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Straightening the crooks in a volatile history

By Deng Vanang

April 17, 2014 (SSNA) -- Those who ignore or falsify history do so at their own peril. History repeats itself, quips the adage. While Greek ancient philosopher put it precisely: we see the future through the light of the past.  If we ignore history the nasty events of the past, that should have been avoided, must keep hitting back with the ugliest vengeance. This explains why leaders with a good grasp of history favorably manipulate challenges around them to prolong their stay in power. Failure, in addition, to give the devil his due when history is being written in spirit and letter begets tragedy historians always regard as revisionism, which is an adept refusal to recognize others’ contributions or attributing them to the rest who don’t deserve. And in as much as human beings need food, shelter and clothing so is the undeniable and insatiable human crave for recognition. Most bloodiest revolutions in world history in pursuit to put records right arose from this social prejudice in which past Sudan and on-going South Sudan civil wars are not the exception.

This brings us to the memory of gentlemanly column written by Citizen News paper columnist, Ateny Wek Ateny, now the Presidential spokesman, on Tuesday, 14th of August 2012 in response to the one entitled A leader dealing in hope and so was Dr. John, authored around the same week by Mr. Mading de Yak Choldit in The New Times weekly newspaper. The young author suggested to Ateny why he should be celebrating the lives of other heroes/heroines instead of John Garang. A determined Mading tersely dedicated a lengthy opinion piece to Dr. John Garang following the martyrs’ day, of 30th July 2012 and whose copy  he e-mailed to Ateny, further reminding him rather tacitly of how gravely wrong he was by not dedicating his martyrs’ day column to Dr. John. Martyrs day was initially mooted and committed to Garang’s life and his struggles in early stage of Comprehensive Peace Agreement {CPA}.

But sometimes along the way government thought it wise the day should instead be dedicated to all martyrs of almost two – century struggle of South Sudanese for statehood from 1820 to 2011, a dilution which might have rattled the widow, Mama Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior and greater Bor community. The perceived dilution may be the reason why they initially acted in resistance to that Presidential decree by only showcasing their heroes. And I’m afraid how negatively they will react when the anti-Garang’s forces inside or outside the government take over the reins of power and subsequently decide he is no longer the chief of martyrs. What is obviously unchanged till now in their favor, nevertheless, is Dr. Garang being regarded as chief of all martyrs in government official protocol and correspondence.

However, the focus of my article is on one of the last paragraphs of Mr. Ateny Wek Ateny’s column of the same day and I didn’t bother to follow up its possible continuation the next day at the time, that was Wednesday, August 15th 2012 and I quote: Mading is not alone in this. I knew a number of our brothers/sisters within Bor community where Mading also comes, who often get irritated if a hero other than John Garang is mentioned and even more irritated enough if anything is dedicated to other heroes/heroines however trivial. End of quote.

Of great concern here is how bias martyrs’ day has become and made a day of agony rather than that of joy for several South Sudanese ethnic communities who fell have been undeservedly wiped out of annals of history although many of their sons and daughters sacrificially lost both lives and limbs in the course of struggle. Apart from localizing and exploiting the persona of John Garang by some Bor community members, Martyrs’ day is increasingly becoming a day that is used to humiliate others as well as it is becoming a source of disunity rather than a day to remember our past struggle in togetherness and love, both of which helped us gain our hard won freedom. A day in which others are told openly they contributed nothing in the past struggle by displaying almost only portraits of Bor community and other Dinka clans alleged heroes or heroines in all strategic city high ways and corners.

