Shame on Sudanese leaders and elders in Calgary

Category: Writing aboard the Kenya Airways: A story on coming to Rwanda for the first time
Published on Monday, 23 May 2011 04:47
Written by Kuir Garang, The New Sudan Vision (NSV),
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(Calgary, AB) - Many of our young men are languishing in detention centers and prisons across Canada and more so, Calgary, Alberta. There’s nothing as painful as losing a generation to crime and semi-illiteracy. Young ones in Elementary, Junior High and Senior High School can hardly write their names. Most of those who finish high school leave with only certificates of achievement rather than high school diplomas. This makes going to university or getting into credible professions highly difficult or, in fact, impossible.

But who is to blame? The elders, parents and leaderships in the Sudanese community in Calgary don’t mince their words in blaming western ‘culture’ as the main source of the problem. They argue that the young are so much enamoured by popular culture that their taking what they see on TV on face value becomes problematic to the community. The kids only take rappers, singers, basketball players and other celebrities as the only role models.

As much as I’d want to believe part of the assertions above, there’s more to this than these cheap claims. If the elders in the community don’t set examples the young can emulate then how can we blame the young?

If the young ones have no credible role models to look up to, then how the hell do we blame them? These kids don’t see anything of value in the Sudanese community to admire.

There is no solid leadership that can advise the young ones in school. The young ones need to know and see that they have practical leaders, not symbolic leaders.

Do we have any Sudanese organization that goes to schools to enlighten the young about their educated leaders and elders?

Do we have enlightenment campaign that can help the young ones in schools know that they have immutable leaders with higher degrees and world-class leadership prowess and intellectual innovation?

Do we have a campaign that can help these kids know that they are not who their teachers think they are: war-traumatized, wild, incorrigible, and often violent?

 The answer is NO!

What the so called leaders do in Calgary is to cheaply quarrel about who is supposed to be the chairperson of the civil society or the South Sudanese community. They bicker about who is the real SPLM member.  They meet and talk cheap politics as to who is well-versed in Sudanese politics and SPLM/A history.

If these leaders can’t form a functioning leadership to make sure that their kids perform well in school, then all one can say is, shame on you!

If you pride in the would-be independent South Sudan and you divide yourselves in Calgary, how the hell can you differentiate the divisiveness in Calgary and the break-away of Peter Gadet and George Athor?  

We tend to blame others but what we do in our micro-communities is as bad as any other.

The only difference between the disagreement within South Sudan and Calgary is that those of Calgary have no guns.

If these people think they can be leaders in South Sudan when they can’t agree in something as simple as civil society…then I say: shame on you! And the greatest shame of all is how a break-away group forms a civil society leading to celebration of referendum result by two competing leadership groups in Calgary. And even a bigger shame is when someone in Calgary thinks having a woman as his chair is unacceptable. And you know what, these leaders masquerade in ties and give long speeches full of loads of nonsense in the name of the community.

If you ask them what their kids are doing, they’ll probably scratch their heads but still confidently say they can be leaders. I don’t even know where charity begins anymore.

Instead of bickering over silly civil society, start formulating how to help the future of South Sudan: kids. Form bodies that can go to school and make kids proud. We need our kids to win scholarships. We need our kids to see their cultures presented proudly on TV across Canada. And we need our kids to travel to Ottawa in the name of South Sudan. And we need our kids to know that we have leaders who can compromise in good heart for the sake of the community. And we need our kids to know that they have a future when they grow up.

Be leaders, help our skids, and stop silly and shameful bickering over civil societies. How do you expect kids to respect and see you as role models when you are divisive, tribally-aligned and visionless? We are destroying the future of South Sudan wherever we are in the world! What a shame!


Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese writer and poet. He is the author of Carcass Valley (Poetry, 2009), Despotic Exegesis (poetry, upcoming, 2011), Trifles (Novel, 2010) and the upcoming nonfiction book, Is Black Really Beautiful? ethics and philosophy of Race. For more information visit his website: