SPLA Day 2022: A Reflection on the Plight of our Soldiers

SPLA Day 2022: A Reflection on the Plight of our Soldiers

Painting of an SPLA Soldier by Abul Oyay

In commemoration of May 16th, South Sudan’s SPLA Day, I usually reflect on what I believe is the nation’s mood at that moment. This year, I would like to reflect on the plight of the forgotten heroic SPLA soldiers.

It is no secret that most families in South Sudan lost scores of family and community members to the liberation struggle. To each family, these soldiers are not mere statistics. They are their pride, hopes shattered, livelihoods lost, dreams curtailed, and longed-for embraces. Their eyes look upon us from the beyond, hauntingly or endearingly. Their spirits always hover in the lives of those left behind. My immediate family is no different. Our people have borne the burdens of liberation gracefully.

I have worked as a civil servant for close to a decade and a half now. For at least five of those years, I worked in Juba. During that time, I have had the privilege to interact with some of our forgotten heroes. Usually, they come seeking to meet their former comrades, who are now highly placed government officials. Most often, these officials’ current fortunes can not surpass the glorious contributions of their now dejected comrades in the struggle. Some of these officials receive these comrades, waylayed to the fringes of power, with humility and grace. Others shun them altogether, while others give them empty promises and praise.

These officers’ feats and heroic acts, I came to find, were legendary, told, and retold. Some more “fortunate” former officers found accommodation here and there. Yet, they still suffered countless humiliations, especially those caused by a lack of adequate recognition. Sadly, they are only adequately revered in death.

One fortunate instance led me to know the story of an Ethiopian soldier assigned to the SPLA, who, since the fall of Mangisto, had been cut off entirely from his family. Fearful of persecution by his government and presumed dead by all, he has been altogether stateless. A few years ago, he heard of his mother’s deteriorating health and subsequent death, his only wish being able to bury her and meet his wife and children after decades of absence. He could not travel and sought South Sudanese travel documents and possible naturalization. He came to our office to seek the support of a highly placed former comrade, asking him to add his weight to the process already started by his superiors in Bilpham.

I hope and believe that the concerned authorities addressed his issue. And that he was able to reunite with his family in Ethiopia or meet them in South Sudan or a neighboring country. Such an unsung hero who made incredible sacrifices for a people and a cause not his own must be honored.

Another instance was that of a son of a legendary SPLA Fanan who came knocking on the doors of his father’s former comrades seeking support for his educational pursuits. Most of his supplications fell on deaf ears. Perhaps his father’s former comrades are drowned in the sheer number of such requests. Past and current soldiers usually flood the offices looking for genuine and, at times, made-up needs. However, the fact remains that there should be an operationalized policy to proactively deal with the issues and needs of veterans and the armed forces and their families.

Such a policy would provide opportunities for gaining skills and or education and capital for building self-sufficiency through market/business activities. The government should provide free access to education to the highest level possible for at least the children of the members of the armed forces. The medical needs of soldiers and their families should also be provided free of charge.

Perhaps this policy sounds ideal, but we have the means to make it a reality, should we muster the requisite political will. It may well be that some parts of what I am saying already exists in paper. However, that we are not meeting the basic needs of our armed forces is unfathomable. Leave alone their meager salaries and inequity in promotions.

Many of our heroes languish in the grips of post-traumatic stress disorder. Others live in abject poverty. While others live in cognitive dissonance, unable to reconcile their current realities with their former glories. Many have suffered unimaginable humiliation.

At times I wonder if ever they regret a single day, a limb, or a pint of blood they have given for this country. A part of me says they would consider the mere thought of regret the highest form of treason and betrayal to their fallen comrades and fellow countrymen and women. They would consider regretting a betrayal to every inch of the precious homeland and every grain of the soil made up of our ancestral remains. So we, their beneficiaries, must dare not regret!

As a country with a fierce history of liberation struggles, we must do better for our soldiers and their families, and if they pay the ultimate price for their widows and orphans. We must remember their names, celebrate their contributions, and act in reverence of their precious sacrifices in all that we do. Taking care of them should never be considered an act of charity. It is a debt our nation must pay. It is the noblest responsibility. It is a mark of sovereignty, for our statehood stands on the shoulders of past soldiers. Its continuity depends on the current and future soldiers’ strength, loyalty, and commitment.

Happy May 16th, beloved South Sudan!

Happy SPLA Day 2021!

