BY: John Adoor Deng, Australia, NOV/15/2014, SSN;
In recent days, the wishers of South Sudan peace saw a glimpse of hope igniting a possible return of lost peace to the dying people of South Sudan. Unlike other peace talks and summits, recent East African leaders, Summit appeared to have yielded considerable fruits. For the very first time, both President Kiir and Dr Machar were seen showing an inch of their white teeth in a cordial smile. Other protagonists known to have red-eyed each other in the previous talks, have shown courage in recent days to mixed warmth of their hands in hands shakes with one another.
Also, the few women who have attended the mini-signing ceremony at Addis-Ababa demonstrated their happiness by giggling and clubbing. The mood at the hall was notable and fervently peace encouraging.
Although other factors such as pressures or call it striking hammer from IGAD countries, AU and UN Security Council, are believed to have precipitated the mood. Arguably, one could still believe that out of pressures, South Sudanese at the peace talks were in one accord to bring peace back to their country.
Surprisingly, we are confused by post-Summit utterances from Juba and from the Rebels side respectively. One notorious example of these utterances is the notion of equating the possible removal of Hon Wani Igga as redline!!
What is redlining in the South Sudanese politics? This phrase ‘red line ‘has been used extensively and inappropriately in the conflict. Correctively, let look at the etymology of the Phrase ‘redline’ before unpacking why it is inappropriate to be used for Hon Wani Igga. The phrase ‘Red line is used, both in Hebrew (קו אדום, Kav Adom) and English to mean a figurative point of no return or line in the sand, or “a limit past which safety can no longer be guaranteed.”
If this meaning is what is implied by those referring to the removal of Wani Igga as redline, then chances of domesticating peace to South Sudan would be extremely narrow. Truthfully, to make peace long lasting, institutions or factions involved in the peace making must first achieve a balance of powers–an interlocking of mutual.
For example, accommodate demands that would implicitly concede one’s superiority or may make completely unjust demands in the hope that through compromise long lasting peace is achieved. If there is genuine calling or questing for peace, then positions of individuals do not amount to be a hindrance. Peace only comes through readjustments, change of status quo, in other words, peace grows well on a new surface.
I, therefore, think there is nobody’s position is to be above peace in the context of South Sudan. Our dying masses do not want Wani Igga or Riek Machar or even president Kiir Mayardit as substitutes for peace, but they are in their languishing conditions calling for genuine peace for their survival.
Nobody’s position, whether current positions or future positions should be regarded as untouchable or redlined at the expense of peace.
Finally, brothers and Sisters in the peace talks or leadership of both factions, bring genuine peace to South Sudan not for you but for the innocent victims who are now dying of starvation and diseases. Whoever is preventing these innocent to enjoy peace in their country should be redlined Not positions of certain elites.
The Author is John Adoor Deng, director of Civil Society Organization in Australia, Former President of Sudanese community of Queensland INC, & Former Interim President of the Federation of Sudanese Australian communities. He is reachable at: firstname.lastname@example.org