Prospects of Change in Sudan

By Mohammed Elgizoly Adam

In this globalized era, politics is a business more than a mission. This makes sovereignty very limited, and hence nations are not free to have the right for self-determination. Furthermore, it is difficult to predict the future of a nation as complicated as Sudan.

We do live in a very strange world. Some nations live in the technological era and this has become a major trait of their live, while others live in an agricultural era and are proud of their life resisting change. Some living in an industrial era are also trying to join the technology era. This has created contradictions that are quite difficult to handle. The technological era people are trying to lead the world, and in response, the agricultural people are resisting it, as well as the industrial ones on their way to join the era of globalization. The chronic problem is these three categories are found in one country, though most likely two categories: the agriculture people and the industrial, as in the case of Sudan. These classifications took place in Sudan from the very beginning, obviously in times of colonization when there were only two categories: industrial people (“jallaba”) and agricultural people, who have been marginalized. The former welcomed the colonizers and the latter stood up and resisted strongly. In this way, our lives and policies have been shaped up to date, in addition to some other fundamental problems Such as consistent Social injustice, oppression, historical Question of identity and political instability.

The point is that elected government is usually under the control of the people, whereas Sudan’s current government will compromise anyone or anything without consultation. Because they have nothing to lose except their position in power, everything is negotiable, even the land of the country itself.

It is certain that the current conflicts are not going to last forever; they will end one day. My concern here is not when they are going to end, but how they are going to end. Here are three prospects to end Sudan’s bloody war.

1) All-out War

There are many signs that Sudan could plunge into all-out war, from the rampant injustice all over the country, to the way the leaders of the current regime think and behave.  The vast majority of the oppressed people are unaware of their rights and the causes of the ongoing unjust and miserable conditions of their lives. The apathy of the opposition parties and so-called national characters toward the ongoing brutality and atrocities conducted by the current regime has created an atmosphere of un-cooperation and hatred among Sudanese people, particularly among marginalized people. There is a general feeling that political parties and leaders are indifferent to the general suffering because they did not pay much attention to their agonies. This has widened the differences and distrust between people and the government. In addition, the government’s media tends to provoke and incite those in central Sudan and its vicinities, insisting that those rebels from marginalized regions have bad intentions towards them, and they must stand up and cooperate with the government to defend their rights.

However, the strongest factor to  an all-out war is the development of armies, both rebel militias and government groups, which due to racial incitement and other tensions could be provoked to engage in bloody war at any time. In fact, some areas are already at war. Such as Darfur, Blue Nile and Nubba Mountings , in fact all these areas have similar experience of  social political  injustice  mass human rights violation and  war crimes and crimes against humanity.

2) Unity Through Uprising

This is the only peaceful option, but a very difficult one in the current atmosphere of incitement, sense of injustice, tribalism, rebel groups, phobia of revenge, and fear. All these factors played a crucial role in the uprising that has taken place in some Arab countries. Such a situation needs a strong willingness to overcome all the differences and fears, as well as inspired leadership. However, the so-called jallaba , those who have been dominating the power in Sudan since the independent and allegedly identifying themselves as Arab people.
must realize that this ongoing injustice is going to end one way or another; therefore, it is better for them to take action before it is too late. They should learn from the history of other countries, such as South Africa under apartheid, when unjust leaders realized it was in their best self-interest to develop a more just system.

Sudan’s regime could do the same, if not for the arrogance of leaders who do not read books. Our current situation is the outcome of their irrational and un-democratic behavior.  However, unity through uprising is possible if change-makers believe in unity and its importance.

3) Division of Remaining Sudan

As long as we are not able to solve our own problems, then as part of this globalized world we must accept whatever solutions are offered. Therefore, division is a viable solution.  The only problem is that the small countries that emerge would be weak socially, economically and politically, because they have been severely marginalized.

South Sudan is a good example of this. Though it is a very resourceful land with well-trained leaders, it is still struggling. its hostile neighbor country and the fragile society that every new country would face are examples od struggles that a newly emerging country As for a new country like Darfur, for example, there is a lot to be done Such as recovery from war, Sustainability of peace, education, women’s survivors of rape and advocacy of social construction.

