Tears of noble sorrow on commemoration of May 16th, 1983

QUOTE: “A nation is not defined by its borders or the boundaries of its land mass Rather, a nation is defined by adverse people who have been unified by a cause and a value system and who are committed to a vision for the type of society they wish to live in and give to the future generations to come.” ― Fela Durotoye

BY: Matiop Alier Ngueny Gaker, MAY/16/2014, SSN;

When I grew up, I was then growing up with lots of heart-wrenching war stories being narrated at firesides in our village, about our past generations and forebearers, who fought and achieved exulting victories over the enemy, including how they had managed to bring more glory to our home villages.

In their admiration of fatherland, they lost sight of all other things, even if they mattered to them and staked their lives, on the cause, which was greater than their individual human needs.

As matter of fact, with such brave men of the past, such ones, there’s always a better relief for aggression and oppression, as they fought those past callous wars over the pasture lands and grazing fields with neighboring tribes.

Those glorifying war victories to this day are still told with vivification and exultation, not only as source of our inspiration, but they called upon every single generation of our people to step forward to sacred duty and to the defense of fatherland with blood and human life.

The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, telling such stories, was always the best way of relaying the origin of the Dinka society to its posterity and future generations.

Those stories and others of their kinds were source of our inspirations, bravery and courage, to which every age-fellowship of the Dinka country, who had come and gone, learned the very way of the tribe.

Yet, they instill valor and fortitude to face the enemy head on. And even today in seven out of ten states of our republic, those heydays are not forgotten but they are still our greatest sources of bull songs and tribal history.

However, the first generation of South Sudanese people, who would later joined the movement en mass drew unmistakable lesson from those war stories.

The subsequent generations of our people who would later joined the war of liberation, were inspired by their bravery and leadership they have shown in battlefield of war.

This fact can be attested to by decisive military victories, which were quite won by men of then the SPLA guerrilla organization.

The magnitude with which those sons of cattlemen, peasant farmers, and goat-herders managed to dislodge well-equipped Sudanese armed forces, supported by its air forces, however, had not remained behind the wall of those battlefields of war, but it’s quite well documented in the libraries of the world.

Not to mention, our gallant men of SPLA of Locust, Muor Muor, Zalzal, Intifada Divisions, just to mention a few, were simply inspired by heroic deeds of their past generations, and they were out to fulfill their chore at all cost.

Those men staked their lives for nothing else than a greater good and cause for liberty, including an independence of now the Republic of South Sudan.

These village illiterates were men who’ve no illusion to stab the cause of liberty like their forefathers, who had fought countless wars with their neighbors to defend the glory of their fatherland at unimaginable cost and price in human lives.

Every single one of those foot soldiers, let me tell you, was not angelic in nature, but they’re regarded as saviors of African people in the Sudan, and even to this day, every single one of them, is still commanding a very high regard across the motherland.

On July 4th, 1985, for example, a group of unknown ragtag barefooted soldiers stunned the whole Sudanese political and military universe, by staging unprecedented systematic dismantlement of a well-equipped ‘tens of thousands of forces’ of former President Jaafar Mohamed Numeiry, then a renowned dictator of Sudan, in a battlefield of war between Jemessa town and Pariak village.

Those foot soldiers, to the dismay and disappointment of Sudanese establishments, or “the sons of the land,” were nothing than combination of people who hailed from cattle-camps, peasant farming, and youth from various Sudan secondary schools and university backgrounds, and they constituted the very first SPLM/SPLA “Liwaa al-Jared” or “The Banner of the Locust” division.

Although I was then a small boy, I had a privilege to witness history written by those fellow countrymen.

For instance, while our cattle-camp was perching on the west embankment of the Nile at Magok, a divine summer camp of Gwalla de Bol, in late 1985, a company of SPLA soldiers under young officer, Mayen Lual Abiei, ambushed and destroyed large convoys of Sudanese armed forces at old Malek Village in less than an hour.

Then again by October 23rd, 1985, the three battalions of Cobra, Raad and Zindia, under stewardships of great personalities of Makor Lual, Geu Atherkuei, Kelei Riak Makol (popularly known as Abdelfatah), Gai Garang, Alierakuom, Thon Agoot, among others, under overall command of Major Thon Ayii Jok and Benjamin Nyakot Paka, had won the war over tens of thousands of Sudanese soldiers between Jemessah and Panwell village.

This war came to be known as the war of ‘tens of thousands.’ Those men were not men to look back in battlefield of war and as a result, many of them have disappeared in radar of war and political establishment.

