BY: Manyok Chuol, OTTAWA, CANADA, FEB/11/2013, SSN;
ElHag Paul’s recent article, ‘Dr John Garang was an appointee of the Ethiopians to the SPLM,’ was apparently a retort to a response article I wrote and published on 12/JAN/2013 by South Sudan Nation website. His article, as we’ve seen, was also a response to others who in the past debated him before, apparently.
In responding to me and others, Mr. Paul brought to light new issues which were not in his initial article and could not have been subject of earlier response. For the benefit of my readers, I do not wish to be dragged into discussing these new issues and be, in effect, hopelessly distracted.
In a typical ElHag Paul’s article, his latest response to my response article did not disappoint our already very low expectations or has even come as a surprise. He peddled, again, unfounded and incendiary accusations against every Jieng: man, woman, and child— revealing much of the hypocrisy in a man whose writings aim to proclaim moral pedestal.
ElHag Paul’s article is misguided and by again responding to yet another article of his, many readers may hasten to suggest that I may be giving him yet another platform to write one more rancorous article on the subject. Such consternation may very well be true or in place but ElHag Paul actually exposes his unmitigated hate, and therefore himself, in his articles.
As in my previous article, I want to categorically restate that my response does not, in any way, aim to deflect criticism— legitimate or otherwise, away from the Government of South Sudan. Rather, I’m again forewarning against writing flagrantly irresponsible articles aimed at engendering and inflaming inter-tribal animosity in our country. We cannot afford to turn a blind eye when most of Mr. Paul’s writings are aspired at directly or indirectly perpetuate/arouse inter-ethnic violence, and especially knowing South Sudan as an ethnic tinderbox that it is.
In my first response, I focused and only addressed issues related to ElHag Paul’s anti-Dinka rhetoric, Dr. John Garang and the question of Founding Father of South Sudan tribute. This response, again, addresses, ad nauseam, issues of relevance in Mr. Paul’s latest response, his original article, and my earlier response thereto, even as I’m fully aware of Mr. Paul’ impervious idiosyncrasy or adamantine refusal to engage in rational discussions.
Legitimate government criticism versus inspiring ethnic strife
At first glance, one clearly sees ElHag Paul disgorging hate among the various ethnicities in South Sudan, particularly the rest against the Dinka people. Admittedly, there is very little substance in his latest article except, mostly, hateful bons mots aimed at cajoling and swooning his runners.
ElHag Paul seems a like an intelligent South Sudanese, confessedly, but he speciously uses his intelligence to infatuate his runners with anti-Dinka hatred. He remains accused as a bigot who unfortunately refuses to accept all as South Sudanese, notwithstanding all our ethnically rich diversities.
Even as Mr. Paul’s articles dangerously threaten peaceful coexistence among citizens, there is hope in South Sudanese infinite wisdom and capacity to distinguish between tribes, individual and government’s actions—or absence thereof, contrary to Mr. Paul’s perception of South Sudanese as primordial and a readily excitable lot! Mr. Paul likes us to think that his writings are good for South Sudan to survive as one united country. I would argue, to the contrary, that South Sudan will survive as one united country in spite of his writings.
In his reply to my article, ElHag Paul asserted the following: “Manyok Chuol’s article, ‘Dr Garang and the question of South Sudan Founding father: A reply to Elhag Paul,’ is a clear indication that the Jieng are unwilling to take responsibility for the ravages they’re inflicting on the country”. Mr. Paul seems to suggest that every South Sudanese is a victim of Jieng, therefore he is my victim! Is it possible that ElHag Paul and his runners do not see how ridiculous their imagined Jieng-engendered victimhood is? Such is the claim and extent of the absurdity of his anti-Dinka rhetoric. If the author valued credibility and thus be considered as convincing, could he not have aimed at more constructive dialogue?
Does ElHag Paul have a point, as this question must now be asked? He does, probably, if he considers the Dinka as individually inseparable from the Government of South Sudan and Salva Kiir as its head. But such warp reasoning is preposterous and could be antithetical to peaceful coexistence South Sudanese need to forge ahead as one united peaceful nation.
Mr. Paul’s argument goes like this, it seems: when a president comes from a certain tribe, such tribe should be threatened with the possibility to unleash violence against it should a president or his/her government proof as spectacularly failing, even as the tribe is not responsible for the president’s failings and isn’t violently keeping a president in office/power.