The regional relationships of Sudan

Recently a lot has happened in Sudan’s neighboring countries which could affect its future. Some of these countries have played significant roles in Sudan’s conflicts, such as Libya, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eretria, Uganda, Chad, and South Sudan. Sudan is a crucial point to these countries; therefore, any military activity in Sudan depends on the relationship with these countries. Due to Sudan’s past experiences in war by proxy with these countries, Sudan enjoys stronger relationships with their unstable military activity. Furthermore, currently Sudan’s relationship with those countries is stable except Uganda, which makes it hard for some regions in Sudan to carry out military activities from there. However, the death of Meles Zenawi, the former president of Ethiopia could determine the relationship with North Sudan. As for south Sudan, the new country is still under the hostilities of Khartoum and has been forced to work out the cross cutting issues with Khartoum’s leadership some of them are unfair to South Sudan.

South Sudan

South Sudan is the newest country in the world having separated recently from the north, after a long history of injustices and the longest civil war in Africa.  Even though it is an independent state, South Sudan is still suffering from its hostile neighbor in the north and there is a lot that needs to be resolved between them.

South Sudan still feels obligated to some parts of Sudan, such as Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains, where the people fought with South Sudan    to gain autonomy, hoping for their own liberation and justice.  Unfortunately, the outcome was separation, and the situation remains as it was in these regions. With no choice at hand,  they went back  to fighting despite of  the  changing circumstances, because the more support they get from South Sudan, the war-by-proxy expert Khartoum  will destabilize South Sudan.

The mysterious death of an extraordinary key leader of the SPLM D, John Garang was actually vital for the future of South Sudan in particularly and Sudan as general. However, unfortunately he got off before we got up, He was a source of inspiration to all those who seek change in Sudan.

The cross-cutting issues

1) Darfur

Darfur is the largest region in Sudan, approximately the size of France. It was a sovereign kingdom until 1916 when it was colonized by the British and incorporated into the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Rule and resources were directed to the central tribes near Khartoum leaving Darfur and many outlying regions severely marginalized.

Darfur had been a powerful kingdom economically, politically and militarily. It supplied all of the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, with food and clothing. According to the history of Darfur, all the kingdoms of Darfur were governed justly and equally. The friendly and kind people of Darfur co-existed peacefully with others for hundreds of years until recently.

The lives of 2.5 million people are threatened by the present escalation of the fighting in the Darfur region in Sudan. Systematic and massive human rights violations are taking place, not all of which are directly connected with the hostilities between the Sudanese government and a number of armed movements.

It is a profoundly complicated problem to everyone, and those who planned to destruct it have failed, and lost their way out. Those who planned to make a difference in it have faced a lot of obstacles.
Those who thought the only way out is to get rid of those calling for change through violence failed and could not accept the consequences of their actions because they did not consider the historical change that took place in the world,  or change that came with new global structures both in the political and social sphere. Therefore, they thought they can easily perish the rebellion that took place in Darfur and thus they organized a strong plan for the bloody war that resulted in a high destruction which led to mass displacement, refugees, rape, social disintegration, tribalism, clashes, all forms of hatred, all of which led to a very heavy consequence – the indictment of the head of the country and many of his partners in crime.

Moreover, to those change makers, who stood against injustice and for social equality, they did so without considering the consequences such as the social differences, because Darfur is just like Sudan as whole in term of social differences and the incompetence of the leaders. In fact, imposed themselves to be in charge of such a very difficult task that needs a lot of skills and experiences, which they lacked to begin with. They face another complicated problem to handle: from the very beginning the government started dividing people based on tribe, cline languages, and whatever possible difference they could get, causing people to lose their unity from the start. As a result, they ended up in many ineffective factions.

