South Sudanese need to realize benefits of independence

By Daniel Dau Kuol

Seven years ago, we agreed to be an independent nation. We gained and we attained self-rule. We gained our freedom.

Our independence was not in vain since many of our martyrs sacrificed for the sake of our independence. Let us celebrate the path we walked since independence and let us agree on how we must proceed from here as a nation.

Let every nation whether it wishes us well or ill know that we will pay any price, bear the burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, and oppose any foe to ensure the survival and success of our great nation South Sudan.

Over the past four years, our economy has failed to take many South Sudanese out of poverty. We have learned the bitter lesson of engaging in civil war which forced thousands of South Sudanese overseas living as refugees in the neighboring countries of Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan. Others fled to far north of Egypt and Libya.

Countries such as Uganda, Congo and Sudan who were below us in terms of GDP at the time of our Independence have outpaced us. Now we seek aid from them instead of them seeking aid from us! These are realities we cannot deny.

Yet, we have made progress worth fighting ourselves. I can feel that our country is rising again and peace has come. When you climb a mountain, you do not always celebrate victory by reaching the top -but also by looking back at how far up you came.

As we are in the eighth year of our independence, let us appreciate that we share our existence with our neighbors from Uganda, Kenya Ethiopia, Congo, Sudan and Egypt. We have neighbors worth our appreciation.

Let us also celebrate by paying tributes to our past leaders and their contribution to our national building. Our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for justice, liberty and prosperity of our great country South Sudan. It’s marked by the blood of those defending it.

Let us remember all Heroes and martyrs as the fathers and founders of our nation.  Let us remember Dr. John Garang as a man who set our country on the path to independence. May His Soul Rest in Peace.

We remember our past in order to manage our present and define our future. We learn lessons of the past to accomplish our present. Our destiny survives in peace and harmony. With all our challenges, we are a nation that we must be proud of our achievements -no matter how small they are.

Let us learn to be proud of our nation. Let us learn to be proud of ourselves. Let us learn to think positively and think big as a nation!

To bring services to our communities and take town to the village, to build new roads and bridges connecting people’s lives, bringing rural growth centers – the people in Bahr El Ghazal Region, Upper Nile and Equatoria region know that something is happening.

Let’s understand peace and revitalize our economy, nobody should tell us to stop developing any part of this country just because you do not like the people of that part.

We may be different in which of the tribes we come from but we do not differ in being South Sudan.

We may differ in political parties that we come from but we do not differ that we are all South Sudanese.

This country belongs to us all. And we all belong to this country and it is the only country that we have! We will never have another South Sudan. And I want us to be proud of our country.

The writer is a student at the University of Juba – South Sudan Juba.

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