BY: Choromke Jas, SOUTH SUDAN, DEC/30/2013, SSN;
My compatriots, once again, we Equatorians have been caught paralysed in the headlamp of historical and political change in our country. The first time this happened was when the SPLA was formed in the early 1983. We were reluctant to join the SPLA at that time because we suspected, with justification that the founders of the SPLA were acting out of spite because of Kokora.
Later, Dr John Garang, the then leader of the SPLA, was able to successfully hide the dark side of the army to make it a more respectable “liberation” movement worthy of support by all Southerners. Because of this cleverness on the side of Dr Garang, a number of Equatorians decided to join the SPLA.
Still, the presence of Equatorians in the SPLA was reluctantly welcomed by the Garang’s people. Equatorians were treated with contempt. Some of them were killed and others were constantly harassed and threatened with death.
Few of the Equatorians were put in positions of ‘authority’ mainly for the purpose of window dressing: to tell the world that the SPLA was for all Southerners. Despite these difficulties, a number of Equatorians thrived and persevered until the end of the war in 2005.
During the following years of transition and independence, the tokenism shown towards Equatorians during the war continued to be practised.
Equatorians again have been marginalized and considered alien in their own country. Their ancestral land has been settled over by hegemonic Dinka who consider themselves more “liberators” than Equatorians.
During the eight years, Equatorians have been under the thumb of those who claim to have been born to rule this country.
When I say that we are tired and sick of the present government, I speak for many Equatorians.
When I say that I look forward to the day when the oppressive system in this country will be “overthrown” to usher in change, I speak for many. The beginning of the change appears to have started on December 15, 2013.
But has it? For the second time, we Equatorians have been caught dazed in the glare of the headlamp of yet another momentous historical event.
The event of December 15, which has now led to genocidal blood letting in the country, appears to have nothing to do with us Equatorians.
Most of us believe that this is a quarrel between the Nuer and Dinka (collectively called Jenge). But is it really a quarrel between the two peoples only?
If that is what you think, my fellow compatriots, I do not blame you. This is because our leaders who are serving in the Dinka government have been peddling the propaganda that it is the fault of Dr Riek Machar who brought this calamity upon his Nuer people.
There has never been clear leadership and guidance from our Equatorian political leaders on what is going on in the country.
My dear compatriots, the fact of the matter is we as a people are now in grave danger because of what has happened on December 15.
At this juncture in our modern history we Equatorians must ask ourselves: What are our political interests and roles in the governance of this country?
How do we attain the interests and ensure our meaningful participation in governing this nation? Who are a threat and an obstacle to us in achieving these?
Let us consider the two warring people as a way of answering these questions.
I must confess that I do not know much about the Nuer or the Dinka. But I do know this: the Nuer can be accused of all things yet I believe that they have not, to the best of my knowledge, shown a deliberate design to oppress other ethnic groups in the South Sudan.
In contrast, the Dinka, at least their elite, have not hidden their hegemonic desire and design to colonize, oppress and rule other peoples in this country.
In the eight years of their reign, the Dinka have provided us with abundant evidence for this. They have raided our public treasury to finance their plans.
They have grabbed private land and occupied ancestral land of peoples in almost all the 10 states of the country.
They have killed people who have opposed their design. (Killing a Dinka, like Isaiah Abraham, does not negate the general sweep of their satanic plan).
And as we write, they have embarked on genocide against the Nuer. The difference between the two people, the Nuer and the Dinka cannot be starker.
Before we answer the questions finally, consider the following:
a) Is standing aloof in the face of the genocide now happening in our country to the best interest of Equatorians?
b) What have been the general effects on Equatorians of the 8-year Kiir’s regime?
c) Between Kiir and Machar, both of whom have their negative sides, who represents a lesser evil in regard to safeguarding the future of South Sudan and that of Equatoria?
d) If, it was Equatoria now facing the Kiir’s onslaught, could we resist him without allies?
e) Who should be our allies as we look to the future?
My dear compatriots, from my own assessment, which I believe is shared by many, the genocide now being committed against the Nuer has two main purposes:
1) to collectively punish the Nuer people because they are of the same ethnicity with Reik Machar; and,
2) to teach other ethnic groups which harbor ambition of opposing the Dinka dictatorship that they will suffer the same fate if they dare to implement their ambition.
The time for decision is now. The interest of Equatoria is peaceful co-existence, justice and equitable distribution of wealth and services.
Furthermore, Equatorians want to participate, fairly, in the running of the affairs of this country. The group which is a threat to this interest and ambition is the Bahr el Ghazal Dinka under Salva Kiir.
For me, and I believe for a large number of Equatorians, we are better off allying with Nuer and other ethnic groups in this country.
Play your part by joining the group which is on the right side of history, which is Dr Riek Machar’s side. We will meet there.
God bless you and God bless South Sudan.