CREATIVE OPINION: South Sudan is free but her people are not!
Mangor Adut Thiak, Juba
South Sudan Friendship Press is pleased to present a creative opinion piece from local writer Mangor Adut. Mixing poetry and prose, Mangor evokes national spirit in an ode to the struggles of the South Sudanese people following independence.
Mama, Some years back, you gained your independence but still to this date, your children aren’t free. Our ideas are still in slavery.
Mama, you gained this thing called independence so that your children could control your affairs, generate revenues to empower their children, build roads and infrastructure. Yet, your budget has been externally financed by individuals who see us as a total liability. The revenues often branch to unidentified developmental sectors that are invisible and intangible. Consider the name ‘invisible development projects’. When will these developmental projects become visible and tangible?
Mama, your children aren’t truly allowed to vote for leaders. We’re still based on ethnicity, party systems, and nepotism. In other words, we hang our clothes where the sun will shine, integrity has already disintegrated. For how long should we be kept as skeptics by ethnically minded individuals?
Mama, those ones entrusted with the power to lead your affairs are accumulating wealth at the detriment of the downtrodden masses; they now see themselves as demigods that are impervious to good advice. The hearts of humanity have been engulfed by the lions’ way of living. May the lions’ hearts be turned to those that have some benevolence.
Mama, those ones that are privileged to lead your children often use taxes to send their children to expensive universities, living luxurious lives in foreign lands. For how long must we keep warping our truth to the outside if we’re indeed free?
Mama, double pay has gained ground in your sweet land of liberty; one man is now getting salaries from more than two government agencies with either the same or different names. Yet, many people are jobless. I can’t blame someone for doing so, because they take it as an opportunity for grasping at the resources we have. Consider the often misquoted idea that ‘chance comes once’.
Mama, your children serving you as soldiers and protecting your boundaries are less-valued as they often go months without earning their salaries. These undervalued soldiers cut down your beautiful forests to make charcoal as the only mean of survival. This act will soon cause desertification in this great nation,.
Mama, your children who are bringing up their young sons and daughters through quality education are forgotten. Teacher’s salaries cannot even afford 25kg of maize flour, meanwhile their so called monthly salaries take 3-4 months to get into their pockets. How free are those that are oppressed through denial of their stipulated monthly salaries?
Mama, when your leaders are sick, they run to other countries for treatment because they don’t have faith in Juba Teaching Hospital in Juba, Bor State Hospital in Bor, Wau Teaching Hospital in Wau and so on. Despite this, they proudly say that they have good hospitals for their fellow citizens’ treatment; why can’t they also go for treatment in those hospitals?
Mama, ‘one nation, justice, liberty and prosperity for all’ is a quote from your national anthem. Sadly, however, the nation has been divided by greed, corruption, hatred and self interest. Liberty is scarce. Justice is not for commoners. Prosperity is not for all your children.
Mama, those that are fortunate enough to work in public places always see the system to be good, even when it is the opposite outside of big cities. Hence when they leave office, they become as farsighted as hawks. Hypocrisy is now a career in your land
Mama, the work of opposition is to identify problems and find solutions through collective engagement. Together, they must be able to work with the government to make you great. Sadly, yours only identify and criticise problems, without finding solutions. When they ascend to political leadership, they indulge in that which they criticise. They come with clean clothes, yet their agenda is identical. Where had those identified problems gone when you gain political seats?
Mama, you gained independence so that your children can be masters and mistresses of their own destinies. However, it is on the contrary. Our leaders want to control our destinies, they want us to be singing and praising them, they want us to be subservient to them until eternity, they want us to be always bandwagoners.
Are your children really free?
Mama, the criminal rate is increasing daily and your younger ones are the main culprits. People get robbed anytime and anywhere. Did I mention that some of your younger ones are now being classified as Toronto Boys and drug addicts? Yet, Mama, there’s no system of rehabilitation. Mama, your young girls aren’t free from rape and the young boys too aren’t free from sodomy. They cry out loud to reawaken the justice system, but the system has been compromised. Lawlessness is backed by money.
Mama, your women aren’t free from stereotyping, they have been marginalised and abused in attempts to get a job serving you and your children. After applying, they’ll have to comply by the physical terms and conditions of the employers.
Mama, your generation that’s supposed to uphold your sovereignty and make you great in the fullness of time is totally inimical to expectations; some of them can’t think or reason, some of them see themselves as they know it all and they care less about uplifting you, Mama.
Mama, your children are now being left displaced by the devastating floods that have taken over some parts of you. Many have been left dead from snake bites, sickness, and malnutrition. Yet, there is no aid to help them.
How free are your children lakini? There is no plenty medical assistance given to the displaced persons, no food given to the hungry displaced persons. Thanks must go to the youths who are continuing helping people by voluntarily repairing broken dykes day and night, especially those in Jonglei State. In particular, teams of Konykubaai, Abiathnoon and Mathianganyoor, Much Appreciation to you my people.
Mama, we are spectators in our own economy; a good road network is still a dream. We rely on other countries for our stable food, our agriculture system isn’t improving yet, the learning institutions are not well equipped. But with all that, we’re hopeful of a better tomorrow.
“To put the nation right in order, we must first put the fitting strategies in order, to put the right strategies in order, we must first cultivate our personal lives well and finally we must change our partners' hearts to hearts of humanity”. By doing this, we will definitely be free.
Thinking retrospectively, I have come to the realisation that the past is all that has kept some of us tied to our unfulfilled promises and desires; so we might need to find new desires for the old ones to fade. In the midst of all that, let’s keep being hopeful that we’ll indeed be free. In as much as we can dream of it, it’s achievable via our overall commitment.
Let’s all go for it!
Be safe y’all