I’ve made it home and although family and friends are very glad to I am safe and sound in America, my heart is still very much in South Sudan. Although I was scheduled to leave for holidays anyways (and I wasn’t technically evacuated since I hopped a Fly540 recovery flight, although I was booked also for an evac flight), being out I’m sad and conflicted about leaving a place I love in turmoil.
I struggle to know what to say about this all. The fighting which broke out in Juba Sunday through Tuesday was sudden and escalated at a rate which I think surprised us all. Information emerged slowly and was often hard to distinguish from rumor and hearsay. Most of us relied on social media for information for three straight days. I’ve never thought I would be so grateful for Twitter in my life.
I’m not a political analyst, and I won’t go into the whos and whats of the conflict, only to say that it is incredibly complicated and please do not let it be boiled down to “ethnic conflict” or a good guys/bad guys narrative. It’s neither.
For further reading, I highly recommend:
9 questions about the South Sudan conflict: A guide for confused observers by Radio Tamazuj
The power struggle was only beginning by Andrew Green
Any and everything from Lesley Warner
December 19 Update by Eric Reeves (Reeves has his biases, but this has good background)
As a final note, as I stressed above, this situation is very complex, and rapidly evolving. There are seemingly infinite number of political motives at play, and a vast historical landscape from which this arises. There are endless questions to answer. Already, making erroneous assumptions and presuming allegiances has exacerbated the situation already.
I’m supposed to return to South Sudan in January. With everything I am, I hope for peace and calm for this beautiful nation which has been my home the past three years.