The Threat of Today and the Promise of Tomorrow

The Threat of Today and the Promise of Tomorrow

In Commentaries, Diaspora News by Ramciel Managing EditorLeave a Comment

I was there, at The Battle of the Gilo River. I was there when the man in charge of everything told us to find a way out and got into his boat with his bodyguards and left us stranded on the bank of the raging river. I was there as people, terrified people, ordinary people, plunged into the water and drowned. I was there in July 1991, when Jenifiel. a.k.a 1st Lt. Rin Tueny Mabor took the situation in hand. We followed him up the river. We followed him as he figured out how to get us across. We followed him and he saved us and by saving us helped the struggle for our national freedom to continue.

What a horrible time that was. What a wonderful moment it was as well!

Today, South Sudan is perched on the bank of another cataclysm, a disaster. It is not one thing but a combination of many issues. For one, corruption has stolen much of our national treasure wasting so much of the oil wealth that could have been used to move South Sudan forward. Then there is the endless internecine warfare: tribe against tribe, region against region, even neighbor against neighbor. With that endless warfare comes guns. We, a people in need of food, shelter, clothing, medical care, education and so much more, are awash in weapons. Added to those human-based problems are the perils of nature; in recent years that has included pandemics and, even worse, floods.

Many of our brothers and sisters have fled their homes. Some, the luckiest, are living in the diaspora. Others are crowding the slums of Juba where many are reduced to begging or crime. Then there are the thousands on thousands who are clinging to life in refugee camps and in the few places where displaced persons have been able to find refuge within our borders. Let us not forget the others, those of our lineages driven from their homes elsewhere, especially in Sudan, who would happily come to the country to rejoin us were we able to give them shelter.

What are we to do? Do those of us who have a boat use it to save ourselves? To those who have nothing plunge themselves into the raging flood and hope for a swift death? Or, do we find a new leadership capable of showing us a way forward?

I say that we must and that we will take our homeland forward. To do that, we do not need coups, political movements, the purchase of more weapons, or the reckless selling off of what resources we have left. What we do need is an economic program that will take our country to a new level, a program that will help the people of South Sudan have a solid footing in the world around us. What we do need is to figure out how to bring foreign investment and expertise to South Sudan and in the process teach our people the skills that will give them a decent, comfortable, and hopefully democratic way of life.

The key to such an economic program is actually found in our country’s name. We are the true Sudan. Our neighbor to the north might properly claim the name of Kush, but we are the Sud, the great swamp or marsh. It is the water that collects in our country that provides over a third of the Nile’s flow. That water, if properly harnessed, could be used with the wonderful soil that has accumulated beneath it to produce an agricultural and aquacultural powerhouse. In the process, the left-over water could continue to flow down the Nile—with even improved quality—to help the people of Kush and Egypt.

To make this all happen we need a willingness among those South Sudanese who have skills and some wealth to help create a bank to do business with the rest of the world and a development of a leadership community willing to take the effort to reach out to not only other governments but to private enterprises in other countries and develop the businesses that could prosper in South Sudan.

Climate change is happening. In many ways that change is a threat to all people. In many nations it is increasingly difficult to produce sufficient food. In some countries, the problem is exacerbated by the growing expectations of the people. The future South Sudan calls for rain. Let us turn that rain from threat to promise and possibility.

So, I call on my fellow South Sudanese leaders in the diaspora to come together and create a new economic plan for our homeland. I ask that we create an overseas bank officed in one of the developed nations and use that bank to start reaching out to the rest of the world. Let us work toward the day when our home will be able to feed not only our people but millions elsewhere and when our people will be able to enjoy prosperity.


~by Deng Mayik Atem

Publisher of Ramciel Magazine


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