By Gatluak Ter Thach, PhD*
May 16, 2016 (SSNA) — A friend called and asked me whether I can go and celebrate May 16 Anniversary this coming weekend with them in their state, and/or whether I would be willing to keynote their proposed weekend celebration. I thanked my friend and appreciated him and his team for considering me as their keynote speaker for such an honored public occasion.
Though I would not be able to attend this remarkable occasion due to a prior commitment, I advised my friend and wanted to share my advice with all of those who are planning to remember this historical journey of ours. What I believe Dr. John Garang and all fallen colleagues, including countless men and women, who sacrificed their lives could do now in remembering this day, should be different from what I am hearing people proposed. This day after 33 years of an initial period, after 5 years of reassuring hope for the Self-determination, and after 29 months of the disastrous event, the heroes and their orphans, windows and unable ones would love to see May 2016 be celebrated based on current conditions country has found herself in.
The May 16 Celebration should be based on peace and forgiveness, trust and reconciliation, accountability and cooperation, and assistance of poor and disable people. It should be based on bringing citizens of South Sudan out from UNIMISS protected homes in their beloved country by providing them assurances through deeds that actions of the past would not repeat through signs of accepting responsibilities. It should be based on silencing the guns permanently and committing fully to the implementation of ARCISS, as well as addressing economic challenges this country is facing.
I believe founding fathers and mothers would love this day to be remembered with congruent actions and not on politics as usual. In fact, we need to recover the courage to celebrate in our heroes’ day, and in particular, the courage to tolerate, for the sake of a free society as we fought for, as well as levels of risks we hardly ever imagined in the past.
We can celebrate May 16, but today though, let’s remind ourselves of where we are at the moment in order to know where we will be tomorrow! Happy May 16 to people of South Sudan!
Dr. Gatluak Ter Thach can be reached @ firstname.lastname@example.org.