Who is a patriotic South Sudanese?

BY: Deng Mangok Ayuel, AWEIL, NBGS, MAR/14/2013, SSN;

“To oppose corruption in government is the highest obligation of patriotism ― G. Edward Griffin”

Dying for the sake of liberation for justice, freedom and democracy were jingoistic confidence in Dr.John Garang’s SPLM/SPLA which brought our independence. However, South Sudan as a newly born country in Africa has never been fairly breathing politically at times. This is because the ruling party is not given a break by individuals who think they can do things better than those who fought for decades. It is surprising to have had fought for decades and botched to unite as South Sudanese and a political family in democratic world. The unity of purpose or political rationale needs collective hands and minds for nation buildings. It is a work for all.

Whenever there is peace in hearts, there is hope or love among the people – that hatred, corruption, tribal conflicts and cattle raiding are evil exertions that can bring shame to the society. Experience taught us how to be the masters and servants of our doings. We must change our traditional ways of approaching issues in the country. Poverty has been residing in our minds and soul, simply rooting corruption in our institutions.

Who is a patriotic South Sudanese? Where isa patriotic South Sudanese in me? I am forcing back tears of pride at my South Sudanism. It is my moral outlook to grieve, tell the truth and join hands with others to work together than blaming, criticizing anyone. This is my own idiosyncratic thoughts of ‘patriotism’ and I believe that many South Sudanese have impending hopes for their future. I shouldn’t stop doing what I have been doing. I have to contribute for the success of our nation.

Amid our political disagreements, patriotism — an entrenched love of our country — remains striking a hungry hole in hearts that has the potential to bring us together, particularly at times of national reconciliation. Is it easy for South Sudanese to reconcile and forgive each others?

It is better for those who wronged others to apologize before reconciliation. This shows that anyone can make mistakes but acceptance of wrongdoings upshots to forgiveness. I urge everyone to embrace a culture of peace, love and political togetherness to stop corruption and tribalism.

Within my own painstaking rational tribe of thoughts, patriotism is sometimes considered as a ‘political problem,’ – chauvinistic that is morally fitting to be protected by South Sudanese constitution and human rights activists. Every South Sudanese has a tone to voice, regardless of political background, tribe and education. Of course, freedom of expression is not freedom of obligation; I am afraid to pronounce that ‘constructive criticism’ is oil to politics.

A patriot is a person who loves, supports, and defends his/her country. While it is true that in a democracy, citizens/politicians are free to embrace their own individual positions in a fair opposition to the government’s because there is no country without opposition if there is a need to oppose.

Patriotism is in the end, unifying. “United we stand, divided we fall.” This aphorism captures the spirit of what it means to be a patriot. While we may have differences, we still share a common bond in wishing the best for our country. Indeed, for the most part, it cannot be disputed that patriotism calls for people to stand together. Taking pride in one’s nation and proudly representing it – my country, my people.

Be it a soldier, a civil servant, a politician, or everyday citizen. To be a patriot however, doesn’t mean that you need to publicly announce your love of nation. It can be a private, personal pride. After all, patriotism at its core is a feeling and voluntary. There is no need for patriot to cry through writings.

The idealistic problem of patriotism is blind ‘self-perfection’ and intellectual assumption of oneself as the better person among 8 million South Sudanese. Some people think of patriotism as natural and proper zeal of affection to one’s own country in which he/she was born, raised and fought for the benefits of life on its soil, among its people, and under its laws. They also consider patriotism an imperative part of our identity.

Some go further, and argue that patriotism is morally binding, or even that it is the core of integrity. There is, however, a major tradition in moral thinking which understands morality as fundamentally universal and impartial, and seems to rule out local, partial relation and loyalty. It is you, who is a patriot, that all you should do is to be honest, willing, transparent and accountable.

Patriotism has many eyes in political South Sudan. On 9th July, 2011, my colleagues and I celebrated the day to remember our fallen heroes and heroines. It was the genesis of our political achievement in which you and I deserve the right to enjoy the fruits of the struggle. Therefore patriotism versus nationalism but in one –!

According to George Orwell’s contrast as I quoted, “Nationalism is about power. Its adherent wants to acquire as much power and prestige as possible for his nation, in which he submerges his individuality. Patriotism is a devotion to a particular place and a way of life one thinks best, but has no wish to impose on others. Nationalism is aggressiveness and patriotism is defensiveness.”

When we celebrated the day – we were patriots and nationalists in our pending desires. Some of us have different interests that need unique strategies. It is about employment – either political, civil service, private sector job or joke vacancies. However, patriotism and nationalism are distinguished in expressions of the strength of the love and unique concern one feels for it, the degree of one’s recognition with it.

South Sudan is for everyone. If you feel that things are diverging, the good way is constructive dialogue and informative media approaches to create awareness and problem-solving mechanisms. The cure for fire is not fire.