It is May 16, again. We remember May 16, 1983, the beginning of Sudan’s Peoples Liberation Army’s (SPLA) struggle for the freedom and dignity of our people, a struggle that culminated in an independent South Sudan. Though our struggle didn’t begin there, we also mark the day of the Torit Mutiny, August 18, 1955. Our struggle even precedes that day, spans generations, and still continues in different forms.

This day is a personal legacy for so many whom we celebrate and remember. It is equally a collective legacy of our nation, South Sudan. This generation’s heritage and the pride of the next. SPLA, a name that once garnered so much awe and reverence in our people, has been battered beyond recognition. And though SPLA, through recent political strife, has been fractured and diminished time and again, I still choose to salute SPLA (the liberation war fighters), now and always.

Together we can preserve and pay tribute to the legacy of SPLA by retiring the word from use, be it in the names of current political parties and their armed groups, lest we tarnish it further. A political party/movement/army’s name is a rallying cry for action. I understand the political expediency of choosing a ready-made brand, a name with legacy. But every struggle needs its own name. It takes creativity to find a name with resonance and broad appeal. It is a task that needs not be further sidestepped by our political entities. Or are we still liberating Sudan?

As I take a moment to appreciate the sacrifices so many made for the love of country and people, I imagine that something propelled those young people towards concerted action on the day. Was it: Zeal? Fool-heartedness? Anger? Pride? Indignation? Marginalization? Discrimination? Mistreatment? Ambition? Coincidence? Circumstance? Perhaps, even a vision? Whatever their specific motivation, history judges them all heroes and heroines. They began a struggle that later included people from all over southern Sudan, Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, and further north of Sudan. Their struggle resulted in two Sudans, in which the history of their legacy is still in the making.

We mark the days, lest we forget. Yet we forget. We forget our veterans, widows, and orphans of fallen heroes and relegate them to destitution. We forget the slogans of the revolution and the promise to the people. We forget the vision and the cause of the countless sacrifices of life and limb. Lest we continue to forget, let us remember our shared pursuit for freedom and dignity and commit to creating the nation envisioned by our predecessors.

I salute our heroes and heroines, those who have transitioned and those still alive. And I charge you my brothers and sisters to “remember through works, not words!”

Happy May 16, South Sudan!
Happy SPLA Day, South Sudan!

Women Tribe

The violence meted on the bodies and psyches of the girl child and the woman in South Sudan requires nothing short of revolutionary defiance and devising. As women, we can no longer silently lament the loss of one of us in the name of culture.

We can no longer aid nor facilitate criminal behaviors against women passed off as sacred tradition or noble sacrifice. It is time we draw a line on the sand and take a stance for one and all as we strive to regain sovereignty over our bodies and psyches.

Why must the lives of others be of more worth than ours? Why must the voices of others be more valid than ours? Why must the interests of others reign more supreme than ours?

Yes, we had for long accepted the oppression fed to us as culture. Yes, we had even perpetuated the violence against ourselves, our daughters, and our granddaughters. No, we do not want to be men.

No, we are not in any way the weaker sex. The weak, fearing the agency and capacity of others, resort to tactics of subjugation and control. We are women, mighty in every way. It is time we prioritize our well-being without seeking permission, validation, or affirmation. We no longer agonize; we organize.

Remembering Abyei (Part 1)

Abyei has been prominent on my mind since last Friday. On Saturday, I started to write this article. Little did I know that it would be prophetic. Sunday 16 May 2021 was another ominous day for Abyei. Messiriya assailants massacred twelve innocent Ngok Dinka civilians and injured others in Dunguop village, northeast of Abyei town. I extend sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the Abyei people.

May is an ominous month for Abyei. In May 2008, the Sudan Armed Forces burned down most of the town of Abyei to ashes. Dozens died, and tens of thousands, displaced yet again, sought refugee southward among their kin in southern Sudan. The market was wholly eviscerated, save the mosque, left towering as a symbol that Islamic conversion is a condition for mercy. I remember standing in front of the then Sudan’s Peoples Liberation Movement’s (SPLM) party headquarters, nearly a year later, in April 2009 in wonder. The building looked as if some grand steel robotic trampled it underfoot. I was in Abyei with a team accompanying the SPLM’s legal counsel to meet with the Ngok Dinka chiefs and other community delegates in preparation for our trip to the Hague for the Abyei Arbitration Hearing later that month.

