Thursday, September 8, 2016

South Sudan Should Rebuild its Lost International 'Innocence'

South Sudan was a darling of the west during the war of liberation. US, the EU and other international allies stood by South Sudan anytime there was a disagreement between Khartoum and the then southern rebels. The general narrative in the 'west' then was 'innocent' south against the 'belligerent' north.

However, after independence, the south lost the then innocence. As a sovereign country in the group of nations, the standards  applied to every country was turned against it. Not only did Juba, now the seat of the southern leadership, assume that the 'west' would always stand by it, it also assumed that 'Truth' is something that is so apparent that everyone can see it. The leadership would soon realize  the nature of diplomacy and the honest dishonesty in international relations.

The disputed area of Abyei, the south's takeover of Panthou in 2012 and Juba support for the SPLM-North cost South Sudan its innocence. While Khartoum has always been belligerent toward the south, the southern leaders didn't know that 'this is ours and everyone should know it' is not a formidable defense in international politics. Instead of making their case before the United Nations, Juba started to act in a manner that displeased its allies and the international community. Juba, instead of Khartoum, was the belligerent party. That reality stomped South Sudanese leaders in Juba!

While Panthou, in all honesty, belongs to the South, the manner in which Juba acted was imprudent and rash. This earned Juba its first, stern international condemnation. And folks in Juba couldn't understand why they were being condemned when Panthou belongs to the south and that Khartoum was the one that provoked them. To their chagrin, they realized that after-the-fact explanations are usually seen as an excuse.

But instead of sending its diplomats to foreign capitals and to the UN to smooth out the situation, the president and his officials started to condemn the UN and the international community as being 'unfair.' From that time on, the relationship between South Sudan and the international community only went one way: downward.

This sour relationship turned Juba officials against the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). Allegations and events that are not well researched were used to criticize UN as working against Juba, and to some extent, a parallel government. However, UNMISS did more in five years than what the government has done in over ten years.

So when the UN Security Council members went to Juba last weekend, I thought it was time for the government to re-establish its relations with the world. There are many crises in the world. But the fact that the UNSC decided to go to Juba is a testimony of the seriousness with which UN takes the suffering of the people of South Sudan.

Juba should therefore use this opportunity to correct its mistakes and regain its lost innocence.

ON CULTURAL IDENTITY & BELONGING

Dear Melbournians, the South Sudanese people to be precise. Do you think we have seen it all? Do you think we have seen that: I mean in the aftermath of yesteryears, in regard to our culture and the notions around identity and belonging? Do you think we have seen the true reaping of what we sowed years ago? Do you really think so? After all, did we really sow anything like seeds and that there’s something to be reaped? Did we really live it out well to be seen today?

I am sorry to have bothered you, my potential readers, with questions regarding our social, economic, and political location in our host society: Australia. I think we have not seen it all and as a whole: The idea that people are bound by certain values and beliefs of significance to them. This requires cooperation and role-specific obligations on the roles of every man and woman across a given people and their society.

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.

Transformational Leadership, Inclusive Institutions and Service Provision

Leadership, given what is happening now in South Sudan, and generally in Africa, fascinates me. And it fascinates me not in a good way but because of the sociopolitical and socioeconomic ills facing the African continent and most of the so-called 'Third World.' To me, South Sudan, now, is a classic case.

Rebellion by disaffected politico-military leaders and repression by the government of South Sudan in Juba have stunted institutional development and leadership growth. This has made service provision almost irrelevant as political survival has taken primacy and supremacy. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

‘Black’ as an Identity Oversimplification and Mockery

Black as a universalized cultural identity of the African Person (AP)* is a residual effect of slave and colonial mentality; a racial/race paradigm. It is a malady I call, conservatively speaking, stuck-in-the-past syndrome of color constraints. Black could be an on-the-street ‘social identifier’ of race figures not a meaningful phenomenon of deep cultural identification on a universal scale.