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South Sudan top religious leader warns against hate speech

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July 3, 2016 (JUBA) - A top South Sudanese religious leader has criticized the hate speech employed by high ranking officials and their supporters to polarize the country, calling for solidarity among those victimized by the “smear campaign.”

Bishop Edward Hiboro (ST file photo)

Bishop Edward Hiboro of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura based in Yambio said one of the triggers of violence in the country is the manner in which people chose the language and words to communicate their messages.

“Language is doing much more violence, sometimes even much more harm than the gun,” said Bishop Edward while speaking to a United Nations sponsored Miraya FM radio on Thursday.

The religious leader appealed to South Sudanese to avoid “harsh and divisive” language and instead develop a language that can build the country.”

“Take off too much negativity, take out provocative language, the anger needs to give way to the language of peaceful communication, non-violent communication to help the country wake up from the current situation,” he further advised.

He said there is need to develop a new language and a conscience to prevent crime and consolidate the country’s peace process.

His remarks come amid growing concerns about the growing insecurity in Wau. He said the violence in Wau, while regrettable, stems from lack of dialogue, adding “when dialogue is missing immediately people resort to violence and fighting.”

“South Sudanese need to learn to talk. It is talking that brought us South Sudan. It is not cowardice to speak to your brother and sister and say look we have gone wrong here, how do we go about this.”

While acknowledging the problems in the country, he said there is huge mistrust, and people are afraid to speak to each other. Instruments such as the church, civil society, international NGOs, he added, have the power to engage in Dialogue.

“But how can they do it?” he asked. He stressed that every leader, individual and family in South Sudan should find time for a retreat and use this time to reflect on the kind of South Sudan they want.

He urged the government to find ways to reach people “with the power and closeness of peace.

“If there could be a general ceasefire, no more shooting, no more fighting, the rest of things would fall in place. We prepare people in the church, we pacify them, we need the government to step in and reinforce the messages spread by the church to pave way for a peaceful stable nation,” he added.

(ST)

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  • 4 July 2016 09:15, by Angelo Achuil

    Yes Bishop, that’s a war we personally had to fight everyday. We as people like projection - always blaming other tribe (except our own) and foreigners as the cause of all the troubles in this country and turn blind eyes to bad things we are doing. I can tell you that this is the reason I regularly comments here to oppose all parabolic PAGANS (People Against Goodness and Normalcy).



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