The book is a nail on the coffin of illiteracy and ignorance by choice. More to the point, it is bulwark against attempts at revisionism, willful projection of history as what, and how it never was.
The book begs an answer to what is increasingly becoming a muddled discourse, are people of Abyei South Sudan? A clear answer is found in the pages of this book. A reader will notice, Abyei is not waving the flag ethnic affiliation as the one and only reason for cleaving towards South Sudan, No is Abyei begging for sympathy. Abyei has learned never to rely on kindness from South or North Sudan. Abyei is, because it population has stood in watch, never flinching or despairing. Their claim is rooted in the history of struggle for dignity when Sudan, for lack of better word, wa United. Now in independent South Sudan, the need to struggle for dignity still remains. Abyei, is proud, it has been to South Sudan as a shield to a warrior. Penetrate it. There, watch the gaping holes struck in the heart. This fact remains true as we speak.
The book captures the history of heroism in most unlikely candidates, a reminder nations are not liberated by its alpha Zelinskies, flashy public figures or by armchair nationals good at weaving webs and while praying some unsuspecting victims gets entrapped. No, not that at all. In South Sudan, it is promising students who pushed aside their books, jumped into the fray, grabbed weapons and, in due course, learned to be brave; it is women disgusted with persecution, donned metals of war instead of beautifying ears and necks with ornaments, it is children whose eyes were violated by scenes of persecution and humiliation at tender age, voluntarily let go of innocence to grow into men ripe enough to struggle for freedom - it is this array of people that liberates South Sudan. They were the pivots that held South Sudan together when all citizens mattered; when little was much; when all efforts added up to a pool full of energy, powerful enough to move and remove the shadow of hopelessness we all thought was an existential reality.
It came to pass, with insect biting helping, children happily bearing their share of burdens, women ready to shed stereotypes, and men ready to die - in the face of all this, the ominous presence melted away and could no more offend in that way.
We thought that was the end of the struggle “to be” for the people of Abyei. Far from it, not as long future continues to bear new realities. Abyei is now back in the theatre being dissected for evidence to prove if she is or is not, part of South Sudan.
To those that seek to know, read the book: WARRIORS FROM ABYEI By Dr Raphael Abiem