By Jon Pen
I am writing on the 60th day anniversary of Peter Biar Ajak’s arbitrary arrest and detention (28-09-2018).
On the 28th of July 2018, Dr. Biar, a fellow activist, was arrested at Juba International Airport, just a day after returning home. Three weeks letter, another activist and academia, Prof. Jok Madut Jok, Was arrested at the same venue.
Both were returning home under President Kiir’s never-holding and never-ending amnesties and after the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA). That Agreement authorizes all the warring parties (including us, the worrying parties) to release their prisoners, especially their political detainees and POWs (prisoners of war) or PoWs (Prisoners of Words), Peter Biar, included. While the SPLM-IO of Dr. Riek Machar reported that they had handed over their detainees through ICRC after the signing of the COHA in December 2017, President Salva Kiir is still holding their ‘enemies’ in Juba and other states.
This brings me to a fireplace wisdom imparted during my childhood. It is a folktale, one of the many Fox’s tales. My mother used to tell us that once upon a time, Mr. Fox struck a peace deal with his nemeses. Rats, cats and others are to be beneficiaries of the truce.
Once upon a night, a storm gathers! Mrs. Mouse sends a word of mouth through one of her children. “Kede go and confirm if Mr. Fox means business with offering us a shelter tonight,” he sends his first child but with this caution, “Just pick the first word and come back quickly.” The young one sets off for the peace-testing errand.
“Good evening, Mr. Fox. Mother has sent me to confirm if we can now come in from the bush.” And Mr. Fox responds with a sinister grin, “Acin ke cam koc!” Or “Nothing will eat people. Go once and come one, and come all!”
The child sprints back to his father and reports on artival. “He said, ‘Nothing will eat you, come…'” “Excuse me, son,” father interrupts, “Did you just say he said ‘Nothing will EAT PEOPLE?'” The response is that childish nod.
Then Mr. Mouse concludes, “Kalas, we are not going. What brings in the ‘EATING’ here?” So the deal collapses!
The same story is retold vividly in one of Matuur Makuur’s songs. By the way, I just saw this celebrated singer in a Kampala restaurant the other day. He hails from Rumbek. And thus goes the famous song…
This artist expresses his fears over his village girlfriend’s invitation. The village belle is contested by suitors as multiple as South Sudan’s vice presidents. This is very usual with the Dinka courtship. So Matuur talks of whether this invitation would not be like one Mr. Fox’s reconciliation dinner to which he invited all the animals that include the elephant, lion, deer, frog, rat, cat, man, nyanjuan, grasshopper, hyaena, goat…. So, complete the list if yours or you are not mentioned there in.
Under one roof, Mr. Akhon (say, Elephant or ‘Helphant’) asks, “Kuaudit (ati, Hon. Fox), where is that meal, man?” Mr. Fox smiles maliciously, and while scanning through his list and onto the faces of the invited guests; he strolls across the room towards the door as if to conduct a roll call, then announces, “Wele! This is no meal. What you see in a saucepan over there is a buffet but made of a mere anthill mud. So my apologies, folks. There is no feast. I just invited you for a fist deal: to settle that chronic contempt developed against one another during this bush life…”
“Upon hearing the sole objective of the party,” as Matuur sings, “The hyaena jumps on the goat as is the cat on the rat, the lizard on the hopper, the leopard on the hog, and so on, and on and on till the duel does dwell on every neck”
Thus, ‘Mr. Helphant’ throws his single hand up and the roof flies to the garden. And then over the wall, high jumpers can be seen soaring and those of lion roaring at Mr. Kuaudit to open the door. And it is done. Now everyone goes nursing their own wounds.
NB: In case you want to ask a question or more about President Kiir’s ‘harmnesty’, please, send a text to his mobile number on +211 955 100 001. OoPS, sorry, Office of President Salva has also locked up ‘Viva-Cell’ in the same cell with James Gatdet Dak till ‘father’ (Riek) notice upon return for the foxy invitation to Mr. Awan’s (not Awan Chan) peace feast sooner than 8 months later.
However, there are alternative contacts to post your repatriation queri to the OoPS. Since Vivacell is a PoW (‘Prisoner of Words’) of the rebels, try Salvacell, Inucel or Oyeecell, the new ones.
In case your messages can’t go through, don’t go through that RSVP response yet. Mine is 3 months after Riek Machar’s, like I promised in 2016! Yes, we foxing around, right?