My hands will burst the galling chain                                                                                                                              

My people will be free  again   


For them a thousand hopes remain                                                                                                                              





1. Sudan: the Name:

            The name of the Sudan has more or less been the same all through history. It has been associated with the colour of blackness (such as Kush, Karma, Æthiopia, al-Saltana al-Zarqā’ and lastly al-Sūdān) which was- and is still- the colour of its people, since the early times of the ancient civilizations of the Nile valley up to the present. The same name seems like evolving by translation from language to another in the course of time. This puts Sudan in the heart of African identity which is rightly called the Black Continent. It is to our honour that we are black Africans bearing the stamp of Africa both in our colour and national name. What seems to be difference of colour among us is nothing more than the shades of blackness.

The significance of the name “Sūdān” is crucially important, because it bears very strong identity implication. The Arabized people of middle Sudan do not recognize themselves as black Africans. As the State ideologically and historically belongs to this group, Sudan has come to identify with the Arabs more than black Africa. This issue is deemed central in our contemporary problem of self-actualization in particular and national integration in general. It is either we bear a name which is not fit for us, or otherwise we do not deserve it. It is a doomed person that who bears a name that does not satisfy one’s self-esteem. Since Independence, the State has evasively dealt with the realistic connotations and implications of the name “Sudan” without ever trying to ground it in the consciousness of the Sudanese youngsters in educational curricula. Ironically, an Arabic poem by a modern Arab poet that deplores blackness and considers starting one’s day by meeting a black person as a bad omen, used to be taught in our schools. Some of the gruesome racist novels about Africa written by racist Western writers were also among the books of English literature in our schools.

No wonder in their western diasporas, the   particular Sudanese who fell victim of this self-alienation chose the category “Others” in identifying themselves instead of any of the following categories: “Whites”, “Arabs”, “Asians” or “Blacks”. The last category includes the sub-category “Africans”; by not recognizing themselves as blacks, they not only deprived themselves of the honour of being Africans, but also contradicted the simple truths of reality. At the same time they could not dare call themselves Arabs while living in the West, an identity they always boast of while they are inside the Sudan. By neither opting to be ‘Africans’ nor ‘Arabs’, they ended into the obscurity of the non-identity of ‘Otherness’.


2. The State:

            In what roughly constitutes the geography of present day Sudan, the State has prevailed all through history. Archaeologically the State can be traced back to seven thousand years at least. Like in other parts of Africa, the State functioned in a kind of federal autonomy where the ethno-cultural entities were its political nucleuses. The vast geographical space necessitated that justice was the key for any ruler to reign for longer. Seeking a better place to live in was handy and convenient for every ethnic group thus leaving back any tyrant to rule either the desert or the jungle. Using today’s modern language, a typical traditional African ‘democracy’ prevailed where both the supremacy of the ruler and the autonomy of the ruled groups were acknowledged. The ancient civilizations of the Sudan were characterized by this just equilibrium of freedom and sovereignty.

Comparatively, it was the opposite in the sisterly civilization of ancient Egypt where the ruler was of absolute power on his/her subjects. As the people there were confined to the narrow strip of the Nile by the hedging desert, they became vulnerable to the supremacy of the rulers. Since then unpaid compulsory work was introduced to only be abolished by the mid 20th century. This is how the building of hugely monumental pyramids was made available. In the ancient Sudan the ruler could not compel his subjects into such a compulsory work and this might well be the reason why they satisfied themselves with relatively humble pyramids.

            Today’s demand for self-determination by different marginalized groups is the modern manifestation and formulation of the history-long practice to pull out from any State that does not answer equally the longing of its different subject-groups to Freedom, Justice and Peace.

            At no time was there any kind of political vacuum in the Sudan. The traditional tribal federacy of ancient Sudan was maintained in the Christian era to also prevail later in the Funj Sultanate. The Egyptian-Turkish colonial rule is wrongly thought to have introduced the policy of decentralization in ruling the Sudan; that was the same system applied in the Funj Sultanate being reinstated. The realities of pluralism in Sudan have always been pushing the State toward adopting decentral and federal policies. It is a continuum that goes back to thousands of years.


3. The People:

            Virtuously all the people of present day Sudan contributed in making the ancient civilization of Sudan. Although sometimes this civilization is called ‘Nubian’ but this should be understood in the way of ‘naming the part while meaning the whole’. Even the people who call themselves ‘Arab’ have their rightly recognizable share in building that civilization as far as they are mixture of Arabs and indigenous people. In fact the weaving of the ethno-linguistic fabric in Sudan, which is taken for granted to be heterogeneous, reflects homogeneity as well. Amazingly people living on the Sudan-Uganda borders (e.g. the Baria) are related in a cousin-way manner to people living on the Sudan-Egypt borders (Nubians) and both people are related to others living on the Sudan-Ethiopia borders in the Funj region (e.g. Ingassana) and all of them are related in the same way to other groups living on the Sudan-Chad borders (e.g. Daju). We must bear in mind that before the Arabization of middle Sudan those people were in a dynamic contact with each other. This is an ancient land with ancient people and ancient civilization; the most to be expected is that they are interrelated ethno-linguistically.

            The peoples of Africa can generally be classified ethno-linguistically into four big groups (phyla), namely: Afro-Asiatic, Niger-Kordofanian, Nilo-Saharan, and Khoi-San, of which only the last is not represented by any ethno-linguistic group as it is confined to the southern tail of the continent. Each phylum is divided into sub-groups and smaller groups until it reaches the level of the sisterly ethno-linguistic entities or families in a way almost similar to the kinship trees of the people themselves. For instance, within the Nilo-Saharan we have the sub-group of Eastern Sudanic etc.

