Caged Animals- A Cry for Justice
Dreaming to become an author is not an easy task. It is stressful, frustrating, seldom boring, tiresome and perhaps time-consuming. The fate of my second book with the above title was a bumpy road to it Promise Land. For some reason, there was no single day I ever dream to become an author.
More importantly, It turns out that life per se is a worse dictator in this world. It would make you do what you couldn't dream of. It is the reason I could advise relatives, friends and colleagues that be careful with life because it could take you through a wrong path or a good one.
On behalf of the authors and my behalf, whether traditional publishing or self-publishing, the Authorship could pave writers some challenges.
It could also reward authors in terms of consumers who would then learn much out of their writing through self-study or reading.
Having thought to penned my life journey into two separate hard copies due to the length of the story was something I knew would cause me efforts without regret.
Above all that, fame and financial dividend were not the reasons I authored my stories in the Isolation. In the bunker, I thought I could kill a single bird with one stone but it turned out to be just one bird I killed.
My goal among other thing was my past life and what others could learn from my journey. My experience with life behind bars was more than any best teacher I ever had.
I also understand that life could treat each of us differently. The natural disasters, refugees hard life and man-made calamities such as civil wars were terrible events each every one of us would face in South Sudan.
In my life journey, I have experienced the dread of wars in South Sudan. I have also experienced incarceration in Australia due to an assault after I defended myself against my attacker. I had also experienced a hard life in the refugees' camps just to mention a few.
When I reflected on my journey, I noticed one thing and that my future. It was unpredictable for I could the loss hope sometimes because of civil wars.
Besides that, one terrible event is unforgettable and I don't think I will never erase in my memory until my grave. It is the Bor genocide of 1991. I could term it a genocide in millions of times because at a time it happened I was a key witness and what I saw was beyond description.
After I fled war to Ngangala, Central Equatoria State was a moment I thought the war would end there and I could return to my village.
in the displaced camps, the days became weeks and weeks became months, nonetheless, it turned out that I would never see my village again. I became a victim of trekking on foot without shoes for months.
I would also become a victim of air bombardments, thirst, hunger and diseases. Despite the lack of basic needs in the remote village, my life was better before the war. During the war, it had never been the same again due to ethnic cleaning attempt in my village. My future was hanging in the balance between life and death and I would think about it daily.
It was a traumatic lesson that will remain in my memory forever. While in the prison, I had another thought that if I could live to have a family of my own, my unknown partner and her children could one day read horrendous things I had faced through my memoir.
Coming to my second book was something I thought would be published in the USA. My American friend Jack Feerick was willing to help me on his own free will as well as to connect me the American traditional publishers.
Jack, however, would be occupied with a lot of works. His correspondent task was a huge factor that would make my story remained in a drawer with less attention.
Because I have other priorities to go after was a quick thought and I could no longer put up with a long waiting deal with the literary agent and therefore, I changed my mind that the Africa World Books would be a potential dealer and I would encourage them to continue with the publication.
The CEO of the AWB Lual Reech Deng is a very encouraging person. He had encouraged many authors in mainland Australia and far abroad especially authors in Africa and the diaspora as well. Peter Lual had been encouraging men and women of integrity in the African Community to achieve their goals of authoring their stories through Africa World Books.
As a member of the African Community in Australia is a tradition I believed as not been a birthright per se but a privilege to seek help if necessary.
As this book found its path to its promise land is a piece of good news because Mr Lual Reech is willing to publish my story as he did to several authors that came before me.
My intimacy with Peter and his ancestral home of Dachuek is a trail of a history that could go back to 150 years. I am also willing to share with you a trail of that history.
Today, I would call myself a son of Hol Ajang Majok in Great Twi East but what others are missing about me is the fact that My Granddad Dau Chol Bul was once a dual citizen of Dachuek Clan.
Some 150 years ago, my granddad was a polygamist like any other men does in his village. He would marry his first wife Apul Atem Madol Golou from Wut-Akonychok.
He went on again to marry his second wife Amach Bior Nul from Wut-Padoor in Dacuek Clan. Those days, in fact, were dreadful years of natural disasters in South Sudan and our ancestral home of Pakeer in particular.
