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In rememberence of Bor massacre

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In Commemoration of the Bor Massacre – August 28th, 1991

’Forgiveness is a personal matter (so is its nemesis), and I am not authorized to forgive (or not to forgive) on behalf of others (brackets, mine).’ Simon Wiesenthal, a survivor of the Nazi concentration camp

August 28, 2006 — AT PRECISELY THIS TIME OF THE YEAR 15 years ago in Bor, South Sudan witnessed one of the most brutal massacres that was to later sink the liberation of South Sudan down-the-grid, co-sponsored by God-knows-who caricature of the Arab man’s burden. As we remember the first anniversary of the passing of our Founding Father, the late John Garang de Mabior, it is relevant to recall the martyrs and champions of his vision and mission who survived and perished in Riek Machar’s Nasir Regime of 1991 in Bor. As an eyewitness and survivor, it would be insulting to the dead not to light candles on this day in their memory at this era when the fruits of their agonies exhibited in the Bor Revolution of 1983 that brought forth the SPLM/SPLA and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement are slowly taking effect.

The BOR MASSACRE MUST BE REMEMBERED not that Bor is the powerhouse of the SPLM but that it was the most dramatized case in Sudan where a group of people brainwashed, charged and fueled by politicians with genocidal intentions had the sole desire of attaining "Nuer domination" after "Dinka Bor extermination" which culminates in the mass killings of thousands of innocent people and cattle. The goal based on Mayom Bul Atem’s analysis in his majestic article [Dinka-Bor IDP forced relocation from W.E.S: Will history forgive and forget?] [December 12, 2005], was "to plunder Bor area and wipe it out of human face and debase the late SPLM/A leader, Dr. John Garang, who hailed from Bor and portray him as someone who has no one to support him." The year 1991 will always occupy a horrific semblance to Bor people and South Sudanese in general. Deng Garang rightfully observes in his piece [ IDPs Repatriation Affinity: Pan Bor as the ultimate place of birthrights, December 11, 2003 that "the decade of 90s will live in infamy for it went down as the lost decade in the history of south Sudan."

LOOKING BACK, it is too damning an ordeal to recapture the surrealism in which the massacre was carried out. Before the Nuer mob wreaked havoc in Bor, there spiraled a myth that Wurnyang (Nuer deity) slaughtered a bull outside which later rose in the house. Wurnyang was then said to have preached to the would be Bor destroyers to not be afraid, for if one died in Borland, he was to return to his house like the bull. After trailing for hours trying to escape the horror, I came to believe the story because Nuer presence as signified with deafening gunshots was omnipresent. "The killers went from hut to hut, slaughtering all who tried to run before them. Those who could not run fast enough were crammed into the huts and set on fire," Eye witness – The memory of massacre, Jane Standley, BBC Correspondent. By the time Commander Kuol Manyang Juuk hurried to restore order, Nhial Tittmamer de Nhial notes in his well articulated and informative article that the "once glorious and strong Bor was reduced to ashes and its people reduced to destitution", Bor displacement: One of the bitter issues, December 13, 2005. Clearly, most of the brunt would be blamed on Dr. Riek Machar because it is suffice to point out that the significant part of the militias in Bor were oblivious and nescient of his animalistic preoccupations of forceful ascendancy to Southern leadership. Most of the participants must be understandably saying to themselves "I could never do anything like that. And I’d never support it, if I knew about it.’

LOOKING NOW, the horrifying and blatant truth is as a victim and a son of the blazed Bor villages and the massacred Bor people, the systematic and rhythmic violence Riek Machar’s skeleton on the public stage brings come rain, come shine is haunting: there is no justice when the murderer is in charge of the commission and to sound like the Cambodian survivor of the Khmer Rouge atrocities, it’s almost impossible to punish war criminals like Dr. Riek. ’How would they pay back two million lives? Should they die two million times? Live in hell for two million years?... The crimes they committed are so grave that I don’t know what punishment would be fair.’ The fact that some past injustices are largely suppressed and unaddressed while most of us suffer in silence and violence is a fair reminder that we are a million mile away from erecting the country we would all be proud of. A country where its people will not only be united, but delighted.

LOOKING FORWARD, in the spirit of ’never say never’, one would pronounce never say "hopeless" to a likely and successful resolution (with many attempts) of the Nuer-Dinka Bor sour relationship. So enormous and intense is the disunity that the 1991 events brought on the neighbors such that even individuals who never knew what, why, when and where the war originated are becoming dogmatic about the differences. Dr. Riek Machar, unpopular for being unapologetic and unrepentant in the Bor circles must now accept full responsibility and recognize that until he is fully displayed the "last of his humanity", one is hopeless of the emergence of the New Sudan, leave alone an ordinary Nuer or Bor achieving solace at the end of the day.

Nowhere else than in the Sudan does it happen that the victim is the mediator and the reconciler and were one in the U.S.A, one would be compelled to say nobody cares about black people. And since everybody is so black in our country, one can only claim that nobody cares to mend fences between the Bor and the Nuer people whose far reaching animosities have long been exploited by some monstrous politicians here and there. Mandela spoke prophetically of the arduous lane of ’patterns of thought’ which are irreversible in short period of time. In fact, they’re these ill-perceived and destructive thoughts of each other that the principal actor in the person of the current South Sudan Vice President must embark upon, using the virtue of his office to bridge the divide between Nuer and Dinkabor.

REALISTICALLY, the Nuer people at large must now move out of the shadows of "Gar Machar" and stop inciting the Dinka Bor with overt praises of Dr. Riek and his dirty work in 1991 and begin to groom a "saintly and virgin" leader for the betterment of the subsequent generations. It is a good omen to note today how many a Dinka and Nuer are open-minded about each other, and one would to date find genuine cross-Dinka-Nuer friendships and intermarriages. However, some of these associations gets lampooned on by politics. The great justice and honor that can ever soothe the inexplicable and irreplaceable generations of Bor amassed in the mass grave of 1991 is to see the Bor and the Nuer bravely casting aside their differences, burying the hatchets and moving on from our "divided past" into a new society of tolerance and unity.

IN CONCLUSION, as one cannot advocate forgiveness or un-forgiveness as they are a personal matter. The Bor people would be better off by letting the dark side of our history ennobles, not to let it embitters. It means that we should seek positive revenge which is about recognizing the harm that has been done to us and not allowing it to determine the fate our destiny. Nor let the same madness recur. Regrettably, continued Jane Standley: "Bor is not a name that rings any bells with many people [Internationally]. It is a place consumed in wrenching sadness, haunted by the memory of massacre. No one’s been brought to justice for the crimes committed there fifteen long years ago. And they [never] will be." It is up to the government and the people of South Sudan to decide if the book of abuses and atrocities we have inflicted on all of us is to be turnoff now – hence the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Lest we forget!

*Mading de Ngor Akec de Kuai is a Sudanese student in Canada. He is also the Webmaster of the online newspaper New Sudan Vision, coming up really soon. He can be contacted at emails: madingngor@newsudanvision.com
or opinion@newsudanvision.com.



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