My ‘Addisaphobia’: A Disagreement in the Addis Agreement Based on my Analysis of Past Historical Trauma and the Present Historic Drama!
“WELCOME BACK TO UNITY!” reads the big billboard that greets us at Khartoum International Airport. Thank God, I was going to run mad if that did not turn out to be a dream. Yes, a true dream that may be fulfilled, or else… And to prove that it is just a just dream, I have never gone to Khartoum for the last 33 years— since the day I smelt the first air of this world. The reason I had dodged my journalistic assignments from my newspaper editors since 2005, including the assignment of going to cover ‘The Triumphant Entry to Khartoum’ by the late Dr. John Garang de Mabior, is very personal. It’s allergy!
It is a fact to be categorically well noted that, geographically, the Republic of Sudan receded with very expansive junk of sand and land; and geologically, the Republic of South Sudan seceded with very expensive chunk of soil and oil after the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) by our consequent referendum and subsequent independence in 2011. For these and other reasons, I have some allowance of excuse not accuse Bashir and company in Khartoum for having desperately thought and sought ways of reshaping the land and re-sharing the resources with their Southern partners after the latter’s separation from the former’s suppression. Any nation can be a suitor to such a naïve virgin, but the decision all lies upon us, the ‘Reap-public of Source Sudan’.
However, this arrangement, to any lay woman and lay man, and any other economically lame man, like that one, and me, too, is to be accepted with some exception. Nevertheless, I would not base my reservation on economic factors and political actors but on social and historical facts in the timeline of our transformation into statehood. I am aloof on economic issues not because I am a journalist-cum-teacher, but because I might be tempted to go against some urbane guys’ guts in their urban huts, especially those who think they are enjoying their seeds of autonomy in the economy— my poetry book calls it ‘autoconomy’, this two-in-one sort of miraculous achievement. Of course, the major question is dictated by the caution that I am reacting to news, that is, before the devil is out in the details of the Addis Ababa Co-operation Agreement signed between South Sudan and Sudan on September 27, 2012.
In other words, I delayed to react because I fear reacting by reflex action. Reflex action is a system where parts of the main body do not consult with the central nervous system, the brain, due to the urgency of the emergency. It is allowed in rare cases. That is why South Sudanese have forgiven their young government by not pouring onto the streets the Khartoum style against the shutting down of the oil flow and, as if that was not enough, the introduction of the austere budget without necessarily reducing the size of the government and its luxurious spending. This nationalistic tolerance of the independence’s government will be regretted in the near future. Well, I am not urging anyone to the streets, but this poor decision e.g. calculated the fees in terms of cash instead of percentages. I would not preempt what will happen, but it will happen…!
Before crossing to history, which is the vintage point of my story here, I cannot resist the urge of elaborating a bit clearer the economic situation of these days. It is not only touching but pinching me. Even you, I believe. What I simply imply by reflex action is that the decision taken early and mid this year by President Kiir’s administration was a desperate attempt to save our economy. Nevertheless, it was not without its flaws, one of which still follows to date as seen in the Addis Ababa agreement— the non-consultation approach by the representatives, leaving the populace grouping and groping about for information like lost sheep. The second disadvantage in our economic decision this year was this austerity life. Thank God, the Austerity Authority toned down on their stance last week and announced that the ‘cuts’ would no longer affect the middle class. Ask not me how?. Reason: either they borrowed the leaf from Obama’s election success secrets or the news of the flow of oil seems to assure us that it will overflow to the ordinary pockets!
Though I have made my proposal clear as in the heading above and in the conclusion below, I have some reservation, still. In the first place, and before I table my offer to the NCP top cohort now that we are given more weeks to negotiate, allow me to exhort my fellow citizens that they should invest less, if not the least, of their hope in this Addis Ababa Agreement. Historically, I am a pessimist in matters to do with a combination of the two enigmatic terminologies of our peace records: Addis + Agreement = Ad-disagreement. Yes! Even Uncle Abel Alier will bear me witness in case there is any sign of weakness in my aloofness from celebrating the ‘September Laws’ of another Addis Ababa Peace Agreement. Correction: Addis Ababa ‘Piece’ of Agreement, or they rightly called it ‘Cooperation Agreement’ and the like, which I am yet to like if only it does not turn out to be another piece of argument.
