I sit and scan through news updates on the South Sudan Crisis, and I am saddened by the turn of events these past few weeks and days.
The recent media reports about attacks in Bor and Bentiu, the social media frenzy that has been created around this, portrays a dire situation in deed.
The photos are cruel, grim and border along horror. I have still not brought myself to look at them, I have tried, and each time, I cant help it, and I would instinctively close my eyes. I still can not master the courage to look at such brutality. The loss of many innocent lives.
Enough said, the situation in south Sudan is entirely getting out of control and the calls to condemn the violence is most wanted.
What bugs me however, is the response these recent attacks have generated. Did it have to get to this level?
Did it have to take such a scale for people to start condemning the fighting that has been going on now for over 4 months now? Are the lives that were lost in Bentiu and Bor, different from the lives that were lost in Juba,Malakal, Mayom, Wau, and various other parts of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile and the country?
It is indeed commendable that many organisations and sympathizers have come out to condemn these killings. In the strongest terms it is said.
But what are these organisations and sympathizers actually saying? what is their agenda in this conflict? My interpretation is: that it is okay for the warring parties to go on killing each other…it is okay for you to keep fighting, we will stand and watch, call for donor funding and take care of the people you have displaced, or the damages that have been caused. This is how I see it.
When organisations call for warring parties to respect civilians what are they actually telling us? Picture a pack of 20 year old boys, drunk on cheap alcohol in the battlefield. When fighting starts or is planned, they should choose, parade people, and decide you are civilian, and hmm, you are not, we shoot you.
Or should they send a warning? I am lost.
Leaders of both sides in South Sudan’s conflict must recognize that targeting civilians and UN personnel, whether by formal military units or informal youth militias is completely unacceptable and constitutes flagrant violations of the Cessation of Hostilities agreement to which both the government and rebels have signed,” said the Troika members in a joint press statement.
Many organisations are up in arms urging “stop targeted killings of civilians”. Are we saying that it is safe for the civilians to take refuge in the bush the buffoons are coming? or go to the POC areas (Each time I hear Protection of Civilians areas, what follows is: living conditions a time bomb!!)
We have watched and read, when both leaders blame each other, or brag about attacks, or claim that they did not target civilians. This to me is cheap talk and we need to get serious.
Everyone need to clearly condemn the violence in its entirety. Lets put both the leaders to take responsibility of their pacts, whether its the Army or the militias.
The real issues are not being tackled as we focus on who took which area and who plans to retake another region. As this means that thousands more will be displaced and continue to die.
Most organisations actually spend a huge amount of time and resources treating warring parties, repairing them so to say, to go back to war….while civilians scramble through puddles of dirty marshy water as they look for food in damps!!
So therefore the civilians that are not supposed to be targetted by warring parties, should wait, in indescribable conditions as humanitarian workers scramble to treat war wounded patients(3/4 are fighters) or even provide aid to these perpetrators?(sic)
The people of South Sudan need to unite and say no to this violence. Lets not party along ethnic lines and give the satisfaction of another African country that is slowly going down the drain because we choose people to set our agendas.
We are the people, and we should unite now and not tomorrow, and we should be angry enough to tell the story, and come out strong to condemn these senseless killings. Whether its a man with a gun, or not, life is still precious, and the pain of one life lost, is still a loss, irrespective of where you stand.
While we focus on the warring parties, many are today eating leaves, dyeing from treatable diseases, or are at the brink of death.
The lives lost as a result of this crisis is more than what we see and will continue to see if we don’t shift gears and be realistic.
Lets preach peace, togetherness, and lets actually start working to save the 50,000 children who have been predicted to die as a result of famine. We don’t have to wait to quantify this…lets save lives today, and it all begins in all saying stop the senseless fighting. Lets begin working on building a brighter future for South Sudan.