Especially when clans, in particular Bor community takes charge of Martyrs’ day celebration committee as it does every year. Denying somebody’s contribution normally puts a sharp strain on the national unity and social relations between communities that compete for genuine citizenship rights in a given country. Since rights depend on duties {responsibilities}, those who are told they didn’t participate in the slaughter of the elephant, could not even think of having right to claim any piece of the meat. And if any, they are only doled out of sympathy. It also creates inferiority complex in those said to be good for nothing since they didn’t participate in the national call to duty - the liberation of South Sudan. That bias notion if heeded effectively hands on silver platter the country, resources and leadership to liberating tribes and clans. If Martyrs’ day is defined in such narrow assumptions, then it cannot be regarded as a national day by any standard. For what is national is inclusive of all ethnic groups and clans. That again reminds me of my past casual movements around the city, Juba which make me feel much more annoyed about how some groups and individuals in South Sudan have been working around the clock to underrate others, destroy the relative peace and freedom we painstakingly achieved, especially through their own alienating words, perceptions and actions. These illicit behaviors have come to explain that some South Sudanese didn’t know what they were fighting to achieve in the first place and why unity, which is perquisite to stability and development, is important.  By regarding others as worthless creatures is not only a moral attack on their integrity but also the highest order of ignorance for nobody God created is useless, whether blind, crippled or maimed.

As it is said in English every dog has its day to celebrate, there is always a time when any of those physically challenged can help us out of desperate situation, for example blind and crippled are naturally endowed with unsurpassed intelligence as is the deaf with physical strength. To be individually selective on who is hero or not at random as demonstrated in the martyrs’ day every year, particularly when showcasing Kerubino Kuanyin Bol and Arok Thon Arok’s portraits among heroes while John Kulang Puot remains a condemned criminal although both defected from SPLM/A and died behind government battle lines is quite prejudicial. The same can be said of Akuot Atem’s picture which was displayed from obscurity for the first time in 2012 Martyrs’ day leaving out the picture of his friend and comrade - in - arms; Samuel Gai Tut is rather more ridiculous. What differentiates Akuot from Gai when they both rejected Garang’s leadership and went in a separate way together to challenge Garang? And what could make Gai a traitor and Akuot a hero if it is not pure bias?  Or is the killing of Akuot by William Abdullah Chuol on charges of being Garang’s mole within Anya-Nya Two can now be ascertained as a foolproof? Too, people need to be reminded none can be a hero unless supported by other. This is enough to say if somebody has helped the other to become a hero he is as well a hero too. Also labeling other South Sudanese as non-producers of heroes against what is obvious save for some clans or tribe is flagrant moral down grading that will never allow peace to reign in our land.

The bug of blame doesn’t stop with the stated groups who think it is their legitimate right to lord it over others with crude impunity. The government partly abets this prejudice as well for failure to gazette the heroes/heroines whose lives deserve to be commemorated at national, state, County, Payam and Boma levels during the martyrs’ day depending on the strength of each one’s contribution in the liberation struggle. Its laxity is taken advantage of by those who are busy sowing and watering seeds of ethnic sentiments as is the case now in South Sudanese society when some people are forced to celebrate the lives of certain individuals as heroes who during their life time robbed them of their women, parcels of land and even chickens. It is quite harsh! Yet again village heroes shouldn’t have been allowed to grace the national day in the first place in capital city Juba. By allowing such vice, government is not merely abetting injustice, but also desecrating what is sacred, the martyrs’ day. Not only the government to take the blame, too, the media have to take some beatings since they are the memory centre of the nation from which the country’s history is written and should assert their an alienable editorial right in guiding those writers and reporters who either unintentionally or deliberately try to falsify history in favor of some and at grimmest expense of others.  Personally I’m not against John Garang as somebody I highly respect for being one of great South Sudanese who are no body’s fools with self-confidence in their own leaderships and with audaciously enigmatic zeal to fight for their rights and rights of others. But to eulogize Garang as unblemished may not be sincere as some are more often than not trying to portray. Garang was like any other mortals who by very nature of their creation have beatitudes as well as faults in them. He was no god. To his credit, Dr. John as known to many was undoubtedly charismatic and equally accredited with success of our struggle due to the above mentioned attributes. But even still he can be blamed for not taking us straight to the Promised Land in which we are today. Instead, he alike Moses led us meandering around Egypt we wanted to leave as quickly as possible through his impractical new Sudan theory which caused deadly divisions in Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement/Army.