I walked the town when not in sessions. Burn markings still on walls and where tukuls once stood. Roofless buildings and burnt vehicles, everywhere. I visited the Comboni Primary School, a beautiful concrete building. Some of its classrooms still stood doorless and windowless, a testament to the looting. Yet they stood. And the children stood also. Energetic, defiant, they stood in the morning assembly. I can still hear the voices of the little kindergarteners in their tents singing songs of hope. At night, I remember seeing searing lights, widely spaced, from the edge of town. I wondered and asked about their source. People told me that it was from the United Nations Mission in Sudan’s (UNMIS) Compound. After the attack on Abyei town, UNMIS almost doubled the compound’s wire fence in height and added huge lights, facing outwards, for protection. For UNMIS’ safety, not the people’s. UNMIS had refused to open its gates to protect civilians during the siege, even though it was within its mandate. Afterward, they bolstered their enclave, should it happen again. I saw the compound for myself. It was shameful but not new. The United Nations Missions’ civilian protection record in Africa is nothing, if not dismal. The current United Nations Interim Force for Abyei (UNISFA) may even be a regression rather than an improvement.

International and regional mechanisms of dispute management have miserably failed the people of Abyei. For starters, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), ending Sudan’s long civil war, was deadlocked because of a lack of agreement on the issue of Abyei. It took a proposal presented by Senator John Danforth, the then US Special Envoy to Sudan, for a breakthrough. That proposal accepted wholly by the two parties (NCP and SPLM) became the basis for the Abyei Protocol. Hailed by many as groundbreaking, unprecedented, and a model for dispute resolution agreements, the CPA suffered many setbacks in implementation. And to date, Abyei, Nuba Mountains, and the Blue Nile hang in the balance, casualties of ensuring the right of self-determination for southern Sudan. One wonders whether the two parties traded the fate of the three areas in an under-the-table deal for South Sudan’s independence. Perhaps a duplicitous feat, perhaps naiveté, maybe both. One also wonders, at the risk of sounding treacherous, if there was another way. Whatever the case, Abyei suffers to this day.

There are two levels of disputes in Abyei. One between the two governments of Sudan and South Sudan, with different motivations on each side. Sudan’s motivation is the oil and therefore the land, and South Sudan’s motivation is the people tied to claim to their ancestral land. Sudan had been committed to clearing the Ngok Dinka from Abyei. As a consequence, they are have suffered repeated cycles of massive internal displacement since the 1960s. Sudan Government repeatedly employed depopulation policies in Abyei, mainly terror, for which recorded history can attest. The other level is between the Messiryia and the Ngok Dinka over shared resources, grazing land, and water for cattle that lies within the territory of the Ngok and further into South Sudan. A common dispute between communities with shared resources. Traditional dispute mechanisms usually restored calm and the two communities’ co-existed in relative calm until Sudan militarized the Messiryia and used them as proxies in their bid to depopulate, more accurately ethnically cleanse Abyei.

The Messiryia have been used to the detriment of the Ngok and their own. Of course, they are the hand meting atrocities, and to humanize them is counterintuitive. Yet to humanize them, one who would hope, is to loosen them from the radicalizing grip of the real culprit. One wonders about their calculus and what they hope to gain from their arrangement as proxies. The only explanation that makes sense is that Khartoum promised the Messiryia the land once depopulated or ethnically cleansed. The Messiryia areas are severely underdeveloped with no access to the most basic services, yet they constantly breach their ties with the Ngok, to whom their livelihood and destiny are linked. The ultimate breach of whatever shred of good faith that remained between the two communities occurred on another ominous day of May, 4 May 2013. On that day, the Paramount Chief of the Ngok Dinka, Chief Kuol Deng Majok, was gunned down, murdered by the Messiryia while in the escort of the UNISFA. A shock. A man of the people, gunned down! A betrayal. How can it happen while in the protection of UNISFA and within its convoy?


The Misaligned

She met the divine last night. As a matter of fact, she meets the divine every day. Last night was special, though. You see, a child of Abuk moved her and had her eating sorghum from his hands. He had her watching the daily growth of a Cuei Tree and dreaming of passing every living season under its cool shade, sipping on tea, and having cyclical conversations weaved with joy, laughter, understanding, co-scheming, protestations, and invocations of the divine. They would reincarnate their ancestors and watch them climb the Cuei, fall, and ascend again.

