being invoked here). The problem with this theory, however, is that vengeance is never a strong defense for one’s crime, and also, two wrongs don’t make a right. If the rebels’ leadership believes this, and has gone on records doing so, how then are they different from the people they are accusing of pursuing anger? If they believe it is okay to target people based on their ethnicity as a way of releasing one’s anger, why then are they demonizing the “Gelbeny” for allegedly doing exactly that? Is the rebels’ leadership really serious about having this issue both ways?
The best thing to do, and this is the only way that this country can really transcend the tragic events that have transpired, is to condemn all the wrongs that have been committed during this conflict, and ask the concerned authorities to be straight up with the people of South Sudan first by apologizing, and second by taking the responsibility for their actions. Finger pointing will only beget more finger pointing, and in the end, we may end up scoring an own goal. The peace talks are being bogged down by the unnecessary demands such as “Kiir Must Step Down” for having killed the Nuers in Juba. This is leading us nowhere because using the same logic, those whose relatives were killed by the rebels may demand the same of Riek Machar, and by extension, the entire rebels’ leadership. All this is self-defeating because by doing so, we don’t move an aorta toward any peaceful conclusion of this conflict. We must be courageous enough to let go of the hurts generated by this conflict, however severe those hurts are, so that we could forge a common alliance of progress toward our manifest destiny———-A united, strong and prosperous South Sudan.
Disclaimer: Dr. Bior Kwer Bior is a South Sudanese national who resides in Juba, Republic of South Sudan. Dr. Bior is the Acting Director General (Ag. /DG) for the National Public Health Laboratory and National Blood Transfusion Services Center (NPHL-NBTSC) in the Government of the Republic of South Sudan. The views expressed in this essay are solely author’s, without any contribution from his employer or the institution that he manages. Dr. Bior can be reached at: [email protected].