In attempts to stem the violence and urge unity and common vision forged among those of South Sudan, Eye Radio station has begun to air several messages stressing the goal of “peace, stability, and prosperity” for South Sudan.
Earlier this month, the Enough Project wrote about several South Sudanese artists using songs to spread messages of peace and unity – adding their voice to the national dialogue in a way consistent with their own values and abilities. Now, messages of peace have once again taken the airwaves. Eye Radio, a radio station based in Juba, is utilizing its power as source of information for South Sudanese populations to spread its own messages hoping that enough people can be persuaded to look towards the future of South Sudan and move past the conflict.
Throughout the conflict, Eye Radio has continued to report on the latest developments in South Sudan and it is one of the only radio stations that still send reported into the field.
Employees who are part of various ethnic groups work at the station. However, the station refused to let these differences get in the way of their work – reporting on the latest events in South Sudan. Station Manager Steve Omiri sent an email to his employees saying, "we have a career [job] to do, that there are people listening to us and they need information. So we must stick together during this crisis, we should not think of: 'Oh I come from this tribe, or I come from this tribe.' Let's be one people, because our career come first from [than] our tribe.”
The station also quickly realized that they didn’t want to inflame the tribal dimensions of the conflict and has since focused on spreading messages of peace instead. They interviewed local and religious leaders who told people to lay down their arms. Mayen Deng, a season reporter and Arabic news presenter for Eye Radio believes these messages have been powerful explaining that, “I think they have been effective to help people realise this conflict is a political problem not an ethnic one.” The Radio station believes in their responsibility to providing the news and also encouraging people to stop fighting.
The new messages being aired are short – only 30 seconds each– but powerful. One message features a woman mentioning that South Sudan is diverse like a rainbow. She goes on further to say that “like a rainbow, we can use our diversity to help our country shine and grow.” The messages also feature different people saying, “I am South Sudanese”, once again emphasizing a national and unified identity rather than tribal affiliation.
Messages and Initiatives like this show the resilience of the South Sudanese, many of whom are determined to end the conflict and work on building a bright future for a country they call home.