To Riek Machar Teny: time to own up to Bor Massacre or get out of Bor Town

Category: Writing aboard the Kenya Airways: A story on coming to Rwanda for the first time
Published on Friday, 12 March 2010 18:05
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Akol Aguek

(VERMONT, USA) - Here is what pains and disgusts me: I look at my family, and I see both of my grandmothers, and all my uncles (brothers to my father) either directly killed by Riek Machar’s forces or died from Bor Massacre related famine during the period ranging from 1991 – 1995. Every Bor family from Chuei e Keer to Chuei e Thon that I know of either lost everyone or suffered the losses of the same magnitude as my family did. And by the way, I cannot talk of the maiming of innocent civilians and the destitutions that became of Bor Dinkas thereafter making them homeless in displaced person and refugee camps across Equatoria Region and East African nations of Kenya and Uganda. That is an indisputable history unquestioned by none other than some of  the blind supporters of Riek Machar.

Here is the dilemma for all Bor Dinkas who silently suffered the losses during the 1991 Bor Massacre.

Today, Mr. Machar is heading out to Bor Town and will hold a rally at Bor Town Freedom Square and will ask the bereaved (survivors of the Bor Massacre): the relatives, children, grandchildren, widows, and widowers of those who perished in the hands of his forces in 1991 to vote for him. It is like a Nazi Commander showing up at Jewish town in Poland and asking them for their votes. Isn’t it? Yes, it is, and if you disagree, then you must tell me why it isn’t. But the real issue is how could Bor Dinkas forgive Mr. Machar let alone voting for him? I do not know if I will ever forgive Riek but part of the answer is some but not all Bor Dinkas may forgive Riek Machar if he genuinely accepts the responsibility and apologizes to them for his heinous crime against humanity. But he has not seized the opportunity at all and his track records show he never will but always will remain defiant, arrogant and dismissive of the tragedy that tore down people’s lives then, now and for generations to come. Fair enough as long as he is not seeking Bor Dinkas to support his leadership aspirations, and that goes with not showing up in Bor Town asking for votes.

And that brings me to my hawkish position. I believe Bor Dinkas should not welcome this unapologetic guy in their backyard let alone voting for him. In order to at least get over the losses that Bor Dinkas suffered, it would be a bit reassuring if Mr. Machar ever acknowledged their sufferings and asked for forgiveness. It would be relieving if Mr. Machar ever showed a sense of remorse and agony over the decimation of an entire community for no apparent reason at all. But today, almost 2 decades later, not a thing from Mr. Machar! Even today, there is no ownership of the massacre by this superstitious and inept individual who looks at himself as a future Southern Sudan President. He has been given the opportunity to come forward to own it and apologize to the bereaved (the survivors) but he refused and even argued that such a tragedy never happened. And over the years, Mr. Machar supporters have been rewriting the history denying it, and sometimes accepting it and justifying it as a payback for SPLA committed atrocities in Nuerland as if SPLA was not wholly owned by Southern Sudan but by Bor Dinkas. Gar, come forward with one version because it makes it worse when you try to have it both ways: denying it and at the same time accepting it with justification.

The tragedy with Bor Massacre issue is only in Southern Sudan would someone destroy an entire community, and deny it, and still come back two decades later and ask that same decimated community for votes. I believe Mr. Machar is underestimating the losses suffered by Bor Dinkas, and the anger that came with it. Yes, it is one thing to use the power of guns to seize the power. It is quite another when you ask those maimed individuals for votes. In a true democracy you, the wrongdoer, have to be questioned, and asked to explain your past deeds, and that is what this piece is trying to accomplish on behalf of the Bor silenced and downtrodden.

Here is what I am asking Mr. Riek Machar to do: look Bor Dinkas in the eye right at their backyard on Bor Town Freedom Square and own up to the Bor Massacre and apologize for your heinous crime or get out and look for votes somewhere else. You do not need their votes to win since there are millions of votes across Southern Sudan to be had without a single Bor vote. Do the gentleman’s thing to seek genuine forgiveness by accepting responsibility for tearing their lives and livelihoods apart or go fetch the votes someplace else. There is no way around to Bor Massacre other than taking full and complete responsibility for it. You can’t make the survivors believe it did not happen as you and your supporters have been doing because they can’t since they lived through it and survived it.

And to my critics, I cannot apologize for taking the hawkish position against Riek Machar because I want him to know that this issue should not be glozed over or buried under the carpet. It is his record and it needs to be out there during the election season. He has to know that Bor Dinkas suffer every single day from the consequences of his action and its resolution is far from being over as long as he is defiant, arrogant and dismissive!

Akol Aguek Ngong is an Assistant Director of Admissions at UVM, and a regular contributor to NewSudanVision.Com. He lives in Burlington, VT, USA.