To this day, those of Arok Thon Arok and Benjamin Nyakot Paka are all still idolized in every quarter of Bor Dinka and beyond. Posterity and history of nascent South Sudan would never forget these fallen heroes and architects of our political struggle throughout South Sudan.

Today as we remember and commemorate the 31st year of war inception on May 16th, 1983, those past war victories are now façades of faded war glory as our new republic sinks further into abysmal conflict of leadership struggle and lack of management skills.

Unfortunately, the very comrades, who used to dodge lethal bullets of the enemy under the same banner, are now having different ideas at the backs of their minds.

The last thing we needed was the event of last December 15th, 2013, which had set our country at unimaginable collision course, but the whole country was bracing for more violence.

Today in our nascent Republic of South Sudan, if you have a chance to set barefoot on the soil of our republic, you’ll therefore be faced with similar question: “where’s my country?”

Then again, just set your leg in back countries of our homeland as if you’re going to witness the waste of our country, and believe you me, you’ll therefore, be confronted with simple English question: “Who’re our good leaders?”

Just be braved enough to pay homage to local businessmen in Konykonyo Market and you’ll therefore, be face to face with same question: “Where are our so-called “good liberators?”

Comrades, set your foot there today in Republic of South Sudan, but you’ll then encounter the same question: “Where’s our government?”

The little bastard child of war has every reason to ask those questions, because is this the very country our people staked their lives in her honor and glory? Where is the future of our republic?

The cry of ordinary citizens in corners of the so-called our cities, Shantytowns, villages and hamlets, is very real. The cries of those internal displaced persons are no longer a matter of survival and fate.

It’s a matter of life and death. Theirs are deep sorrows of government turning a blind eye to their plights and agonies.

Their lamentations are deeply seated in noble grief of surreal neglect and latent flames of misery.

The orphan, the widow, the widower, the old, the former child of war is asking plain questions: “who in our and your generation, from every village and hamlet; town and city, back country and shantytown of our nation of South Sudan, would be the next George Washington of our republic and bring us out of this current conflict?”

“Who would be the Mao Zedong of our motherland to spearhead a new peasant revolution to the uplifting of our people from flames of poverty to a better standard of living?”

“Who among us is a man without self-seeking and self-ego to act on behalf of our posterity?”

“Who among us would rise up above petty tribal politics and realize that South Sudan in every walk of life is at the bottom of the totem of humanity and human development index?”

“Who’s a man of clean record among us here to fulfill the dreams and expectations of our forebears, to bring about a new development for their children up to the fourth and fifth generations?”

Where are our men and women of Washington’s caliber to bring our beloved country out of backwardness and tribal fiefdoms? Who among us is a man of unquestionable integrity? Who’ll come and go without looting from public coffers and riches of our homeland?

Who and when? Oh, thy Motherland!

From a small village of Rubkona in Western Upper Nile [WUN], to hamlet of Murle and home country of Anuak in eastern plains of Jonglei State [JOS], to villages of Ruto, Nyangatom, Taposa and Acholi tribes in Eastern Equatoria State [EES), to villages afar in Zandeland in Western Equatoria State [WES], to Fertit villages in Western Bahr El Gazaal State [WBS], to ironstone plateau homeland of Malwal Giernyang in Northern Bahr El Gazaal State [NBS], to the cradle homeland of Dinka tribe in Warrap State [WAS] and to small village in Aliab Dinka Valley, and further into Rumbek Agar, and to Ciece Dinka habitat in Sudd swamplands, our motherland, South Sudan, will you ever listen to cries of your citizens?

The tears of your children, your inhabitants, Oh, thy motherland, South Sudan, The land of brave and countless sacrificial heroes, are tears of killings, and insecurity, tears of tribalism and corruption, tears of embezzlement, and underdevelopment, tears of neglect and lack of direction and lately, cries of blood spilling.

Oh, thy motherland, is this the country our fathers staked their lives in your honor and glory? Oh, thy motherland, Is this country your sons and daughters sacrificed their lives in her glory and honor?

Oh, thy Nation of South Sudan, Our home country, the cry of your people stems from tears of noble sorrow, the killings, the tribalism and agonies of languishing in flames of poverty, which has becomes their daily staple food.

Oh, our homeland, our country, your people are not only yearning for a charismatic leadership, but they are meandering like sheep without shepherd and guardian in dark corners of refugee and internal displaced persons camps.

The common person who had previously offered his grain and cattle to finance the war of liberation in then tattered state and flame of poverty Sudan, is obsequiously still yearning to see the fruits of his investment bear better results.

