Columnists, OpEd

Why happiness is too costly

By Ngor Khot Garang

Every single day one gets to live in South Sudan, they ought to count it as a miracle. There is nothing that is ever enough in this country and the stories you always hear are not real. The real ones are those that have never been told. In this place, you will not be wrong if you said you have seen hell here.

When we were much younger, hell was some place, something reserved for those who had indulged in evil. As it turns out, hell is living in a country that does not work for everyone. In this country, people pay to be happy and in some instances, people are paid not to know what they know. You cannot claim to be happy here and you make it out alive. It is a crime to wear a smiling face.

If you are found happy, you will be suspected of plotting to take the crown or maybe you have won a jackpot. And people would not be happy with that, you just need to pretend that things are hard and you will have no problem with anybody. This also works best with the boda-boda riders, when you seem to be in a hurry and even with a happy face, they will charge you triple the real price. They will be surprised when you say take me to the cemetery. Of course these are hardworking young people who are doing everything possible to survive.

But they should not be blind to the fact that everyone is going through the same challenge. I remember, a young man told me something a little bit funny, the secret of not being cheated by the boda-boda riders. He told me that I should not be in a hurry and even worse, If I can manage, I need to squeeze my face and say some cursing words as I sit on the bike for the man to know my current situation.

For those who are always happy, the story is not the same. They have a lot of things going well with them, In fact, the failure of the citizens to unite is a smile to the bank or a bonanza for alpha families. You never know, the best time when people make a lot of money is during difficult moments, when others are busy counting their losses that is when the public coffers are being emptied.

I have always said that our problems are beyond the current government or even worse, elections wont bring the lasting solution. If there is a very problem that we must solve now before it is too late, it is this thing of tribes. We are just a collection of tribes pretending to be part of a country called South Sudan.

Now the story doesn’t matter anymore, let us see a country whose future has been slaughtered through the lens of a bird that comes home to get its young ones and nest destroyed. You can imagine the days the bird has spent incubating the eggs, and if you don’t mind, you can add the days it has wasted to build its nest.

This time, everything is gone and it was not a natural occurrence, the young birds were killed by a predator. The next day, the predator becomes the victim of another predator and it was killed with its young ones too and the list goes on.

In this case, anyone would be shocked to understand the meaning of this twisted story. Let us assume you were the bird and after the years of endless struggle, you meet your death as the only reward. And like I have always said, not those who are smart can make it here and not the hardest working people here can be paid for that.

The reverse is true, it doesn’t matter if you are working hard or smart, the signal is very clear, and you are always working hard on the wrong things if you are In South Sudan. Let us take a quick trip back to the past and see how you have started. If you are a graduate and not employed, I am talking about you. It has been almost 18 years now since you started the journey, to discover your world and a place that you can have.

You were young, lively and very promising. Not everyone has the same story, maybe you came from one of the poorest regions. You were very bright and so eager to go to school and don’t let me forget, your dad was shot when you were just ten months old. You cannot imagine his picture. Your mom said he was a hardworking man, what you can’t understand is how a hardworking man could die poor.

The last time you asked the survivor who went to war with your dad if there was any word that was spoken by your dad when he was bidding the world a painful goodbye, he said that your dad shouted asialei three times and he was gone forever.

Thanks to the village where you came from, people had to sacrifice all their last coins to secure your future, to bring the white man’s knowledge to the village. And sorry, I nearly forgot the old man who sold half of his land to contribute to your education. The other day, he was evicted from his land and was greatly threatened to die should he resist.

You went through a lot to prove the odds wrong, now you are done, a graduate without a job to repay the debt. The last time you listened to the news, you heard one wealthy government official saying the youth are jobless because they are lazy and illiterate. The same guy has been known for stealing public money and his education background is very blurry. He dropped out of school just after failing to solve a simple mathematical problem.

And you will be shocked when you hear how he climbed his political ladder. In this country, anything is possible. Someone can deceive people when he wants to become a leader, that when he becomes that leader, the peoples leader, it would be a disrespect to go to church because he will invite Jesus at all costs to come here under his command. And people will just have to believe, you know what?

He will send people to Jesus instead, through the barrel of an AK47, this assault rifle has poured more blood here than the purpose for which it was invented.

The box is still empty and not yet done with the other man’s story. I was talking about how he became the leader. After failing an exam, he was annoyed with the government and made himself a rebel, this was an act of defiance against the government for making the education system hard for slow learners like him. He wanted the exams to be easy for him alone and not for other students.

When he rebelled, he killed some people in a day and he was given a position the following morning. Since that day, his bank account has never been sad, he has got some problems now but money is not one of them. Maybe, we just need to be smart, but killing should not be a sure way to the future of quick wealth, let us hope.

Comments are closed.