• Acuil Banggol

OPINION: Secularism now! Let citizenship unite us!

Acuil Banggol, Juba

The context to, perceptions, interpretations and origins of the parameters that define the world secular have results in the misinterpretation of the words of God by wrong, self-appointed commentators.

This is made worse when considered alongside the interplay between emotion and knowledge based science.

Galileo, a scientist, astronomer and mathematician, confirmed the earlier findings of renaissance thinker Copernicus. From this, he formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun, and not the Earth, as its centre. The Church quickly condemned Galileo, and sentenced him to house arrest. This is where Galileo lived in misery before later dying. His punishment incited protest, and gave birth to a number of opposing scientific theories based on Galileo's work.

The Church's interference in Galileo's work came at a time when certain persons and groups were exploiting traditions and customs for the sake of regulating livelihoods and socio-economic status. Such traditions and customs were gravely abused to fit the interest of these persons and groups, befit with questionable motives and deeds. For this end, some tried to claim they understood religious beliefs, traditions and philosophy better than others. Subsequently, a debate was ignited surrounding the interpretation of elites and the utility of empirical evidence of Galileo's variety.

With a newfound sense of competition present between these sides, a philosophy of worldly understanding and empirical analysis was developed against misinterpreted scripture. This is what we now know as secularism: temporal, earthly and worldly understanding of things that can be proven by our brain that is blessed with the ability to prove.

The contradicting sides were politicised. Representatives of religion and secularism mobilised crusades to win support, status and ideological space. Whilst some were moderate, many became revolutionary. The struggle continues to this day.

In Europe, it started as councils and forums. However, it quickly evolved into revolts. The French Revolution is most famous testament to this. In the present day, social media allows such to occur with previously unseen speed and reach.

Secularism must not be allowed to interfere with faith and faithful lifestyles, unless such are themselves interfering with the ability of other to enjoy their liberties. Religious freedom must exist.

In all of this, however, regulated and organised dialogue is needed. It must be reciprocal and interdependent. This is most acutely true in Sudan and South Sudan. Here, the diversity of race, nationalities, tribes, communities, ethnicities, families and person is clear. The present state of affairs was intentionally made by instilling the ideals of freedom, peace, justice and respect. Any idiotic attempt to revise this process would amount to a crime against humanity and liberty. Every citizen would be called upon to resist it. For its part, South Sudan has demonstrated a long history of struggle. The September revolution in Khartoum is important to consider.

The African and Abrahamic faiths call for peaceful coexistence. In the Torah, Bible and Koran, are verses explicit in the view that God created human beings as nations and tribes to peacefully coexist. African religions are the same, calling for reciprocity and mutual respect, love to neighbour and fraternity with others. This is questioned by no one except those with hidden agendas.

As history progressed, so did the need for exploited labour. Hence, we had the cruelty of slavery and domination. It was mistakenly justified from the perspective that certain races are inferior. Today, greed and selfishness continue to cause corruption and unjustified exploitation across the global marketplace. However, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has suggested the need for interdependence, and not exploitation, for a truly fair world united in diversity. Nuclear bombs are evidence enough that no population size, race, or geographical area is better than any other. To suggest otherwise would cause a disaster worse than this current pandemic. In Sudan and South Sudan specifically, such would lead to unstoppable and disastrous fracture.

The SPLM calls for unity in the sociocultural, socioeconomic, and interfaith diversity of South Sudan. Social media enables us to have institutions, policies and procedures founded on collaborative democracy and ethnofederal ideals. Provisions in the TCRSS, R-ACRSS, and SSND mandate the recognition, incorporation and involvement of ethnicities and cultural communities in the decision-making process irrespective of level , structure, and organs. If enforced, this could steer confederations at ethnic, national, continental, and global levels. Such is implied in United Nations organisations, and international human rights laws and norms.

The SPLM-North shouldn't be absorbed, but instead integrated, into New Sudan's perceptions of freedom, peace, justice, and inclusivity. The SPLM in South Sudan was absorbed when then appointed Governors scrambled and shuffled into towns, thereby abandoning the Civil Authority of New Sudan (CANS). SPLM appointed Governors were welcomed by institutions of old Sudan in the then ten states. The SPLM and then the Government of National Unity was absorbed in to the Presidential Palace in Khartoum. In Juba and each of the ten states, there was no reference to CANS. The rest is history. The power and the need for resources overcame the perception of CANS. The SPLA tried to remain intact, but it didn't take long before it was diluted through integration into a Khartoum allied militia. This was followed by the ACRSS and more recently the 2018 RNA CSS 2018 processes, which give incentive to rebellion in every sphere in South Sudan. The SPLM and SPLA are not only absorbed and hijacked, but being destroyed. If this situation continuous as and when party discipline, rules and regulations are being enforced, we are destined to become in a state worse than that previous.

The Sudanese Army and South Sudan Peoples' Defence Forces shouldn't be useless names. Instead, they must be founded on new doctrines of citizenship. In Sudan, Comrade Dr. Hamdok, Yasir Saeed, Burhan, Abdulaziz abide by the September Revolution and SPLM ideals of freedom, peace, justice, and citizenship. Maybe this might impact South Sudan.

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