Janjawid militia

It has been a phobia across the world, it is very well known, Arab Janjawid militia supported by government of Sudan, committed serious crimes.
However, many of us do not know who they are: Are they all Arab tribes in Darfur or apart of them? Are they victims of the problem or are they the ones who created it? Why and how have they become involved in this militia? It is also necessary to understand their condition, and the circumstances under which the government appealed to, recruited, and supported them.  These are very crucial points to those who seek a solution to Darfur, since without considering the background and the history of the Janjawid, any upcoming solution will not be comprehensive.
I think Janjawid are victims of this war and the most marginalized people because of their attitude toward education and many other things were highly exploited by the government, because of the poverty, illiteracy, lack of skills, and environmental problems that changed a lot of people’s lives. All of these factors rendered them idle. They were exploited and used by the government, and it became a job on which they rely to support their families The only things they know is how to raise cattle and engage in fighting, and because they lost their Cattles due to the ongoing war and environmental problems, the only thing that was left for them to do is fighting. i A huge obstacle  that remains is how to take serious steps towards reclaiming them and shifting their track to the track of constructive change. Otherwise, they will remain a chronic problem to Darfur as a region and its people as well as to themselves.
Another is obstacles that needs to be overcome is how they can become a part of the process of change in Darfur in particular and Sudan as general Mainly this is a task of rebel leaders and Arab tribe leaders and pundits to be untied in the relationship between the government and the Janjwid , because they have mutual destiny. Nevertheless, there was an attempt from youth groups, who formed a movement called (united revolution front) who assumed the only way out for the revolution is to represent all tribes including the so called janjwid. Unfortunately this did not work out well, because the government was afraid that it might lose a very strong ally, and then tried hard to tackle the attempt. Some of the leaders were bought by the government and the head of the group got assassinated by Sudan national intelligence (Ibrahim Alzibadi) while others have joined other rebel groups. Due to the extent of danger facing the government and the lack of experience on the part of the leaders who stood up to such a heavy load and difficult task.
The government has been inciting rebel groups based on existing racial differences that the rebel groups already have. from African tribes and your survival is threatened and the current government could be the last government that ruled by Arab people in Sudan and our destiny is one if you do not cooperate with us well then we all in danger, because the Arab tribe do not have strong and educated people to led them in the right way and the few that got some education the government controlling them.
However, the Janjwid are Darfurians having a lot in common with their brothers and sisters in Darfur, they have known each other for hundreds of years, and share common social and cultural interactions. They have not become familiarized with the other part of Sudan until quite recently, in the Mahdist revolution. They actually have closer racial ties to Chad more than they do to Khartoum. What united them is being closely related to African tribes more than any other people from different parts of Sudan.

Darfur Rebel Movements:

Dramatically racial – security tension, tribal clashes, absence of government authority, environmental problems – continuous drought and famine from time to time- abnormal poverty, wide spread of guns across the region, dynamic racial change and prolonged  injustice and inequality, create an  atmosphere of tension. Under such circumstances, some newly  graduated young men, who begun with very limited experiences compare to the challenges ahead,  stood up against all this to make a difference in a complicated region in particular,  and a country overall ,.
Therefore, the backlash began with all these challenges and obstacles to create leaders who then experienced their leadership through these challenges, and form a movement called Sudan liberation movement (SLA).  Several months later, it was joined by another group- justice and equality movement (JEM). Unfortunately the two groups formed mainly from Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit tribes. They started their activities with excitement and promises of change got approval from most of Darfurian people, and then they started developing their military operations, defeating the government in many battles, until  Sudan Libration Army (SLA)attacked the government in Alfashier city in November 2003 and the conflict started escalating day after day.
In spite of urging from some of Darfurians who oppose mechanisms of change through violence, the Sudan government did not listen as usual and plunged the region in a bloody war that startled every human being in the world, where they used different mechanisms to eradicate the rebellion. Apart from military activity they got the privilege that the Arab tribes are not the racial group on which the rebel groups are based, and that they constitute the majority of the population in the region. This allowed the government to set a racial trap, where they convinced the leaders of the Arab tribes to stand on their side, thus giving the conflict the appearance of being just a tribal clash, and that the government was not involved in it Soon after,  the conflict took the racial trait Arab- Zorga (African), and  a year later divisions begun within the rebel groups and took the face of the following tribal clashes trait Fur-Zaghawa-Masalit and then Fur- Fur, Masalit –Masalit and Zaghawa- Zaghawa. A year after, similar divisions took place within the  Arab tribes themselves, Targam-Abala, Abala-Masiria, Abala –Sada, Habani- Falata and Targam- Beni Halba.

The assassination of Khalil Ibrahim- (the former leader of Justice and equality movement)
It’s true that when the government fails to carry out its responsibilities, people will start looking for protection within their clines and tribes. Therefore, the still tribal community easily found a revolutionary leader to be a regional and a national leader instead of becoming only a tribal leader.

His assassination could determine the future of Darfur, because so far the identity of the assassinator remains unknown. However it is believed that the government of Khartoum is involved in his assassination, even though at the same time, the government very weak to carry out such an assassination. It could also be possible that strong allies of the Khartoum government might have been involved; the question is why he was assassinated?

2-Nuba Mountain and Blue Nile:

These areas have suffered a lot from injustices and people fought seriously with the southern Sudanese people. When the South got separated from the North, they had no options:  either accept the injustice or continue their struggle, in which case then they choose the later they have a very long experience in liberation and trained leaders, but weak society because the years of injustice have taken their toll. I think in their position unity with a new way of thinking and policies is the best option withstanding the difficulties a head. Any change coming must consider these three areas as well as being a part of any coming change otherwise it is not going to be a comprehensive change.