The same internal conflicts went along way to prolong the war with Khartoum Arab based-successive regimes. His gifted charisma also deceived him he could flash his weird concept he ever conceived of down our throats. His routine rituals of sacrificing innocent lives of dear comrades in struggle for graduating battalions in Bonga and Bilpam cannot go unchallenged. Although those who were closest to him regard Garang as very generous person and merely blame his wife Madam Rebecca Nyandeng for corrupting him, he can be partly faulted for current corruption unknown in pre- civil war South Sudanese traditions that has plagued our society and flunked our otherwise filthy rich country, South Sudan, into an abysmal poverty and protracted inter-ethnic feuds. The genesis of current endemic corruption and hatred can be traced to the way Garang ruled SPLM/A as personal property whereby he with his wife Madam Nyandeng and trusted aides could globe - trot in soliciting funds for arms without revealing sources of funding and neither could he provide transparency and accountability to his senior commanders in the field. This lone ranger behavior prompted Uncle Lwal Diing Wol in late 1980s by asking Garang this question: who should manage to retrace sources of SPLM/A arms supplies and funding if he suddenly died on the plane? Fortunately Garang died after accomplishing his mission of liberation.

This allegation became a rallying call in a dossier bombastically entitled ‘’why Garang must go now’’ as authored by SPLM/A Nasir splinter group in 1991 when it quipped: Garang believes he is the movement and the movement is him. Similar scathing attack on Garang’s autocratic style of leadership was repeated by the then second deputy Chairman and Chief of general staff of SPLM/A, Salva Kiir Mayardit in a bitter showdown after his near fallout with Garang in November 2004 in Rumbek. Kiir emphatically said in a packed hall of bewildering audience that Garang always carried the movement in a briefcase with him on his foreign trips and as deputy he never used to leave him in charge and neither anybody else he {Kiir} might have known of. He could even secretly leave for overseas without informing his field commanders and some close aides, several people alleged. And one more mind boggling question that sent everybody reeling with a rib cracking laughter was eloquently posed to eye-popping Chairman Moa by one no nonsense commoner. Boldly driven home to him still to be identified guy irritated by ever fattening animal called corruption in yei around 2003 in a heated public debate as to why everyone who went outside South Sudan liberated areas returned with a big pot belly in the midst of other bonny individual members of the movement? He said it is up to those with pot bellies to answer where they got theirs from, but for his he had to explain the source. Garang said he got his big belly from a string of foreign dignitaries who played him host as a quest while mobilizing support for the guerrilla movement. He then threw the ball back to those with big bellies around him to explain where they got their ill-gotten pots from. He was a role model to millions and even more to those closest to him. Like a tree planted in fertile soil and favorable weather, he produced numerous fruits and no any sane person according to the law of nature can imagine a tree producing fruits different from its own kind. That is today corruption has its origin in the way Garang ran SPLM/A which he generously bequeathed to his surviving good boys and girls. And should anybody erroneously think Salva Kiir is the only problem is dead wrong, although of course he has elevated the endemic financial and political corruption a notch higher. His guilty is his cross to carry alone and shouldn’t be used to shield in any way people who have been deemed to have long term opportunity in becoming governors, Ministers, County Commissioners and Parliamentarians with a free hand over immense resources in their respective constituencies, but only succeeded to enrich themselves, families and close associates.

As a further proof everybody is significant, Madam Rebecca has a very good side she deserves being credited for. For ever since 2006 she saw a developing monster in Kiir others closest to him never did. While most of us have been praising Kiir, winning and dinning with him, Mama Nyandeng has been crisscrossing the width and breadth of South Sudan warning us of impending danger we chose to ignore at our own peril. But of great importance here is the urging desire for us to understand history as a continuum that repeats itself and the ongoing rebellion against Kiir and his government as the golden opportunity to right the wrongs once and for all in order to stop cycle of violence from recurring every ten or so years later. That is through the proclamation of a viable constitution with the entrenched checks and balances while independent institutional watch dogs are instituted to safeguard against executive excesses.

