NB: To all fallen citizens of our country, I say, rest in peace. Your country stands with your loved ones who are left behind with immeasurable grief and pain.
BY: Maker Mayek Riak, AUSTRALIA, DEC/28/2013, SSN;
Kuir wen Garang posted an article on SSN dated December 20, in response to my article posted on the same date and published by the same website. The article was entitled: “Dinka and Nuer are a sick and a cursed mob.” I wanted to respond on the same date, but, the events unfolding in our country needed a deep reflection. I took my time to reflect with a sombre mind. Now, grab yourself a cuppa, I have had the chance to respond.
Let me confess about a past habit. I used to have a keen following for Kuir wen Garang’s articles. But I stopped after a while as they became too complex to read, excessively wordy and long-winded on key arguments.
I must say, Kuir is a one distinct writer among a pool of mediocre writers. He stands out. He has all the attributes to climb to heights internationally in some near future.
I also admire his courage and determination to apply his intellectual endowments to change a country that he loves. He is passionate. We share that value.
For now, let me unpack and breakdown the arguments Kuir postulated in his response to my article. Let me jog your noggin about a word that Kuir used: Jieng.
I will not use the word ‘Jieng’ here because it is not universally known and since we are writing to the South Sudanese as well as international audience, I will stick to Dinka. For future reference, if Kuir wants to use that word ‘Jieng’, he should also use ‘Naath’ as opposed to Nuer. But I won’t waste time on semantics.
Kuir starts by describing my article “as emotional, polemical and personalized article”. Man, who wouldn’t be emotional seeing the destruction that has been heaped on the country! Kuir must have ingested a strong dose of some concoction that separates his emotions from the current realities.
Polemical? Kuir must be in a world of his own. I used to refer to Kuir as a writer who calls it like he sees it, without fear or favour. Not any more. What controversy is he scared of? And how is it controversial to put forward facts as they stand?
In any case, isn’t controversy the reason for intellectual discourse? Does Kuir want to see mundane and humdrum arguments to be the centre of South Sudan’s intellectual debates? I hope not. If so, that will be the death knell of our intellectualism. I reject it outright.
Kuir also stated: “Maker presented Jieng and Nuer people as if they are some kind of homogenous (sic) tribes. Internal differences and realities can’t give anyone any ground to over generalize ethnic realities.”
To be honest, I don’t understand what Kuir meant by “some kind of homogenous (sic) tribes”. Let me guess he intended to refute the argument I made that Dinka and Nuer are people of the same kind.
If that is the case, then I am absolutely taken aback by Kuir’s knowledge of our people. Actually, I think Kuir has a deep understanding and knowledge of our people. He probably didn’t think much about making that argument.
On the question of generalisation, Kuir is in denial about what our country is going through and the agents of this destruction. We can give a long list of what Dinka and Nuer have done to each other and the deep sense of hatred they harbour against each other.
But I will not do that because they are documented and any one can access them on the internet. Let’s give a simple example.
If the current social media commentary by Dinka and Nuer people is anything to go by, then, a just bystander could immediately form a view of the bitter relations between the two tribes.
I have had Nuer friends, who I have shared the same plate with and drank from the same cup, calling for the heads of Dinka people. I have also had Dinka friends who have dismissed the wanton and targeted slaying of Nuer civilians as widely reported in Juba. You don’t need any special lenses to make the argument that I made.
Kuir is also right. We shouldn’t generalize a people for the actions of a section. But isn’t it true that one rotten fish spoils the whole shoal? In fact, in the case of Dinka and Nuer, it’s more than one. Doesn’t Kuir the events of 1991?
If it wasn’t the intention of a sizeable section of the community, the decimation of human life that was exacted on the Bor Community would not have happened.
Okay, just a week ago, there was that sickening, vicious and targeted killing by the members of the Presidential Guard. If it wasn’t the intention of many Dinka soldiers in the Presidential Guard, would a lot of innocent Nuer civilians have been killed? Let’s not lie to ourselves.
Kuir also stated: “To make it even worse, Maker uses his family’s example as an exacting fact of the Jieng’s and Nuer’s realities. This is not only factually irresponsible, it is misleading.”
As far as my family is concerned, a friend of mine and a former classmate Jacob Adut Mabor stated: “Matik……..I wish they (Dinka & Nuer) will read and understand this article.” How foresighted!
It did not take long before a very good intellectual in Kuir wen Garang made the mistake of not having understood the gist of the analogy. And then Kuir argued, “this is not only irresponsible, it is misleading.”
I nearly fell off the chair laughing when I was reading this. I don’t understand what is irresponsible and misleading about using a family related analogy to make a point.
Kuir probably did not understand the idea of the three brothers and the three “leaders”, Kiir, Riek and Gadet who are also brothers. I will leave that with my dear brother, Kuir, to chew over.
Kuir also stated: “For Maker’s account to be taken seriously, he should have given a fact-based contrast between these two tribes and other tribes in South Sudan. How different in terms of cultural tendency to violence are shilluk, Murle, Toposa, Madi, Kuki, Bari, Moru and other tribes from Jieng and Nuer?”
It isn’t my habit to go on a merry go round on issues of national importance. Any one person has the tendency to do anything as long as there is a motivation.
For Dinka and Nuer, the motivation is the tribal hegemony precipitated by hatred. How do you explain the defection of Peter Gadet and a large contingent of Nuer soldiers if it is not tribal allegiance! I call spade a spade.
“We shouldn’t undermine our intellectual roles by presenting writings that can be seen as comedy by others.”
Kuir wen Garang, Dinka and Nuer are already a laughing stock of all and sundry. They are an open book of comedy. They have hoisted their reputation with their own petard.
have no sympathy for someone who knowingly shoots own leg and then forces people not to call him a cripple. I abhor the idea of sugar-coating things so that we don’t look bad in the eyes of others.
Kuir ends his arguments stating that: “To generalize the Jieng and Nuer as having been ‘cursed’ and to use one’s filial realities to generalize a human population is irresponsible. While the writer had good intentions, he shouldn’t do that at the expense of facts and truth.”
My brother Kuir, what is irresponsible is the unnecessary loss of lives, the destruction of property and the regression of service delivery that the people are badly yearning for. What I stated are facts and they are there for everyone to see.
For that reason, I still believe “Dinka and Nuer are a sick and a cursed mob.”
In a nutshell, Kuir Garang failed to say facts as they are. Dinka and Nuer are brutish, vicious and they hate each other. Until we accept this fact, national reconciliation will be hard to forge. We must accept what we are to change what we are. I rest my case.
Maker Mayek Riak is a lawyer. You can follow Maker on twitter: @MakMayek