Due to the impact of calamities in the homeland, my granddad was forced to leave his village and moved to Dacuek with his family and lived a decent life with the inlaws.
As a resident of Bapping, Granddad birthed Thuch Dau (My grandfather), Bul Dau Chol, Deng Dau Chol and their sisters as well.
After some years, my grandfather passed through the rite of passage in Dacuek. He would then marry his first wife Achol Yool from Wut-Awualian, Pan- Ajakhook.
Because he was obsessed with the polygamy tradition like his father, he married three wives in Dachuek, more so, the second wife to my Grandfather was Athieng Akoi Akech from Wut Pan-Cholthi a woman that would birth my father in 1946 and other siblings as well.
The Dachuek Clan became our homeland to point of no return to Pakeer because everyone was good with our family. Our family lived in Dachuek to the time Dachuek engaged in political manoeuvring with the Nuer tribe and Kongoor Clan as well.
And according to my dad, there were alleged constraints that Dacueks would murder villagers in the neighbourhood and some distance tribes such as the Nuer and Murle were their enemies due to the act of revenge.
My dad narrated it that Dacuek's warriors in the past were most likely to be accused of murders by their neighbours and a distance Clan of Kongoor was one of the victims.
In those days, law enforcement agents did not exist in that world and any tribe or clan could take laws into their own hands and carried out the genocide.
Unrecorded massacres and genocide were committed in remote villages without a trace due to lack of media and good governance in what we called South Sudan.
The life-saving mechanism to subdue the wars in the past was by the help of spiritual leaders( Village Prophets) who would perform black magic and put the war to an end.
When Dachuek was accused of murders by Kongoor and Nuer tribe was even getting more sinister. The Dacuek would face two fronts. One front was coming in the direction of Kongoor and another front was coming from the Nuer tribe. It became one of the darkest night in Dachuek's history.
The leadership to the head Chief Lual Deng would soon be tested in such a terrible condition. All of a sudden Chief Lual made a wise decision overnight by trekking on foot and consulted Alaak Gong the great prophet in Kongoor to put the war to an end.
After he arrived in the prophet's Luak . The prophet indulgence for a sarcastic greeting compelled him to smiled at the chief and teased him with a joke that "Ace goc ku be koc ba ruur cath wokou" meaning you need not provoke your neighbours and walk the whole night seeking for a rescue.
The chief paid no heed to the sarcastic talk and he went on with his mission. Furthermore, prophets in those days were very kind human beings even to the point they would leave their differences behind them and focused to bless their enemies for the betterment of the society. However, Alaak Gong was one of the generous prophet and peace-loving elder I ever had in our history.
His generosity was supported by the fact that he would subdue the violence though at that time Dacuek was considered the enemy of Kongoor.
The wonderful story of Alaak Gong would teach us that God is not a supreme naive to offer divinity as a gift to a stupid person who could then abuse it but he would give spiritual powers to someone with a pure heart and understanding like Alaak de Gong.
On behalf of my family, Thank you alone would not be enough to prophet Alaak Gong because if he didn't subdue that war between Kongoor and Dacuek, my grandfather could have been murdered by Kongoor and I would have not been alive here today and write this story.
In that fateful night, the prophet eventually sympathised with Chief Lual Deng and the Dacuek in particular for the consequences of such a meaningless war.
The prophet made it clear that he would perform his spiritual duty that would put an end to Kongoor's offensive against Dacuek. All of a sudden, his black magic was a breakthrough. He overwhelmingly sent a nonstop rain that kept warriors of Kongoor in their tukuls for days.
The chief Lual Deng returned to his village with a guarantee that Dacuek would not be attacked by Kongoor. Their potential threat would now be Nuer tribe. Next morning, the Nuer tribe armed with shields and spears attacked the Dacuek's village.
During the war, my grandfather (Thuch Dau) and his brother (Bul Dau ) were amongst heroes Dacueks could remember to this day. In the battlefield, Bul Dau and other warriors managed to kill Deng-R Koryiom a Golia like the hero of the Nuer tribe whose his name still remember in Dacuek's lyrics of her traditional songs( Yai de Dacuek.