The above mentioned classification has come to us through a long way of racial bigotry and prejudice that characterized Western academia when dealing with Africa. Furthermore, as it is usually the case in social sciences, most of the premises and criteria for classification are controversial. This is why the African scientists in their UNESCO’s General History of Africa came into sharp disagreement with the Western scholars regarding the issue of classification. For instance, ancient Egyptians were classified by the Westerners as Afro-Asiatic (thus relating them to the Semitic people), but re-classified by the African scientists as Niger-Kordofanian. Some of the Africans even went far to argue that what is called Nilo-Saharan could constitute one bigger group with the so-called Niger-Kordofanian.

            Bearing the above mentioned controversy in mind, below we are going to show how the peoples of the Sudan are related to each other in an intrinsic way. The ethno-linguistic groups will be mentioned according to their principal regional habitats which comprise the following: Equatoria, Bahr al-Ghazal, Upper Nile, Nuba Mountains, Dar Fur, Funj and Ingassana, Eastern Sudan, Northern Sudan, and Middle Sudan. The languages spoken by the people in these areas will be used as an indicator of the ethnic groups. Presently with the intensification of marginalization people have moved away from their historical habitats to other areas, mainly the centre. This will not be strictly considered in all cases.  Although Arabic, being the lingua franca of the Sudan, is spoken all over the country, it will be related to the Middle of Sudan where it claims supremacy. ‘Northern Sudan’ indicates here the ethno-linguistically distinguishable group of Nubians only. Both Meroitic and Old Nubian and other extinct languages will be mentioned for historical significance only. The Nuba Mountains represent the whole of Kordufan as, aside from Arabic, there is only one language that falls outside Nuba Mountains i.e. the Harāza extinct language. The ethno-linguistic affiliation will be marked by the following characters which are randomly applied: Afro-Asiatic (☺), Niger-Kordofanian (♂), and Nilo-Saharan (☼) with its sub-group of Eastern Sudanic as (♀). This symbol (☻) indicates that almost all the languages are spoken in the given area. We shall try to mention all ethnic entities, but we cannot claim that the list will be inclusive; we apologize to those who may slip from record. The alphabetic order will be adopted.


3.1. Middle Sudan:                      


  ☺ Arabic Colloquial  ☺Arabic Standard ♀Meroitic   ♀Old Nubian   ☻All


3.2. Eastern Sudan:


☺Arabic Bedaweyit     ♂Fulani     ☼Fur  ☺Hausa 
♀Meroitic ♀Nobiin  ♀Old Nubian ☺Tigrey  ☺Tigrinya   


3.3. Northern Sudan:


☺Arabic  ♀Dongolese ♀Kunūz  ♀Meroitic  ♀Nobiin 
♀Old Nubian



3.4. The Nuba Mountains and Kordofan:


♀Affitti    ♀Aka   ♀Ama     ☺Arabic  ♂Dagik ♀Dair   ♀Daju   ♀Delenj   ♀Dinka 
♂Eliri    ♂Fulani  ♂Garme  ♀Hugairat  ♀Ghulfān ♀Haraza    ☺Hausa    ♂Heiban  ♀kadaru
♂Kanga ♀Karko  ♂Katcha  ♂kadugli ♂Katla  ♂Keiga  ♂Kawalib  ♂Kau  ♂Korongo
♂Lafofa ♂Laru   ♀Liguri ♂Logol ♂Lumun  ♀Meroitic ♂Moro  ♂Ngile ♀Old Nubian
♀Shatt ♂Shuway ♂Tagoi  ♂Talodi   ♀Tese ♀Temain ♂Tima ♂Tingal ♂Tocho
♂Togole ♂Tulishi   ♂Torona ♂Tumma ♂Utoro ♀Wali  ♂Warnag ☼Yulu    


3.5. Dar Fur:

☺Arabic ☼Bargo  ♀Baygo ☼Berti   ♀Birgid  
♀Berno  ♀Daju   ☼Fongoro   ♂Fulani    ☼Fur    
☺Hausa    ♀kanuri  ☼Masalit ♀Meroitic ♀Midob 
♀Old Nubian ♀Sungor ☼Zaghawa



3.6. Bahr al-Ghazāl:  


☼Ajja ☺Arabic ♀Daju ♀Dinka ♂Feroge  ♂Fulani   ☼Gula 
☺Hausa  ♂Mangayat ♀Meroitic ☼Mittu ♀Njalgulgule ♀Old Nubian ☼Sinyar



3.7. Equatoria:


Abukeia ♀Acholi ☺Arabic Std. ☺Arabic Juba ♂Bai   ☼Baka ♂Banda ♀Baria  ♀Belanda Bor
♂Belanda Viri  ☼Bongo  ♀Dongotono ♂Homa   ♂Indri  ☼Jur ♀Kachipo ♀Kakwa ☼Kaliko 
☼Kresh  ♀lango  ♀Lokoya    ♀Lopit ☼Luluba   ♀Luwo ☼Ma´adi   ♀Mundari  ♀Meroitic
☼Mo´da ☼Morokodo ☼Moru  ♂Mundo  ♂Ndogo  ☼Njamusa   ☼Molo  ♀Old Nubian ♀Otuho
♀Shilluk ♀Suri  ♀Tennet ♀Thuri  ♂Togoyo ♀Toposa ♂Zande    



3.8. Upper Nile:


♀Anuak ☺Arabic ♀Atuot ☼Beli   ♀Didinga ♀Dinka ♀Jumjum ♀Lokoro
♀Longarim ♀Mabaan ♀Meroitic ♀Murle ♀Nuer ♀Old Nubian  ♂Tumtum    ☼Uduk