Beautiful blue- blackbirds forever finding nourishment and shelter in their evergreen garden. Butterflies would jump out of their stomachs and feed on the nectar of wildflowers. They would sit contemplating the divine in-between silences and in the sincerity of gazes. This woman professed love to this child of Abuk, a thousand times, in those silences. He heard her loud and clear but steered clear. Could it be that he is unsure of her loyalty? Could it be that he has no faith in love? Could it be that it is so soon? Could it be that…? She wondered and wandered in mind.

Everything about him, his touch, his energy, his laughter, the way he called her name, was so sincere. But wait! What is that in between his gazes? What is that look when she is not looking? What is that he is contemplating? Why does he choke a word that has surfaced?

And then, one day, she started feeling a gap growing. Call it a woman’s sixth sense, divine unveiling, or energy synched getting out of alignment. She could always sense the exact instance that another’s attention shifts. His attention shifted a little, and then more and more every day. His touch began to be colder. He was shielding himself from delving, self-preserving, self-proclaiming. His silences grew and deepened. And she, feeling every new low, fidgeted, questioned, and offered help, as he lied, shifting her attention from the crux of the matter.

You know this ends as abruptly as the misaligned, divinely interrupted by the unveiling of a hidden truth.

Remembering Our Martyrs

I re-member…
I re-member…
I re-member Battalion 104,
Volcano Battalion and Katiba Banat.

I re-member the New Kush Division,
The Cadres in Bilfam,
The contributions of Musa Kuwa Idriss, and
The Red Army.
And I charge you brothers and sisters to re-member…

Re-Member the difficult days of the struggle.
Re-Member to feed the children and widows of our martyrs.
Re-Member the slogans of the revolution.
Re-Member, our promise to the people.
Re-Member our commitment to the vision.
Re-Member our duty and loyalty to the cause.

Re-membrance is an action, and
Not a thought.
That which was dismembered
Is now re-membered.
That which was disintegrated
Is now re-integrated,
Re-vived, re-claimed, and re-lived.
Re-Member through works, not words.

Embrace this passion.
Embrace this duty, and
Become the embodiment
Of our people’s Struggle.
The echo of their cry for justice and peace.

Be-Come, I… Be-Come, I…
I am John Garang.
I am Joseph Oduho.
I am Kerbino Kuanyin.
I am Yousif Kuwa.
I am William Deng Nhial.
I am Ali Abdellatif.
I am Abdelfadil Almaz.
I am William Nyuon Bany.
I am Arok Thon Arok.
I am Ngacigak Ngaculuk.
I am John Kulang.
I am Martin Manyiel Ayuel.
I am Francis Ngor.
I am Dauod Boulad.
I am Ali BGuatala.
I am Emilio Tafeng.
I am Ager Gum.
I am Thon Ayii.
I am Father Seterno Ohure.
I am Gelario Modi.
I am Emmanuel Abur.
I am Aquilla Manyuon.
I am Anyar Apiu.
I am Akuot Atem.
I am Gai Tut.
I am the countless martyrs and
Innocent casualties of the struggle.


The above is an excerpt from a poem titled “Re-member” from No More Betrayals.

Dark Matter

I met this sun, light years away from its beginning,
A ball of self-consuming flame
In a perpetual manifestation of brilliance.

Awestruck, can’t begin to describe
My state of being. And then, Yo,
It tried to lick me with its fiery tongue!

But little did it know that
I am a phantom of its future obsession, encoded in
Its perpetual intercession for the beloved.

The blind that I see is looking for…me?
The blind that don’t see is looking for…me!

A masquerade tumbling in search of a concussion to jolt
Its being back to blindness, shunning the parade of enticing rust, and
Consuming its fiery tongue to whisper smoke into my dreams:

…Cats, turtles, and bridges, …
Cats, turtles, and bridges, …
Cats, turtles, and bridges

…And that key imprinted on the tips its rays seek from me
Through soils: a husband, a prophet, and a priest. The one to
Bring nurturing, the one to sow awakening, the one to speak blessing.

But, the blind that I see is looking for…me.
The blind that don’t see is looking for…me?

Had to leave him nestled in his temple, awakening his third chakra.
I am the beginning and the end: the purity he seeks, the
Peace he needs, the depth he craves, and the death he braves.

Lost into myself till such a day a collision manifests conditions for
An amnesiac awakening, a return to the essential
I recede to envelope that sun.

For the blind that I see is looking for…me.
The blind that don’t see is looking for…me.