Deng Vanang is a freelance journalist. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Tribalism Ignites the Current and Previous Conflicts in South Sudan

By: Daniel Wuor Joak

April 16, 2014 (SSNA) -- Several nationals and foreign writers have been addressing this concern for a number of years and extensively made researches on it where they thoroughly figured out that “Tribalism” is the main obstacle to future peace and harmony to communities living in South Sudan. Both British colonial power and successive Sudanese regimes in Khartoum had voiced the same concern where they rightly predicted that South Sudanese people would not afford to rule themselves peacefully if granted a state of their own. The present situation can prove without any doubt to all of us as testimony. As South Sudanese who was born and grew up during the first Anya-Nya war and later participated intensively during the second war of struggle from January 1984, my experiences proved that something wrong is lingering in our minds that need to be readjusted in order for Republic of South Sudan to survive and be governed peacefully and transparently. Let us not pretend that everything is alright within our setups being on the government or in the opposition sides. Our society in general, unfortunately, is very much decay from top to bottom unless is drastically rescue from eminent demise through cooperation and understanding.

All the sixty-four tribes, which inhabited the Republic of South Sudan, are very peaceful and loving people but inherited only by wrong leaders who have been blindly followed by their subjects without questioning their integrities and commitments to their wellbeing. Education and exposures to other world civilizations has nothing in our applied knowledge. Some of our most learned South Sudanese leaders who are supposed to be the best exemplary behaves as if they had never gone to classrooms. They always incite their tribal groups once they run short of ideas to convince their political opponents at national level.

The December 15, 2013’s saga had nothing to do with either Nuer or Dinka for that matter. It was squarely an SPLM internal matter that would have been resolved by its members from within. The massacre and wanton killings perpetrated against over ten thousand Nuer civilians which was deliberately carried out by the so-called Presidential Guards and their colleagues from other organized forces from Dinka in Juba town for three days was an act of a defeated leader at national level. Those leaders who challenged President Salva Kiir Mayardit from SPLM Party including Dr. Riek Machar, Mamma Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, Deng Alor Kuol, John Luk Jok, Kosti Manibe, Alfred Ladu Gore, Dr. Cirino Eteng, Madut Biar Yel, Pagan Amum, Oyai Deng Ajak, Chol Tong Mayay, Taban Deng Gai, Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba, Majak de’ Agot and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth etc. Those who know the South Sudanese names very well can easily identify how many Nuer are on the list. They are only four in number among the fourteen SPLM leaders who advocated for change of leadership. The higher figures from the group who opposed Kiir’s leadership were from Dinka. They had five and the rest were from different communities from Equatoria states. The Nuer community for that matter was victims of political conspiracy intentionally hatched by President Salva Kiir Mayardit to eliminate them from South Sudan’s politics. The fabricated coup attempt, which was later, publicized by President Salva Kiir himself and his errand boys all over the world against his former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar, was a ploy to distort and detract the attentions of South Sudanese and their well wishers worldwide who were terribly shocked and saddened with great disbelieves about the awful massacres of the Nuer community which were systematically carried out by government supporters in Juba, Malakal, Bor, Leer and Bentiu. With this kind of systematic killings against the Nuer, the White Army and defected SPLA soldiers from Nuer in Juba, Bor, Bentiu and Malakal fought back against the government loyalists until they bravely overran the towns of Bor, Bentiu and Malakal as well as most of the counties in the three states of Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei respectively and this was the beginning of the rebellion in the South Sudan.

