Pursuing peace peacefully: Using history to make peace

It is important to remember that from 2013 until now, some South Sudanese leaders created a Dark Age for the country and it has lived through its short history. This period, full of agony, is unforgettable. During this period, South Sudanese fought themselves brutally and died in large numbers for what can hardly be classified as defense of patriotism, democracy or good governance.

The credibility of the war will ever remain questionable. The highly atrocious war was totally unacceptable, unexplainable and unnecessary because there were and are all options for addressing the problem peacefully if the warring sides’ political leaders had the political will for peaceful resolution of their differences. This period goes into history as a period when the country’s leaders cared only for themselves.

It is now about five years since 2013 that the two warring sides fought each other and massively vandalized the country, looted civilians’ property, caused untold suffering, loss of lives and forced millions into refuge and internal displacement to suffer from poverty, hunger, disease, psychological traumatization, squalid living conditions and death.

It is now over 12 years since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that South Sudanese soldiers from the warring sides became their own people’s enemies, mere tribal militias, armed themselves against their own people, remorselessly dehumanized them and committed untold human rights atrocities to their own fathers, mothers and brothers. During this time, South Sudanese leaders progressively vandalized the nation’s economy, pulled it in the mud of ignorance and gluttony to failure and unparalleled misery.

It is now over 12 years that the international community has been watching millions of South Sudanese torture themselves through corruption, delinquent behavior, utter want, lack of basic services, disease, robbery, war, internal displacement, refuge and death. As it is in Syria, Yemen… this has occurred and still continues to occur without the international community’s firm resolve to protect civilians from abuse with impunity by leaders who can easily be identified, stopped from continuing atrocious behavior, investigated and appropriately penalized.

During the country’s Dark Age, the international community, which has every resource and means to prevent the atrocities from taking place, did the barest minimum as millions of helpless civilians suffered and died in the hands of a few. Meanwhile, as the atrocities prevailed, some of the country’s leaders used the rhetoric of national sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs to continue the carnage.

The international community’s behavior makes it arguable that, with the vast capabilities at its disposal to stop the highly atrocious conflicts, calculatedly left the atrocities to continue to satisfy some clandestine agenda. This suggests that the South Sudan’s conflict, unless the international community can prove otherwise, can only be solved peacefully or with the least possible loses by South Sudanese themselves.

This can only be done if the current leaders have refurbished their perception of the people’s value and power. Without this, an entirely new breed of leaders who put people first are necessary. The leaders whose leadership failures are too conspicuous to be denied, should take up courage and publicly accept their obvious failures in a transitional justice atmosphere which, for humanity’s sake, the international community should facilitate.

South Sudan’s Dark Age cannot be forgotten but calls upon South Sudanese to engage an irreversible high gear along the highway to sustainable peace. They are more responsible for their peace, prosperity, development and unity than waiting for external support which is always stressfully slow in coming. As it is, South Sudan is just a country in the making but henceforth, South Sudanese should be guided by their conscience, common humanity and equality to the making of a common country and nationality. As it is, South Sudanese cannot be proud of a country.

Proud of an ethnically divided country? A philosophy of ethnic superiority has failed the country and it has no future, instead, dwelling on it puts the very existence of the country at stake. The failure of the older generation of current leaders calls upon the youth to be more united, vigilant and steadfast in the peaceful struggle to attain peace in the country if they want one South Sudan.

Armed struggle is not the answer because, history has shown that, through the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Roger Parks and Nelson Mandela, peaceful socioeconomic and political change were achieved in the USA and South Africa with minimum loss of life and property. South Sudanese should use the knowledge of history to make peace!

The twelve years of Dark Age must have told South Sudanese that the engineers of conflict have gained everything from the period but the people have lost everything thus, the war was generally for their good. During this era, the youth were most vulnerable thus; they should open their eyes wider, turn up massively as a united national Peace Corps and develop mechanisms for peaceful pursuance of peace. The youth should use the history of the country’s Dark Age to make peace.

In Jonglei, Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazal regions, the youth have the extremely important and indispensable role to mobilize people for peace and abandonment intra and inter-ethnic violent conflicts. The wars of liberation from the Mundukuru colonialists have gone thus, not even a single South Sudanese youth should needlessly die in the frontline. Dying in the frontline creates destitution and gangrene that cannot be healed in the bereaved family and nobody will heal it.

The new wars are unreasonable. The new patriotic slogan for youth should henceforth be “Pursuance of peace peacefully”  They should utterly reject tribalism, favoritism, nepotism, corruption, cronyism… which, in the last analysis, cause discontent, violent conflicts, war, desecration and failure of the country.

The tremendous energy in the youth should be utilized in peace education, peacemaking, peace building, and nation building.

To unbalance the current status quo, the youth, regardless of ethnicity, should unite, strengthen their own confidence in themselves and work more honestly hard for themselves and become individually, collectively, communally and nationally prosperous and independent to insulate themselves against exploitation by politicians because of their weak socioeconomic status. The youth should know that they are their own liberators and instead, energetically engage in careful exploitation of the country’s abundant natural resources for their

Socio-economic empowerment. They should reject being cheated into politicking as a means to self-actualization. Work hard to bring about peace through free, transparent and fair democratic elections to remove divisive politicians to stop them from fermenting further hate, conflict, death and national retrogression.

The youth should know that if the country is in peace, violence, retrogression or progress, it is their making because they constitute more than 60 percent of society. 99.9 percent of soldiers are youth. Thus, it is arguable that, up to now, most woes of the country have been the making of the youth.

Youth, reject hate, violence and war, be instruments for peace, unity and progress because, in the last analysis, the country belongs to the youth! Long live the youth.

The writer can be reached via: Loke55bori@yahoo.com or +211954608089.

Peter Duku Wani

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