3.9. Blue Nile, Funj and Ingassana:


☺Arabic ☼Berta ♀Burun ♂Fulani ☼Funj  ☼Gumuz ☺Hausa
♀Ingassana ♀Kelo ☼Komo ♀Meroitic ♀Molo ♀Old Nubian ☼Opuuo



3.10. The North-South Stereotype:

            The above-mentioned relationships which reflect today’s reality stand as an evidence that the Sudanese people are united in their diversity. How can one draw a line and say that this is the South and this is the North? Or even this is the East and this is the West? All the groups cut across the Country from Halfa to Nimuli and from Kurmuk to Jineena. The Nilo-Saharan Group (☼), of which the Eastern Sudanic (♀) is a sub-group, constitutes 64% of the total identities of the Sudan; the Eastern Sudanic sub-group (♀) alone constitutes 44%. The Niger-Kordofanian Group (♂) constitutes 32%, where the Afro-Asiatic Group (☺) constitutes only 04%. Although the populations of these ethnic identities are proportionately reversed, the issue of Human Rights, however, is not a question of ‘how many?’ All ethnic groups should be entitled to equal rights in matters pertaining to culture and development regardless of whether their population number is small or big.


4. The Boundary:

The historical boundaries of ancient Sudan are thought to have been much bigger than today’s boundaries. Section (3) shows that all areas share the Meroitic and Old Nubian languages, consequently their culture and civilization. There are archaeological evidences to this effect. Excavations proved that there are both Kushitic/Meroitic and post-Meroitic settlements in Southern, Western and Eastern regions. The linguistic evidence is proving that languages as far as Equaroria (the Baria (♀) for instance) can potentially help in deciphering the Meroitic language (♀). Archaeological evidence has supported the stories of ancient historians about the tall and very black cattle herdsmen who used to roam the area of today’s Butāna up to the Red Sea hills. This is also supported by oral traditions of Nilotic tribes, the Dinka’s in particular. The meaning of the place-name ‘Khartoum’, which is traditionally pronounced as ‘khērtūm’ is offered in Dinka language as ‘kēr tom’, i.e. the ‘the river confluence’. Just 250 years ago the White Nile region above Jabal Aulia was Shillukland. The Arab thrust into the centre of Sudan caused Nilotic people and other groups to shrink back deep into the Savannah and Equatorial zones and thus cut off from the milieu of their lingo-cultural setting of Nilo-Saharan and Niger-Kordofanian region which has been in fact disrupted altogether by this factor. The natural territories of this region are the Equator in the South and the cataract of Asuan in the North.

Westward the boundaries of ancient Sudan are much bigger as natural topographical features doe not obstruct the movement of people. Recent researches have shown that the iron industry of Meroe is to be associated with the industry of iron smelting in Central Bilād al-Sūdān. Some Sudanese tribes (al-Daju in particular) show cultural attachment to hills with rich iron ore. The West-East routes between the Red Sea and the Atlantic Ocean witnessed continuous movements of migration to and from. The Nubians who are scattered in Dar Fur, Kordofan, and the Nile are believed by many scholars to have migrated originally from a place North-West of Dar Fur. The Hausa and Fulani people have been taking these routes in their eastward movement since ancient times. These are the same routes the Arabs took in their migration into the Sudan from Bilād al-Maghrib. This is why the area that lies between the Red Sea and the Atlantic Ocean is rightly called Bilād al-Sūdān, which really constitutes the strategic depth of the Sudan. This is why also such countries like Chad bore the name ‘Sūdān’; ironically the government of Sudan officially complained when the newly independent Republic of Mali expressed intention to adopt the name ‘Sūdān’; one would expect of such a government to also piously reverence the semantic connotation and implication of the name.


5. Religion:

            In this regard two things have characterized Sudan all through history; it has always been multi-religious and religiously tolerant. Ancient polytheism accommodated other deities survived in today’s traditional religions. Recent studies in Nubiology and Egyptolology trace monotheism back to Nubia; Akhenaton developed monotheism while he was in Nubia (presumably his mother’s homeland) in his youth before being called to Egypt to assume the throne. Tolerant Nubia availed the development of Akhenaton’s monotheism; intolerant Egypt availed its demise.

            The treasurer of the Candace of Meroe was a Jew who converted to Christianity in its early days apparently without fearing the slightest persecution. Christianity did not invade the Sudan; it was the Sudanese who asked for it. In Christian Dongola there was a Mosque of which the Christian State was responsible. In Soba, where there were about 300 Churches, there was also a Mosque within a hamlet assigned for the Muslims.

            In the 19th century Christianity will catch up again as a result of intensive missionary work. The biggest Christian communities are in the South and Nuba Mountains and the big urban centres. In the face of the rise of Islamization and Arabization as vehicles for facilitating the central State domination, Christianity will get involved and eventually it will become, along with Africanism, the ideological backbone in countering Islamo-Arabization.


5.1. Islam:

Islam broke the encapsulation of Sudan and opened it to the outer world of that time. The transformation from Christianity to Islam took a gradual process thus giving way for a distinctive mix of Sudanese cosmology and culture of tolerance. A Sudanese Islam was in the making that finally took its shape in the Sufi sects that flourished in post-Christian Sudan thus representing an effective acculturation of indigenous practices and Islamic teachings. The local people transformed from the traditional and Christian choirs to the Sufi chanting smoothly.

            The conversion to Islam culminated in the Funj Sultanate which retained many ancient features in regard of administration and cultural symbols. The traditional system of tribal federacy, with its inherent democratic practices, was maintained. Other ancient practices such as the ritual killing of the king and the Christian headgear and regalia were also retained. At the beginning the Sufi Islam assumed supremacy in reflecting the ideology of the State. A little later a rival came into the scene represented in scholastic Islam that could only be acquired through classroom teaching at such religious centres like al-Azhar in Cairo. Where the Sufi Islam interacts with the local society, the scholastic Islam challenges it in its persistent endeavours to properly reshape it. Where the former does not give heed to the penal code of the Shari‛a as literally stated in the scriptures, the latter only pays attention to the scriptures without giving any heed to the realities of setting and context. At the beginning many scholastic Shaykhs took to denouncing their jurisprudence by throwing away their symbolic scholastic graduation robes and declare themselves as Sufi. At the end of the game this will be reversed.