I believe the making of history is not just the recording of the past events but is also the recurring of the events of yesterday over today. In other words, if you concur with me that history is the recycling of events; the hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, annual recurrences, or, in even shorter words, the replica of yesterday over today and tomorrow, then what happened in Addis in 2012 also happened in Addis in 1972. I am being told that Addis Ababa in ‘Arabi-amheric’ combination means ‘Beautiful Flower’. Indeed, it is. Or didn’t we witness it in the flowery ceremony of the signing of the ‘cooperation agreement’ on those days of September 27, 2012 or March 27, 1972?
I am also made to know that ‘Addis’, though sounding ‘beautiful’, also means accident in Arabic. So what will prevent another invasion of the border town or cancellation of one or all of the so-called 9 protocols that exclude the protocol on the 9 chieftainships of the Ngok (Abyei) Dinka? That is why it sounds to my ears like ‘Ad-disagreement’. Of course, unless doped and duped into implementing it, Khartoum’s professional propagandists will still adopt their usual backtracking and explain to their masses their chronic messes; that it was just an ‘adis’, an accident?
Alas, they have already done it! This is what president Bashir said just as he came out of the throat cancer operation theatre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, less than 40 days of the thief was caught and before we are taught the dis/advantages of lining up the road to receive him with a hero’s welcome at Juba International Airport. “Abyei belongs to Sudan and will remain part of Sudan ‘le al abed’(forever)!”. Or didn’t we witness this in the abrogation of the Addis Ababa Agreement in May and June 1983 by Mohammed Nimeiri and then in May and June 2010 and 2011, respectively, by the very Bashir in Khartoum? The duo went as far as no longer calling the bombing a technical incident but also calling the agreement a tactical accident, hence declaring the agreement “Not a Quran or an Injil (Gospel)”. Click this link for a song I recorded in 2010 on my album ‘Noi$e 4 $ale’, warning the two CPA (comprehensive Peace Agreement) custodians that ‘De Injil ma Quran’: it is the Bible and the Quran. So please respect it. (Link: https://weakleak.wordpress.com/viaudioleaks/)
The right source to put it very exact to the point is Maulana Abel Alier, the negotiator of the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement, who turned round to riot in writing, “Too Many Agreements DISHONOURED”, and on page 275 puts it thus: “On 5th June 1972 President Nimeiri issued a decree dissolving the institutions of the self-government, namely the Regional Assembly and the High Executive Council.” And the author continues as if he is describing what exactly happened when Bashir stormed Abyei on 21st May 2010. “Many lives were lost in the process of the implementation of these decisions; individuals and families were uprooted from their places of residence and work and deported to their respective regions (call it Kokora). All this took place during the height of the rainy season, from June to September. Some women, evicted from houses by the new authorities of the new regions, delivered their babies under trees in the rains while waiting to be transported. It was an event whose social damage will take some time to repair. ” This is what Bashir has done to Abyei people, hasn’t he? And this time not only to the Ngok but also to the Nuba, the Funj and the Darfuris…just to put an hint on the few. (Click this link for my previous analysis on the Nuba Genocide: https://weakleak.wordpress.com/2011/07/03/my-tears-for-the-sudanese-sarafina/)
Nevertheless, let note not be taken in such a way that I am a persistent pessimist in everything. Talk of other places and I am a fanatical fan, I mean an excited optimist. Superstitiously, I would rather the CPA re-negotiation were done in Nairobi or Naivasha again than in Addis Ababa. This is my ‘Addisaphobia’, the inner fear of anything done in Addis as instilled in me by our bloodstained history of strained agreements. Just as I do not know what ‘ababa’ means in the Ethiopian language, I do not know what ‘nai-‘ means in the Kenyan language, be it Kiswahili or Kisii-Maasai-hili. However, in Dinka, the language in which I dream, think, laugh and cough, ‘ababa’ sounds like a child’s babbling of ‘baba’ or father.
