21 Jan 2020

 

Hope Against Hope For South Sudan In 2020

"The young turks who are supposed to deliver the baton to the future have sipped from the poisoned chalice and are running amok in the neighbourhoods, spraying lurid graffiti in their wake, as they prey on each other, swept away by the violent winds of urban gangsterism."

Victor Lugala reflects

The New Year 2020 is only a few hours young. In the dying days of 2019, as people of a turbulent, but independent country, we should have taken stock of what ails our house. Are we one people? Or are we more divided than we were in July 2011?

Those of us who were in the country in December 2013, witnessed the blood bath, still, made worse in July 2016. At what cost, one may wonder. Millions of our citizens have either been displaced internally or sought refuge in neighbouring countries, including the Sudan which we broke from in July 2011 to become independent.

Families and communities have been separated, with others living in refugee camps. Others have died and been buried in foreign lands. Our social fabric is consumed as if by a wasting illness. Our cultural roots are uprooted and dumped in the global wasteland.

The young turks who are supposed to deliver the baton to the future have sipped from the poisoned chalice and are running amok in the neighbourhoods, spraying lurid graffiti in their wake, as they prey on each other, swept away by the violent winds of urban gangsterism.

The wheels of development have ground to a halt, and rusted. The countryside is desolate because the means of (agricultural) production have been paralysed. Rural communities, which used to be proudly self-supporting, are now on the receiving end as miserable recipients of meagre relief hand-outs, their dignity and national pride crashed. Humiliated.

The longer the culture of dependency is embedded in our collective psyche, self-reliance will be dealt a terrible blow, and speedy recovery will stagger.

Neighbouring countries have been opening their doors to receive our desperate people tagged as refugees, but honestly they too are sick and tired of our repeated and monotonous narrative. War. War. War.

During the Anyanya war of the 1960s they hosted us. During the SPLA war of liberation of the 1980s and 1990s they hosted us. And after our hard-won independence, when we were supposed to settle peacefully to develop our country, which was repeatedly raped by successive oppressive regimes, we still went to war, this time among ourselves. Shame on us!


Don't we tire of conflict, destruction, and mayhem? Are we the cursed lot that Shakespeare wrote about like this:
"I'm thy father's spirit
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires, till the foul crimes done in my time are purged and burnt away." ?

As we usher in the new year with short-lived festivities and colourful make-believe celebrations, soon the reality of the daily grind of the unfinished business will haunt us into action, if to avoid the harsh reality and rude judgement of history. However, the optimists among us will say 2020 must be a year of Hope for South Sudan. Watch this space!

 

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