May 22, 2019 SSNA) — We learned with shock and horror the news of the murder of our son, father, brother, and comrade, Dong Samuel Luak Kok by the South Sudan government. While we wish this was a bad dream, we are now beginning to come to terms with the reality that the forces of darkness have indeed succeeded in taking the life of one of our nation’s brilliant jurists, human rights activists, and freedom fighters by executing him in cold blood. We know our son, Dong. His valor is second to none. So, we know that he neither flinched nor bowed to the killers as they prepared to execute him. We know his executioners; the “known gunmen” will never forget the look on his face, the human rights defender, who fears none – not even death. For his limitless courage, dedication to truth and principles, even at the cost of his life, we are grateful to call him our son and he has made us proud beyond words. Though the agents of death of the murderous regime have taken his life, they did not kill his vision and ideas. These will live on forever as they are forever ingrained in the minds and hearts of all South Sudanese – the ones that he fearlessly defended and paid the ultimate sacrifice for.
After Dong finished law school, he joined the SPLM/A to help liberate his people from the bondage of injustice and discrimination. After the independence, Dong continued the fight because he concluded that injustice and discrimination know no color or relationship. They feel the same whether committed by an enemy or a brother. This pitted him against the most powerful and well-connected individuals, who forced him into exile even though his right to speak out against injustice is protected by the laws of our land.
Even in the face of grave dangers, Dong did not relent. He continued the fight even while they continued to hunt him down. He defied all of our calls to relocate or tone down his fight for justice after he survived an assassination attempt with a gunshot wound. He ignored our concerns not because he didn’t see the danger but because he felt that it was his duty to fight for justice and equality in South Sudan. In following his heart, he joined a long line of Kok Diang heroes, Lou Nuer warriors, Nuer conquerors and South Sudan patriots – who liberated our country.
Dong our son, brother, cousin, and father; you have done well. Not even those who think they have overcome you and those who forsook you in your hour of need in exchange for their own comfort – kin and friends alike, will ever come close to what you have accomplished, whether in this lifetime or the next.
While your killers and enablers rejoice, for they have gotten rid of the headache, our work to receive justice on your behalf has just begun, and we intend to get it whatever the cost. We have also inherited your fight to see your children and widow live, as you rightly stated in one of your many public proclamations, “in a South Sudan where there is peace, equality, and justice.”
May you rest easy, Big Guy!
The Kok Diang Family
Isaac Gang, on behalf of Kok Diang family