Dr Azaveli Feza Lwatama
On December 25 most citizens of the world take time off to eat and drink and be merry wishing there was peace on earth. For citizens of the world who belong to the Christian religious faith, this is a day when they sing joy to the world because now redemption is possible through the birth of what they call Christ or the messiah or the anointed who they claim was sent to redeem us from the original sin. The day is celebrated by a mass and that may explain why it is called Christmas meaning Christ’s mass with Christ, Khrīstos in Greek, thus the day also being referred to as Xmas.
The day is celebrated as ‘birthday’ of the redeemer who increases the prospects for peace in the world resulting from all humans repenting and vowing to be born again as peace loving people who refuse to be slaves of their crude un-socialized animal instincts, so-called human nature, that tends to make them to want to glorify their individual egos at the expense of serving the noble goal of promoting the common good.
It is this fundamental idea of Christmas as ‘ the day of birth’ that explains why the day is celebrated with nativity rituals, whereby birth translates into nātīvitās in Latin and ‘noël’ in Old French; thus, Xmas also being referred to as ‘Noel’. Whether one is Christian or not, it is possible to relate the core value of Noel, which is rebirth by all humanity through pledging to reject all forms of egoistic primitive accumulation of wealth aimed at satisfying greedy wild animal-like instincts, including wanting to exercise absolute power over others and wanting to prosper at the expense of the misery of others.
If the key message of Noel cerebrations had been heeded by all global citizen, there would never have been such exploitative social, political and economic systems of human governance as feudalism and capitalism. The Atlantic Slave trade would never have happened nor would there have been what historian and political activist Walter Rodney called How Europe Underdeveloped Africa that culminated in the colonization and neo-colonization of Africa.
Due to the continued existence of these exploitative systems, today, as world citizens celebrate Christmas, the people of South Sudan are passing through trying times. They are being killed, maimed, turned into refugees or made into internally displaced people by an unfolding civil war brought upon them by the rapacious appetites for power of their so-called revolutionary leaders. People who yesterday were preaching unity to them, are now busy trying to tear them apart on ethnic lines in order to justify their bid for territorial state power or their attempt to perpetuate their current hold on it.
People who yesterday were telling them that they were one people called South Sudanese, distinct from being Sudanese or Africans, are now busy telling them that they are Dinka and Nuer. People who yesterday were telling them they were all one people in Christ unlike their brothers and sisters in the North who were supposedly Muslim, are now hastily constructing new buzz words to hide the fact that they lied big time in the past when they sought to unity people of South Sudan on the false basis of being a so-called harmonious Christian ‘nation’ who did not belong to the Muslim ‘nation’ in North Sudan. Social class analysis would suggest that although President Salva Kiir Mayyardit may be a Dinka, former Vice President Dr Riek Machar Teny may be a Nuer, and the widow of the late leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army ( SPLA) Rebecca Nyadeng Garang de Mabior may also be Dinka, their current socioeconomic status in the territorial national state of South Sudan places them in the same social class as their Pan African national brother in North Sudan, President Omal al Bashir of the Republic of Sudan.
What is happening right now in South Sudan, just as the rest of the world is marking the re-birth of humanity through Nelson Mandela-like sacrifices for peace ought to make all of us in Africa reflect on the goals of the formation of the Organization of African Unity, 50 years ago.
The heart breaking news we are receiving from South Sudan, as we eat and drink in celebration of the birth of Khrīstos as an harbinger of peace, ought to make us to think critically about the merits of embracing the ideology of Pan Africanism and Kwame Nkrumah’s slogan of ‘Forward ever towards the United States of Africa!’
By Dr Azaveli Feza Lwatama