But then, I am afraid, Ethiopia made a very successful Godfather for our war of liberation, and so may not make a good father to the opposite thereof, but Kenya has and may. Oh, in my Bor-Dinka dialect, ‘nai’ means rope. Therefore, as I watched it live bubbling out of the mouth of our Legend, Dr. John Garang de Mabior, in Nairobi on January 9, 2005, there were so many organic guarantees or ‘nai’ or ropes to tie down the CPA agreement. And indeed they were, and it worked. That is why I am able to riot, or write like this without being come for by the NSS. I mean we are independent; individually independent and nationally independent! SPLAM Oyee!
Wait! I have just forgotten to add or ask. What are the guarantees for the safe guiding and safeguarding of the Addis Agreement? I went through the documents but found out that something wanton is still wanting. For example, the International Community, that imaginary community that only comes after a bomb, has differing voices over the Abyei and the implementation modalities. We know and everybody knows the aloofness and loftiness seen in the softness of their border proposal and non-punishment of Khartoum. Damn the Russian weapon marketeering with Khartoum! How about the African Union? They want us to tussle it out first using our muscles outside the courtroom (I don’t mean the ‘Hijiliji muscles’) for some six weeks, till December. And you see? We have already made another concession month before the deadline, with the headline shocking me today (November 11, 2012): “South Sudan concedes position of Abyei Legislative Council speaker to Sudan” http://sudantribune.com/spip.php?article44482 Hm, here we go!
But before we proceed, Luka Biong of the Abyei Joint Overside Committee tries to convince me there is this guarantee. “I think discussions about Abyei would be more of implementation because African Union High Level implementation Panel proposal is very clear. If Bashir rejects it, the Security Council of the United Nations will endorse it and will implement under chapter seven”, he explained. Ok, but to me, it sounds as if our church pastor contending, “If Lucifer tempts me into violating my oath and pocket the tithe or offertory, the United Spirits (Holy Trinity) will descend on him and pass the Final Judgment there and then.” How about Russia and China at the UN’s In/Security Council, have they not already proposed that Abyei be split?
After a deep-seated silence comes a deep-heated violence. This is what awaits us as our ‘Obamatically’ cold warrior, Gen. Salva is breathing sulfur and their ‘AhmadineJIHADically’ old warrior, Muchir Al Bashir (Field Marshal) is coughing out fire and brimstone through his cancerous throat that croaks and cracks ‘Asharat or cockroaches, insects, etc.’. Unless he apologizes and calls us not insane but ‘insahn or humans’ during his forthcoming forced coming to Juba, our God will never forgive that bullet-spitting gullet, Inshallah!
Finally, before I start wandering away from this page, leaving you pondering (debating) between you and your wondering self, let me drop in my small prescription for our heartaches, just a Paraceta-small. And I never can start ‘insulting’ without first consulting with a neighbour on their suggestions that solved the hot issues of their disputed or claimed border territories. My best case study is President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who offered this solution to the problem of the Lake Victoria’s Migingo Island, disputed by Uganda and Kenya. “The Island belongs to Kenya and the surrounding waters belong to Uganda.” This means the water and its contents (fish and their fishers) are Uganda’s as the rocks are Kenya’s. Wow, so if Bashir and company want to take away our ancestral pieces of land, which are suspended on Lake Oil, then allow me to suggest to the negotiators (AU, UN, US, UK, U’etc. included) that THE SOIL BELONGS TO JUBA AND THE OIL BELONGS TO KHARTOUM IN PANTHOU (HEGLIG) AND OTHER CLAIMED/DISPUTED AREAS. Therefore, if they have any means of taking along with them the oil, let them not tamper with our soil. After all, as mentioned in the first paragraph, they have enough soil (unfortunately it is barren, hence I am sure that it is pure Sand and Land) in the North. Otherwise, it is not wise to give a place two names like a child of divorcees. We should stop confusing the world by calling one place many names such as Senkaku Islands by Japan or Diaoyu Islands by China claimed and counterclaimed by the two giants. Or else, ahon mustamir, to borrow from the SPLA’s assault slogan meaning the ‘Mortar Continues’ or the Struggle Continues (Aluta Continua). This has its real name: bloodshed. And, mind you, remind him, this time everybody everywhere and everytime bleeds! After all, which map (South or North) is already shaped with a symbol of bleeding in the bottom. De fiu waja bottom (waja bothon) or abdominal cramping for those criminals camping anyhow!