is the founder of Athieide Mission from Canberra, Australia. A pyscho - spiritual transformative platform. Thank you for allowing me to share your story. Today, we are focusing on the topic of blood memories in the South Sudanese context.
What does your name mean in your mother tongue?
Maketh means yellow in Dinka.
What is blood memory?
You see, a human being has a body, a mind and a soul. The mind is an umbrella term for emotions and thoughts. Except for the soul, both the body and mind are bundles of memory. Now, to answer the question… blood memory is basically the memory of physical and mental experiences in the blood, in the DNA. It is a large reserve of memory that goes way back to the creation of the universe. In other words, our ancestors' experiences - - what they liked and what they did not like, their pleasures and their pains, their achievements and failures and dreams--are within each one of us. What we call a child is nothing but an extension of their parents' dreams.
What are the symptoms of blood memory in the South Sudanese context?
The part of the blood memory that needs our attention here is the part that stores negative emotions. The most obvious symptoms or manifestations of negative blood memory, also known as a pain body or just bad blood, include greed, fear, anger, vengeance and hatred. As you know, there are very few instances in which our people have not been at war.
Going back down the memory lane, history tells us that, when we were not fighting with Arabs or Europeans, we were fighting among ourselves. The government against its people, tribes against tribes, clans against clans. And this is still going on even today. This is too much investment in pain. In fact, whenever people invest in some pain-causing ventures, the interest they earn is fear, anger, vengeance and hatred. And that becomes the inheritance they leave behind for the future generation.
In today's Jonglei state, for example, we can still see and feel the anger, the bitterness among the three communities of Dinka, Murle and Nuer. Likewise in Eastern Equatoria state, we can still see and feel the anger, the bitterness between the Didinga and Toposa. These are just a few examples but there are more such cases of bad blood memory among many South Sudanese communities. I have only mentioned 5 of the 64 tribes.
How does it show up in national issues?
At the national level, bad blood shows up in the form of aggression, injustice, and discontentment by various groups, parties or organizations.
How does it show up in communal issues?
You see, pained bodies are not limited to living things. Lands, cities and water bodies too have pain bodies. Because a pain-body is basically a memory of pain, of suffering. And pain is just a form of energy, which cannot be created or destroyed… but can be transformed, can be healed. So when looking at the effect of the painbody at the community level, one cannot turn a blind on the pained body of Juba and the Bari people on whose land our national government is hosted.
Then we look at the Nuer and Dinka pain bodies. Actually the current ongoing national conflict has its roots in the Nuer and Dinka pain bodies. You see, before everything else, a politician is first and foremost an individual with a blood memory. And like they always say, blood is really thicker than water. So what we are seeing is a battle of the tribal pain bodies. It is not really a personal thing between General Kiir and Dr. Riek. We have not yet become a nation.
How does it show up in family formation?
The most important ingredient in the formation of any family or just anything for that matter, is love. However, a family with a strong pain-body is ruled by anger, violence, abuse, hatred, etc. If individuals love themselves but there is a history of bad blood memory between their families, they may have a hard time forming or raising a healthy, happy, prosperous family.
How does it show up in individual issues?
An individual with a heavy pain-body can struggle a lot in life in the areas of health, wealth, career and relationship. You must have heard of very good individuals who died so young or individuals who work so hard but live a miserable life. Those are a few examples in which bad blood memory shows up in an individual life.
How can we heal ourselves from blood memories?
There are many ways we can heal ourselves from bad blood memories. However, I will only talk about the two simple ways here. Since the bad blood memory exists in the form of negative emotions such as greed, fear, anger, vengeance and hatred, all solutions are about the healing of the concerned emotions.
This is why the first step is the acknowledgement of the truth. We first need to admit that there is a problem, that there is bad blood within and between individuals, families and communities. Most people will be surprised at the healing power of the sheer acknowledgement of truth. Next, we need love. And by love, I mean the heart that feels both the happiness and suffering of others as if they were it is own.
How can we heal our psyches?
The health of our psyche depends on the condition of our blood memory and mind. So the remedies that I have given above also apply here. In addition to love and understanding, one can also practice prayer and meditation. In prayer, one asks God for a solution; while in meditation one simply thanks Him. They are very powerful tools for the healing and transformation of human consciousness.
What would you suggest to bring about collective and individual healing?
For individual healing, I suggest that individuals make an effort to know who they are, not just personally but spiritually. Once you have discovered who you are, have the heart to fully accept yourself with all your painbody. Admit that you have fear, that you have anger, that you have hatred, etc.
Then take the responsibility to heal yourself. Even if you may not be the cause of the hatred you have towards yourself or others, you have the responsibility to heal yourself because nobody else can. Only that person who has healed themselves can heal others. This is because a painbody is like a bush of thorns inside a person's heart. It is a two-edged sword that hurts both the one within and the one without.
As with regards to collective healing, I recommend group prayers and meditations. When a group of people with one pure intention gathers in one place, so much healing can be experienced.
Nyabuoy Gatbel is a South Sudanese Canadian currently living in Calgary, AB. She was born in Ethiopia in 1993 and moved to Canada as a refugee in 2002. She's currently a undergraduate student at the University of Calgary. Besides her studies she's a social entreprenuer focusing on the, ''Paarman Centre project,'' a fashion model, writer and author of the book, ''The Fire Within poetry in Thok Nath and English.''