Talking or fighting

By Akol Arop Akol

Human conflicting desires involve two things: When you don’t want people to talk, you want them to fight and vice versa.

In illiterate community, people tend to solve their problems through fighting while the modern society always uses dialogue or peaceful negotiation, that’s sitting around the table of brotherhood to address problems caused by difference in opinions, desires or maybe over resources and due to inequality in power sharing.

I have so far observed that if people don’t talk they could possibly fight. Take an example of children; because they lack words to express themselves, they always fight one another over simple misunderstanding especially when they are playing. That’s why adults should not involve themselves in children’s fight because they don’t know what they are doing.

It is a law of nature and I have learned it during my course of conflict resolution education, which states that conflict is part of human’s life. A wife may fight with her husband, boyfriend with girlfriend, neighbors, communities and even strangers might have differences which cause misunderstanding and resulting into violent destruction. However, it is clear that if an individual or group of people is not given chance and a platform for expression, the reaction would be violent.

South Sudan as a developing country is still new to ways of approaching problems among them. And with high rate of illiteracy, tribal mindsets and conflicts that traumatized them, bringing them together for a dialogue is like reconciling domestic animals like dog and a cat. These animals are actually different, cat protects store from rats that eats groundnut while dog protects the whole house and environment from strange people and wild animals. They should not hate themselves despite their differences, but do their duties for the sake of a better home where they all get their feeding.

Though the two animals fight, they don’t try to destroy the house. The dog being said to have brought fire to human beings a long time ago according to traditional stories doesn’t plan to set house on fire. We as people and South Sudanese in particular must learn from this moral example. When we fight because of wrongs and misunderstanding among ourselves, we must not try to destroy South Sudan; the country is not the problem but our mentality. There is no country without problems. People disagree but there are two options like I said before, either to talk on the table of brotherhood or fight. In order not to encourage fighting, there should be modern ways of addressing conflicts before they escalate into violence that claims lives.

It is eminent that there’s restriction on freedom of expression, people are threatened to the level that they don’t talk about things facing them or their communities. If leadership is for the people, then they should have the right to talk because they know what’s facing them. When people are harassed, arrested and innocently punished because of their opinions as citizens, that’s a clear way of inciting violent fighting as no alternative.

Let South Sudanese; leaders and citizens accept freedom of expression in order for people not to resort to war as an alternate tool to express their grievances. Debate isn’t meant only for students at school, but to train them up such that they become responsible and peace loving leaders. It is better to have freedom to talk in public forums and debate in parliament, to agree or disagree, and wrestle without taking guns and jumping to the bush. Time for bush fight is gone. You cannot disagree with your brother at home and then run to the bush just to come back when armed to kill, that’s not what we need in this country.

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