South Sudan and the Collective Pain of Watching a Peace Agreement Struggle for its Life
Author: Jok Madut Jok
Type: Weekly Reviews
For the past several weeks, there have been rising voices of both optimism and frustration, as reports of progress in the implementation of the so-called Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) continued to highlight violations, fresh military attacks, delays in executing ceasefire and security mechanisms and irregularities in the use of funds allotted to this process. This Weekly Review is a commentary on these mounting frustrations, some of which have begun to remind South Sudanese of the ways in which past peace agreements failed to achieve peace and end the war. It also highlights areas of hope, that the agreement also stands a chance of enduring, if the right steps are taken and the current missteps are quickly rectified. The review is based on a number of unstructured interviews with South Sudanese in the military, civil society, ordinary rural and urban people, and with individuals involved in the peace process, including party representatives, foreign diplomats, and humanitarian aid workers in Wau, Gogrial, and Juba. It is also based on a close reading of the debates that take place among South Sudanese online.
Jok Madut Jok is trained in the anthropology of health and holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is a fellow of Rift Valley Institute and Director of the Sudd Institute. Jok has held fellowship positions at a number of other institutions, including the United States Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He also served in the Government of South Sudan as undersecretary in the Ministry of Culture and Heritage for three years. He has also worked in aid and development and author of four books and numerous articles covering gender, sexuality and reproductive health, humanitarian aid, ethnography of political violence, gender-based violence, war and slavery, and the politics of identity in South Sudan and Sudan. His book Breaking Sudan: The Search for Peace, was published in 2017 by OneWorld.