The Nuer were repelled after the death of their hero and Dacuek enjoyed the victory. After the conflict, my granddad ( Dau Chol) who took the family to Dacuek died at a time people expect him to pass on because he was very old.
My family would now live in Dacuek to the day my father was born to the day he became a teenager. While in Bapping, all my aunties were married to Dacuek's men. My aunty Arok Bul Dau a mother of Duot Chepping Biar and Biar Chepping Biar and their sisters was the first daughter in Dau Chol's family to be married in Dacuek.
My other aunty (Adau Thuch Dau) a mother to Gai Chol Aweer (from Ayual-Wut-Roordior) was also married while our family were still in Dacuek. The same to Aunty (Arokdit Thuch Dau) who would be married to Pajut County.
Now life was going smoothly until another sad day hit our family at Panyang cattle camp. One morning, Ajak Yool from a distance sub-clan in Dacuek stood over my grandfather's Ox and fatally speared it to spark violence. He did that because few sub-clans in Dacuek were not happy with our residency.
After the ordeal, Ajak Yool went further to swore at my Grandfather by saying "Wai wo mioor alei pachol-akol" It became one of the most popular sayings spoken in Twi East with a simple translation that who cares if I could kill a stranger's bull.
This kind of behaviour did not please my grandfathers at all. It was an insult and racism our family could no longer tolerate anymore. With such intense, migration to our ancestral home of Pakeer and Hol Ajang Majok, in particular, was the best option Dau Chol's family could make to avoid any further escalation.
There was another theory that the bull's killer Ajak Yool could use black magic against our family because his section of Pan-Yool were divine holders in Dacuek Clan. And a divinity war was more fatal than a physical war simply because who knows what he could cast on our family should my grandfather fought him physically.
In 1951, my family would now exit Dacuek with their livestock and resettled in their homeland. The prominent head chief of Hol Clan honourable Majok Ajang Awan gave our family a warm reception. Dozen of cattle were killed for our family's farewell.
On the other hand, Majok Ajang passed on with no clue that one day his granddaughter Atiel Ajang Majok (My mother) would be married to Dau Thuch Dau from the family he farewell in 1951.
A few days after arriving home, the Panyang which was ( The Divinity god of Dachuek) was not pleased with our family Brexit the Dacuek without his permission. The Panyang would stalk our family with sickness and diseases for we had Brexit without his blessing.
A few years after arriving in Pakeer, members of our family and their cattle felt sick and death would soon follow. In the 1950s, Uncle Biar Bul , his half brother Biar-Malang, Atem-Mayenchek, Deng Bul, Mabior Bul among others were first to be accounted for and Panyang de Dachuek was prime mover over those deaths.
My grandfathers had no choice but to offer a few cattle to pleased the god. Despite the offering being initiated to please the god was like someone irrigating hallow farm on the dry land. The condition would remain the same. Death in my family was something could happen now and then. Until when rescue came from Atem de Juelek the god of Hol-Atok that took a stance over the Panyang's threat.
The Atem de Juelek through a spiritual prophet called Kur Khot gave a warning to Panyang de Dacuek that we were no longer his people anymore and he must stop killing our family otherwise. It became a war between the two gods and since then, Panyang stopped his death threats after the rescue.
I would narrate such a story so others could learn where I came from. This story is not part of this book, however, I was explaining to readers and perhaps relatives who might have no clue that I was once a Dachuek.
It is a great honour and privilege to pass down our history especially children from Dau Chol's family who might not come across such a story could be beneficiaries of their heritage.
After all. the history of Panyang de Dachuek was real. It is important for me and anyone who might be interested in Dinka culture. The Panyang was a great god and even today, some Dacueks that belief in superstition praised Panyang in their hearts despite Christianity.
I could be suspicious maybe it was Panyang who compelled me to strip the deal with Jack Feerick and go for African World Books. Therefore, Lual Reech I think Panyang de Dachuek has redelivered you my cattle to the previous homeland. By Mamer Dau Thuch