The Dying Optimist in Me: Nothing to be hopeful about in South Sudan (Part I)

BY: KUIR ë GARANG, Alberta, Canada, FEB/15/2013, SSN;

I always remain hopeful even when there’s nothing much to be hopeful about in South Sudan. Well, my state of mind or state of heart wouldn’t change anything in South Sudan, would it?

Whatever I think, things would still take their natural course. President Kiir will rule for another two decades like his mentor, Yoweri ‘Museventy’; Dr. Marial Benjamin will yap to journalists about something he has no idea what it means; Dr. Riek Machar will call for reconciliation and peace without any structured procurement strategy; South Sudan will concede contested areas without any plan B and the dear leaders will keep on saying ‘they are our lands and we’ll get them back!

But how, I may ask? ‘Oh God!’ gave us CPA and he/she will give us our contested areas! Oh, give me my energy drink!

However, human beings, knowing such facts, still get up every morning and brood over the seemingly inevitable natural course of issues in South Sudan.

I’d like to be a pessimist in this article. Whatever I write in my useless, whining writs is just from someone far more divorced from the realities of things in South Sudan. If you’d like to change things in South Sudan, then stop writing and come down to South Sudan where people who’d want to change things come, goes the warning!

Really? Many of my colleagues packed up their bags and their diplomas with novel flares and ambitious optimism to go and ‘build’ the country. They’ve either mellowed out or they’ve become Romans; well, South Sudanese… no, they’ve started to bite at the… whatever?

So why am I pessimistic?

The oil was shut down by people who had no idea what the heck they were doing! I’m hopeless because SPLA soldiers, who are supposed to be the defenders of the country, are dying of hunger when ministers sit indifferently in their comfy offices.

By the way, those offices look like high-end homes of some Beverly Hills celebrities in Los Angeles. Do these ministers have conscience? Now that there is a looming war with Sudan or the threats of war, who do these ministers think would fight? Oh, I’m being stupid! They’ll run away and feast on their stolen millions in foreign lands!

Maybe Dr. John Garang and his colleagues were right in their SPLM Manifesto! They argued that some Anya Nya One fighters took up arms to fight for jobs. Once they were promised jobs in 1972, they stopped the war! They didn’t care about the fate of South Sudan thereafter.

Well, Dr. John, this seems to be unfortunately true with your ‘freedom fighters.’ They took their jobs and forgot about what they took up arms for. Civilians starve to death but they don’t even pay any lip service to the fact. They just ignore it. That’s why I’m pessimistic about South Sudan.

I’m pessimistic because educated people like the witty and highly critical Elhag Paul, know that I’m critical of the government and the pandemic incompetence in Juba. But still, he either can’t get it or he ignores it. He wants me to condemn the leaders not as South Sudanese government, but as a Jieng government. (Video Message to Mr. Paul)

I see corrupt, incompetent, and callous men ruling in Juba, but my brother sees Jieng men up to destroy the country. Any time my brother looks at me, he doesn’t see me. He sees the corrupt Jieng men in Juba. Any time he sees my writings, he reads my words upside down because of the haunting phantom of the corrupt Jieng men in Juba!

Why should I be optimistic when the best and the brightest only read their own words with interest but read others’ words with a pre-conceptualized prejudgment? No, I’m a South Sudanese and I’ll see corrupt men for who they are: Corrupt South Sudanese! Not Bari, Not Nuer, Not Jieng, Not Nyangwara…

Are some Jieng leaders corrupt? Yes! Are some Jieng men taking some innocent Equatorian people lands? Yes! Is the government of South Sudan dominated by Jieng men? Yes! Did some Jieng commanders kill some innocent civilians such as Taposas, Didingas, Nuers etc? Yes!

But my brother doesn’t want me to write ‘some’; he wants me to write that ‘ALL JIENG’ are destroying the country; even me thousands of miles away! Even that old Jieng lady in my Payam headquarter, Wernyol; who just had her kids killed and her cattle stolen by unknown gunmen.

Maybe my brother Paul needs help understanding what I write. But he’s a smart, intelligent man, who willfully ignores my position, as a government critic!

If the government is controlled by the Jieng, and I am a critic of the government, then how in the name of the carpenter’s son do I condone Jieng’s engendered problems? So I have no reason to be optimistic!

And why should I be optimistic when Juba is becoming a death bed for many South Sudanese and the government has no strategic plans for a fundamental change to the country’s problem? And why should I be optimistic when everything the SPLA fought against has been instituted in Juba.

