Raja is the capital of Lol State and this is not a joke . There is nothing to lol about in Raja and when the town was attacked on April 15th the fighting was brutal  . SPLM/IO occupied the town for about a day and a half and withdrew when SPLA counter attacked, supposedly led in combat by Governor Riziq Zakariah Hassan . In fact Governor Riziq Zakariah Hassan ran away and took refuge at SPLA Headquarters in Wau , leaving the fighting and troop reorganization to General Paul Malong Awan who immediately flew in from Juba . Governor Riziq Zakariah Hassan is an opportunist whose past ambiguous political positioning and peculiar ethnicity (half Fertit , half Baggara Arab from Darfur) have put him in a very delicate situation as he is now seen as a willing tool of local Dinka domination . During the war of independance the province of Bahr-el-Ghazal was the theatre of a savage war between mostly-Dinka SPLA insurgents and mostly-Fertit Khartoum National Army units . The present situation is still wrapped up in the memories of these years and in many ways the present conflict is Act 2 of the previous war . I was wrong when I wrote in my recent “Titanic” Blog that the attackers were SPLM/IO Nuer . SPLM/IO they were but they belonged , just like in Wau a couple of days earlier , to a whole variety of tribes (Fertit , Balanda , Jur) who are local . And their fight was so typical of the present state of ethnic war in South Sudan , with the “national” SPLA forces being in fact simply a Dinka militia while the opposition — which naive foreigners (even me !) still tend to ascribe to “Nuer” — was made up of local smaller tribal units . Even among the commanders there was not a single Nuer : Peter Marcello is a Balanda and the others were Fertit or even Ndogo . Similarly , after the street fighting was over many of the victims of the repression were civlians belonging to the “wrong” tribes . Which is why talking about “genocide” , as the horrified British Secretary of State did a few days ago , is difficult . Yes , people are killed because they belong to one ethnic group rather than to another . But this is multiple and pluri-headed : the Dinka kill members of other tribes (but are they ordered to do so by the government or do they do it spur-of-the-moment ?) while isolated Dinka (especially in public transport) are killed by insurgents because they are Dinka (of course in retaliation for the massacres committed by the DinkaS themselves) . But , does this all adds up to “a genocide” ? “A genocide” , such as that of the Jews in World War Two or that of the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994 , implies a single killing agent and only one category of victims . Or does it ? The Germans (and their allies in Croatia , Hungary or Rumania) also killed Gypsies , mentally-handicaped people or homosexuals of any nationality and Russian POWs . In Rwanda 80,000 Hutus were killed ……………………….by other Hutus , for not being sufficiently ethnic radicals . So genocide or not genocide ? This is a typical case where a law , an accepted Treaty , ends up being more of an obstacle than a help . The 1948 UN Declaration on the repression of genocide was drafted as a (late) answer to the German-organized genocide after 1942 . It did not attempt to envision all possible situations and it lumped large killings based on a well-defined criteria together . This is not the case in South Sudan . But does it make any difference ? Not really . The basic scandal is as follows : The South Sudan “Government”, while pretending to be “national” , supports up to and including killings limited ethnic interests which is presents as representing the whole nation . Killing people on the basis of such a lie is intolerable

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