South Sudan’s independence from the Republic of Sudan on July 9, 2011 was met with joy, hope, worries and many challenges. Despite the fact that South Sudan is gifted with large amounts of natural resources, the country faces hindrances. These included a population suffering from invincible poverty and cattle raiding; extremely low levels of human capital amassing, food insecurity, poorly developed economic infrastructure, invasive bureaucratic corruption and political opposition for nothing. As mentioned there is nobody to blame, our country is new and needs patience than oppositions. Patriotism is not opposition.

Patriotism has a fair number of critics. The morality of writing to inform is, writing to die or stop writing to forget anything anywhere by everyone when it is enemizing. Are opinion writers patriots? Be it. I wanted to be an enemy to English vocabularies only – ‘English words’ not English or South Sudanese. And I am fighting now with my keyboard on the computer in order to avoid confrontation with words by those who usually disagree with anyone.

All in all, patriotism is not a disgrace at all. It sounds like this as they put it: “on my honor, I will do my best to perform my duty to God and my country.”

In my previous article titled, South Sudan: prides of our generation, and in my own wordings, “South Sudanese are great people. I graphed how uncles have balanced their lifetime as rebels during the civil war in Sudan and after separation as politicians in the Republic of South Sudan. They are patriots with hearts for their people and the next generation. There has been optimism in what they had been doing – that we have been socially and politically ordained by their visionary success in which you and I are now South Sudanese. There is no better time than now. The time to work, dream, excel and forget the past. It is our time to make things happen, milk our dream or enjoy the fruits of success.

Deng Mangok Ayuel lives in Aweil. He can be reached at: mangokson@gmail.com


  1. King of Nyamlele says:

    Patriots are many, but corrupt, nepotism and tribalism. HERE and THERE.

  2. Joy Samaya Kimbo says:

    Dear Brother Deng,
    I did enjoy your article because patriotism is dying in South Sudan and it has been overcome by tribalism in our government and in our communities. So, we need the people like you to promote nationalism and patriotism. Brother, there are people who are now bringing the issue of 1991 against Dr. Riek Machar when he stated that he’ll run for the SPLM Chairmanship, instead of challenging Machar in the areas of leadership, vision and his agenda.

  3. Dan says:

    Do not forget that your leader, Dr. Riek Machar could not manage his Nuer Faction that defected with him in the 1990s. So I do not know whether you, his supporters are trying to tell us that he was immature by then and that he is old enough now to do what he could not do then.
    Late Paulino Matip who was totally illiterate was more popular among the Nuer in his Unity State than our dear vice president. So what is the go with some people every time there is a disapproval of the Juba government they do not hesitate to come up with the name Riek Machar? Who told them that their man is the only politician capable of salvaging the people from the wreckage?

  4. Paul says:

    Dear Deng,
    I truly appreciate you for writing this sophisticated and a very intellectual article. I agree with you that we need to revive the sense of patriotism in our new nation. Also we need to be clear with what we are reconciling for when we talk of a reconciliation in our current context. In other words I agree with you that we need an apology first if needed in order to achieve reconciliation. But not the reverse order.
    I am not fully in agreement with you in whether our liberation fighters have faithfully demonstrated and shown the ordinary South Sudanese the love of their new born country. Instead, they have portrayed themselves in contrary to what you have just presented in your article. If patriotism is to be achieved in South Sudan then it has to be done collectively as you put it. But I encourage our leaders to change their ways in which they are running the country so that peace, unity and development can be achieved in our country.
    Thanks you once more for this thoughtful article.

  5. King of Nyamlel says:

    Joy, Paul and Dan,

    Together, we can build our nation. Let’s reconcile, unity in order to achieve what we need!!!

  6. Moses Jal says:

    Your article is beautiful on the surface. It is a result of feeling uncomfortable with the cries of victims of the pseudo patriotic leardeship and those that support them majority of their tribesmen. The complaints and criticisms you see are cries of the unsustainable corruption of power, embezzling of public resources and sitting on other peoples ancestral land. The argument is the people who find themselves at the other end of these terrible acts are told not to scream for the sake of unity and Patriotism.

    What should be said is the so called liberators should be told not to occupy other people’s ancestral land, or rape the country and abuse human rights for the sake of Unity and patriotism. Their being liberators does not give them free range to rape and abuse the nation. If the president indeed is a true patriot, he should step down and allow another patriot to try to lead our nation out of this mud our country is stuck into!

    You can not rape your brother’s wife and accuse him of not being a good brother when he cries out and insult you! The person who is spoiling brotherhood is you in the first place for not recognizing your brother’s rights and not respecting them and violating them!

    At the end of the day, if our country looses its path for good it will depend on the violators of human rights rather than the result of the cries of the victims! What should make us very uncomfortable are those who abuse power rather than the cries of the victims…That is true patriotism.

    A country is land and People…A true patriot will respect, protect the land and her people….who ever abuses the land (resource) and the People (and their land) is not a patriot but a thief in a leadership cloth….Moses Jal

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