Political parties:

Despite the number of political parties, Sudan has gone through conflict since its establishment as a country because of social and cultural illnesses that affected the political parties. Furthermore, most of the political parties are conservative or religious in an ideological deadlock, or unorganized.  Tribalism and ethnic bias make the political parties ineffective. In fact the way the political parties are shaped reflects the way the conflict is. Of course history has an importance as well because there are some political parties that played a crucial role in our history. Who we are today is the result of their decisions and the way they used to think.
It is a well known historical fact, in terms of abolishing the slave trade, when the Umma party (Under the leadership of Imam AlMahdi) and  the United Democratic  Party(Under the leadership of Ali Almirghani) signed and sent a letter urging the British government that slavery  in Sudan should not end. Therefore we urge the British government to change their mind about the abolishing both of these parties still have very strong influence in Sudan.
The problem is that regardless of how old and ineffective an ideology like this one is, there are currently many political parties that maintain such ideologies despite them being history. There are people who would readily die for and defend such ideologies, such as the poor, the marginalized and the illiterate I think the leaders of some political parties benefit from the ignorance and illiteracy of the vast majority of people who had no chance to become educated and were intentionally marginalized. This can explain the alteration of the educational system by the current regime, so that it can easily deceive and manipulate the mentality of the people. Our Political parties in Sudan still have not yet recognized the historical change that took place in the world, and still handle their problems in the old patterns.
The central area of Sudan got privileges since and before the independence. Such privileges include education, political awareness, basic health care, and “social development” . The ruling people of this area inherited the authority from the colonialist powers; as a result they got to be on top of every institution and political party. Instead of using the knowledge received to lead the country in the right direction, they used racial, tribal, and cultural differences as their resourceful mechanisms. As a consequence, they plunged the country in a continuous conflict, the longest conflict in the world. So far constitution is dominated by them, and they have reached the point of fearing change, fear of revenge and losing their position of course, besides their inability and lack of readiness to overcome the old way of thinking. These are the reasons for which they instill the belief that there is no better substitute than them to lead the country. However, it is normal to be afraid in such a ambiguous situation, but that does not mean losing hope and faith; change is always resistible and always coming whether we are prepared for it to handle it in the right direction or not.
3 – The indictment of Mr. Al Bashir

We are entering a new era one of a crucial change in human history in which social, economical and cultural change shake off all the old patterns of policies and ways of thinking. As we enter this new era, our values, principles and beliefs have changed and new values have come up. To many of us this is the era of no values and principles; it is the era of interest and greed, because change is subtle and not so subtle.
Therefore a president of a country is not free to do whatever he wants any more. In this context the indictment seems very normal. But unfortunately, we are governed by a very arrogant group who do not really recognize the change that has taken place. As a matter of fact, they were surprised by the solidarity of the whole world towards the Darfur people and the strong voice for justice from people who did not know Darfur, and having nothing in common except humanity which is enough to unite us in spite of our differences and borders. This in fact is the sign of the new era and its new policies.
Furthermore, Mr. Bashir and his partners in crime have realized their dilemma; they no longer are capable of leading the country and then they have been trying to pull themselves out of the circle which is impossible by denying their obvious crimes. To them the only way out of their crimes is to be in power, therefore, they have been doing whatever possible to maintain their positions, thus making it difficult to the second option to be done ( the prospect of uprising) and strengthening  the first option ( an all-out- war). This is an easier option given the world we live in: a world based on interest and compromise, both of which are traits of this government.

4- Fears of change:

Since change is always resistible, it is natural that in such a country with long history of injustice and social inequality, those who have the privileges of stability, peace, access to good education and development can fear of change because they do not know its outcome for them, and will easily be incited by false information.
Moreover, the bias of the government’s media gives many reasons for the fear of change- the question of the coming substitute, the absence of strong leadership, the rampant spread of militias all over the country and the indifference of the role of the media towards the opposition party. In sum, all these played a very significant role in creating such an atmosphere of frustration and apathy in Sudan. This is because the society still lives under authority of historical political and religious leaders. For example, some still believe in Ali Dinar, Mak Nimir, and the increasingly unpopular Bashir, and the dead president Namairi For those of us who think the coming substitutes are the constitutions and new policies, does not make sense to many Sudanese people. Such a conservative community that never experienced rule of law, real democracy, needs strong inspiration and a leadership that can touch their souls and shake off their differences as well as gives them hope that was once  lost long ago.
However, what binds us as Sudanese is more than what divides us along our history. The only way out for all of us is shaking off all the differences and all we need is the spirit of unity and change, nothing much.

Reference:
-Alvin Toffler- the third waive.
-Ahmad Sikainga- Slave into workers in Sudan..
gizoli77@gmail.com

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