By Dak Buoth
May 24, 2020 (RB), I felt that a week cannot pass without me uttering a word on this sensitive matter of life and death of our people. On a matter of this magnitude, silence is not recommendable largely because it works in favor of the wrongdoers who are behind the attackers of the Lou Nuer one week ago.
In any case, silence motivates the wrongdoers to act again. When people maintain silence, they may think their horrible action was mild, and thus they could strike harder again. Whereas speaking out scare the wrongdoers for it exposes them to the wrath of the good people in Society.
I fondly remember in our school days, silence means acceptance. When a teacher brings an issue to the fore and pupils keep quiet, they will be deemed to have accepted it and then the teacher moves on. In light of this, I cannot remain mum in the wake of this brutality simply because if this happen to me next time, I would expect the survivors of this heinous act to speak for me.
Today, none of us is safe in South Sudan, and so one should talk like he is going to die the next day morning.
This path of silence that we have taken as South Sudanese is contributing to the loss of so many lives. We owe each other a duty of care to speak for one another every now and then. Speaking out is a fundamental right provided for in the United Nations Human Rights Charter. I can also paraphrase the Bible in the book of John verse 1, that words were there before creation. Hence, unless or until our freedom of expression is limited by law in a fair process we should always communicate our thoughts and feelings on the daily happenings in our Society.
For those of us we have been disposed by the state, we feel that the only remaining power at our disposal is the power and obligation to talk. And they will take it away over our dead bodies.
The act of speaking for one another will makes us becomes friendly although we are living in unfriendly country.
Without much ado, I must say I don’t condone the act of killing not only in South Sudan or in the Lou Nuer but the world over.
I condemn any act of killing. As humans, we should make it our responsibility to better the lives of our fellow human beings. Life can be made better in many ways. One, it should be protected from anything that endangers it. Secondly, life should be nurture and develop so that we can realize our full potential as human beings. We must therefore learn to denounced any act that makes our live uncomfortable.
What was done to the innocent lou Nuer put all of us in pain. We are bleeding internally, and we must do something about it, so that other people cannot face the same experience of pain and lost in South Sudan.
On 18th May, 2020, Lou Nuer areas were attacked by armed groups coming from the direction of the neighboring Pibor region inhabited by the Murle tribe. In the report made by Radio Tamazuj days after this attack, about 242 civilians were killed and 370 are wounded. The two hundred and forty two (242) is not just a number. If you mention this figure in our mother tongues you will hear and feel that it is huge number.
The war launched by the Murle is not a different war. It an extension of President Salva Kiir’s war which we are trying to end through the Addis Ababa Peace Accord signed on 12th September 2018. If You heard the President through his envoy to Greater Pibor Administrative Area, Mr Akot Lual, you would know that he is still on the warpath. Unashamedly, the latter said in an interview that his main objective, which is the objective of President kiir is to protect the minority tribes in South Sudan. This is nonsensical to me.
The question is: When did the president start protecting the minority tribes while smaller tribes in western Bahr El ghazal are being assimilated by forced and those who resist are eliminated?
In addition, the smaller tribes in Bahr El Ghazal are not in Peace at the moment, and everyone in South Sudan knows about this. The Smaller tribes in Equatoria region are consistently complaining of their arable land being taken away or occupied by his nomad majority Dinka tribe. Why is President Kiir saying he is protecting the rogue minority Murle from small Section of Lou Nuer?
On this question, I am not seeking answers from the President and company. We are going to find answers on our own.
LATE GENERAL GONY BILIU
Thoan Teny once said in Nuer dialect, ‘‘Wech mi cha thuok laathin liade chethuok, which means in English, in a country where the truth is not said killings never stop. A few days after the attack, President’s Press Secretary Ateny Wek said without slightest feeling of shame that the attack in Lou Nuer is an act of revenge by Murle. So the government is revenging through the Murle. But what are they revenging? I know President Kiir, and by extension the government is very bitter with the Lou Nuer for one reason or another. The president is bitter with the Lou Nuer for rejecting his puppets who sold their souls to him. President Kiir is revenging the act of the Lou Nuer who unanimously rejected the body of his dead ally, Late General Gony Biliu to be buried in Lou Nuer land commonly known as Munloal or the holy land. This is the main reason behind the attack. Any busy body who is denying this assertion should tell us what the government is revenging from the Lou Nuer section. My view is that if the President is still holding grudges against the Lou Nuer he should not use our neighbors to fight on his behalf. In the past, he used this ‘divided and rule’ tactic in Unity State during the last seven years. They usually armed some clans against the others. It is now that they are importing this strategy to Jonglie state. I believe the people of Jonglie State are smart to realize and reject this policy because it will work in their disadvantage. The children in president kiir’s region of Bahr El ghaal had been attending schools yet no kids are going to school in other regions. They want to engage other tribes in unnecessary wars while they loot the resources of the country further.
HOW SHOULD LOU NUER RESPOND TO MURLE?
The Murle are our neighbors who have closed proximity with us since time antiquity. And by virtue of them being our closed neighbors, we must seek to love them no matter what. The Bible says categorically that love your neighbors as you love yourself. We cannot take our neighbors as our enemies. Thus, despite taking part in this attack that led to the death of the 242 innocent children, women and the elderly, we must reconcile and live together as neighbors.
This clarion call for reconciliation with the neighboring Murle should not be misconstrued to mean cowardice. I just want us to live peacefully with our neighbors because we cannot live without them.
If we opted for warpath I am sure things won’t change. It will just bring more death, maiming and misery. As they already said, Murle are minority who cannot fight Lou Nuer in an open war field, so let’s work to reconcile and coexist with them for the good of our peace loving people. In view of the foregoing, i now call on my friend, SEBIT KUOL DHOL, former commissioner of the defunct Pieri county and the entire Lou Nuer leadership to reach out to Murle Leaders for dialogue so as to bring this deadly violence to an end. There is no country which is crime-less. Let’s treat those attackers as mere criminals hired by the failed government of President Kiir to antagonize us with our neighbors. I wish to conclude by saying let’s nurse our wounds and bury our dead ones as we await to reach out to our neighbors for peace and reconciliation. I know they are human beings, and the moment we reach out to them for talk they will respond positively the way we expect. I rest my case.
The Writer is the Chairman of Liech community Association in Kenya, the views expressed here are his own and do not belong to the Ramciel Broadcasting, and he can be reached for comments via firstname.lastname@example.org