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Remarks delivered at the memorial service for Isaiah Abraham

Assassination of Isaiah Abraham set the stage for challenging the status quo!

Speech as Prepared for Delivery by Mr. Kwaje Lasu, Chairman of Equatoria South Sudanese Community in the United States.

DSCN0283Ladies and Gentlemen: Good afternoon “although I have been invited to represent ESSCA-USA, I am here today to speak as a concern child of South Sudan, as well”

 

On behalf of ESSCA-USA, please accept our heartfelt condolences, our thoughts and prayers are with the deceased family and Bor community in particular, and the entire peace loving, tolerant people of our beloved country of South Sudan.

We, the Equatoria South Sudanese Community Association in the United States condemned in strongest term the killing of Mr. Isaiah Abraham and many innocent South Sudanese who are not accounted for thus far, as well as countless violations of human rights. Mr. Abraham did not just fought to liberate South Sudan, he continued to advocate and speaks on behalf of the voiceless; he died exercising his freedom of speech; Abraham death is not in vain, his legacy will continue forever. With deep sorrow and profound sadness, today we continue to mourn the lost of our brother Isaiah Abraham, who was killed in cold blood, execution style. He’s among the heroes and heroines who contributed greatly in the liberation of our land from the tyranny of successive oppressive government of Sudan.

 

Today is a sad day indeed. However, we here are to celebrate the legacy of our brother Isaiah Abraham. Make no mistake my friends, those who killed and/or contributed in Abraham’s demise will not and cannot kill or silence all other Abraham’s likes out there in South Sudan; hence, we will never be quiet until justice prevailed. Late Abraham is a man of courage and bravery, he had shown his aptitudes in the front lines during war times, as well standing firm against his fellow comrades who betrayed the cause of our struggle during peace time.

 

My brothers and sisters, as we celebrate the life of late Abraham, our country is in critical juncture; our country is marred with insecurity, arbitrary arrests and harassment, human rights violations, rampant corruption, tribalism, nepotism, misused and abused of power, and intimidations. For our country to thrive and prosper my fellow countrymen and women, we MUST relinquish and denounce tribalism, nepotism, and favoritism; WE must stand united and equally as children of South Sudan; we must denounce the notion and believes that some of us were born to rule; we must stand united against elitism and government that cater for the few; above all, every South Sudanese


contributed to liberate our country, one way or the other. My brothers and sisters, the government of South Sudan was elected by the people, and shall be for the people; and for our country to flourish, we must stand and support good governance, accountability, transparency, and the rule of law.

 

The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that was followed by our independence was a triumphant moment for every South Sudanese at home, and in every corner of the world where many had seek refuge during the war and continued to be the voice of our struggle for freedom. The CPA and our independence, was a great accomplishment after 50 years of struggle against oppression and marginalization. With the independence and freedom at hand, our expectations were very high, we yearned for peace, we yearned for freedom, and basic services such as security, education, and healthcare. To this date, very minimal has been delivered. Insecurity, corruption, tribalism, nepotism, countless human rights violations “specially women’s rights” are the order of the day in South Sudan. It’s appalling we are experiencing the same problem we all fought against, and millions of lives were lost for the cause. It seems we have gained an independent state, and imported the culture of oppression, as well.

Granted, nothing under the sun can be accomplished overnight and South Sudan is no different. The government had asked and continues to ask us to be patience, with our patience and time passing, many had and continue to suffer, yet, many government officials bank accounts is growing exponentially (their accounts got fatter), they seek medical care abroad while the poor whom we all fought alongside and for, are dying because of poor medical care at home; these government officials families and love ones reside outside the country and/or in $150 per day hotels in Juba, while returnees from the North has no shelters; their children attending good schools in the neighboring countries and overseas, while poor Wani, Mading, and James has no school to go to, for good education. Since the signing of the CPA in 2005 until now, there’s lack of clean running water in the entire South Sudan; the healthcare and educational systems are in disassembled condition, “is that what all fought for?” it’s a clear indication that our priorities had changed from principles of what we fought for and catering to the needs of the citizens to a quick, self-enrichment. It’s rather incomprehensible in a span of 10 years or less, South Sudan has a substantial number of government officials and their relatives who are millionaires today? My fellow compatriots, our government had let us down, my friends.

