By Luk Kuth Dak
“ We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive, is devoid of the power to love”.
Martin Luther King, Jr., strength to love, 1963.
November 15, 2009 — As an average reader that I am, I have a total of four books authored by the late Dr. King under my belt. However, what really fascinated me the most, is his unbelievable ability to love and to forgive those who have inflicted so much harm upon the black people of America for over five centuries long.
Undoubtedly, as Southern Sudanese people, we have our work cut out for us to heal the ugly rift of South-on-South internal wars. Unfortunately, we have decided to keep going down this road of self-destruction and controversy at all cost. All those attempts for reconciliation have all been but a total failure, sadly because it seems as though we are the only people on the planet who do not buy into the power of forgiveness and moving on with our lives.
As human beings, we all make mistakes. Some horrendous mistakes. Because we are not perfect. As a matter of fact, there is no such a thing as perfection. In deed, I am not even so sure that God Almighty is perfect. Otherwise, why is He allowing innocent children to die of various diseases that they can’t possibly control? And why has He created the Lions to make a living off the fleshes of other innocent animals instead of grasses? And why didn’t He stop the Arabs’ massacres of over two million Southern Sudanese and almost a half a million in Darfur? But yet, we still love Him unconditionally.
They say: “ War’s not pretty”. Virtually, however, there’s no single village in South Sudan that had not seen blood. Lots of blood. Of course, some have seen more blood than the others. But that’s the ugly reality nature of wars, unfortunately. The compelling question is: how can we move beyond all this mounting animosity that engulfs our hearts and threatens our co-existence in a future state in South Sudan?
The simple answer to the question is, if we stand a chance of becoming a nation, we have to be honest with ourselves first, in order to come to terms with the fact that, dwellings on the past and pointing fingers at one another, will not bring back all the lives that we have lost, but in contrast, it will only reopen the old wounds that are just beginning to heal. Therefore, it’s only logical to move past the bitterness and division that had only benefited the Arabs occupants. And yes, if the late Dr. John Garang de Mabior, the (SPLM) founder, could have signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with bloodiest regime of the National Islamic Front (NIS), to end the longest civil war in Africa, we too, can find some room in our hearts to forgive those who have done us wrong.
Previously, I mentioned that am not a member of any political party in South Sudan including the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM). I figured early on that for me to be a credible and a balanced columnist that I can be, my suitable place would be the “ Neutral zone”. My decision is simply because, if I were to join a party over the others, I thought that it would ultimately hinder my judgment as a neutral journalist. But it angers me when I read some commentators refer to the symbol of our struggle, President Salva Kiir Mayardit as a coward and called Vice President Dr. Reik Machar as a murderer, and the Secretary General Ustaz Pagan Amum as a drunkard! Dr. Machar deserves to be applauded, instead for keeping out house together. It could have been a whole lot worst than we can imagine.
And so while it’s true that our media had overcome some major huddles in adjusting to rules and regulations that every journalist must abide by, there certainly still a long road to walk. Unfortunately, negativity in Southern Sudan media outlets today, is almost ubiquitous and malicious to the point where it would extremely harder to find quality future leaders, who won’t be interested in public service, if all it means is thrusting themselves and their families through the kinds of name-calling the current ones are being subjected to.
Consequently, we’re not in any way, shape or form suggesting that politician should get a fee ride. It’s absolutely perfect to criticize them as long as our criticism is constructive and is based on how they perform their respective duties. Everybody deserves to be treated with all due respect. And everybody should be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, including those who hold public offices. Until then, all this extremely disrespectful lambasting of our leaders is simply baseless and it should never be categorized as a freedom of press. In reality, this is nothing more than just an abuse of those individual leaders, and it should not be tolerated.
The journalism is a burden! Because journalism is a responsibility.
The author is a former broadcaster- Arabic Service , Juba radio. He can be at: [email protected]