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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Acknowledging the pain of Others


This is one of those articles that sound really naïve and unsophisticated; but it’s undeniably necessary and true. I posted a video on my Facebook page a few days ago and some of my Nuer brothers and sisters were enraged. While their anger wasn’t unfounded, I do believe there should be a safe, necessary manner in which anger needs to be exercised within a larger context of societal, national future. However, I’ve realized the short-sightedness with which we configure our anger and its resultant consequence.
We’ve become a population that focuses on the satisfaction of our immediate visceral reactions without the need to consider the potential effect of our anger, and what we say at the height of our polemical fancies…after all is said and done. No matter the intensity of our anger, hurt and loss, it is crucial to remember that the noble way to mourn and honor one’s lost relatives is to engage in a discourse that’d frustrate any repeat of the past. However, what we seem to care about now isn’t the dreadful past and the possible bright, promising future but the here and now and what we feel.

“I feel anger and a sense of hatred and I’ll make sure I satisfy that!”
The more we cultivate our hatred, magnify our pain and deny the pain of others, the more the hurt we feel becomes entrenched as a cultural phenomenon. Unfortunately, talking about the potential for future inter-tribal cohesive coexistence sounds like an untenable joke to some people given the magnitude of the anger they feel now. But none of us has a choice: living together is the only choice, the end gain! Regardless of what we feel or think, togetherness is the ultimate end.

But there’s one thing South Sudanese need to remember. In any sociopolitical conflict, healing or the possibility of living together as a multi-tribal country rests on acknowledging the pain of those who’ve been hurt. And it’s no secret that the following are acknowledged facts:

1)    The conflict started due to President’s mishandling of intra-SPLM problems

2)    SPLM leaders overestimated their influence and underestimated the power behind the president.

3)    Nuer were targeted after the mutiny in Juba by President’s militia.

4)    War is concentrated in mostly  (not exclusively) in Nuer areas.

In spite of these accepted realities, it’s very crucial for the Nuer brothers and sisters to remember that non-Nuer members have also suffered in the senselessness of this conflict. The more we deny that others have suffered the more we foment the entrenchment of hatred in our nation. As long as others don’t deny that Nuer were massacred in large numbers in Juba, It’d be ideal for Nuer to advocate for the loss of their loved ones while acknowledging that others too have suffered and continue to suffer. Denying the pain of others is not only dishonest, but also detrimental to the future of South Sudan.
The culpability story doesn’t end at the point where we come to the conclusion that the SPLM and the President started this war. We have to remember that we also exacerbate the problem through evangelism of divisive language and policies. No one is going to live in comfort if we instigate or fuel inter-tribal hatred. Satisfaction of one’s anger feels good at the moment but all conscionable people should consider long-term effects of that state of mind when anger creeps into our sociopolitical consciousness.

It’s undeniable that corrective measures geared towards finding out structured, conscionable and remedial methodologies are unequivocally necessary. However, focusing our fancies on the immediate delight and enjoyment of anger geared towards others will only position us perpetually in the same sea of hateful stagnation.
The only road to reconciliation is to make sure that others acknowledge our pain while taking the necessary initiative to acknowledge the pain of others. Failure to do so will only have us drink from the sea of bitter reality: perpetual insecurity. Let’s grow up!

Truth...but responsibly!

Kuir ë Garang lives in Canada. For contact, visit www.kuirthiy.info