The Sufi Islam could have won the rivalry if it were not for the Egyptian-Turkish colonial rule which introduced the State culture of official Muslim clergymen who were appointed and paid by the State and who adhered to scholastic Islam as they were mostly graduates of al-Azhar Mosque-University. That rule also introduced the modern educational system where the classrooms were also made available for this kind of Islam to flourish. It will take the whole reign of this colonial rule for this battle to be fought out.

The Mahdia represents the ultimate victory of the scholastic Islam over the Sufi Islam. The Mahdi was a Sufi man who revolted against what he took to be leniency on behalf of the Sufi Shaykhs towards the traditions of people which –according to hos own views- were not following the book of Shari‛a. The Sufi amulet was thrown away, the scholastic robe put on. The Mahdia State understandably followed a strict scholastic Islam. Thenceforward the Sufi Islam will gradually identify with the scholastic Islam so as to catch up in the long run. By the late decades of the 20th century the two can hardly be distinguished from each other. Both were invariably responsible of the two fanatical States in the second half of the 20th century. However, there were always exceptional cases as usual.

The British-Egyptian colonial rule resumed the same system of the Egyptian-Turkish rule in regard of the government-sponsored education and the culture of the official Muslim clergymen. By the time the Sudan achieved Independence the educated class was mostly orientated with the scholastic Islam. This showed in the rising tide of the Islamic fundamentalist movements among the students of higher educational institutions.


5.2. The Muslims Frustration:

In the struggle of most of the Muslim nations for independence the tide of the Islamic movements was not high enough to go over the shore. But they will excel themselves in mobilizing the people against the national governments which took over from the colonial rule and which proved to be greatly inept. The intelligencia that formed those governments was the class supposed to launch modernism in the traditional Islamic cultures. Superficially they ended up dressing and speaking like their colonial masters, but behaving like the same patriarchal despots they only knew of. Lacking any progressive vision pertaining to both their tradition in which Islam is central and to modernism in which democracy is central, their rule was marked with corruption, dictatorship and shallow secularism that simply overlooked religion out of ignorance. Thus they made themselves an easy target for the equally superficial Muslim fundamentalists.

The post-colonial Muslim societies were eager for progress, a matter that could only be achieved in accompaniment of the whole system of values and thought. Neither their fake secular intellectuals nor their fanatical Islamic fundamentalists were equipped with any applicable vision for that. By the end of the 20th century the Muslims will enter a phase where they shall be abused in the name of Caesar as well as in the name of God. The Sudanese people have had their big share of this misfortune.


5.3. The Fanatical Islamists’ Failure:

It took the Muslim Brothers of Sudan half a century of relentless activity and meticulous organization to only assume power by a coup d’etat that lacked public support to the extent they kept for so long denying that they were behind it. Propelled with the vigour of fanaticism, they immediately took to the sublime mission of reshaping the people according to what they believed to be the right way ordained by God. From their side, the people either expectantly or resignedly waited for the knowledge from on high to pour on them. But to the dismay of everybody -foe or friend alike- they turned after half a century of struggle to be so poorly equipped for such sublime a mission; they were only equipped with a whip to flog the people with.

Administratively they made favouritism, nepotism and preferential treatment the rule and impartiality an exception that can only take place as a result of negligence. As if fearing that that would be their last time in power they frantically and shamelessly began appropriating wealth from public fund of education, health, food, housing and other utilities which they repealed.  For the first time since the Egyptian-Turkish colonial rule the institution of the State has completely been utilized against the benefit of the tax payer with nothing spent on public utilities. This regime will merit lasting memory among the Sudanese people by its lasting blunders which seemed to be their way to score a record.

Faced by the truth that they lacked any vision or programme to follow for reshaping the people and lulled by the swivel chairs of power they either resigned to laxity or consumed themselves in dissension. And that was the moment when their own time to be reshaped by the Sudanese culture began. At first they showed a self-conscious tolerance toward certain cultural aspects of Sudanese life such as singing, dancing etc. which they used to dismiss indignantly in the past. Eventually they began practising them. Presently a huge number of them have regained their sensibility and have abandoned fanaticism for good. It is good that generally they have kept to being Islamist, because just now they can hopefully develop into sensibly thoughtful Islamists instead of romantic fanaticals.

It took the Muslim Brothers half a century to learn this basic lesson of dealing with Islamic conceptual issues as matters of daily-life realism rather than retrospective idealism. Is it going to take a similar long time for the other Islamic movements to learn this basic lesson, or are they wise enough to take the lesson introspectively? The important question is that: why should the Sudanese people become subjected to such arbitrary experiments with the entire blunder they claim in their course? The cultural rehabilitation of religious fanaticism may prove to be too much expensive.


5.4. Islam and the New World Order:

Today in the 21st century, with America being the sole super power, Islam potentially poses to be a counter power- that is unless Europe will rise up to challenge America. The Muslims all over the world are nurturing a deep resentment toward the West in general and America in particular for what rightly seems to be double standard of measures in dealing with issues that concern the Third World in general and the Muslim World in particular. In case Europe stands up to challenge America that may bring her closer to the Islamic world, seeking an ally in it. That may relax the tension a little. The problem of the Islamic world is that America is being challenged Islamically in a gangster way or a guerrilla warfare at its best. The Islamic think-tank for such a huge battle is so thin that fanaticism has become the spearhead of the fight against the West. Backed with its own experience in dealing with Christian fanaticism of the dark ages which was far worse than Islamic fanaticism, the West is well-prepared to win this battle.

