To Dr. Lual Achuek Deng: South Sudan self determination is greater than oil ministry

Category: Writing aboard the Kenya Airways: A story on coming to Rwanda for the first time
Published on Saturday, 04 September 2010 20:36
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Akol Aguek Ngong
(Vermont NSV) - First of all, I have no time to make a comprehensive stance against Dr. Lual Achuek Deng because I am heading out to Michigan in literally a few hours from now. Nevertheless, here is my brief take on his infamous interview, with London based Arabic Daily – The Al Sharq Al Awsat, in which he aired his views against the secession of the South Sudan.

 I do not want to dwell so much on Dr. Lual Achuek Deng’s infamous call for unity and denigration of the secessionists as well as Southern Sudanese Diaspora. So many Southern Sudanese have been rightly outraged and have publicly expressed their views against his rebuke of the secessionists or separatists who happen to be the majority of the population.

But what has been very disturbing and troubling about this interview was the manner in which the minister misconstrued Dr. Garang’s stance on the unity as if Dr. Garang did not once say (and I paraphrase here) that the beautiful lady called unity had to be made attractive, and that was the basis for the self determination for the South after six years of interim period. Six years later, that lady called unity has never been beautiful, and it has never been attractive to paraphrase Dr. Garang. That is why a call for a new nation through an internationally supervised referendum is inevitable.

What has also been appalling was the minister’s assertion that Southern Sudanese are granted their semi-autonomous regional government, and that many of them are enjoying positions in the federal government in a manner that Northern Sudanese aren’t as if his oil ministry position was all that Southern Sudanese wanted in order to vote for unity. And then the minister even denigrated the contributions of the Diaspora as if they weren’t once armed and deployed to engage the enemy in the South for several years before they found themselves here in the West. 

Dr. Lual Deng, here is what you need to know about the state of affairs right now. The self determination for Southern Sudanese to decide on their own destiny is too many folds greater than the oil ministry position you have been appointed to. The self determination (not oil ministry) was what all Southern Sudanese have been fighting for even prior to the founding of the SPLM/A.  

Mr. Lual Achuek Deng, ask yourself about a time when you were once trained in the SPLA military camp and then deployed to the war zone in South Sudan. If you have not been once trained and deployed in the war zone, then you have no credibility whatsoever to talk down the young people residing here in the west because they have once been there, and they know how to take the enemy hostile fires. You haven’t been there! They have been there and that should be a cautionary tale for you to not talk them down again in future.

The bottom line is Southern Sudanese have been considered second class citizens since independence, and a one infamous interview by a PhD holder in the western capital will never ever prevent them from exercising their earned aspiration for their own state. You and other like minded individuals must know that the time to make unity attractive is over! You need to come to term with it and get over it. You are welcome to remain in the North if that is what you want but you cannot make your personal interest to hold the oil ministry for the next several years, come in the way of South Sudanese exercising their earned rights to form their own independent state.

Akol Aguek Ngong is Assistant Director of Admissions at the University of Vermont. He regularly contributes to NewSudanVision.Com.