Freedom is still not free

By Akol Arop Akol

Day passes and another comes with the same stories, I wonder when my people shall be free in their own country. They are not free from conflicts, not free from spirit of division, not free from domestic violence, not free from illiteracy, not free from corruption, not free from poverty and all forms of injustices; where is freedom?

When the liberation started, I was young but I saw some of it and I still remember some of the miserable stories about war, death, destruction and poverty. Even still in 1998 we had to run to forest for safety when gunship came above bombing us. As a child I couldn’t know what the war was about but my mom used to tell me that SPLA which was poorly pronounced as “Asilay” was fighting with Arabs to bring freedom.

And that when there is freedom we shall have everything we want in life. The army hoped to fight and bring freedom to the suffering population and the mission was achieved that is why we have an independent South Sudan today. We need to ask ourselves that “what have we enjoyed after the struggle to liberate the country? Are we really free from what we are supposed to be freed from?  The fruits of freedom should be enjoyed by each and every South Sudanese because they all have citizenship rights and had also contributed to liberation in many ways.

If you have grown crops, and someone come to harvest, how will you feel?  Even when you cultivate your crops, and your brother just come to eat during harvest time you won’t be happy because he is lazy and doesn’t help you.

South Sudan is like a groundnut field, meaning there are people of course (South Sudanese) who cleared the garden and planted their seeds, some people among them or strangers come to pick and go not minding who sweated during the cultivation.

Our ripe country is being looted by few individuals who have power and connections while the vulnerable South Sudanese are watching, crying, starving and dying. Is there unity, sympathy, charity and patriotism among us when a child whose parents got killed begs but gets embarrassed and even slapped just because he asks for help or get tempted to pick something like money or food because he is hungry!

The rich rejoice as their corrupted wealth keeps flowing while the poor are still mourning their beloved ones who perished for the sake of freedom,  a freedom enjoyed by certain clever group,  a freedom translated as sleeping in hotels with dollars instead of building their own concrete houses as part of infrastructural development, a freedom misunderstood as a going for honeymoon in Dubai with government money, a freedom taken as building alcoholic bars and hotels instead of schools for children, a freedom that made some people feel like they are the real South Sudanese because they have materials, military or political ranks yet we are all equal humans and the same South Sudanese.

My people let’s have national identity, unity and share our resources for every Son and daughter of this motherland to prosper and live in peace and freedom. It is time to stop marginalization, exploitation and political confusion which always lead to conflicts and vulnerable people become the victims. They need freedom. They planted crops (liberation) and watered it to grow to bear fruits (freedom) which we should fairly and equally share.

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