He longs to see to it that the needs of his next generation of his kinsmen and fellow countrymen are concrete realities not mere slogans on Juba newspapers and media.

The recent bastard child of war is longing for service deliveries, but to his chagrin and despair, the war of liberation might have or had robbed him of the best father he held dearly, the lovely brother, the mother, who’s only source of his comfort and sister he would have found solace.

This little bastard child of war, according to this fact, has every reason to ask this question: “is this republic our fathers staked their lives in her honor and glory?”

If western traditional democracies, sovereign countries and nation-states are organically, socioeconomically, and socio-politically identified by their national frontiers, geopolitical realms, and their citizenry, then why can’t we have our own democracy here in South Sudan?

Let me take this last important part as the ending-point for presenting the relevant facts — again with an apology and a reminder that I am not a politician: We know definitely, today, that the greatest test and challenge in building foundations of viable civilized country, as a result, is to call for concerted more efforts of unselfish compatriot and patriotic citizen, the one, who may deny himself/herself of some basic wants and material things, which he/she deems fitted to have no meanings in his/her belief system.

These countrymen and women, for instance, the founders of western democracies, who planted trees and seeds of many generations, remain not only the greatest leaders and noblemen of their people, but they didn’t have political aspirations to reap or harvest fruits of their labor.

These leaders are still idolized as demigods in their own right. Such noble ones were not men to look back, but they rather set everlasting cornerstone —foundation of their home civilizations.

To look back was uncalled for in their unwavering political philosophies and this, however, would not answer the purpose and call of nation building.

What then the Westerners and Chinese of the time vividly knew and aspired for were everlasting solutions to problems of their subsequent generations of their people to start off of a life on certain foundations and economic footholds.

Several generations and multitudes have come and gone, yet the works they have set up may and will outlast many men and women of their respective countries.

If such developmental projects were correctly prioritized in our case; then they may help to enlighten the current and future generations of our posterity, from first unto the fourth generations, for example.

Unfortunately, without aggressive objectives and leadership pursuing them, especially men of high integrity, this ambitious tenet, without doubt, can lead us anywhere, or even worse, they would falter on their search for surreal cultivation of everlasting seeds and trees of a great cornerstone of human civilization.

Even equally important, if these seeds and trees of new human civilization were to be effective; then they’ve to take deep roots or changes in the lives of compatriot fellow citizens here and now.

Such men were not men to look back and questioned their actions. They’re born for service of their homeland.

However, since the departure of those noblemen and women; each and every subsequent fellow countrymen and women of those human races, who had come after them, have worked tirelessly on the footprints of their predecessors and forebears for the good of their posterity and offspring unto the third and fourth generations.

Such ones weren’t only selfless beings, but they were mortal geniuses, who have not only inscribed their noble names in good legacies of the world, but their subsequent compatriots had reasons to rightfully revere them with their good names now and forever.

At the same time, they had every right to cherish their ideals for betterment of their lots. To this end, monuments and memorial settings are built in their home countries in order to reward such ones.

Their good names are vivified in great admiration as long as history of human immortality continues to live on this life.

As a result, many of the world class universities and colleges also carried their good names; major roads and highways, airports, museums and libraries are named after every single one of them.

Cities and towns such as the District of Columbia named after the first American president George Washington is the living example of what hard work means in those countries. Such leaders and citizens were born to work. They were born to work and love their countries and people.

So, who is our George Washington at this hour to rescue our masses in shackles of poverty, remain a daunting challenge and question that might not be answered in our generation.

As I recall those years of selfless sacrifices of my parents with difficulty and in human imagination; I can still fathom those images of fellow villagers carrying roasted maize, gourds of grounded groundnut, and other seasoned foods on their way to Bilpam for military services.

I remember that very evening when children of our village’s renowned polygamous Machthui Bol, Alier Bol Pach, among others, left their homesteads as if they would return the next day, but only to learn the fate of their passing through other villagers and distant relatives.

As I write this piecemeal today, I still recall with difficulty those nights of fears, a claustrophobic one, the mass exoduses the village over; the relatives, and other village kinsmen murdered in a cold-blooded killings and their bodies tossed onto the Nile River, because they had been suspected as supporters of the SPLM/SPLA; the beautiful courage, the fortitude, the stamina and the resiliency of ordinary sons of peasant farmers in former Sudan to stand up to the might of Arab chauvinism and indiscriminate terrorism, and finally dismantling every root of Arab hegemony; Numeiry, in-between demagoguery rulers of Sudan, including Sadiq El Mahdi, the man whose family acquired massive wealth through slavery and predator tool of commerce on then Southern Sudan population and finally, Omar El Bashir in South Sudan, once and for all, to bring about the current nascent Republic of South Sudan.

