Poverty of Wisdom and the death of Isaiah Abraham in South Sudan

BY: Kuir e Garang, ALBERTA, CANADA, DEC/06/2012, SSN;

Mr Isaiah Abraham, whose real name is DIING CHAN AWUOL, a Dinka Bor from Pongor, was shot dead on Tuesday, 4/2012, at his home in JUBA, in what can be construed like a political assassination. He was a prolific and often controversial writer very popular on the internet. (ED)

The death of Isaiah Abraham is disheartening. What exactly did we fight for? What would a person like me hope for in South Sudan? More often than not our leaders lean on the ‘age’ of South Sudan: we are still young! Oh, give me a break!

No country is too young to put down governing modalities. A government is only cited as young in terms of developmental expectations. However, putting down governing strategies, developmental modalities and investment catchment areas and ambiances doesn’t need the country to be ‘old,’ whatever that means.

A colleague of mine, Nhial Tiitmamer, once put it wisely that “the country might be young but we are not!” If such wisdom comes from a young person, what in the name of hell are old men doing by not setting up peace-abling modalities and sentiments?

The young journalist, Mading Ngor Akech, hosted a popular radio show in Juba to help South Sudanese air their opinions as one way of enjoying the fruits of independence. He was constantly reminded of how intolerant our ‘freedom fighters’ have become. He was constantly reminded not to criticize the government! What?

Dr. James Okuk, Dr. Jok Madut, etc.. etc.. have faced intimidation or humiliation in the hands of South Sudanese security agents. Opinions don’t bite. They should serve to bolster ones determination in doing good. Just prove someone wrong by doing something good.

Opinion writers have become targets. What has to be noted is that an opinion is an opinion and what one has to do is to disprove the opinion in the same method it was delivered in, or one has to disprove it through deeds, good deeds that is.

I disagreed with almost everything late Isaiah Abraham wrote, but I wrote opinion articles criticizing him. But what business does one have killing a young person who was using his brain-pen power?

The president went extra-judicial by calling for the arrest of young journalists, who wrote opinion articles against his daughter’s marriage to an Ethiopian immigrant in South Sudan. If the president does that then why wouldn’t anyone go after journalists and political analysts?

One has to bring charges before the judge decides whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant jail time. The police only have a short window to make their case whether to charge someone or not. They have no authority to send someone to jail.

However, in South Sudan, one is arrested and jailed by the police and then the judge is asked to decide whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant one’s release from jail.

If we have lost leaders to corruption and greed in South Sudan, then where the hell are elders? Where is the wisdom of elders in South Sudan? Have we also lost our elders to corruption, too? Or have we lost our elders to fear of the ‘freedom fighters?’

If we have poverty of leadership in South Sudan, then we need the wisdom of South Sudanese elders to start doing its function. We need someone to tell the former freedom fighters, who have now become freedom stiflers, that their heads are stuck deep inside corruption pot.

Some leaders talk of “I’m clean…I’m not corrupt,” but if you look at their entourages, you come to realize that they have people from their own tribes or relatives with them. Sometimes state visits feel like family visits. Even someone who is one of the least corrupt in South Sudan, Wani Igga, isn’t immune from the fact that his state visits looked like a family visit.

Note, I’m not saying that Isaiah Abraham was killed by the government of South Sudan because I have no evidence to support that; however, I know one thing for sure. The government is not putting down strategies that’d make sure such extra-judicial murders don’t happen.

When government officials go abroad, they talk of how great they are doing, how young the country is and that they should be given time… and how enormous the task of national building is. However, they don’t tell us clearly how the problems should be tackled.

Even if I don’t know, by now, who killed Isaiah Abraham, I still point my fingers at the leadership that is doing nothing to fight extra-judicial killings. Extra-judicial murders and political intimidations are the order of the day in Juba.

It doesn’t matter how long it takes, we’ll get you: the corrupt officials, political assassins…. We’ll get you even when you’re 90 years old and frail.

I’m calling on people like State minister of defense, Majak D’Agoot; SPLA Chief of Staff, James Hoth Mai; Security minister, Oyay Deng Ajak; SPLM secretary-general, Pagam Amum Okech; minister, Deng Alor and Speaker, James Wani, to know that as much as you think you’re doing your best, your silence will push this country off the cliff.

We are not asking you to build Washington D.C in Juba in ten years; that’d be a stupid and impractical expectation, however, we are asking you to put down visible and workable modalities that can guide the nation into peace and development.

R.I.P Isaiah Abraham! We’ll keep writing.
Kuir e Garang is a South Sudanese poet and author living in Canada. For more info visit www.kuirthiy.info or follow him on twitter: @kuirthiy


  1. Anyangaliec says:

    Resorting to dirty tactics like assassinating or murdering own citizens won’t help, but hurts. In retrospect, nations that do these ruined their future. And it’s exactly where we’re at this hour.
    To those who killed ‘Diing Chan Awol’ (Isaiah Abraham). We will get you no matter how long it will takes. Warning too to those of Akol Paul Khor and Acuil Manol. Be mindful that what goes a round comes a round. Else..R.I.P Isaiah Abraham.

