South Sudan violence a sad ending to 2013

A solder fighting in the South Sudan conflict

South Sudan Conflict 2013

If you have been watching the news lately there is no doubt that you are aware that tribal hatred is on the exponential rise in South Sudan." 

South Sudan is now on the verge of a civil war. There are claims of massacres and extra-judicial killings.

So as the year 2013 comes to a close, it seems that Southern Sudan will continue to dominate the headlines, as we await to see how the events will unfold.

Many people from Kenya, my home country, are watching this conflict with keen interest. Some have relatives and friends who are stuck in South Sudan.

The fortunate ones have been evacuated with the assistance of government chartered planes through Kenya Airways after flights between Nairobi and Juba resumed.

It is encouraging to see that the regional leaders are taking an activate interest in trying to resolve the political turmoil.

The Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Dessalegn are in Juba to try to mediate in the conflict.

However, there is still much fear for the well-being of the civilian population both local and foreign caught up in the cross-fire.

But, when you see the despair, the hopelessness, the agony of numberless victims of such hate-inspired prejudice and violence, you may well ask in distress: ‘Why is there so much hatred?

Why is there so much Hatred?

Based on my own experiences from the 2007-2008 Kenyan disputed elections, what puzzles many people is that most people will leave with their neighbors peacefully irrespective of their tribe or political affiliation, only to turn against them when there is a perceived ideology that their tribe is threatened with extinction.

Indeed, this is not only true of African conflicts, but any conflict in the world.

In fact, practically wherever you look whether it is in Africa, middle-East, Europe, Asia, whenever there is a political stand-off or instability; the conflict usually degenerates into either a tribal, ethnic or religious conflict. Why is this?

Usually the trend is that, contentions and hate are generated by propagandists who pour out floods of misinformation.

Goaded on by blind hatred, misguided individuals may then resort to outrageous acts of violence. Yes, legitimate grievances often also add fuel to violence.

There is no doubt that the major culprits in perpetuating these propaganda are political leaders or their crones who do this for their own political self-interests-Greed for power.

Sadly, the masses of ordinary people have been led to regard these leaders as “heroes” even when they commit serious crimes.

Were such crimes committed by ordinary civilians, they would be viewed as criminals and punished severally.

But if a politician is held to account then it is perceived differently, that is, that his tribe is being targeted.

This usually puts the members of his community in a defensive position, thus they rally around their leader.

The same trend can be seen in what is happening in Southern Sudan according to eye witness’s accounts.

The stand-off between the President Salva Kiir and his former vice president, Riek Machar has now become a tribal affair.

Since President Kiir comes from the Dinka tribe, while his rival Machar is ethnically Nuer, this has stirred much animosity between the two communities.

If a political solution is not found soon hatred and bloodshed will continue to be a harsh reality.

As both sides are now committing atrocities, there is great danger for the conflict to grow into a full blown genocide case.

This is partly because there is tendency to condemn an entire race or persons for the atrocities committed by certain individuals.

A good case in point is Rwanda, back in 1994 when the Rwandan president was killed by political members of his own tribe Hutu, they blamed it on Tutsi tribe.

This stirred up a tribal hatred for the Tutsi’s who were hunted down like animals and killed just because they belonged to a certain tribe.

So we hope the mediation efforts will bear fruit before it is too late!

But where does this tribal nature come from?

Humans are not born with tribal prejudice as the historian Arnold J. Toybee well noted,

Every human child knows that the physical differences between one human breed and another are of no consequence. Children start life unrace-conscious and they remain in unrace-conscious unless or until they are indoctrinated with race (or tribal) prejudice.”

So, racial or tribal pride has to be indoctrinated somehow into the mind.

One has to be taught to believe that tribe makes a difference, and that individuals should be viewed on this basis.

So it happens that when political and community leaders set a bad example in this respect, it will be easily copied by others especially the youth, then trouble and strife ensues.

In conclusion

As the diplomat efforts continue to try to resolve the conflict, it is our prayer that an amicable solution can be found to halt the senseless killings.

South Sudan is still a very young country blessed with rich natural resources such oil. 

Only peace can ensure that this resources will be utilized to benefit the Sudanese people.

Therefore, the leaders should put the interest of the majority populace before their own political ambitions and give peace a chance to flourish.

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