President Salva Kiir had in the past been mastering the same tricks against different communities throughout the country where he fomented tribal feuds amongst the Dinka themselves, Nuer v Murle, Murle v SPLA, Nuer v SPLA, Mundari v Bari, Achol v Madi, Acholi v Bari, Dinka v Fertit, Shilluk v Dinka, SPLA v SPLA etc. Such feuds were more less land disputes or indiscriminate disarmaments where he always favoured one group against another biasedly. It resulted to numerous rebellion movements.

With the current conflict, some selfish politicians who do not want their individual interests to be jeopardized have dragged in some communities into this war unnecessarily. For example, the Dinka Ngok of Baliet in Upper Nile State were not at all part of this wrangling but they were rather dragged in by none others than the State Governor of Upper Nile Simon Kun Puoch and his County Commissioner of Baliet Rev. James Tor Monybony. Before the fighting took place in Malakal town on the 3rd week of December 2013, a group of state lawmakers, state ministers, other organized forces officers and senior state officials from the counties of Ulang and Nasir, after they completely disagreed with the state governor over the killings of Nuer civilians in Juba whereas the governor himself with on denial that the government in Juba did not order the massacres of Nuer civilians. They were rather killed by individual criminals as his unwavering support presently with the government in Juba confirmed. After the group decided to travel to Nasir area without official approval from the state governor, their convoy of twelve cars was intercepted at Baliet Count by a force being organized by Baliet County Commissioner under specific order from the state governor Simon Kun Puoch where he instructed him not to allow the convoy to proceed to the last destination as planned. Instead the group were told to return back to Malakal or else be dealt with accordingly. While the were in state of discussions, the organised soldiers from Baliet opened fire indiscriminately killing: 1. Hon. Nhial Lual Wuol, SPLM Chief Wipe Upper State Legislative Assembly, 2. Hon. Bang Duop Lam, Chairperson of Justice Committee, Hon. 3. Thuok Puok Goot, Secertary General State Secretariat, 4. One Colonel from Police, 5. Two Major from Police, 6. Two Captains from Police and several officials. The total of those killed that day of 20/12/2013, were 17 persons.

When the news of their killing reached Nasir and Ulang, the communities of these two counties were extremely alarmed and the White Army decided to go and search for the survivals in Baliet County. The number of passengers in the convoy was over sixty persons who were dispersed by their attackers to wilderness. Most of them died of thrust and hunger in the forest. Instead of the people of Baliet County to apologize for the killings, the While Army from Ulang and Nasir found them prepared for war against them. This was the root cause of the first fighting in Baliet County. It was Governor Simon Kun Puoch and Rev. James Tor Monybony who should be held responsible for the death of innocent Dinka civilians from Baliet County and Nuer of Ulang and Nasir Counties respectively. It was not their wishes to kill themselves but the war was rather imposed on them by these two greedy politicians. This is a known fact and nobody will ever deny that as long as evidences are concerned.

The same thing with the prevailing human tragic befallen in Shilluk Kingdom where former militias recently absorbed by government of South Sudan under commands of Major General Johnson Oluony and Brig. General Ayuok Ogat and under overall influence of their mentor Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin have been badly used by government in Juba to wage war against the SPLM/A-In Opposition forces in Upper Nile State. This exposes the Shilluk community into danger because most of their recruits hail from Shilluk tribe and the fighting is concentrating in Shilluk area whereas thousands of Shilluk have been displaced from their ancestral lands either to UNMISS camp in Malakal town or into neighbouring country of Sudan. The blame still goes to Dr. Lam Akol who encourages the Shilluk militias to fight alongside that despotic regime in Juba for his selfish gains. He had been in opposition all these years until when he learnt that his erstwhile political rivals Dr. Riek Machar and Pagan Amum went on loggerheads with President Salva Kiir Mayardit. He hastily came back from his self-exiled in Cairo and took this opportunity to mend his relations with President Kiir in order to side-line the other two SPLM opposing leaders in his favour. The Shilluk as community has no reason to fight the White Army or the SPLM/A – In Opposition for that matter because the two communities have a lot in common and very much integrated culturally through inter-marriages assimilations. Because of misuse of Shilluk sons being conscripted into militia’s rank and fight alongside the SPLA, Brig. Ayuok Ogat, one of the factional militia commanders decided to defect to the rebel ranks. His forces and that of SPM/A – In Opposition recently captured the town of Kaka El Tigariah from the government forces. This marked the beginning of Shilluk community to disassociate themselves from Salva Kiir and Lam Akol’s ban-wagon. Their marriage of convenience will soon disintegrate as already the Chollo community realises the truth.

