Message from the Heart to all South Sudanese
This message from the heart is from the Emeritus Bishop of Torit Diocese in South Sudan, + Paride Taban. May his message be our prayer.
My brothers and sisters, South Sudanese, peace be with you.
The most peaceful South Sudan I knew was from my childhood, from 1936 when I was born, to 1954. The mutiny in 1955 was not a South Sudanese problem and the wars from 1964-1972, plus the war from 1983 to 2005, were wars imposed on South Sudanese. Where is the trust, the unity and the peace South Sudanese had among themselves from those years, and why?
Because those wars were imposed on them made many South Sudanese traumatised, many forgot their identity of being separated from their country, family, marriages are broken, broken families, and they forgot the importance of their original homes where their great grandparents were born and buried. This is why today one finds somebody from somewhere building at gunpoint on the tombs of grandparents of another person. They forgot their good God-given cultures.
I travelled all over South Sudan during my youth, when I was in the seminary. All the Catholic priests in Sudan and South Sudan studied in one Major Seminary, we learned to live as brothers, one family.
We found South Sudanese in all the three provinces, Upper Nile, Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria, lived peacefully in every Province, and they respected each other. There was no bloodshed between Provinces. And why is this problem today? We South Sudanese seem to have misunderstood the meaning of the liberation of South Sudan.
There are some of us South Sudanese in our communities (individuals) who do not respect others’ culture, others properties. We human communities are not like beasts. We human beings are created to respect, love and serve one another, to share fraternally and not to rule or dictate on others or oppress others. I am not pointing a finger at any tribe or community; I am telling this is how God created us. The situation and the attitude I see in most of South Sudanese lives is not according to the creation of God. South Sudanese must not forget this, which God will never forget, that all South Sudanese fought for the independence of this country.
I hear even some very young children threatening others saying, “we fought for this country.” It was not a tribe or a family who fought for the independence of South Sudan, but the whole South Sudanese, Nubas, people from Blue Nile and some Northerners, I am one of the witnesses. If true peace has to reign in South Sudan, all South Sudanese must love and treat each other as equals, with love, and respect one another as one family of one God. They must do the same to those who helped them. I love you, all South Sudanese; I am your servant and shepherd, ready to serve you to my grave. I love one another in the same way God loves you.
South Sudanese were never so much tribalistic during my youth. This became worse because of political powers and depending on public fund, wealth of the country, after the colonisers left. South Sudanese try to imitate their colonisers to colonise their own brothers and sisters. Let us the South Sudanese tell the truth and truth will set you free. We are dying because we are not sincere to each other.
All South Sudanese are one people, we are all co-related, all intermarried. Let us not behave like some wild beasts who say, “your death is my life.” Now let us say these 28 words: love, joy, peace, patience, compassion, sympathy, kindness, truthfulness, gentleness, self control, humility, poverty, forgiveness, mercy, friendship, trust, unity, purity, faith and hope. Those are 20 and other 8 phrases: I love you, I miss you, I thank you, I forgive, we forget, together, I am wrong, I am sorry.
We can have permanent peace in South Sudan if we do this.
I love you. God bless you,
- Bishop Paride Taban 29th October, 2015