From now on it will be extremely difficult for any political movement to flourish among Muslims if it does not have its own Islamic discourse; to overlook Islam will only give boost to fanaticism, and fanaticism can effectively destroy, but it cannot construct. For any modern Islamic thought to be forwarded to people two basic issues are to be thoughtfully considered: Democracy (not necessarily liberalism) and Human Rights. Only then can the battle with the West be won, not because these are the same values of the West -a matter highly controversial- as the West seems to hate nothing more than to see these two things properly applied outside its frontiers, but rather because, generally speaking, democracy and human rights find their aesthetic values in the oneness of human nature. There is no need to mention that the West is mostly responsible for toppling the infant democratic governments all over the Third World. Paradoxically under the pretext of defending these two things from being violated the West also militarily intervenes in the Third World countries and occupies them.


6. Slavery:

            Slavery is a history-long human vice. It began by putting fighters captured at war times into compulsory work. Later it also turned into abducting vulnerable people while travelling or wandering alone or in small groups. Lastly it developed into organizing highly armed raids against peaceful human settlements in order to enslave free people either for work, military, sex or all. All the nations were involved in slavery and all of their members were virtually subject to slavery if it chanced them.


6.1. The West and Slavery:

            Long before the Christianization of the Roman Empire the institution of slavery in the West has accommodated another human vice, which is racism. The Slavic people of Eastern Europe were extensively targeted by slavery to the extent that any one of them would be taken for granted as a slave, and hence the word slave in European languages. But then that was a secondary racism as the factor of colour difference was not acute; it was a kind of cultural prejudice as the slaver and the slave were almost of the same colour but with different cultures and different languages. Until this time slavery was not yet associated with blackness. The moors, i.e. the ancient people of North Africa were black just like the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt and Nubia, but that had nothing to do with the high social statuses they assumed. It is worth mentioning that the first two Roman viceroys in England were black Africans.  


6.2. The Arabs and Slavery:

A little later with the rise of the Arabs just before Islam, slavery will take another swing of colour connotation which will prove to be of very lasting racial effect, that is the association of slavery with the black colour. Thenceforward slavery will be more and more associated with the black coloured people thus making Africa its prime target. Away from Arabia the infection of racial slavery will also be witnessed in Byzantium. Gradually it will move westward to infect the whole of Europe. Until a certain Pope ordered that Jesus Christ be reproduced in the Raphaelian white man images, the paintings variably revealed a dark-skinned Jesus. As Nubia was the corridor to black Africa, so we find in classical English dictionaries that the word ‘nubian’ collocates with ‘slave’.

            The Arabs, a dark-skinned people themselves, began showing in their culture a strong orientation toward light-skin colour. Their pre-Islamic and Islamic poetry is abundant with racial and derogatory themes about black colour. A famous pre-Islamic poet whose mother was a black African with fuzzy hair painfully suffered from discrimination; his people did not recognize him until he proved his ultimate knighthood in tribal wars. Prophet Muhammad addressed to this problem many a time in his traditions. A close companion of him who was a black of African origin suffered a lot from colour derogatory remarks made by other Muslim brethrens. Late in the Abbasid era the blacks of Arabia lead a revolt against discrimination; they marauded the cities they captured one after the other, and put every one they chanced to the sword.

            By the end of the Abbasid Caliphate the Arabic word for ‘black’ has become synonymous with the word ‘slave’, just like the word ‘nigger’ became synonymous to ‘slave’ in Western languages. However enslaving white people did not stop. Slavery for hard labour was almost restricted to black Africans; Children from non-black communities, especially from the Caucasian regions in Central Asia, were abducted in order to be sold either for soldiery in the case of the males, or as harem in the case of the females. Even so they were not called slaves; the former was called ‘mamlūk’, literally means ‘owned’, and the latter was called ‘jāriya’, i.e. ‘mistress’. They were saved the derogatory word ‘slave’ simply because they were not black. In Egypt those white slaves managed to assume the rule of the country for centuries to be removed only by Muhammad Ali Pasha in the early 19th century. One of those mamlūk, however, was a black African thought by some scholars to be enslaved from the Nuba Mountains in Sudan. He managed to usurp the power from his master who was the governor and became the ruler of Egypt. His name was Kāfūr, a typical name for a black slave. He was highly cultured to the extent of being called ‘al-Ustāz’ i.e. the teacher. In one of the most famous Arab derogatory poems he was bluntly called ‘‛abd’ i.e. slave and further mocked by the advice that no slave should be bought without a stick to straighten him/her up with. (Ironically, for years this particular piece of poem was taught in Sudanese schools). Thus by the middle ages any black was subject to be called slave in the Arab and Islamic world.


6.3. The Western Mass Enslavement of Africans:

 With the coming of the age of geographical explorations and industrialization the West frantically scrambled on Africa from all directions in pursuit of slaves, showing evilness unprecedented in the history of mankind. Populous Africa was depopulated in a few decades. When slavery was abandoned, it was a matter of achieving equilibrium in production means and modes; paid-labour production could not compete with unpaid-slave-labour production. The ethical value of human freedom was just exploited in the same way the helpless slave was. In their public speeches, the so called slave-liberators put it very clearly that the ethical value had nothing to do with them, nor did they believe that the Blacks are equal to the Whites. Africa has come out of this with an eternal wound; the West with an eternal shame. To add to its historical shame the West, generally speaking, has not shown any remorse or at least thankfulness for the blacks; for instance the British monarchy has persistently refused to apologize for slavery. The West all through the 20th century tolerated Apartheid, which is the legitimate child of the marriage of slavery and racism.


