Articles and Analysies
Is Nationalism a Gift from God or Taught? By Peter Chuol Biel Badeang, South Sudan
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Nov 14, 2009 - 10:19:16 AM

Is Nationalism a Gift from God or Taught?

By Peter Chuol Biel Badeang, South Sudan

The above question has been ringing into my mind for years. Today, I am forced to ask such question loudly for the intellectual community of southern
Sudan to share with me in my wondering thoughts.

Some three months ago, we were sitting around the table nearby the beautiful river Nile in Juba, Southern Sudan . I brought up the topic of nationalism problem among the south Sudanese people. Some closest friends of mine advised me to first define the word nationalism before running into conclusion. Then, I resorted into Merriam Dictionary right there on my office’s desk.  

There I find the word Nationalism described as “loyalty and devotion to a nation; a sense of national consciousness exalting upon one nation above all others, and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.”

Also, I further consulted the following website, , for clearer definition of nationalism; however, the description of the word was almost the same.

Furthermore, for the purpose of this article, I must distinctly define the word nationalism as follows: Nationalism is an ideology and a social movement which focuses on collective efforts for national awareness under one nation that focuses mainly on promotion of its culture and interests.

Coming to the reality, we have the best of the best cultures of the world that anyone should be proud of it, because each of our unique culture is not yet disturbed or ruined by the outside influences. Although my intention is not to ask many questions to bewildering my readers, I believe I am obligated to share with the intellectual community of southern Sudan the following interactive intellectual questions which ought to be answered and interpreted by each one intellectually:

(a) It is the ideal of my tribe vs. your tribe, which caused us such problems?

(b) Are we born less nationalist or we are not just taught to be nationalist compare to other nations of the world?

(c) Is our nationalism based on a coalition against an enemy when there is a war?

(d) Where have we gone wrong?

For the greater good of our people, let us come back to our main question. Is Nationalism a Gift from God or Taught? Since I have given you my intellectual understanding of nationalism, I believe no one is born nationalist except it is taught and learnt after one is born. However, God give each of us a will to learn what is best for oneself and that for greater good of one is one's own people.

With that in mind, what we still need is to come out of tribal influences since none of us is a citizen of a tribe. We are citizens of a nation. In my true humble opinion, we just need to recognize the fact that our tribes are just as our natural beauty, which does not deviate us from being nationalist for that matter.

Therefore, I believe it is time to give ourselves a chance to learn from our individuals cultures the purposes that unite us together as one people. For instance, the following: (The Land, color, physical structure, language, culture, costume, and traditions of the people of south Sudan ).

With all the best that one can appreciate more about his/her country, I must say to each one of us that we the people of the South Sudan are more blessed by God for giving us our natural resources. Justly, what we mostly need is to recognize and appreciate God for what He has done for us as a nation.

As result, it is our natural right and wisdom to unite and learn how to live together in harmony, peace, and in tranquility. It is time to have an intimate unity that is what our leader Dr. John Garang de Mabior called “The Unity of purpose”. Therefore, it should be our national duty to have unified thoughts.

Consequently, we should start teaching our children at home, preaching to our congregations in the churches, educate our working colleagues at the dinner tables and at any occurrence about the importance of our unity under one nationhood of which God has given to us.  

As a matter of fact, this article is my honest contribution to my fellow citizens of the South Sudanese toward upcoming national agendas such as upcoming voting for referendum for southern Sudan to become independent nation, voting for President of Republic of the Sudan, President of the Southern Sudan, the Governors and that of Commissioners…Etc.

As citizens, we must learn to love our nation, our country and our leaders first before anything. We must help our leaders to lead us to the right direction by offering our very best contribution toward developing and building of one strong nation.

My fellow citizens of Southern Sudan , I feel so good and so happy to share my honest contribution with you as community of intellectuals. With such realization, can we together demonstrate and compare these two trends in the history of the Southern Sudan, for instance: the 1972 where government buildings and roads in Juba were constructed, built, and furnished within a period of (8 months) and that of 2005, to date in which everything is yet under transitioning?

Which one of the trend has more nationalists? Fellows, this is up to you to judge and interpret on your own way since my job is not to answer these questions but, to raise them as a food for thought to the intellectual community of South Sudan to render their best judgments upon the questions I have given.  

In summary, according to the study results, conducted two years ago by Anti-corruption Commission, government of Southern Sudan, toward the attitudes of people of Southern Sudan on corruption -- although the study was not measuring the attitudes of southern Sudanese people on nationalism -- yet the study shows that: corruption, Nepotism, Power struggle, lack of qualified personnel/staff, and tribalism all are rated up to 95% and believed to be the disuniting factors amongst the people of Southern Sudan.  

As a result, a majority of intellectuals believe these will lead southern Sudanese people below the poverty level, regardless the President’s poverty eradication plans for southern Sudan .

In his addresses to the World leaders and people of the South Sudan , he said "I and those who joined me in the bush and fought for more than twenty years have brought to you CPA in a golden plate. Our mission is accomplished. It is now your turn, especially those who did not have a chance to experience bush life. When time comes to vote at the referendum, it is your golden choice to determine your fate. Would you like to vote to be second class citizens in your own country? It is absolutely your choice".  

Therefore, “This peace doesn't belong to me Dr. John Garang de Mabior, Omar Bashir, or Mohamed Taha, please take it and own”.
What is this? Is this not nationalism from Dr. John?  

Finally, why all of sudden our people turn to become less nationalist than that of Anya Nya 1?  Simply I must say that “greed is our national problem.” All in all, I remain touched and attracted by the beauty of my people and most importantly by the unblemished Flag of my Country which for years my people fought to raise it.


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