Today is their day and posterity will always follow them wherever they are now. Now, even if we have a conflict today, the people of South Sudan have their day under the African sun! They have a place they call their homeland. May Almighty God rest souls of our martyrs in eternal peace!!

Views contain in this article are solely therefore, the opinions of the author only and he does not speak or represent any group, organization and political party. The writer is a trained biochemistry and chemistry scientist. He can be reached at matiopalier@yahoo.com


  1. Alier Gai says:

    Mr. Matiop,
    This artcle is a soul touching article, for the stamina you have used is representing garang’s voice on this very day of 16 may. You talked about moral practices, political hopes, and the role citizens and leaders would have to play to build a democratic nation on the prepared ground of multifarious tribes. I am totally agreed with you. It takes a village to raise a child, but a true leader needs a nation to bless him to rise above the village and do his work right. However, being many congregated tribes and by forming one nation without self-discoveries, knowing our strengths and weaknesses, is a challenge for many years to come. You have a strong traditional reserved-manner with memories of those brave pioneers who highlighted our liberty through their staid sacrifices. They incribed southern freedom in the bloods they offered selflessly with no more to be claimed later, and we are free at their cost. Mourmour and khoryom, wah yee!

  2. Matiop Alier,

    Thank you for recognizing our fallen heroes in your article and for regretting the chaos our country is going through. In your writing you mentioned that ” former President Jaafar Mohamed Numeiry, then a renowned dictator of Sudan” This sentence seem to me that you do not like dictatorship regime that is why the unity of Sudanese fall apart. If you know that South Sudanese fought against Sudan government because of dictatorship rule being practiced by Sudanese government leaders, and then why the Dinka communities in general today are strongly supporting Kiir’s dictatorship vision? Did we fight against Jaafar Mohammed Numeiry’s regime because he was not a Dinka? or do you believe that when a non Dinka’s president is a dictator is bad for the country? and when a Dinka’s president is a dictator is good for the country?

    My cousin, Dinka need to abandon the “born to rule” vision for the wellbeing of our country; for the safety of South Sudanese people; give room for our business people to establish themselves; and for our economic to grow. Let me assure you today, any country that is being ruled by a dictator is going to have war no matter how long it will take. It is a matter time the war is still going to occur. However, a country that rotates it leadership through genuine election and term limits, enjoy every lasting peace and prosperity on earth and those countries that rotate leadership will never perish from the earth either.

  3. Eli says:

    Matiop Alier Ngueny Gaker,
    From my perspectives you should never post this kinds of articles on a national website like Southsudannation as this is a website developed for the debates of national affairs not tribal prides. I for one don’t really care how much you Dinkas did or are doing to advance your tribal hegemonies. Matiop your article is of no benefit to the other 63 tribes non Dinkas of south Sudan. I compare you here to the Germans under Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party who used to think that they were the superior white race compared to other whites of Europe, however history has proven that they were wrong, we also saw another example close to home here was the Apartheid racist regime in South Africa who were also defeated. Today the Dinkas in South Sudan have proven to be the most tribalists of our era, what a shame. What you Dinkas need to understand is that, in today’s world there is no room for extremists like yourself Matiop. In the first place Dinkas are no braver than any of the 63 or so remaining tribes of South Sudan. In the picture you posted four men in military attires, to my understating the three men are of dinka descent but one of the man is a Nuer, although these men are supposed to represent all the south Sudaese but unfortunately they represent dinkas as you clearly pointed out. So that means South Sudan is officially a nation that shall always be ruled by tribal ethnic leaders not those who are patriotic national leaders as per se, according to your mentality of being the bravest and superior tribe, IT IS A FALACIOUS IMAGINATION Matiop, DON’T BE FOOLED, the WAR IS NOT OVER YET, in fact it has just began, your current success is only temporary one you dinka brothers shall all submit in due time, let me remind you that politics is like wind and will change directions when you least expected. Another reminder for you is, please read some history and find out the facts about the origin of struggles by the South Sudanese people, dinkas were never at the forefront of our struggles, in fact all these men you pictured here were novices and junior officers trained and apprenticed under the true liberation initiators of 1955 Anynya one movement. As far as I am concern Salva Kirr will be the first and last Dinka president of this new republic and mark my words.
    Eli Wani

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