© Apuk Ayuel Mayen 2018.

From my collection of poetry, Kindred. You may purchase on Amazon.

Happy 9th Independence Day, South Sudan!

Happy 9th Independence Day, South Sudan! As we celebrate, let us reflect and resolve to do better. As we celebrate, let us honor our sacrifice-laden past, and seize our opportunity-filled present to secure our prosperity-promised future.

This young boy pictured celebrating our first independence day is now nearly a man. 9 years later, are his expectations fulfilled?

Sons and daughters of South Sudan, for the sake of our children, NO MORE BETRAYALS!

For now, I leave you with an offering of a poem for reflection:

No More Betrayals

Those streets lining
Remembrances of timeless sweetness, are
Now lined with our commingled corpses.

Those trees holding
Etches of timeless commitments,
Now no more than ash.

Laughter shared by the pure-hearted
Budding-buddies of lifetimes past and present
Now muted forever by the drums of war.

Brotherhood fused in fields of play,
Nurtured in shared pasture lands,
Now torn asunder by the supremacy of creed (greed).

Marriages consecrated in exchanges of sacred cattle,
Cemented through precious gifts of daughters,
Seeding nations united by blood;


Remember the laughter,
Once inspired by innocence,
Now spoiled by greed (creed).

Remember “Friends Forever,”
Once etched in hearts,
Now blinded by hate.

Remember sacred life unions,
Once perpetuated in blood,
Now shed by revenge.

No More Betrayals.
No More Betrayals.
No More Betrayals.

* ‘No More Betrayals’ is the title poem from my collection of poetry, No More Betrayals. For more information on the book, visit: https://apukmayen.com/books/no-more-betrayals/

**Photo Credit: Giovanni Turco / Freedom House DC

A Riotous Bosom

One smoldering afternoon in Juba finds me completely uninspired. I need two things: a refreshing drink and some excitement. Well, the first is a no-brainer, Logali House’s kerkede[1]mixed with tonic water. It always satiates that desire. As for the latter, it is nothing a bar could offer. So, I turn to my ever-intriguing companion and convey my predicament. As is usually the case with him, we delve into a philosophical conversation, ever so cyclical, and end up with the need for definitions.
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On the Choice of an Official Language in South Sudan

The choice of an official language has a significant role in garnering a national identity, and I cannot overstate its centrality in the nation and state-building processes. In the case of South Sudan, the lingua franca is “Arabi Juba” in the Equatoria states and many vernaculars of Arabic in the states bordering Sudan. The Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan, 2005, designated Arabic and English as the official working languages of Southern Sudan. It also established all indigenous languages as national languages. It is significant to note here that the foreign languages are not dubbed the “national” language(s) but rather the “official.” Moreover, due to the historical struggle against Arabization, some decision-makers in South Sudan deemed Arabic the language of the oppressor, leading to its removal from being the second official language in the Transitional Constitution, 2011.

As a result of decades of war, the South Sudanese people speak different languages based on their former areas of displacement and refuge. Many people who found themselves in East Africa now widely speak English, Swahili, and indigenous languages. While others, who found themselves in North Sudan and further into the Arab world, now speak Arabic, and some have also retained their mother tongues. For the South Sudanese who remained at home, their geographical location and proximity to markets determined which languages they now speak. Some speak some Arabic and or multiple indigenous languages. Moreover, many of the Diaspora who emigrated to western countries returned and added their flavors to the linguistic soup that is South Sudan.

The State inherited a populace with a variety of experiences and tongues. It would have been prudent, in my opinion, to maintain both English and Arabic as the official working languages since a sizable number of South Sudanese were educated in Arabic or speak a vernacular of Arabic. Alternatively, the State should consider instituting a wide-reaching adult literacy program that focuses on teaching English to the masses. With access to education, the youth are currently being taught English in schools, and most schools have policies that prohibit pupils from speaking any other language within their premises. The primary challenge is that many middle-aged people are the most affected. Not many in this age group are bilingual (Arabic and English), translating into a substantial loss of productivity while working in English.

