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Thursday, December 3, 2020

THE RECYCLED PAST: South Sudan History Under Oppression

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Zalson Khor – Decades of subjugation and inhumane treatment of South Sudanese by foreign powers and later by northern Sudanese since the 1820s met a full force of patriotism at the onset. Traditional chiefs and kings led defiance, public anger, and vicious armed rebellion for nearly 200 years to break free from draconian shackles devised by despotic regimes in the North of Sudan.

1955, the Father of all Creation filled the Saturn (Olire and Lohure) with inflammable gas that ignited the first rebellion and continued to illuminate subsequent liberalisation struggles.

Saturlino and Saturnino never died.

Though our heroes and heroines burnt and buried, the Anya-nya I and II, closely followed by the SPLA/M, emerged many years later and unleashed a cumulative desire to break free. Unsatisfied by the piecemeal implementation of the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement and eventual abrogation altogether, the 105 battalion under Kerubino Kwanyin and his comrades, fired a silver bullet on 16th May 1983 to victory on July 9th 2011.

And so, Dr. John Garang de Mabior’s soul and millions others before him were to open us to, not just the possibilities of idealism, but the opportunities of a newly born country they pricely bought.

In their dreams as in ours, no more shall a child of a free South Sudan be left out of school or go without food. No more shall the country turn her back to the most vulnerable members of our society.

Unfortunately not the case yet. Instead of showing the world why we seceded, we faltered and did the opposite to our aspirations for a free society or rather, recycling the very old disparaging attitudes and mistreatments we faced in the old Sudan. The similarities in forms and shapes are shockingly familiar, so obvious that it’s a testimony of a classic deja vu all over again.

So true because today’s South Sudanese don’t want to walk in the footsteps of the martyrs. They have reached their stations and it is time for nursing tired muscles with every drop of oil that can be extracted. No more commitment to those beliefs (justice, equality, prosperity) that dropped thousands to the bushes back then. Starks can’t be higher — after the famous land-beer bartering, the other remaining piece of land is now crammed into the pockets. We can’t afford to go back to old gloomy past. Not anymore.

It is not a mission accomplished just yet if the same conditions before independence still exist today. Talks about sovereignty amidst chaos and flagrant living conditions of the majority poor, is a mark too low for praiseworthy, selfless freedom fighters. Fairness should follow the flag and therefore, no matter where one’s station in life, South Sudan must come first.

Today’s Sectarianism is antithetical to the beloved South Sudan we envisioned many, many years ago. Eschewing our duty to implement the R-ARCSS while we have a chance, just shows how subconsciously we are undercutting our struggles for united, democratic, and prosperous South Sudan. We still have, I believe, the opportunity to put the country back on track if only we agree to embrace one another and work hard to promote harmony through the 2018 peace agreement being implemented now.

Our people are genuinely hellbent to keep their memories of struggles and sacrifices endured on forever, even though aware of unbridgeably impossible gaps between people, failure to coalesce around a commonality is the surest and quickest way to erase our hard won achievements. Torit mutinied in 1955 so that Bor shouldn’t revolt in 1983. Now is the time to put aside the insalvable interests and work against all forms of divisions and toil, if necessary, for a perfect union.

In conclusion, if we are to build a country founded on blade and blood, we must be careful not to recycle pain, misery, agony, again. Our country is a result of heroic sacrifices of the many great people we should be indebted for eternity.
We are the nation of the meek, the selfless, the brave, and the proud.

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