6.4. Al-Jallāba: the Slave Procurers:

            Slavery was practised in Sudan since ancient times. The Arabs in the Paqt treaty demanded from the Nubians slaves whom were brought from hinterlands. The slaves were not yet cash commodity, nor were they wage-free labour in a capitalist system as they will develop a little later. It was still African traditional slavery resulting from petty tribal feuds and wars.

            It kept on like that in the early time of the Funj Sultanate until the Europeans began making incursions into the continent to procure slaves. It was the Egyptian-Turkish colonial rule that launched the era of mass slavery in the Sudan. They made it a State policy with the whole weight of Arab cultural stigmatization of the blacks. The local Arabized centre which was growing fast took after them. They played the role of the intermediary who organizes the raids, captures the blacks and then sells them. The term al-Jallāba is a plural adjective in Sudanese colloquial Arabic literally meaning the procurers. The singular is jallābi. The term originated in referring to the intermediary slavers who wee mostly Arabized Sudanese. The culture of al-Jallāba had a big impact in consolidating the establishment of the centre. When the Egyptian-Turkish colonial rule was compelled to abolish slavery, al-Jallāba defied that and boldly continued to practice it. By that time they had developed their raiding squads into formidable armies. As their top slavers forced their way and became governors of some parts of the Sudan, they were just one step from becoming the rulers of the country. The prestigmatic title of ‘Pasha’ was bestowed on the most conspicuous slaver when his de facto governorship of one of the districts was recognized. The al-Jallāba cherished the prospects of inheriting the faltering Egyptian-Turkish rule. If it were not for the Mahdia revolution, that might have happened.

            The Mahdia State, strictly following the scripture of Islam where there is no direct verse from either the Qur’ān or the Prophet traditions abolishing slavery, indulged itself in reinstating the institution of slavery. However it strongly abolished tobacco and snuff whether chewed or smoked although there is no direct verse either from the Qur’ān or the Prophet traditions to that effect. Understandably the pragmatic and Machiavellian Jallāba were among the first to declare their allegiance to the Mahdia. They put their huge military resources and expertise at the service of the revolution. That is one of the factors that how the Mahdia State came to belong ideologically to the Arabized centre.

            Being colonialist in nature, the British-Egyptian rule was very pragmatic in its alliance with the Arabized centre. Although officially declared abolished, slavery was tolerated as a practice and culture. It was not in the interest of either the British or the Egyptians to enlighten, for instance, the Sudanese youngsters in schools about the vice of slavery and the fallacy of associating it with a certain colour, especially blackness as it is the colour of the whole Sudanese people. To both of them the whole Sudanese people were blacks. Such an approach could have shaken the stability of the centre and thus threatening the colonial rule itself.

            The national rule clearly showed its stance in this regard by naming a street in Khartoum after the Pasha slaver, the most notorious slaver in Sudan’s modern history. To say the truth, the culture of slavery was behind the bad treatment of the Southerners by the successive national governments under the pretext of curbing the war. The civil war will always give vent for the culture of slavery to express itself.


7. The Arabization of Sudan:  

            With the weakening of the Christian kingdoms, between the 14th and 16th centuries, new Islamic Arabized kinglets began appearing and eventually succeeded in replacing the old regime. The first was the Kunūz (Bani al-Kanz) kingdom around Asuan area in present-day Egyptian Nubia, to be followed a little later by the Rabī‛a-Beja Islamic kinglet of Hajar.  In the late 15th century the Islamic kinglet of Tegali (Togole) in Nuba Mountains came into existence. A century later the Ottoman Sultan Selim the Second made a thrust deep in Nubia in the aftermath of which appeared the Northern Nubian Islamic kinglets of the Kushshāf, al-Mahas, and Argo. Two centuries later the Fur kingdom of Kunjāra was established upon the fall of the Tunjur kinglet. But the most important was the Funj Sultanate which came into existence in the early 16th century and which succeeded in spreading its influence over most of these kinglets. In fact the unification of these kinglets along with many other tribal kinglets is what has constituted the State in ancient and present-day Sudan.

The Funj Sultanate came into existence with slavery looming in the background and with the black colour fully stigmatized by being synonym to ‘slave’. By the turn of the 15th century, Soba, the Capital of the last Christian kingdom of Allodia, fell at the hands of the Arabized Nubians (known in Sudan as the Arabs) led by ‛Abdu Allah Jammā‛ al-Gireenāti (‘Jammā‛’, an adjective literally meaning the ‘gatherer’ for unifying the divided Arabs; ‘Gireenāti’, a diminutive adjective literally meaning ‘of the horns’ in reference to the royal horned headgear as was the case in the Christian Kingdoms). Immediately after the fall of Soba, a black African people called the Funj appeared led by ‛Amāra Dungus; he achieved a treaty with the Arabs after defeating them according to which the Funj Sultanate was established. As the founders of it were virtually blacks, it was also called “al-Saltana al-Zarqā’”, i.e. the ‘Black Sultanate’. As it came in response to the growing influence of the Islamo-Arabized Sudanese it explicitly showed an Arab and Islamic orientation. The new formations of Arabized tribes began claiming Arab descent supported with traditionally authenticated genealogies. The transformation from African identity to Arab identity is reflected in the ideological cliché of dropping the ‘matrilineal system’ where descent through the mother is only recognized, and adopting the ‘patrilineal system’ where descent through the father is only considered. The small family units compensated for their vulnerability by claiming the noblesharīf’ descent, i.e. descendants of Prophet Muhammad; eventually in the name of this descent they will appropriate both wealth and power, something the immediate descendants were not ordained to have while Prophet Muhammad was still alive. To be on an equal footing with these tribes in matters pertaining to power and authority, the Funj also claimed an Umayyad descent. Scholars in Arabic and Islamic sciences from other parts of the Islamic world were encouraged to settle in the Sudan.