The fact is that Arabic is still a working language in South Sudan, although stripped of its official designation. You hear it across the nation – in the streets, markets, classrooms, and on television and the radios. Government officials are also using it in internal and external interactions with the public. This reality would only change with the advent of a new generation currently receiving educational instruction in English. The designation of English as the official language in South Sudan, in my view, wasn’t an elitist construction, for many of the so-called elites in South Sudan do not have a command of it. Liberators are often inclined to fight to remove the vestiges of oppression. In our case, these are perceived to be Arabic, Arab culture, and Islam to varying extents. In South Sudan, the linguistic makeup of the State is a historical construction; the removal of Arabic, however, is an emotionally charged decision.

English became the only choice for an official language, a default. Of course, it’s also the language of a colonizer, but one that has no severe imprints on the psyche of South Sudanese. This is consolidated by the fact that no indigenous language readily offered itself as an alternative. As history suggests, there needs to be a heightened sense of patriotism and or other national sentiments for the State to rally its people to recognize one indigenous language as the official national language. I am optimistic that such is a possibility for South Sudan, given that most, if not all, its indigenous languages relate to four or five major language groupings.

Although the recent conflict in South Sudan had grave expressions of hatred and violence along ethnic lines, we must remain hopeful that our people have and will transcend and recognize their shared destiny. I visited Duk Padiet earlier in the year and was amazed at how its diverse community (local, displaced, and seasonal) spoke Dinka and Nuer interchangeably. I am further encouraged by listening to messages from some of our folk singers in both languages, preaching reconciliation, peace, and co-existence. The wounds are deep, and there are no shortcuts. We must engage and speak to one another. What better way to reconcile with one another than by talking in a language we all comprehend, or better yet, in each other’s tongue?

They say that the language of your enemy is your weapon. However, we must equally recognize that language is a powerful tool for reconciliation, and as a tool, it isn’t inherently evil. I say this very mindful of constructs of oppression and dominance built into the languages used for oppression. A prime example is the connotations of black vs. white and the inherent dichotomy of good vs. evil, among others; characteristics of racial, gender, and other forms of oppression in English, Arabic, and other languages. Such issues do not usually exist in our indigenous languages, and hence they are potent tools for reconciliation. I am not discounting here that discrimination is an inherent human trait. We make distinctions between self and the other, and hence all languages are rife with attribution of positive and or negative characteristics to these two categories of identification.

The views from outside about South Sudan often polarize its people, emboldens hardliners, and widen the divides. As far as I know, there isn’t a sanctioned process of politicizing indigenous languages in South Sudan, nor is there a move towards linguistic hegemony, as some would suggest. Teaching the Nuer language to students displaced in the Protection of Civilians (POC) Camps for over four years is a right, privilege, and some may even say the community’s responsibility. However, it is entirely irresponsible to imply that it is the case because the language is barred from being taught outside the camps in Juba, while others are. It is highly plausible that the drive to teach the Nuer language in the POC camp is a function of the community’s sense that they face an existential threat. It is a fact that only Bari, the local language of Juba, is being taught in local and community schools in and around Juba. As we speak, indigenous languages are taught to pupils in localities across South Sudan from primary 1 to primary 3, though with inadequate support. However, non-bari indigenous community schools, churches, and other associations can and do organize to teach other indigenous languages where they wish, including in the POC camps and other camps for the displaced around Juba. Furthermore, the Ministry of Education is mandated and committed to providing curricula in local languages to facilitate the development and promotion of all national languages. It has recently announced the successful curriculum translation into five indigenous languages as a first step.

Nation-building and state-building processes often span generations; they are no easy feats to complete in a decade. The same goes for the development or entrenchment of a national language. Therefore, I vehemently reject the premature and unfounded determination that South Sudan is a “failure as a modern-day state-building project” for oscillating between English and Arabic and experiencing a conflict with heightened ethnic tensions. Admittedly, in South Sudan, we need to draw up new plans and institute more proactive measures toward the lofty project that is the State and the Nation. We have had multiple setbacks, we have lost time due to conflict, but there is always a way where there is a will. It is also essential to state that South Sudan belongs to the South Sudanese of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Though we stumble now, as a people, we will overcome, and our diversity will be our strength. That is where and to whom South Sudan belongs; no flip-flopping on this matter. On the implicit issue and question of political alignment and interactions regionally and internationally, we hope for leadership’s prudence and wisdom to ally and align per the enlightened self-interest of the State and for the development and prosperity of all its people.

© Apuk Ayuel Mayen 2018. All rights reserved.

This article was prompted by Laura Kasinof’s 14 November 2018 Article in Foreign Policy, entitled: “For South Sudan, It’s Not So Easy to Declare Independence From Arabic.”