By Deng Kur Deng
In all the mess that went on for a while in our country, there are men who are trying their best to resuscitate the country by bringing peace back to the people. Our communities have not learned to practice tolerance, but rather they use excessive violence that sends no message. For these very reasons, no one in South Sudan is living an admirable life because of the war our people were dragged into. As we speak, those who aren’t very thoughtful pretend to be leaders yet they have taken advantage of the country despite the people’s resistance.
However, the biggest problem of all is a war that was imposed on the people of South Sudan for malevolent purposes. These are the reasons why people must be forward thinking and motivated to prevent more disastrous events inflicted on the people by those who aren’t passionate enough about the nation’s success. Generally, the South Sudanese wouldn’t withstand profligate and reckless activities in the country as they are experiencing under the orders of Riek Machar. With that, people who see the safety of South Sudanese as a priority have seen leaders with shared perspectives who deserve to serve and protect people of South Sudan in the army. Those who have sanity and good reasoning to save South Sudan decided that, General Paul Malong Awan was overwhelmingly seen to embody the qualities of leadership and better intervention skills to tackle our collective problems.
Now, the South Sudanese have undoubtedly realized his leadership skills and productivity and; therefore, our people have nothing but respect and admiration for General Paul Malong. With his insights, criminals who were indomitable have eventually realized that General Malong is a man for peace, so a number of generals have returned to work with him. Unfortunately, certain groups of the South Sudanese people are blaming the leaders, but I realized that some of these people are blaming the wrong individuals for the wrong reasons. Obviously, it appears that certain circumstances might have influenced these very individuals to make these unfounded blames.
Now, when we all look back at the social problem in the country, all South Sudanese are aware that Riek Machar has contributed to 97% of the suffering of the people of South Sudan yet a number of these clueless citizens and foreigners decided to blame General Paul Malong for the problem in South Sudan. However, what they forget to remember is that when the war started, General Malong was a governor of Northern Bhar Ghazel working like every governor in the country, so he wasn’t Chief of General Staff of the SPLA when the war started; therefore, he didn’t purposely take South Sudan back to war. Many of the citizens are aware that the general was promoted to the leadership of the SPLA to guide the country’s armed forces and to spearhead a quest to use and intervention skills amidst the conflict imposed on South Sudanese by Riek Machar.
General Malong accepted his new job without hesitation because he has work to do—to protect your family and my family. Not only did he execute his duties based on provisions of the SPLA, but the man made sacrifices and endured a lot of pain seeking freedom for the people of South Sudan during our struggle, so he has no personal reasons to take South Sudan back to war, therefore, all these accusations are known to be unfounded across the country.
First, you must be reassured that the man is brave at heart and a leader in all his decisions and consequently, he must be treated as such. Even though there are many generals who were wounded during the struggle, General Malong was wounded 9 times. Seriously, you cannot beat the patriotism this man has for the country and I can honestly say, I am very proud of the man for all that he did for us. I don’t know who could question this man’s integrity, patriotism, and love for the people of South Sudan. The general who has been wounded repeatedly has never gave up hope serving and protecting the people of South Sudan. These are true works of patriotism.
General Malong has shown his humanity, whereas Riek and his generals have done inhumane things to people including killing the wife of our chief who was the oldest woman in my village. As we all know, General Malong took up arms to protect the vulnerable population like her during our struggle. Based on the facts out there, he was promoted after war was ignited, so he has nothing to do with what triggered the war in the country. With General Malong as a head of the armed forces, particularly SPLA, we as citizens have witnessed protection of your loved one from warmongers.
In fact, the single most important thing to Malong and to all the South Sudanese is restoration of peace in the country and this is a priority to him. Nothing more and nothing less than that.
Now, let us reflect on what Malong did in Northern Bhar Ghazel. When the Sudanese government was involved in a proxy war that terrorized Northern Bhar Ghazel, Dr. John Garang confidently designated Malong to find ways to resolve the problem between Northern Bhar Ghazel and the Misseriya tribe. General Malong as a capable man was able to navigate and maneuver amidst complexities associated with the region good enough that he brought peace between these two tribes. People of Northern Bhar Ghazel were able to coexist with the Misseriya peacefully under his leadership. As you can tell above, people like General Malong and others deserves to be celebrated for their services to the people of South Sudan.
Another thing I have heard from my brothers from Nuer is that they have accused General Malong of killing children, but if we look at what Riek did, many of his fighters in the White Army were children and so when you compare these two men Malong was given a task to guide the SPLA — an organized armed force of which many Nuer were part of before they defected. Imagine, Riek was in charge of the White Army, which was comprised of children, meanwhile Malong was in charge of a well-organized forces to protect children. Who have done more damage to South Sudanese children, women and elderly in the country?
The saddest part of this — many of those children under Riek Machar’s leadership were affected and even killed. Those few of you who are complaining to foreigners about General Malong, are not telling the true when you leave out someone who did all the bad things to your children by recruiting them into the White Army under tribal banner. Don’t just say Malong is at fault for convenience. As far as the South Sudanese are aware, the general sustained wounds during the struggle protecting children, women, and the elderly, so how could a man who have done and sacrificed so much for the people go back to degrade these very people? This kind of smearing must stop. We South Sudanese know that the general wants nothing but safety, prosperity, and development for the country.
However, many of us who have heard and seen the contribution of Malong and men under his leadership — we become outraged by those who accused him of something he hasn’t done. Let us reflect on the general’s family, which is something all South Sudanese is aware of. Malong has a number of children and women, which is something we are very familiar with as Dinka, Nuer and other tribes in South Sudan that practice these traditional values. With these traditional values, General Malong was able to marry a number of wives and as a result has children, which is something every Dinka, Nuer or South Sudanese man is proud of.
With that being said, General Malong has every reason to protect every child born in South Sudan because those children are like his own children and the very reason he took up arms to protect the lives of the people. With that, I encourage you my people to be honest with yourself because we know the intentions of General Malong are to restore peace and the livelihood of the people of South Sudan. You and I must see Paul Malong as a symbol of peace because he wanted to see your children going back to school in a stable and peaceful country. This too will allow citizens to resume their normal duties such as growing crops and peacefully looking after their cattle.
Like many of us, General Malong would like to see a peaceful South Sudan in which we all can coexist regardless of our tribal connection. Instead of condemning wrongdoers such as Riek Machar and his dangerous generals, a few individuals resorted to criticizing a man who is seeking peace for all of us. You cannot attack a productive person with counterproductive insults and assumed it will work for some of us who are in solidarity with General Malong. You men and women under his leadership are doing what is right for the people of South Sudan. You and I should be looking for solutions for the country as he works to revitalize the country from the brutality of war imposed on our families by Riek Machar. You and I must respect and appreciate what General Malong stands for in the country.
This article was written Deng Kur Deng AKA Raanmangar. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org