Our President has been preaching zero tolerance on corruption, yet, we had to see anyone brought to justice; Auditor’s general report was very clear; we have yet to see anyone or a ministry held accountable. Dora for states worth billions of dollars evaporated in thin air with no traces. In recent pass, our president bravely came forward and declares that there is sum of $4B US dollars unaccounted for and there are 75 suspected senior government officials. However, we have yet to see any result.

 

My dear compatriot, we, South Sudanese have waited for over 50 years, we can still we wait another 15 years or more as we have been asked by our government, so long there’s clean, running drinking water; we don’t mind to wait as long we see road constructions connecting the ten states; we don’t mind to wait as long as we can sleep in our own houses with peace of mind; we don’t mind to wait so long as our children gets a good education; we don’t mind to wait so long we can go to the hospital and not worrying about sending some family members and friends to prepare a grave.

 

My fellow countrymen and women, a leader who cannot weed out, and stand against those bad apples as brother Abraham has done is good as condoning the practice.

Therefore, our brother late Isaiah bravely stood up and took upon his life to voice our silence; our brother Isaiah did not waver on his believes of free democratic South Sudan. Isaiah was not afraid to speak up his mind regardless of numerous threats on his life. My dear brothers and sisters, we owed to late Abraham to continue his legacy of advocating for freedom of speech, good governance, security, peace, and prosperity throughout South Sudan.

 

If not all, many of our neighboring countries have witnessed major post independence turmoil and failures; one would think we “South Sudanese” could have learned one or two of those pitfalls, and build strong South Sudan free of corruption and shortcomings in many areas of nation building. Yet, we fall in the same trap of bad governance, lack of transparency and accountability. My friends, our country is bleeding and crying for young generation with fresh blood and post millennium ideas to guide it out of this misery. Some of you might question, “Who are the young generation and fresh blood that our country is yearning for?” Look around you; the young generation and fresh blood leaders I am talking about is YOU, ME and US all together. South Sudan needs all of us collectively, regardless of our tribes, our languages, and/or our states. We are all South Sudanese, and South Sudan needs us all.


We always cry that God has robbed us of our love ones whom departed us; however today we are crying because someone, or some people in South Sudan had taken away Abraham prematurely from us. My brothers and sisters, today we should rejoice because our brother Abraham is with our LORD alongside those of our founding father late Dr John Garang DeMabior and all those who sacrificed their lives in the name of free independent South Sudan. Therefore, we must keep the candle alight and continue to be the voice of the oppressed.

 A quote from Dr. Maya Angelou “People will always forget what you say and what you do to them, BUT they will never forget how you make them feel” Isaiah has just done that to all of us!

 

May the LORD rest Abraham’s soul in eternal peace.

 

May God bless the Republic of South Sudan

 

And may God bless you all

 

Thank you!

 

DSCN0320Speech as prepared for Delivery by Deng Lueth Mayom, President of Greater Bor Community in United States.

Distinguished guests, South Sudanese community leaders, South Sudanese citizens and friends,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good Evening,

Forty five days ago, our nation was robbed of a true national hero who was courageous and firm on the principles and values we took up arms to fight for. Diing Chan is a hero whose name and legacy will go down the history as a patriotic, selfless and responsible citizen. Isaiah Abraham will be remembered as a hero of Freedom of press and self expression. He laid his life down for us to be free.

The people of South Sudan must remain united in the face of enemy attacks on them. There is a need for all of us to come out of our hiding boxes (tribes or regions) and form a united body called citizens of South Sudan.

While some citizens have chosen to build their legacies on corruption, killing of fellow citizens and suppression of the same freedom they fought for and now have turned against it, Diing Chan chose to stay on course with the ordinances that took us to war with Khartoum in the first place.

Diing was warned by friends, colleagues and family members to stop writing, having had to make a turf choice between life and death, he chose death to deliver us from the York of oppressions. In his own words, he said, “I will keep writing even if it takes my life.”

Diing Chan took that choice because he counted on you and me, and many other South Sudanese peace and freedom-loving individuals. He was convinced that we will carry on the fight. Just like him, we have a choice to make. Let’s ask ourselves; are we going to carry on the fight? Are we going to shut up as his assassins would wish to happen? Are we going to stand on the side and watch our government kill us, one by one, until we are cleared?

The death of Isaiah Abraham marks the beginning of the second struggle for freedom in our country; we have gotten external freedom, which is not in its completeness yet and we are yet to finalize the freedom journey with that of individuals.

