Letter from A Brother Abroad
Dear Countrymen, I am aware that we can vividly remember that our journey to this end has neither been smooth nor straight, a path full of rocks and thorns. But through endurance and self-neglect we have made it this far. It hasn’t been an easy path for the weak and faint-hearted folks, but the bold and determined.
For a period of decades, our country has been marred in wars, the most notable this time among ourselves. I don’t need to mention this point because we all know it already. The critical question we need to ask ourselves at this point in history, at this moment of tough times, at a time when we are up against one another, a brother against a brother and a sister against a sister, a time of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, is this: What did the youth do? We, the youth of South Sudan, what role did we play? This is how the future world would be wondering and would be questioning us, the youth. And can we ask ourselves once more: What do we do, we the youth, what role do we play? The answers to these questions are obvious. Of course, we all know that the youth got divided among the politicians and escalated the division, a shame that will go down the ages, down the anus of history, to the future world, and one that will never be forgotten or forgiven by the generations after us, our children and theirs.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “An eye for an eye will one day make the whole world blind!” Yes, I say this to the youth reading this message, especially those well connected the media, that an eye for an eye shall one day make the whole of South Sudan blind! Or can anyone bluntly point out that we are already blind? We the youth can’t see the mistakes being peddled along by the politicians. Certainly, today a child is dying from malaria, a mother is dying in labour, and a geriatric is dying from complications of hypertension, unable to access the best science can provide in the twenty-first century. These souls that can be rescued by our own efforts pass on unnoticed.
Now in South Sudan, the youth are busy killing one another in the battle fields across the country. In fact, we are all stained with one another’s blood! And if you haven’t killed anyone yourself, then your indifference to the state of affairs in our country is equally a deadly weapon. As the sun goes down each day in South Sudan families are sheltering, in prayers for protection for at least one more night, and still fearful of what tomorrow will bring. All these are happening simply because we are blind to the truth.
We have allowed ourselves to be misled into evil deeds in the name of belonging to the same ethnic extractions, notwithstanding the fact that the politicians, irrespective of where they come from or intend to go, have all sinned against our country, and therefore have all fallen short of our admiration, support and respect.
What South Sudan needs are not the campaigns of wars, as being frequently prescribed by some elements. What we need, and the youth must be bold on them, are clean running water, good housing conditions, electricity as our land is blessed with two rivers, constant sunshine and a wind that blows from east to west and from south to north. We have these potential sources of energy since the era of Adam and Eve. Yet we haven’t fixed any of them. I know some of us are uncomfortable with these words, but know one thing: Tell the truth and you will be free, the scripture tells us.
The reality of our time does not follow the above tenet. In fact, the reverse is true in our country: Follow the politicians, spread their lies, polish their bad deeds, fight in their wars or in a war they created, and you will share in their ill-gotten wealth. That if one is blind to their deceit, certainly, a meal will be on one’s table. So our slogan these days is that one must reap what one sows not, but the benefit of lies – not that a man must eat what he sows. Follow a politician and get redeemed from poverty, we seem to be saying this. And I mean all of us, including the ones reading this message here. That is why some are inventing for themselves such honorifics as “Mr. Rich For Live”, yet barely give an account of whether these riches are genuine.
In plain words, we shall never have anything accomplished if we don’t change our current ways. From one administration to another nothing will be surely done, if our attitudes remain the same. We shall never forge a good relationship among ourselves and work together to create independent institutions that can protect the rights of all South Sudanese, be it the Constitution or the civil society. Nor shall we altogether submit a petition on education for all boys and girls alike, that generations of South Sudanese should not be left behind again in this region, in this era where knowledge is power.
And let me add this, at this point in time, at this very hour, in this very minute, where education is the “hard currency” we all need and can attain if made available to all of us, there is no reason as to why a child in Boma shouldn’t receive the same education as the one in Juba. And a child in Raja should compete for the same chance with the one in Rejaf. Likewise, a child from Torit should sit on the same table of brotherhood and sisterhood with the one from Tonj, and share issues that matter to them both. And a child from Aweil can share the same benefits as the one from Awerial. These are what we must work for and achieve by constantly engaging our politicians, and refuse any destructive ideas from anyone, including them. We know where and how far we have come, because our history is rich. And it is time to define what we want the future world to remember us for. Let’s get started.
Thank you so much for the valuable time we have shared. It is highly appreciated.
The author is Dr Deng Ezekiel Ezra, a medical doctor currently a Paediatric Registrar at Adama University, Ethiopia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.