ElHag Paul should be reminded that the exercise of democracy comes with civilized realization that not all eligible citizens can be presidents of one country at any given presidential term, and still preserve peace and a country to govern; whatever the failures of the current president and his government, South Sudanese, meanwhile, need to wait for the next elections in 2015 to choose who will lead them.
I therefore appeal to ElHag Paul’s supporters whose foresight he may have corrupted to not farcically hold the Dinka collectively responsible for the Government of South Sudan’s failures, whether real or perceived.
It should also help all of us to keep in mind that there is no referendum on the Dinka as a tribe. The only referendum there is, is the one through the elections of 2015. That opportunity should allow South Sudanese to vote in or out their leaders, including President Kiir, should he decide to run again. I hope that President Kiir will choose love of the country over another groping presidency.
I’m sure other South Sudanese find it similarly difficult to understand why ElHag Paul, a man who toils to give others the impression that he is educated, does not comprehend that the Dinkas are politically and individually heterogeneous and that constructively engaging them as citizens, like the rest of South Sudanese are, is good for any peacefully conceived constitutional change in our country.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, let me also unequivocally and honestly say that, there are areas where I fully agree with ElHag Paul, although very limited. That “[t]here’re differences between institutions, individuals and tribes,” I agree and I said similarly in my article, which Mr. Paul was responding to. In addition, I continue to agree with Mr. Paul’s continued observation that “[i]nstitutions are formed of governing documents and management bodies such as constitutions and board of directors.
Anybody heading such an institution (chief executive) is expected to be guided by the constitution”. Unfortunately, that is where my agreement with him ends, relative to his understanding of governing and whom to hold accountable therefrom.
Subsequently, I reject Mr. Paul’s yardstick that “[s]o long as such a person upholds the constitution for the interest of all members he/she can’t be lumped up with his/her tribe or any other group of association because his/her actions would be fair and legitimate” because of its perversity. Asserting that a president’s tribe is a fair game when s/he doesn’t uphold the constitution is an odious rationale proffered for the convenience of the time.
This is because the converse of such statement is false and cannot stand. Indeed, when such a person, say, for example, a president, fails to ‘uphold the constitution for the interest of all members’, such a leader/president would be held responsible according to the laws of that country because as his actions would be deemed unfair and illegitimate. But to overlook that and hold his tribe responsible instead, as ElHag Paul is suggesting, would not only ensure a disastrous outcome but would reflect poorly on any claim of advancement/civilization in such society.
A constitutionally enlightened position, in place of ElHag Paul’s irrationality, seems to be that a president who so fails in the manner Mr. Paul has described should be impeached or voted out in subsequent elections, if he/she is still eligible to stand in such elections. That is contrary to primitively holding the entirety of a president’s tribe responsible. But Mr. Paul would rather have us dangerously tread this path.
As we can see, ElHag Paul’s reasoning presents a rather false dichotomy and for him to prod South Sudanese to choose either the existence of tribes or constitutional rule is bogus as the two can demonstrably and mutually exist.
I also take great exception to ElHag Paul’s rather trivial patronizing assertion that: “…the educated Jieng like Manyok Chuol, Ateny Wek Ateny, Joseph Deng Garang and Kuir e Garang — to be agents of change by educating their people…” This is as if the role he sees us only play, being Jieng, limits us and thus cannot perform other civic duties as South Sudanese!
It is absolutely hypocritical to criticize Salva Kiir’s alleged tribalism when one makes such outrageous statement, laced with tribally chauvinistic undertone! If Salva Kiir is a tribalist that ElHag Paul accuses as, what can we say about ElHag Paul who tends to solely assess President Kiir’s aptitude on the basis of his tribe?
Dr. John Garang and his earned Founding Father of South Sudan’s tribute
In my previous article referenced again above, I affirmed, like other fair-minded South Sudanese, that Dr. John Garang is our nation’s indestructible founding father. I knew as I argued that I was possibly rankling or causing agony in Mr. Paul with my presentation.
As ElHag Paul said and I fully agree: “Dr Garang was a formidable person of high intellect, no argument about it…. a suave political operator full of confidence. A speaker of rare breed” and “…Dr Garang’s work shouldn’t be vandalized by. [anybody… Dr Garang’s beliefs and achievement need to be highly valued within context”.
