BY: Abdi Ashkir, JUBA, MAR/16/2013, SSN;
On March, 14, 2013, while we were driving in Juba our car was hit by another car from behind. The driver of that car that collided with my car and I both came out to see the damage caused by the big expensive car which was behind us.
As we came out, an angry young man came out of the car; as I was expecting a conversation as it is the custom all over the world, I was suddenly hit on the face by this young man who looked inexplicably very angry. I couldn’t understand the reason and I was badly shocked.
As I don’t speak Arabic, being a foreign non-Arabic national, I therefore tried to call a friend of mine who could speak for me. However, instead I was brutally and repeatedly punched by another young man also and he took my mobile (cell phone) away from me.
Strangely enough, the South Sudan police and the traffic police arrived at the scene and they witnessed what had happened but did nothing at all. While everybody was there, the young man was loudly shouting at me insults and he was demanding that ‘I sit on the ground and beg for mercy.’
Fortunately, the gathering crowds of passersby came to our rescue and everybody agreed that the other car was in clearly at fault
Few brave South Sudanese came to our help and they directly confronted the aggressors from the expensive car that hit my car from behind.
One man from the crowd was visibly so much angry that he told the young man: “Who gave you the right to tell people to sit on the ground?”
This man from the crowd bravely continued: “I don’t care what position you hold in this country but people have rights under this flag, even foreigners.”
Another bystander courageously explained how he had fought for the freedom of South Sudan and how some people are now abusing the name of the nation and the flag by beating people up just because they can or just because they are from a ruling elite family.
All in all, I am a business man and I travel all over the world, but it is the first time I saw first hand justice on the streets of Juba, South Sudan. Some people are definitely behaving as if they are above the law; it seems because they are driving a big expensive car, they see themselves as more important than anybody else; hence some feel they can even beat up anybody on their way, right or wrongly.
I am traveling back soon, but I would like to send this open letter to any one who loves this country; to anyone who fought for the freedom of this country; to anyone who cares for the image of his/her country.
Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of South Sudanese are people loving and civilized people; however, there are some people who abuse the system, because they know if they are arrested they will be released.
Good people of South Sudan, if you love your country you have to make sure that the objectives and causes fought for tby he founders of this nation are not exchanged with oppression – the exact same thing that they fought against.
It is not good for the image of this country when I explain to my friends back home that I had been abused and assaulted in South Sudan, in front of the police who impotently watched us being mistreated without interfering, despite our having visas to stay in the country, despite being guests of the nation.
I will not keep any hatred in my heart despite having suffered a broken arm.
Nonetheless, I will not only remember how those men humiliated me but I will also gratefully remember those from the South Sudanese public who bravely stood for justice; those who came out to defend me and justice.
You the reader, I remind you to always stand on that side of justice.