The saddest thing about the crisis in South Sudan isn't merely the case that the average person is suffering. The saddest thing is that the South Sudanese government has adopted the very same oppressive instruments the SPLM & SPLA leadership fought against for over 20 years.
And these maladies include...
- Censoring News institutions
- Cracking down on anti-government opinions
- Dividing the country along ethnic lines while denying it
- Grotesque level of corruption and stunted development
- Extrajudicial killings and arbitrary arrests without trials.
- Selective development programs
From being the voice of the people of South Sudan, Juba has taken the persona Khartoum has been using against the peoples of South Sudan for decades. However, the officials don't see anything wrong with that. This gives one an impression that the official believe that such ills are bad only if done by others and good if done by South Sudanese.
The voice of the people has become the oppressive metals against the very people the voice fought to seemingly liberate.
The constant intimidation of media personalities, and recent claims by the South Sudanese minister of information, Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth, that journalists shouldn't air rebels' interviews in South Sudan, are deeply worrying!
This erroneous claim assumes a lot of things. It assumes that interviewing rebels translates to supporting them. It also assumes that letting South Sudanese know the rebels' side of the story is to support their claims. This is to destroy journalistic impartiality and ethics.
While the government has every right to make sure that people in government controlled areas don't air their own personal views in support of rebels and against the government, it's sure madness to say that airing rebels views in South Sudan is subversive. Subversive activities are activities supporting the sentiments that'd lead to the fall of the government. However, letting the public know what the rebels claim is is for the benefit of the nation. It allows South Sudanese to know first-hand the truth and fallacies of the rebels.
The government shouldn't discourage opposing views. It should counter them with data-based, well-articulated positions. To discourage other opinions is to present yourself as fearful and suspiciously dishonest about something.
The rebels are South Sudanese and will one day come back to South Sudan. We shouldn't treat them as if they'll create their own country. Mindless amplification of ENMITY is irresponsible! Instead of the government enticing people by initiating conducive reforms, it's actually making things worse by acting draconian.
When the information minister tells John Tanza of Voice of America that journalists should exercise freedom of speech within the 'LAW' the minister knows very well that it's the same 'LAW' that guarantees freedom of speech!
TOLERANCE & INCLUSION
While it is possible for us to racially discriminate or judge people we know, the chances of judging people we know diminish significantly the more we know them. An easy example of the importance of understanding others is the attitude people develop when they want to harm others or when they want to deny them something valuable. Essentially, before you fight someone, you insult them. Insults are attempts at diminishing the value of people, an attempt at estranging them, as Toni Morrison argued in The Origin of Others. It is easy to discriminate against strangers or make others strangers or dehumanized in order to discriminate against them.