7.1. The Paradox of Colour: the Black Arab who is Anti-Black:

Thenceforward the Arabized Africans of middle Sudan will pose as non-black Arabs. Intermarriage with light-skinned people will always be consciously sought as a process of cleansing blood from blackness. A long process of identity change began; in order to have access to power and to be at least accepted as free humans, African people tended to drop both their identities and languages and replace them with Arabic language and Arab identity. The first step to play the game is to overtly deplore the blacks and dub them as slaves while you yourself are a black. A new ideological consciousness of race and colour came into being. The shades of the colour of blackness were perceived as authentic racial differentiations. A Sudanese-bound criterion for racial colour was formed by which the light black was seen as an Arab (wad ‛Arab and wad balad), i.e. white or at least non-black. The jet-black Sudanese was seen as an African, i.e. slave (‛ab- or ‛abd). Then an endless list of derogatory terms was generated in Sudanese culture and colloquial Arabic of central Sudan which dehumanize the black Africans, such as farikh, gargūr etc. In this context the properly white and light colour is also discredited; it is given the derogatory name of ‘halab’ i.e. gypsy. A Sudanese Arab proverb says that ‘the slaves, i.e. black people, are second class, but the halab are third class’.


7.2. Stigma vs. Prestigma:

            Right there the seeds of Sudanese ideology of Arab dominance over the African were sown. It works through two mechanisms: 1) the stigma of slavery, blackness and Africans, who constitute the margin and surrounding periphery and 2) the prestigma (coined from prestige, purposely for this essay) of the free, non-black and Arab, who constitute the centre. This ideology, in its drive to achieve self-actualization, underlines a process of alienation and domination; those are black African people who do not recognize themselves as black Africans. While posing to be whites, they do not hold proper white people in high esteem. Practically they tend to savagely dominate the Africans by enslaving them and then they largely indulge themselves in stigmatizing the Africans and prestigmatizing the Arabs with whom they identify. This ideology of alienation has prevailed for the last five centuries up to the moment. It has been consolidated by the successive political regimes whether Egyptian-Turkish or Egyptian-British or national rule. It finds its roots in the vice of slavery. No wonder slavery was once again in full swing by the late 20th century as a result of extremely intensifying the processes of prestigmatic Islamo-Arabism by the State. By sublimating the Arab as a model for them through this erroneously confused concept of race, the Arabized people of Sudan have made themselves a second-class Arabs. The repercussions of this will not only affect them, but their whole country which will be split up between Arabism and Africanism. It has never dawned on them that speaking a language does not necessarily presuppose adopting the nationality engendering the language. In fact what the so-called Arabs are different people with different cultures but one language; they are Arabophone. The Sudanese people are Arabophone Africans just as there are Francophone and Anglophone Africans.


7.3. A Belated Self-Discovery?

            The weak fabrics of this colour concept will be turned into tatters when the Sudanese who are prestigmatized according to it came in contact with the Arabs Proper in the mid 1970s when they worked as expatriates in the rich petroleum States of Arabia. There, at the historical milieu of this racial bigotry, they mounted to nothing more than black Africans, i.e. slaves. It caused a turmoil that triggered a slow process of self-discovery as a result of which the ideology of domination eventually got cracked. By the mid 1990s the image of the rebel leader of SPLM/SPLA, John Garang, who is a jet-black African from Southern Sudan was much more acceptable to a great number of the Arabized Sudanese as the real leader of the whole movement of the political opposition to the Islamic regime of Khartoum. The military weight of SPLM/SPLA would have never mattered in making that acceptance possible if the ideology of domination was still intact.


8. The Centro-Marginalization:

            Although roughly situated in the middle of Sudan, the centre is not only geographical. Rather it is a centre of culture that comprises both power and wealth. People from the periphery are always encouraged and tempted to join the centre by renouncing their African cultures, languages and becoming Arabized. This complex process is made to look as a natural cultural interaction that takes place out of the necessity of leaving one’s home village and coming to live in a town dominated by Arabs. The cultural relegation of the periphery will eventually end up into developmental relegation. Within the Arabized centre itself there are different circular castes. As the centre is basically made up of Arabized Africans, a racially proper Arab would not merit any prestige; hence the purely Arab tribe of Rashāyda occupies a marginal stratification circle of the centre.

Where the process of prestigmatization is cultural, the process of stigmatization is racial however. Swung upon this paradoxical axis, the ideology of domination is characterized with high manoeuvrability; if accused of being anti-African/pro Arab, the case of the Rashāyda and Baggāra will be brought forward. On the other hand the accusations of being anti Arab will be balanced with the accusations of being anti African, and so on.


8.1. The “Melting Pot” Perspective:

 A discourse of unity will opportunely come into shape; as different ethnic groups from the periphery are being culturally re-produced in the centre, the mash is hailed to be the real Sudanese make. Hence we have the perspective of the “Melting Pot” as a backbone of the discourse of national unity, i.e. the process of assimilation. But being based originally on the processes of stigmatization vs. prestigmatization it will always fall short of achieving integral unity right at the moment when the assimilation is complete. The jet-blacks of Sudan who have been completely assimilated in the Islamo-Arab culture and religion are not only being racially discriminated, but are still stuck with the stigma of slavery and consequently being dehumanized. This is so because the whole process is built on contradiction and paradox; where the process of prestigma would waive the people toward pro Arab culture and Islam, the process of stigma would keep dismissing them on racial grounds. One can acquire a new culture in a relatively short time, but one can hardly change his/her colour. So, blackness is always taken as a stigmatic clue to slavery. It is very usual to hear a dark-skinned Sudanese assuring others that there are members of light-skinned colour in the family.


