By Pal Chol Nyan
It is always important to remember our historical days and years. They are important and worth knowing for posterity.
It will go down in the annals of history that some years are good to remember because Southerners said enough was enough of the Arab oppression and political and economic subjugation.
The most significant days were August 18th 1955 and the May 16th 1983, the latter was when the second revolt took effect which became successful with the proclamation of our Independence on the July 11th 2011 and the subsequent recognition by Sudan, the AU and the UN.
The Independence was won with a lot of sacrifices, sweat and blood of our martyrs. Southerners, later South Sudanese, were expressing their anger and dismay publicly against exploitation by the ungrateful Northerners with their collaborators.
The Arabs arrogantly capitalized on our abundant resources which they used heartlessly to advance their policy of divide and rule against Southerners. They succeeded in doing so by offering menial jobs and setting us against ourselves. Their prayers of dividing to conquer us were answered to their satisfaction but the detriment of South Sudanese.
Our enemies connived with some weak-kneed sell-outs from our side to interfere with our internal affairs.
It is of utmost importance to pay special tributes to those of Anya-Anya patriots, even beyond and wholeheartedly to our iconic leader Cdr Dr John Garang de Mabior Atem along with his colleagues for achieving our ultimate goal of an independent country.
I take this opportunity to thank General Salva Kiir et al. for steering the ship zealously towards its final destination; now the Republic of South Sudan. Without their bravery, valour and resilience, it wouldn’t have been possible for us to reach where we are today. As you are all aware, the political road to the Independence was full of thorns in the form of greediness and power struggle which started since the germinative days of the war all the way down to the present.
There was a conspiracy with financial briberies put into use by the Arabs to weaken Southerners and to frustrate their plans. This went on for a decade. If it wasn’t the unity of the South Sudanese in 2002, the 2005 peace would have been a castle in the air.
To their disappointment, the overwhelming majority votes cast by the citizens of South Sudan turned the tables against them.
On a particular note, you could recall that the 1983 Movement was started by a few gallant and selfless officers. They were later joined en masse by students, peasants and many others. It became a formidable force to be reckoned with. It resisted the successive oppressive regimes in Khartoum with one objective in mind; liberating the country from the agents of the colonialists who imposed themselves on us as neo-colonialists by force after 1956.
After we achieved our objective, we, unfortunately, turned against ourselves. Fighting ourselves is inadvertently condemning our fallen heroes and heroines to eternal hell, betraying their sacrifices and more importantly proving the enemies right that South Sudanese can’t govern themselves. Instead of enjoying the fruits of the sacrifices made, the country found herself plunged into a senseless war by the same group of people.
Now that the peace deal is signed and in the process of implementation, it is ushering in a new dawn and hope for the downtrodden people of South Sudan. It rests with us all, but not only those who appended their signatures to it, to nurture and hold it firmly so that it doesn’t slip out of our hands. I am of the view that for this peace to hold, there are things that need to be considered or made to happen; that is building of the trust by the leaders and their followers or “ansars”.
All the signatories to the Revitalized Peace Agreement, President Kiir and his FVP Dr Riek Machar to be specific, should tour all areas and States of South Sudan to disseminate and preach peace, tell and inform the people of South Sudan that we have buried our hatchets and it is high time for the country to move forward. When they are seen moving together and preaching peace genuinely, it is there and then that the people will know peace indeed returned to the country and no signs of any return to war.
Another important thing to note is that peace will not be inclusive and sustainable because we still have seasoned Generals in the bushes of South Sudan. Thanks to the President for initiating talks with them. All the people must come on board, sort their tribal and political differences. South Sudanese are unique in that when they are united for a purpose, they always achieve it. It is time for us to unite and rebuild the country that we have destroyed.
My final message is that we need to renounce violence of all forms, address in earnest the root causes of the dissent and conflicts that led to rebellions and more importantly political and administrative issues in relation to the system of governance and equitable sharing of wealth.
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