The same scenario has also been happening in Mayom County in Unity State where the sons of Monytuil Ojang, Dr. Nguen who is the Unity State Governor and General Bapiny have been organizing a militia band under command of Major General Matthew Puol Jang. The militia who hails from Bul Nuer clan has been fighting alongside the government against the SPLM/A – In Opposition forces all this time without being integrated into SPLA ranks like Shilluk Militia. Sadly, they are not in payroll but miserably used to fight for the interests of their godfathers in Juba. Until the day of yesterday on 15 April, when the Bul militia fighting force realized that they have badly been misused by the sons of Monytuil Ojang in Juba by killing their own Nuer people and destroying their properties jointly with SPLA of Dinka elements, SPLM-N, JEM and UPDF forces against the SPLM/A-In Opposition in Unity State. Over 600 of them under command of Major General Karlo Kuol Ruai have defected to the rebel’s rank and this made the capture of Bentiu very quick and easy.

Once again, the same tools also used by some politicians from Dinka Bor in Jonglei State where they deliberately dragged in their community into war unnecessarily. For example, the people of Pegi, Duk and Twic East Counties who are all from Dinka origins had never been part of current war because the SPLM/A – In Opposition or the White Army always consider them neutral. They did not participated in the massacres of Nuer in Juba and other towns in Greater Upper Nile as this was done only by some Dinka elements from Greater Bahr El Gazal. Therefore, they were not attacked during the first and second capturing of Bor town by SPLM/A –In Opposition in December 2013, and January 2014, simultaneously.

Unfortunately, the people of Duk were encouraged by their politician Hon. Philip Thon Leek to form their own militia group and fight alongside the SPLA and UPDF forces in the area. Following the recent fighting between the government and rebels forces, Duk County became a contesting zone and that was the reason why some of the structures including the lost boys clinic was destroyed during the fighting. Hon. Philip Thon Leek should not escape from being blamed for having encouraged the Dinka youth in Duk County to fight alongside the government and their Uganda ally forces against the SPLM/A-In Opposition forces. The Counties of Pegi and Twic East are free from attack up to this time from the SPLM/A-In Opposition and the White Army because they have shown their neutrality openly.

Frankly speaking, the government of President Salva Kiir Mayaridit in Juba has completely lost it full supports and confident of the Nuer people throughout the Nuerland in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile States because of the wanton killing and awful massacres its committed against the innocents Nuer in Juba and other towns in Greater Upper Nile states. It is now resorting on supports of individual’s personalities like Major General James Hoth Mai, Dr. Riek Gai Kok, General Charles Lam Chol, General Yohannes Yoal Bath, Simon Kun Puoch, James Kok Ruai, John Kong Nyuon, Dr. John Gai Yoah, General Johnson Gony Billieu, Major General Bol Kong, Nyang Chuol Dhuor, Hon. Timothy Taban Juoch, Justice John Gatwech Lul, Hon. Manasah Magok Rundial, Dr. Joseph Nguen Monytuil, Kuong Danhier Gatluak, General Bapiny Monytuil ect. who have no grass-root supports and at the same time being labelled by Nuer in general as sell-outs who compromised the death of their own fellows for material gains and positions. Whether President Salva Kiir have them in his camp, the grass-roots Nuer considers them like those perished in Juba during the aftermath of fighting. Their contributions are not valued very much at this time. That is why some of them resort on sending people with money to bribe the Nuer White Army in Eastern Upper Nile and Eastern Jonglei States. If they want Nuer to support their cause, why they do not approach the ones residing at UNMISS camps in Juba, Bor and Malakal instead of looking for people who have already escaped the government’s onslaughts. Unfortunately, their cheap dealings are rejected completely throughout the Nuerland. Some of their agents went recently through Ethiopia carrying with them several hundreds thousands of US dollars to bribe the White Army and some field commanders associated with Dr. Riek Machar to return to the government circle. But this mission ended up in fiasco where many of them have been arrested in Gambella region by the Ethiopian security or sent back to Juba unceremoniously. This is always the work of failed leaders who are virtually disowned by their own communities. Whether they like it or not the South Sudan is in turmoil and there will be no reverse at all. Therefore President Salva Kiir and his cronies must go by all means sooner than later or otherwise, Moamar Gadhafi and Saddam Hussein’s sagas will fall on them squarely.

