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Reminiscing The Old Liberation Struggle Days- The Past Is Nostalgic

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very South Sudanese alive carries the memories of the liberation days. Not just the days of the SPLM, but the days of Anya Nya one, where the separatist idea was born. Southern separatists rebelled, because they could never accept the position of second class citizen in their own country. The days of the struggle were days of sacrifice and of holding onto hope, when the chances of winning the war were slim. Southerners from all walks of life joined the movement. Each liberation fighter had his tale to tell and the events that triggered them to make the decision to join the movement for liberation. As the years went by, the cause of the Southerners gained world sympathy and support and little by little, a glimmer of hope began to emerge in the war torn areas and in the diaspora.

After a long struggle, a remarkable peace was signed. For many, 2005 was a dream come true. The provisions of the CPA included some clauses on a referendum to be held for Southerners to decide if they wanted to remain united with the Sudan or not. We chose separation and hoisted our very own flag on the 9th of July 2011.

In the early days of the struggle, the SPLM leadership ensured that the liberators had discipline, those who did not respect the SPLM code of conduct would be punished and in extreme situation, were summarily executed. That sent a warning to the soldiers, and despite the challenges back then, there was discipline amongst most of the soldiers.

When I was little, I ran together with some kids and we lined the roads, one fine afternoon. There were men and women, in a file –they were singing a slow sad song. The words were laden with the need for the struggle to continue. The men and women in that file were leaving behind husbands, wives, children and other relatives.  I watched them walk by and at that time, I was glad that my father was away. Those men and women voluntarily joined the walk for freedom and made their maiden journey to Morobo, where the recruits were being trained. That day, Kaya, where the recruits had started their journey, was very quiet and people were extremely sad. That’s what liberation was about, fighting for rights and freedom.

After a week or two, as we got used to the little town of Kaya, I heard a liberation song drifting into the air, the sound was coming from the top of a hill. As a little girl, I run to see. I was told it was the Mundari group that arrived from Juba to join the movement.

I still recall the song they sang;

“Ana ma rajil al Bongo…Dicktor Garang..Diktor Garang, Jesh lo ponda Sudan, Jesh lo ponda Juba” loosely translated as Doctor Garang, we are the men, the soldiers coming from Juba, Sudan. That moment is embedded in my memory for life.

I am sure that, on the 16th of May everybody recalls their own journey and reminisces about the old glorious days of the liberation struggle. Lives were lost, hearts were broken because some couples never reunited; some children were never reunited with their parents and never had a chance of a normal childhood, we all have our narratives, but we have failed to transform those narratives positively to honor the memories of those who passed on; we have failed to transform that narrative in to a progressive South Sudan.

 Just after two years of independence, we brutally got rid of one another and the consequences of the war are still digging deeper. If people had known that this would be the outcome of their struggle and sacrifices, they would not have joined the struggle; they would have preferred to remain under the Arab domination. How can we look ourselves in the eye, but above all how, do we look our people in the eye, when all they are saying is that, the Arab domination days were better, because it was a domination of deprivation of resources and unequal opportunities, but it was a peaceful domination.

How can people, enjoy the hard earned independence in the middle of insecurity and extreme poverty? What is it that we really look back to – the good old liberation days and how resilient our men and women were, but fail to link it with the need for progressiveness for what we have fought for? If we could overcome the painful past, why do we want to replicate pain in times that we should be consolidating our future, our development and make our country progressive and great?

 I salute the fallen heroes and heroines! I salute those who remained to carry on the fight; I salute those who have been wounded and I salute those who have lost everything and their loved ones in the course of the struggle. I salute all the people of South Sudan for the endurance and for the sacrifice of wanting their own country – South Sudan!

 

 

The Writer is a South Sudanese Lawyer and a Senior Consultant on Democratic Governance and the Rule of Law. She teaches on a part time basis at the College of Law of the University of Juba. She can be reached on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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