By Isaiah Abraham*
When some of our readers read controversial letters such as these (like the very one you are reading), you start to question the entire professional ethics guiding this bloc. The imposed thin line between what was actually said and what supposed to have been said is always a problem. But that is the nature of writing because opinions aren’t measured in meters; you say it and I reason it, and we go separate/otherwise ways. You can’t make me think like you and the opposite is quite true. So what is the point? Well, generally, writers aren’t good diplomats, therefore don’t think we are out of our minds when we get nastier at times. We love controversies as much as we love the truth, no matter the pain it might cause the recipients.
Uztas Atem Yaak Atem is a household name in the writing field from earlier 1980s in Juba under Regional Autonomy under Addis Ababa Accord, signed between the Government of the Sudan and the Southern Front. He has been an aspirer, a teacher, fearless and had written prolific works. He is a scholar and non tribal. He is a revolutionary cadre who participated fully in the liberation struggle. Some of us were dreaming of becoming like Uztas Atem Yaak and Uztas Jacob Akol. Somewhere though I have seen the writer coming down to sacrifice his splendid past on an argument against one individual. It was a shock when my eyes stumbled on a piece of response of writing by Uztas Atem Yaak. His tore into this author conceptual ability, in a letter send to Gurtong, dated 11/04/2010. To say the least, just to start, it was a cheap attempt, execrable if not a façade one.
Mr. Atem made spirited attack against Mr. Isaiah Abraham, all warped into specifics (to the character) and this is where the contention is all about. In another name it is called defamation. In an overall summary therefore, Uztas Atem largely projected Mr. Isaiah Abraham as a trouble maker who wants to cause rift between Mr. Kiir and Dr. Machar. He minced no words to assign details to what Mr. Isaiah had actually written. He charged that Mr. Isaiah knows nothing about that man called Riek Machar Teny since he’s a boy- born in the 1966. He conspicuously stops going further on the same (Machar not best known to many), a gap that was left to many to fill up on his behalf! He further faulted Mr. Isaiah of supporting different cause other than that of the people of Southern Sudan under the SPLM.
Ummm! With due respect to my elder brother Uztaz Atem Yaak, there is no way this heavily self driven criticism to fix Isaiah unjustifiably should be allowed to go unchallenged. I will tell you later in the closing as to why. First, let me assured my readers that there is nothing like rift between the President and his Deputy; the two have fermented, and experimented their working relationship, and nothing will go between the two, including that of Mr. Isaiah’s. They are matured and know whatever that happen between them will have catastrophic consequences on the people they lead. I doubt whether they have time to pay attention to flaks at websites. I believe they have found each other’s depths! I would love to see them stick to each other, whether Kiir retires or not.
Mr. Atem hence must not enthused himself with a fence mending scheme that is aim at cleaning up his damaged relationship, between him and the President over his infamous “standard seven leaver president” remark he made four years ago. My support for Dr. Machar isn’t any secret anyway Mr. Atem, the man is special, and I don't know by stating the obvious how does that amount to conspiracy or him taking over Southern Presidency over an internet or through a coup. The party has already laid down its democratic procedures for whoever wants to get to the top job. Where did you find Dr. Machar conspiring against Mr. Kiir since he was chosen in August 2005? He humbly works with his colleague/boss (Mr. Kiir) and the two are learning about one another shortcomings. I know exactly what you are talking about. Uztas Atem, who has abuse/insult the President between the two of us: is it the one who called him “standard seven leaver president” or the one who is amused by a Texas hat (cow boy) wears by the President?
But Mr. Atem, in what way is the president standard seven school leaver? I fear for that crude lie. We all know that Mr. Kiir is a graduate of Intelligent College around Khartoum in the 1976. He did three years course, an equivalent of college Degree at those days. He attended different courses on the same. His experiences alone under Dr. Garang, can make him far more than a Yale or Oxford graduate. Your statement therefore about the President being illiterate was libelous and uncalled for. I’m not dwarf to insult my President sir; I would be insulting myself if I do just that. He is a symbol of our nation sovereignty. Mr. Kiir commands respect among our men in uniform, and has behave responsibly from day one. What has he done for me to warrant him that insult?
Uztas Atem, my name is Isaiah Abraham, you don’t need to put in quotation mark as if this is pseudonym. I was baptized like that. The rules governing writing is clear. Again, how could a 15 year old boy be a platoon L/Corporal of men, with Timsah Battalion? I don’t think you know me! On another note, on what ground could you be closed to my parents to know that what am doing is different from what they have been doing? If by saying the truth that Mr. Kiir isn’t superior to Dr. Machar will make me different from my parents, then am more than happy not being one of your clansmen; that comparison in fact is a clobber often use as a derogative in an attempt to silence voices below one age. I hate being charade and sincerity, love, peace for everyone. What will bitterness about 1991 incident achieve that love, forgiveness and peace can’t do? Just take a moment and think about this: how will it help the South if we account everything that had happened during the liberation struggle?
We must leave everything to God and start trusting and believing into one another strengths and capabilities. It is gonna be alright; after all key commanders who committed serious crimes in that incident are all dead. The same thing had happened before them. Please Mr. Atem don’t surreptitiously hide behind that incident to portray me as anti Dinka, anti-Kiir, anti-SPLM, am not. That incident (1991 split) was a wrong, and it remains so. It’s filthy (a can of worms)! Get over it quickly and let’s think about tomorrow without it. Artist James Thumber once said, “don’t look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in the awareness”. He couldn’t be more right. We ought to embrace the spirit of Dr. John Garang de Mabior for us to have a meaningful life of rebuilding our land.
Mr. Atem questioned my undivided loyalty to the SPLM party, a pungent card that doesn’t make sense. Wasn’t that not you (as was reported) who astounded the then SPLA public when you asked Garang in 1988 that what have you done to get a transfer notice to the battle field from your Radio base in Addis Ababa- as if those in the battle fields were condemned criminals. You can't be serious Atem; I have given this movement my 100% support. I’m becoming blunt brother because you have been a prig, and has unfairly attack me. From May 2 1984 (when I first cocked my AK 47, the very Jamus gun I still have to date) until the Peace Agreement was signed I have never gone away, let alone spending years in self-exiled, outside my base (Southern Sudan). What will force me to throw away the SPLM party and my leader at this stage. I thought I have done my small part, like others something am proud off. I don’t however blow my own horns looking for recognition or trying to please anybody. I still carry the tommy I had many years ago before peace was signed, and am not jealous of some colleagues who are dying of hypertension. I’m contented with what life throws at me, as I remember and wait anxiously the cause that snubbed away millions lives.
Uztas Atem I have promised above that there is a need to delve into what motivates you to think that this author is dewy-eyed/naïve. Someone argues that due to the upcoming formation of the new government, those with self confidence problems will do everything to get notice so get new jobs. I don't know whether that is a case. My instinct however tells me that its all about Machar future in relationship with Southern Presidency that seemed to have overtaken everything else. Otherwise am seeing nothing wrong stating the reality between the two leaders. When we speak from our heart about what future it would look like, if we continue with the same styles of leadership, we nurse away with injuries and unfairly hurt for no reasons of our own. Am afraid about the future if the mentality of our man vs that man does cease to disappear in our society. Please sir, pause for the sake of your bright past; letters that are full of intimidation dots can’t stop the flow of ‘River Nile’ to follow to the Mediterranean Sea. The feat of human progress lies with openness and truthfulness that come from the maker of mankind. I'm just a peace lover, while the Master in heaven is the maker of that peace.
*Isaiah Abraham lives in Juba; he’s on Isaiah_abraham@yahoo.co.uk