"In all of these cases, violence has led to the breakdown of our beloved homes," Bishop Kussala continued. "Human lives have been lost. Infrastructure has been destroyed, education and health services have suffered, and the environment has been damaged. The ties that link people together…have been broken, social solidarity has collapsed and political tension has been highly generated."
These conflicts arise from self-interested elites who take advantage of past divisions, the bishop said. However, peace is possible, as evidence by the "relative peace, development and economic growth after our national independence shortly in 2011."
In an efforts to restore this stability, Bishop Kussala called on the elders of Greater Bahr El Ghazal to "engage all stakeholders" in seeking peace, allowing for dialogue and supporting genuine efforts aimed at reconciliation and healing.
He urged the elders to publically and unequivocally condemn revenge killings, violence against civilians and the use of hate speech which fosters tribal division.
In addition, he said, they should "call urgently for immediate robust humanitarian intervention for the starving people in and outside Wau," pushing for roads to be opened to aid workers delivering food for the hungry population.
Efforts are needed both to prevent further killings and to foster reconciliation and healing in society, the bishop said. He also recommended an independent investigation into atrocities against the community, in order to hold perpetrators accountable.
In solving these problems, it is important to remember the role of culture, Bishop Kussala said.
"People derive their sense of meaning from their culture…Cultural attitudes and values…provide the foundation for the social norms by which you as a people exist and live," he noted. "Through internalizing and sharing these cultural attitudes and values with fellow community members, and by handing them down to future generations, societies can – and do – re-construct themselves on the basis of a particular cultural image."
Achieving peace in Wau State will require an acknowledgement of wrongdoing, repentance and an offering of forgiveness, the bishop said. It will also require "a way for members of these communities to 're-inform' themselves of their rich history of co-existence with a cultural logic that emphasizes sharing and equitable resource distribution."
"The people of Greater Bahr El Ghazal should draw their strength from each other as one people," he emphasized. "You have common humanity, heritage, history and you are socially interwoven."
"For Wau State to live and prosper, we must come together!"
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