The author is a former MP & Minister of Education, Science & Technology (UNS) and now Executive Director of African Centre for Human Advocacy (ACHA), which advocates for human rights and good governance throughout the Africa Continent.

Heed the cry of the Southern child, Mr. Obama!

By Kuir ë Garang

April 16, 2014 (SSNA) -- I’d assume there are many, bigger challenges you are dealing with: Russia-Ukraine, Syria, Palestine-Israel, selling Obamacare …etc. I’d also assume the mentioned problems are more important that the Sudanese mother and child lives. And I know there are times when you have to do exactly the very same thing your conscience tells you not to do…because you are in the ‘White House.’

I know you are a humble man and you respond to issues some people may assume to be beneath your personality and stature of presidency. However, should this message reach you, then, I know, young South Sudanese will really appreciate you talking directly to them.

I don’t beat about the bush because leaders understand critical issues better when presented to them in non-traditional methods. I don’t spare leaders when I feel their performances do little to save the lives of innocent civilians. However, I’ll spare you for a lot has already been said. And you aren’t a South Sudanese leader! I might contradict myself in the process and don’t spare you as such! Who knows?

South Sudan suffering Civilians

You’ve already signed an ‘executive order’ to open way for possible sanctions against South Sudanese officials, who’re obstructing IGAD-brokered ‘Peace Talks’. Thankfully, you’ve been putting pressure on South Sudan president General Salva Kiir Mayardit to end the violence and bloodshed. So why am I repeating to you things you’ve already done or are already doing?

I’m an African man and people would assume that I would support you for who you are rather than what you do. I’ve never been a fan of your policies but I like your humble edge and your being as a people-person (if honest). That’s one quality I admire. While all my colleagues were enamored by the idea that an African was at the helm of the American power base, the sound of your policies made me very sceptical. Sadly, some of them have now joined me in that scepticism. And that scepticism, sadly, tells me you care little about the African Child. Well, you do talk about them in your speeches!

Leadership is about leading not ornamental speeches! Lead the world and safe the Southern Child!


I can’t say much about this because you’ve failed these people. You slept on their suffering. Part of why the American public embraced you is your persona as colorlessly and painlessly American; your heritage being secondary or even irrelevant. While you are an American first and foremost, I think you’ve taken your Americanism to the extreme and this is costing Sudanese and South Sudanese a great deal of suffering.

With no question, I understand being too focused on African issues can arouse the spiteful passion of America right and give them some postprandial gossip’s flavor. Sadly though, Darfurians have died in their thousands in your watch. They say: “We wish Bush were here!”

And to this day, they are still dying! Some people (and Americans) may ask why I bother a foreign leader instead of my own leader! It’s the very same reason why American soldiers and spies are in almost every country in the world that I ask Obama to heed the Southern Child!

Somalia, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Congo, Tanzania, Sudan, Egypt, Libya…America is there!