  2. Lam Jok says:

    This is very sad and surpering news to hear that Isaiah Abraham was assassinated; I never thought that the intellectual person like Isaiah could be killed by south Sudanese. Why always the government officials asking the educated people from diasporas to go home and help the new nation?
    Is their intention is to kill them? Isaiah Abraham was one of the educated people whose articles can change the nation. If there is justice the killers must be brought to justice.
    Isaiah was a very Confident writer who has the courage to speak plainly; to let his thoughts shine rather than criticism toward government he was the open-minded.
    However, Isaiah’s correction thought unique is its clarity and dignity, and its clear grasp of freedom and justice: simple, his clear words that are understood without the need for any help from dictionary by lower educated people.
    Most of his articles published from south Sudan nation newspapers, were very well written I do not think that he should be killed because he used to criticize the corruption of present from the rulers of our nation. His works will be alive until the truth appears simple, plain truth that the law and the constitution must be fair, and must be applied equally to everyone; that a leader should not be spared a just trial, nor leave unpunished if he /she is found guilty of killing democracy or stealing money, or corruption, looting government properties or any other charge. Immorality from our government is infectious
    Lam Jok

  3. Mach Achiek says:

    Kuir, You are very fair and balanced. However, I am not. I have no reason to believe that Isaiah Abraham was not murdered by government security agents the same way they killed many others. I have been to South Sudan many times. There are those that must be killed outright, and those that should be intimidated. It is a strategy designed to chop off the head of potential future leaders somewhere just for the sake of fear, fear and nothing but fear of their meritocracy instinct.

  4. Malou Manyiel says:

    It’s very unfortunate, Kuir Garang, to have learnt that Isaiah Abraham has been killed. I wonder which direction is South Sudan heading to if such productive people like Isaiah Abraham are killed? One would asked a question of why do we have a country for? Was it a mistake to have voted for the independence of South Sudan? It was in our minds, we young South Sudanese, that our dreams and expectations are alive now that we have a country. We didn’t know that it is a death destination for young and productive people like Isaiah Abraham who would have lifted up this country in the future if he was alive.

    May God rest his soul in peace!

  5. Madit Barach Dau says:

    South Sudan is a new Somalia in the making> How on earth do you murder citizens because of their opinions? My great friend,Isaiah Abraham was assassinated by the so-called National security, who are always terrorizing the citizens at night, this is a reality that can’t be disputed by the Government.
    Last month, he told me his life was in danger because of the article he wrote about 14 miles of Northern Bhar el Ghazal, hence, the government knows the culprits behind the assassination.
    We have brutal and vision-less government that is perpetuating the killing of innocent citizens, but one day there will be accountability of these crimes being meted on innocent citizens.
    condolences to the family, relatives, friends and people of Twic East, May Almighty God rest his soul in peace.

    Madit Barach Dau.

  6. Manut Michael Lual says:

    May the Almighty God rest his soul in peace. Just pray for him bros & sisters.

  7. Nyangkor says:

    I am disheartened to hear of that sad end to Isaiah’s life. What a waste of a human blood. why would a person take someone’s life just because they have a different point of view from that of his/hers? Is this what our country become? If this was really done by the so-called freedom fighters, it would have become clear they are unbecoming of what they always preach. Freedom fighters!. Guns may have forced the vote, but guns did not vote; southerners did in droves. R.I.P. Isaiah, We all will miss you.

  8. Manut Michael Lual says:

    To the diaspora who are in other countries: it is better for you to stay where you are now instead of coming back to south Sudan. A country with no respect to their citizens. I am very sorry to this useless country. Shame on the national security.

  9. Deng Ngor says:

    I have thought our government could have done better to promote good security in the state, to protect it from civil war. Killing of Isaiah Abraham is unfortunate and bad. Killing, is it the freedom we would like our people to see? God rest his soul in peace.

  10. Alfred Atem says:

    Dear Kuir,
    First of all, it is the saddest moment for the people of South Sudan to lose a very talented and clever man. Our brother has proved to South Sudanese the meaning of “a free man”. He was an advocate for a real change of heart. Many thought he was playing around with their ideas, but the reality is correct. He is a very dedicated man. May the almighty rest his soul in the eternal life and comfort his family.
    Coming to the way forward, it is a fact, we (South Sudanese) live with the death and nobody fears it anymore. I always blame Mr John Luk Jock, our Justice Minister, of not coming out clearly on these issues. Mr John Luk is a man who does not condone any thought of wrongdoing, but of late, he and Makuei kept their mouths shut on issues known to the public.
    Last week addressing the Governors forum, the Minister admitted that his colleagues are always taking the law into their hands by killing and arresting without due judicial processes. Here now a clear evidence unless the leadership tells us who is behind the killing of Isaiah Abraham.
    We need a radical change.

  11. Am very disgraceful and almost running mad about the situation in my country….why? What is the problem? Killing our Eminent always wouldn’t help Us.

  12. Gatkuoth Lok says:

    I am sorry to hear the death of Isaiah. But am not surprised that many objective writers are being targeted for the fear of unknown. If you work hard to actualize the freedom you dearly need, you also accept the consequences. As the deceased did.
    The more our agony intensifies to the apex the better, in this century to be heard. The death of this man seems to me a vital impetus to help us understand that obtaining the South we need not re-creative and quirky intellectuals to work for the change we yearn for. The killers of Isaiah are neither happy nor unhappy for they will only be happy and therefore victorious only when we give up fighting for our freedom to do what they want us to do.
    Since they think we are irrational animal-likes that they think will always give up what they do when seeing one of them dead. However; they will not be happy when we do not give up adamantly no matter what it takes. This will be the time many will force themselves to think of the fate of their leadership likening it with Sadam Hussien’s fate and Gadhafi’s sad fate. At this time the killers will not be at ease they will try to bring us together when in weak position in many forms of good taste like general amnesty and national reconciliation etc, to contain what is about to go away from their control. You know what to do safely to counteract and you know the counterexamples you need not be told. The saying alleged to be a practice of the Northern security that ‘we kill you and make your funeral,’ is likely true in the South for we do and say as they do. A death of a hero is encouraging to help followers dedicate their life or lives to the course.

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