However, we must be cautious with how we run the campaign for freedom and democracy in South Sudan to avoid turning South Sudan into a Somali. We must organize and lead a nonviolent coalition to bring about the change we need. In so doing, we must recognize that this government is the same one we democratically elected into power a little over a year ago----therefore, its legitimacy over us cannot be denied.

Nevertheless, the government is to be reminded that we put it into power and that it must do what is in the best interest of the people; promote people’s freedom and prosperity; protect their lives and properties among others. And we demand justice for Isaiah Abraham.

We must also recognize that our diversity is a blessing to our country. We must not allow ourselves to be divided along tribal or regional lines by Politicians with self interests. Individuals must be held accountable for their mistakes or crimes. They should not use tribes and regions as their shields to protect themselves when they commit crimes.

Our government has abandoned its job of protecting people’s lives and properties and has crossed numerous redlines. However, it has a slim chance to redeem itself.

It must initiate radical changes in all its institutions, balance powers among and within its branches, better relationship with the people it governs and immediately protect civilian lives in all 10 states of South Sudan.

We demand a rigorous system of accountability. The people in charge of security must be thoroughly investigated. Their mishandling of security affairs and failure to protect the people must cause them their jobs if we have a serious president.

President Kiir must understand that what protects him and his legacy is not the kind of people he surrounds himself with. Rather, it is when he delivers on his promises and does things according to people’s expectations. That is why it would not matter if all his cabinet ministers come from Warrap or Awan Chan, his own clan, but whether they deliver the services to the people.

Not taking these calls very seriously will cause the government to loss its legitimacy and the people will demand its change. Today, it is very clear that the citizens are tired of the declining state of affairs in South Sudan.

We must start to unite and organize here in Diaspora; community by community, region by region, then as South Sudanese people. In our respective organizations and unified body, we must compete not by what group of us is more educated than others, or fought for freedom more than others or are richer than others or own the government more than others but must all work together as citizens of South Sudan for democratic and human rights principles in our country.

In case our call for democracy as people becomes what they call “the dog is barking and the camel is walking.”

  • We must be ready to demonstrate in Washington D.C. and New York City and other western centers of power against the dictatorial system of government in Juba;
  • We must be ready to talk with our Congressional delegations from our own states and write our petitions to the entire Congress, White House, and the United Nations to put pressure on the government in the Republic of South Sudan;
  • We must be ready to protest at any of president Kiir’s public gatherings when he comes to the Western Capitals and tell him that we need change.

In case the government increases its crackdown on citizens, who call for change,

  • We must be ready to think about an ICC option for suspects responsible for assassinating innocent South Sudanese
  • And the Egyptian and Tunisian like protests and demonstrations will always be last resort but possible options to consider as well.

Dear fellow citizens, our country is in danger of being a failed state or invaded by Khartoum. Our government has lost its bearing. South Sudan that was on the offensive during the early CPA era is now on the defensive at the international stage. We are back to re-negotiating what was already taken cared of in the CPA; Abyei, Southern Kordorfan and Southern Blue Nile.

Our government has completely abandoned talks on popular consultations for Southern Kordofans and Southern Blue Nile which were parts and parcels of CPA. Khartoum demands Juba to disarm the SPLM-N but it forgets that the solution is not disarmament but implementation of the popular consultations, willingness to share power and cherish democracy.

Khartoum has clearly violated the CPA. Popular consultations in the two areas and Abyei referendum were what kept Khartoum on the defensive and South Sudan on the offensive.

Abyei Referendum and popular consultations for the two areas must take place because those three areas are parts of the New Sudan. Negotiations over them are already completed and signed in the CPA. South Sudan needs to go back to the vision of New Sudan. It was not only a program and a vision but also a protective shield. It makes South Sudan a stronger nation.

While we are being kept on the defensive, Khartoum is working day and night to take our lands, one at a time. The people of Northern Bar el ghazal can tell us better than anyone else as in mile 14 and other border areas. The nation of South Sudan is doomed on many domestic fronts (insecurity, falling economy etc).

We must organize to support Freedom and democracy in South Sudan. We must ensure (and I reference Martin Luther King here) that freedom rings everywhere in South Sudan and beyond.

Let freedom ring in Greater Equatoria

Let freedom ring in Greater Bar el ghazal

Let freedom ring in Greater Upper Nile

Let freedom and democracy ring in every citizen of South Sudan spirit

And yes, let freedom ring in all the marginalized areas in the Sudan and the neighboring countries.

 

 

Thank you very much,

God bless you,

God bless South Sudan

And may God bless also the United States of America.


 

 


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