Even a more satanic thing is this: Church leaders are questioning the separation of the state and the church! Yes, you heard, they are questioning the separation of the church and the state in the national constitution! I hope they are not on some divine booze!

And our Vice President thinks there’s something to be discussed about that! What exactly?! That people have to say Jesus in the Parliament? How about Allah and Mohammed as we have Muslims in South Sudan? And how about Adhiok’s Deng Pakeny, my ancestral, traditional god?

If you, South Sudanese, thought there is poverty of political leadership, then there’s sure no sanity in the South Sudanese church! So South Sudan should be a Christian nation? I hope they don’t have liquor stores in the church!

We fought against theocracy, dummy! We have ‘Oh God?!!” in the national anthem! What the… the… forget it! What again do you want? That ‘Oh God’ shouldn’t have been in the national anthem in the first place because South Sudan is a secular nation that respects the religious values of everyone. God or whatever that you worship should be private not a damn public issue!

We fought for freedom of religion and we have it in South Sudan! Get off the separation of the state and religion!

The church is not enough for you so now you want to get into the state house and the parliament! You’re damn crazy! Questioning separation of the church and the state should be treated as treasonous!

Pray in your churches, mosques, shrines… Jesus of Nazareth? Which state in South Sudan is this Nazareth located anyway?

This meddling doesn’t make me optimistic! No offense to good, religious people but the bad, religious people should keep their gods in their churches… or where they implore him/her! And by the way, don’t get angry at me because Jesus and his father have divine powers to come after me! So Chill!

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese author and poet. His latest books are ‘Is ‘Black’ Really Beautiful? And “Deng, Nyan-nhialdit and the Talking Crow (a children’s novel). For more information about the books, visit or . Follow the author on Twitter: @kuirthiy


  1. Deng Lueth says:

    Kuir e Garang,
    this is a great piece. I get you, I feel you as my fellow citizen. I am optimistic as much as I know you are; we will prevail! The free Nation of South Sudan will prevail.

  2. Issac Deng says:

    Corruption, land grabbing, public funds theft, is a massive lucrative business for all tribes who are represented in the government of South Sudan in Juba minus the majority poor citizens who are surviving on less than a dollar a day. Dr. John Garang was right yesterday, today, tomorrow. Our government will not free the people of South Sudan from the corruption and poverty because they are still busy stealing at every opportunity they can land their long hands at.

    Many things have been messed up by our leadership and some people are out to blame one whole tribe. This is not all Jieng stealing from South Sudan but unprincipled politicians from all tribes with their lucky well-connected families, relatives defending them at any cost. The so-called clean Equatorian leaders will not be pardoned because they are in the same political bed with the top Jieng leadership doing the same wrong. If we use all the available peaceful options to be part of change, we will be victorious even if they killed us as it happened to Isaiah Abraham. We have been bombed everyday and territories annexed to to the north, what we got in return is our government spokesperson whining on TV everyday. Idiots. I am pessimistic like you.

  3. Michael Abu says:

    No one can be free of corruption and inability to run the South Sudan. Whether you are Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, and the rest of Equatorians. We are just losing our country before our eyes, unless we act together to remove those leaders who are holding to leadership position that they are not able to manage like our sleeping president with the cowboy hat. If one might wonder why I called our president sleeping dog, you can review the president public/official picture under to proved me wrong by calling him a sleeping dog/cow boy. With this picture, you can tell that the man is lazy and the country needs an active leader.

  4. GatCharwearbol says:

    Not Dinka are all to be blamed. It is only few Jiengs who are tarnishing the name of the whole community. These are the greedy ones who do not have any vision for the South Sudan, but vision for their selfishness. Those who are blaming the chaos we are in now on Dinka community are dead wrong. Sure, Dinka sons are heading the government, but does this entitle all Dinka to own up to the mistakes the only selfish few have done? Should we hold all Dinka hostage because of few selfish ones?

    I believe that there are gentlemen in Dinka community and we should not generalize them with the crooks.

  5. Lumali Peter says:

    Mr KUIR,
    You are right. Actually we did vote to break away from the northern Sudan, because of the martyrs who died for the cost of the Southern Sudanese not for the politicians who are still alive now. it was not about the politicians it was about Liberating ourselves from the northern Sudan.
    On February, 14, 2013 I got something that surprised me, when Dr Riek Machar addressed the Party about the national reconciliation process in the country, warning people not to behave like ostriches by burying their heads in sand and ignoring the danger around. what he means that Life in the state of nature” (that is, without government would be solitary, poor, one nasty, brutish, and short. He also encourage Southern Sudanese to share ideas together and express opinion freely because he knew that Southern Sudanese always have the culture of fear to express themselves.

  6. Deng Akech A kuur says:

    Many thanks bro, this is a piece of advice that we should give and not be sadistic like others who want cover even when their mistakes have yielded results.
    if we continue to appreciate our bros for their wrong doings then God should punish us either for not telling the truth and that’s the only thing that will change the fate of our beloved motherland.

  7. Oh!!, bros, there is nothing will change our South Sudan its malpractice of ruling people who are gone skeleton, but there has been any development pave ways since the CPA was reversed into Referendum, so what else we think we should have helped if we have not been planning nothing to build our country whose young kids are crying for enough breastfeed from their mothers who go empty stomach for lengthy days and night. Well, we should find a right way to bring service to our people that can enhance them with nurturing minds and hearts to have loved their country whose their loved ones had died for its freedom, which we are still grilling on it.

  8. Wani George says:

    you are right to be critical of the mess in Juba. But one day write to advice your fellow Jiengs not to continue with their ill thoughts against other tribes in the South. Paul writes what is exactly happening on the ground. come and see for yourself what Jiengs are doing in the South. They have occupied peoples’ homes in Nimule by use of guns, Yei, Juba which is their target is daily in chaos. They have crowded Lo’bonok with cattle making cultivation difficult. God forbid. Jiengs will be held responsible in case of any eventuality.

  9. Ernest says:

    This is a very good piece of advice and your clarfication to mr. El Hag Paul for your critics is very convincing I hope you are all boarding one boat now,,, I hope so….God bless all.

  10. Juma says:

    To the writer,
    the looming ministerial reshuffling and scrapping off some unnecessary ministries will provide hopes if kiir government does it carefully by eliminating the corrupt and inefficient ministers and ministries, no one would wish to condone such act as long as he is a patriot, land grabbing will soon come to end going to Ramciel city…let’s have hopes here….let’s pray that the wind of change that had cleaned the army, police would continue to pass via wildlife, prisons, ministries, and even in national parliament so that south Sudanese could get their desired services since the current are of a group of self serving, it will economically meet our limited funds and fully fulfilled austerity that had long time been talked about. To end corruption the would be reshuffle should be audited immediately in the following so that they serve as example to the incoming cabinet.

  11. Wani George:
    Dinka are not occupying the places in the South Sudan for being enemies! They are not enemies. Occupation has a different way of interpreting on things. Let them stay in the places as long as they want! It is part of their homeland in the South. You can live in their places in the lands if you want-to! I am from Otuho tribe from Eastern Equatoria State in Torit whom belonged from there before! I am going to stay in any land in South of my own choosing without any problem for me at all! And I will be feeling at home as a true son of the native in the village!
    Never take Mr. Paul Alhag problem like he is enemy of Dinka people in the tribe!He is just talking only on bad things in our government in the South Sudan under SPLM ruling party leading my President Salva Kirr Mayardit presidency and administration! Let us live together in both peace and harmony in the homeland in the South! We are one family! There are now northerners living in the South Sudan peacefully with Southerners.There have been no attack ever done for them while they are our common enemies in the north.! Cheers!

  12. Dengdit says:

    This is an eloquently constructed article, Kuir e Garang. We need more people like you who are ready to stand up against tribalists, even from their own tribe. Rather than rant against a single tribe and totally ignore the fallacies of the others, it is better to point out the mistakes of whoever practices these negative vices in the nation/govt.

  13. Great and touching art. Kuir. Paul ought to have read this, most of us have so far shattered the dreams that we had from outside and if only Paul could bring change not as one tribe against another but as collective oppressed southerners by the current regime, we wouldn’t hestitate to join the revolutionary advocacy that he is contemplating to achieve.

  14. Dijango says:

    Dear Kuir,
    I have no idea who you are but I have come to know what you stand for and it is beautiful. It is great that you have lost your tribal lenses, I pray and hope that Elhag Paul drops his too and we begin to see our nation just as it is, tribeless and face the problems we face and enjoy its successes as the nation of the hopeful and the resilient. we are all South Sudanese and I couldn’t agree more.

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