Unfortunately, Mr. Paul went on to infringe on his own advice/observation in what could easily have been a case of personal feat had he successfully managed to rise above his innumerably expressed petty self.
Thus, I wonder and now ask the question, between me and ElHag Paul, who is desperately trying to falsify the history of South Sudan with the sole aim to minimize Dr. Garang’s enormous contribution so that “…his community [does not] milk it…to put others down”. It’s ElHag Paul, easily. He falsifies history and say that what Dr Garang wanted was a “United New Sudan and he (Garang) went for it in spite of the odds against it. Anybody who respects and values Dr Garang won’t reduce his stature by not acknowledging his political belief and objective”.
As South Sudanese, we must be grateful that Dr. Garang led/guided our liberation aspirations with absolutely perspicacious brilliance. It’s totally absurd for anybody, who may stake a claim to a functioning brain, to suggest that Dr. Garang, as leader, was fighting for a united Sudan. The Sudan was already united and it was not possible to go to war only to unite it—see appendix (I) below for Dr. Garang’s pictorial illustration of Sudan’s possible solutions modalities to the country’s conflict, in form of Venn diagrams.
Dr. Garang was known for championing the rights of his people with great intelligence and political skills, not because of a nonsensical suggestion that he was trying to unite the Sudan, a country already then in unity. Accordingly, it’s mendacious for Mr. Paul to say that “Dr Garang’s unionist stance made him a renowned politician in the Sudan, the whole of Africa and beyond…”
Looking at Dr. Garang’s presentation of solutions modalities in form of Venn Diagrams in appendix I and understanding our own history, we conclude that John Garang and his colleagues were not fighting to unite the Sudan. They were instead challenging the basis of an already-united and unjust Sudan. Therefore, to say that he was fighting for his ‘unionist stance’ is to flaunt ignorance.
Dr. Garang fought to transform the Sudan in order to meet the conditions of any of the three (3) models shown in appendix I.
People like ElHag naturally and easily choose independence of South Sudan in model 3. What Mr. Paul and the similarly feeble-minded lot do not understand is the maze of what was the ‘Sudanese problem’. Ask Dr. Lam Akol and Dr. Riek Machar who thought the independence of South Sudan could be brought about if only they could publicly make pronouncements.
What were the organic guarantees of the so-called ‘peace from within’ and did it lead to South Sudan independence because they had publicly said so?
As leader, it was incumbent upon John Garang to define the parameters of the Sudanese conflict and articulate possible solutions. And he did so very well and signed the CPA that guaranteed the right of exercise of self-determination which culminated into South Sudan attaining independence. I acknowledge that much was done by patriotic South Sudanese before and during Dr. John Garang’s time but there is no questioning his towering contribution.
Easily, therefore, Dr Garang is the Father of the Nation and such patriots as Emelio Tafeng, Paul Ali Gbatala, Saturlino Ohure, Deng Nhial, Joseph Lagu, William Nyuon, Salva Kiir, Awet Akot, Kuol Manyang, Ngacigak Nyachiluk, Oyay Deng, Pieng Deng, Majak Agoot Atem, Hoth Mai, Mamur Meté, Kuanyin Bol, Samuel Gai Tut, Arok Thon Arok, Akuot Atem, Majier Gai, Dhol Achuil, Malong Awan, Dau Aturjong, Majok Aluong, Mathok Gengdit, Abur Nhial, Pa’gan Amum, Bior Ajang, Samuel Abujohn, Samson Kwaje, Kuol Amum— the list is very long but to just name the above does no justice to many ‘unknown’ fallen South Sudanese heroes, whether civilians, officers, NCOs, or chiefs; all of them are liberation heroes.
But again I am fully aware that I am presenting these facts to ElHag Paul, a south Sudanese history distorter, who is serially facts averse when Dinka people are involved.
As any reader can see, I have not tried to prove that Dr. John Garang wasn’t an appointee of the Ethiopians to the SPLM as Mr. Paul has tried to alter our history, for his convenience; to do otherwise would be to abuse the intelligence of South Sudanese who, like me, are living witnesses of our history and they know/understand it better than ElHag Paul who would rather credit Ethiopians with our history!
By: Manyok Chuol, Ottawa, Canada