Gun Point

Who Killed South Sudan?

Saturday, 19 March 2016 1186 Views 0 Comments

South Sudan is like a battered child, cast out into the heat of the desert where the hot sun literally fries her skin

 

It wasn’t long ago since the nation was born, not much longer either before this child would slit their own wrists. This here is a painful reflection of the civil war in South Sudan, but more specifically of the vulgarities this war would impose upon the young people in the country. It becomes important at this point to deliver a warning, that this piece is written without any restraint whatsoever, the language is indeed bare, raw and lacking censorship – all for the purpose of prompting a realization in you of the crude nature of what has happened. This brutal honesty is the least I can offer in condolence to the reality that befell the youth of South Sudan.

 

Youthfulness is a Commodity

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Whenever a conflict breaks into an armed struggle we often fail to realise that it is young people who will always bear the brunt. When we mention “young”, we refer not only to the child but also to the teenager, the young adult in university or leaving school to chance their career and lastly those young people just starting a family of their own. War feeds on “able-bodied” men, for this alone the age of the person begins to matter more. Young people from age 8 or 9 all the way up to those who are 30 to 35 years of age is the demanded quality – the younger you are, the more potential you have for indoctrination to be completely successful. If you are a boy or a young man, you become a currency for waging savagery upon others and if you are a girl or a young woman you become a commodity tossed around like lost coin and subjected to being the pleasure piece of those holding a gun.

“…mothers and daughters…become a delightful reward”

For the girls and young women, regardless of age, their vulnerability is too pronounced. What you may not know is that many of the young women and children, whose villages were in the middle of it all, have watched a family member being slaughtered before them. The first target is always the men, despite being civilians they must die to instill fear in those that will remain. Many of these families in South Sudan would be rounded up, those mothers and daughters now so exposed become a delightful reward for conquering the settlement. Many mothers are raped before their own children, you watch your mother’s body being ravaged by a man or boy whose only old enough to be her eldest son. Your eyes are torched with her unceremonious nakedness and should she resist or cry she may receive a bullet in the skull. But hold on its not over yet, there will be four or five more men to repeat it before it is your turn. And when that turn arrives you can do nothing but scream in agony until you are in silent acceptance. Could I count for you the number of them? Girls and women all together, there is no counting of these permanently wounded minds and souls.

But then the boys and young men in the country. Any boy who is 8 and has the legs to carry him, the hands to carry and fingers to pull a trigger will most certainly be useful. For him, weapons will be introduced into his life, he is expected to kill. He must show no remorse for anyone including harmless and unarmed civilians. Child soldiers are no new thing, but when the peace deal comes we treat them as juveniles and to some degree will not make them account for their acts. Don’t forget to consider anybody beyond puberty a threat to women. They must conform to this order of the day and why not, these women are to be thoroughly enjoyed. Forget about discretion, this sin of rape will be committed before all who are present! They must see! I have full control and absolute power!

“Nobody wants a 12 year old demon!”

But these crimes will follow them forever. The children recruited as soldiers are tainted with having killed people and witnessing all sorts of death and rape. They suffer their own trauma along with the guilt of perpetrating horror and eventually they will discover what it is to be ostracized. But then again, who wants a child that was brainwashed into a killer? No-body wants to integrate with a 12 year old demon and so society will cage him in splendid isolation. What of the young women, those with family members killed before them, others raped and violently assaulted by men? They will never see a man in a comfortable light, but only some “thing” to be sure to defend themselves against and from now on the penis will be regarded as a vile weapon of torture. What has really happened to the country is beyond any solution we think we can devise; society has been severely disfigured, the trauma of the victims is incurable and any reconciliation with perpetrators is never going to be truly accepted. So where do we begin with building peace? Where do we begin to heal a nation with such a social deformity? Or can we accept then that South Sudan is dead?

“You see, when “Peace” is agreed on a shiny negotiation table it is a lie!

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What happens to young people in the course of war is so devastating because the impact is a generational one and so for the next 50 years South Sudan will live in the cold shadow of that tragedy. Consider you are the boy that was forcefully recruited as a child soldier and initiated into a killing spree, or perhaps you are the girl whose skirt could not defend you from a pair of forceful hands that would open your body to a sex-hungry brute. In the thrust of the conflict, the international community hurried to negotiate a truce and now ponders upon the scale of destruction, economic decline and a “humanitarian” situation (by this they mean hunger and homelessness). In time they discover the plight of women and cry about abuses they have suffered as if they could identify with them. You see, when “Peace” is agreed on a shiny negotiation table it is a lie! While that negotiation table speaks of social cohesion and peace-building, the individuals caught in the thick of the war know no such thing as peace and most likely never will for the remainder of their lives.

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