Southern Kordofan and Southern Blue Nile

President Beshir continues to butcher these people while activists and humanitarian voices call for your leadership in relation to this matter. As has become your tradition, you turned a blind eye on them. The likes of George Cooleny present virtual evidence of Khartoum’s murder machine on the innocent people of Nuba Mountains. The request to initiate a no-fly-zone fell on deaf ears. You supported that in Libya and that makes Africans in Sudan wonder if their lives are less that others’.

My Worry

Having seen the way you let down the people of Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Southern Blue Nile, I have absolutely no reason to believe you’ll do anything in South Sudan. Over 10, 000 innocent lives have been lost, cities obliterated, over a million displaced and over 3 million in dire need of basic needs. Sadly, you are aware of that!

Your envoy, Donald Booth, seems to be playing a spectator role at the IGAD’s brokered ‘Peace Talks.’ You need to play a more practical role than the symbolic threats of sanction South Sudanese leaders will just laugh off.

You’ve done little to nothing in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Southern Blue Nile. Please don’t let the people of South Sudan down! How many more need to die? How many more generations need to be lost to illiteracy? How many more skeletons need to flood American TV screens for you to be practical enough? Hear the cry of the Southern child!

President George W. Bush is regarded by the world as one of the worst leaders America (or even the world) has ever produced; but if you ask South Sudanese, they’ll tell you he’s ‘The Best American President’ for the role he played in making sure the Sudanese second civil war ended. He’s admired in South Sudan for having helped end that brutal, genocidal, ethno-religious war; and he’s admired in Africa generally for the role he’s played ( and continue to play) in the fight against HIV-AIDS.

You’re admired in Africa for your eloquent speeches and for being the first ‘Black’ President, whatever that means!

I understand Africans will remember you for what you represent rather than what you did! And Bush will be remembered for what he did rather than what he represented.

Displaced people are eating roots and leaves of plants. They are also living in squalid conditions. That’s the job of South Sudanese and Sudanese leaders, some may say! America is the world power and that nullifies the previous statement!

You’ve played some role in making sure South Sudanese referendum and independence comes to fruition; however, thousands have died in Sudan (North and South) during your presidency. And by the way, you were just finishing what Bush had already started!

Please, listen to the wail and the cry of the South Sudanese mother and child!

The Dream of the Southern Child

Very dark and wretched, I’m very visible, Mr. President
Emaciated and sick, just acknowledge me in the present
Souled or soulless, there’s a tree to spare for my shade
I’m been commercialized…I’m just calling spade and spade
You came with hope and dreams with little for me to see
You’ve compartmentalized your passion just next to me
I don’t want to be like you…I just need a grain to swallow
Avian crowds above hold their breath, my dream is shallow
I don’t want to be like your daughters…I just want school
Sit with the men burning my dreams…I’m not a fool
I don’t want to travel abroad…just security on the Nile
I want to drink virgin Nile waters with no fear for a while
I want no gun on my mother’s neck… not vacations
I’m thirsty and hungry…and this isn’t just an occasion
No hospitals, no food, no schools, not water…I’m a child
Deprived and chased…am I a child of the wild?
Just self-hypnotize and imagine me your own
You’d feel beautiful love that’d forever be known
I’m just a child with simple dreams
I have passions that can bring worldly steam
There’s no tree to sit under as all have been burnt
There’s no voice to console me as I’m also a hunt
So spare me some time and see me for once
The Southern Child appeals to your deepest you
Hide your true self no more and dispel the assumed spew
My blood is filling the Nile day and night
My tears are flooding the savannah and it ain’t right
Scour your soul for what brought you there
It’s the change you wanted that made you stare
And dream of a beautiful, safe world of peace
I sound naïve but that’s me; a mere broken piece
Just help me go home: That’s the Southern Child Dream!
I just want food to eat: That’s the Southern Child Dream!
I just want a clean clinic nearby: That’s the Southern Child Dream!
I just want guns to be silent: That’s the Southern Child Dream!

Kuir ë Garang lives in Calgary, Alberta. For contact visit

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