By Daniel Abushery Daniel
“I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today," – William Allen.
August 2, 2010 (SSNA) — These days the South Sudan nation remembers and marks the fifth anniversary of the untimely departure of the hero of our time, the visionary and founding father of one of the most sophisticated, and diverse movement in Sudan’s history or perhaps even in the entire African world, the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). The man who never rest for more than two decades, in order to shape and change the ugly face of old Sudan to a vision barely to be found in our modern era.
Nevertheless, the man who lives in self denial to achieve and accomplish the mission… The philosopher, full of sense of hummer, the politician, and soldier trainee, none other than C and C comrade Dr. John Garang De Mabior, the permanent Chairman of the Sudan people liberation movement, and the Sudan peoples’ liberation Army (SPLM/SPLA).
At this juncture, we should all seize this opportunity to salute, and convey our heartfelt feelings to all of the martyrs heroes and fallen comrades ( men and women ) and to remind them that we hold them dearly for all the sacrifices they made or us during our liberation struggle for liberty, equality, dignity, freedom, and justice for all.
While the countdown to our destiny started, it’s unfortunate to hear voices of retreat and defeat from some South Sudanese who are now crusading for ugly unity of the Sudan. More disturbingly, those voices come from some of our elders, who are in fact supposed to be our role model, and show us good example to follow. Sadly enough that list includes a permanent politician, and one of our most respected intellectuals, Dr. Toby Madut.
However, the news didn’t necessarily come as a huge surprise to me, due to the situation uncle Toby is facing now days. Like any southerner living in the north Sudan for quite a long time, I am not claiming that; I know him very well, but coincidently, it happens to be my neighbor both in Juba (Hai El Cinema) , and in Khartoum north (El Hajj Yousif), where his( Dr. Toby Madut ) resident and business places were located.
There is an old Arabic phrase that says; “To be in richness in a foreign country makes you feel at home, and to be poor in your country makes you stranger."
Therefore for Dr. Toby Madut, chose being a second class citizen in northern Sudan, Khartoum. Frankly, I believe that something profoundly and so fundamentally must have gone wrong, for him to desire such wicket position.
I am not trying to justify the reasons why uncle Toby chooses to be a second class citizen in his own country, especially now that there are a lot of options! But if you may allow me the opportunity, to illustrate some land marks historical events that happened in South Sudan over the past decades of our struggle for freedom.
Certainly, Dr. Madut is not an exception here. We can all recall when a young politician by the name William Deng of Tonj town in Bahar El Gazal defected from Anya nya one and joined Sudan government in 60s. The reaction to his defection made many Southerners to label him as a traitor including my late father.
However, after he was assassinated by jallaba on the way to his home town, the scenario changed drastically. From that time on, he was being seen as a hero, thereby leaving behind a legacy that paved the way for his sons, especially H.E Deng Nhial current Minister of defense, who enjoys the recognition of his father’s fame both locally and nationally.
Again, when President Jaafer Nimeeri dissolved the autonomous government in the South Sudan, fingers were pointed at his (president Nimeeri) brother -in- law Gen. Joseph Lagu to be the master-mind behind his decree number one, which divided the South on tribal lines and into three regions, namely Upper Nile, Bhar Al Gazal and Equatoria. Unsurprisingly, many in Equatoria stood by him with slogan called (kokora) and they called him (general Lagu) Makongu. But as soon as South was divided, Makongu never resided in Equatoria, but left for a self-imposed exile in (UK) United Kingdom, and never came back. Just to mention a few.
In fact some people made light and jocks that Gen. Lagu once said to Dr. John Garang that: " If I did not divide the South, you could not even have thought about the rebelling to liberate the marginalized people of Sudan from the elites in Khartoum."
By so saying, Gen. Lagu’s bad perceptions were overturned, now all forgiven and was bestowed the hero title he has lost in the aftermath of “Kokora" time.
The point I am trying to make is that; we in the South don’t have zero tolerance policy, the red line that not suppose to be crossed, there is no such a thing as accountability for those who betrayed our cause in the past, and those who continuously doing it up to present. As a result, there are many of us now with Jallaba. But we continue urging, and calling them day and night to come back home for reconciliation and ultimately no price to pay for their treacherous acts of evil.
In conclusion, my advice to uncle Toby Madut and the rest is that; you can stay in the North as long as you wish. That’s your absolute right. But what is not your right is for you trying to reset the clock that cannot be reversed or rewind back, and bringing down with you the great people of South Sudan, and the good O boys who want to erase those black days in their history, in one life time chance event to determine their fate in a referenda. “Justice too long – delayed means Justice denied” said by Martin Luther King’s.
Yet we hope that sooner rather than later, you and company will join hands with your old folks in Nyakorien cultural centre, lecturing, and teaching our young generation what it means to live in exile’s, and say out loudly, home sweet home. Shalom.
The author is a Sudanese citizen, living in the United States. He can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org