9. The Circular vs. the Linear Polarization:

It is clear that the model of ideological polarization is a circular one represented in a centre working hard to assimilate the margin, and a margin fighting hard to dismantle the centre. It tries to manipulate the realities of pluralism represented in both the middle and periphery; where the middle can be called Sudano-Arab as it consists of the Arabized Sudanese, the periphery can be called Sudano-African as it also consists of those who have their African languages and who have their homelands either in the North, South, East or West. Although it seems to be reduced into dual form, but the circular polarization is rather pluralistic and not dualistic. The social arenas of the middle/centre and periphery/margin have their respective internal differentiations and strata. This makes the circular model of polarization qualified to manage situations of multiculturalism as in the case of the periphery/middle and the margin/centre alike. In the natural context of periphery vs. middle, the circular polarization is manifested in a dynamic and dialectical process of alliances between the individual entities of the periphery from one side and their countering entities of the middle and vice-versa. The cultural interrelations and the linguistic and ethnic boundaries will be the tools for this healthy ideological interplay and acculturation. In the unnatural case of centre vs. margin, it is the only mechanism that can effectively bring the different entities of the margin together against the already unified centre.

The process of centro-marginalization targets this reality through the mechanisms of stigmatization and prestigmatization. The centre poses to represent the middle and make it attractive by the processes of prestigmatization. On the other hand it lures the people from the periphery to join the membership of its high club through cultural re-production, and to rid them of the stigma of the relegated margin. The middle and periphery, Sudano-Arabism, and Sudano-Africanism, are living realities and there is nothing wrong with them. The bad side of the game is the process of centro-marginalization, where the middle will be turned into the centre of power and wealth, and the periphery turned into the margin which becomes more and more relegated everyday. In no way would the people of the middle be beneficiary of the process of centro-marginalization whose circles will get narrowing infinitively to end up with a handful of people who represent no body but themselves.

One may wonder how come that the people of Sudan have been living under the yoke of centro-marginalization for so long? The answer is that by being subject to the operating vehicles of prestigma and stigma. The centre has never posed as being a centre of wealth and power facing a margin; it is, rather, a bloc of free and noble people of Arab origin linearly divided from another bloc of slaves and degenerate people of African origin. By this tactic it not only neutralizes the people of the middle but also turns them into accomplice. When it comes to the people of the margin it neutralizes them by further linearly stratifying their stigmatization. According to the process of the stigma, the people of the margin are not equally stigmatized. It goes as follows below.


9.1. The Degree of Stigma:

The more black you are and the more African you are, the more stigmatized you become. The levels of stigma go from high to low degree like follows: African features (thick and broad nose and lips, and fuzzy short hair) - blackness – an African language- and lastly being a non-Muslim. The most stigmatized are those who combine the three degrees of stigma, like the majority of Southerners. The Africans of Nuba Mountains and Ingassana come immediately after the Southerners. Then come the peoples of Western Sudan regardless of their different tribal affiliations, and of whom the most stigmatized people are those who are originally from either Central or Western Bilād al-Sūdāan, like the Fulani and Hausa etc. Then comes the Beja people of Eastern Sudan who, although light-skinned, have their own non-Arabic language and are very low-educated and can hardly speak fluently either standard or colloquial Arabic; furthermore, they are bedouins leading a life that is -according to the unjust evaluation of the centre- very backward at its best. The last to come are the Nubians in the North who are the least stigmatized for one main reason. The people of the Middle, generally speaking, are nothing but Arabized Nubians, with some survivals of Christian customs still manifested in their cultures. Nothing is wrong with the Nubians of the North except their twisted tongue, i.e. their language, which clearly betrays their African origin. In fact all the people under the stigma have their non-Arabic languages, or rutāna, i.e. the equally infamous, colonial derogatory term ‘vernacular’. In Arabic the word rutāna means the language of the birds, and this shows how Sudanese African people are being dehumanized. The last of the Nubians to be completely Arabized, i.e. the Mahas of middle Sudan, now vehemently deny to have been of any rutāna ever; they claim to be of Aws and Khazraj, two antagonistically neighbouring tribes in ancient Arabia. One may wonder how come both of them? The fact is that only 100 years ago their elders used to speak the rutāna.


9.1.1. The South: First Degree:

The linear polarization works in a certain way so as to secure the neutralization of the less stigmatized groups by making them identify with the centre in its offensive against the most stigmatized, here the African Sudanese of the South. A line will be drawn so that the whole Sudanese people will be grouped on a side against the people of Southern Sudan who will be grouped on the other side. This is the linear demarcation of the North vs. the South which will eventually give way for the stereotype that all the people of the North are homogeneity ethnically, culturally, linguistically and religiously, which is not true. All the affinities that pull the people of the margin together, especially with those of the South, will be obliterated officially and unofficially whether in mass media or education. The word ‘slave’ will be synonymous with ‘southerner’. Deluded by the false prestigma thus bestowed on them, people from other areas of the margin will flamboyantly adopt the racial bigotry of the centre against the Southerners. Ironically some of them later shall be the spearheads of the movement of Arab nationalism in the Sudan.


9.1.2. The Nuba and Ingassana: Via Media Second Class:

Next in the stigma come the people of Nuba Mountains and Ingassana, or Funj region. The historical, ethnic and linguistic evidences that relate people of Nuba Mountains to their brethrens in the far North, i.e. the Nubians are either obliterated or meekly mentioned when passed by. The argument goes that they are differentiated by the virtue of having different names that may confusingly sound similar: Nuba vs. Nubians, in Arabic: Nūbāwī vs. Nūbī. The information pertaining to the ethno-linguistic relationship that ties them together can only be learnt in Post-Graduate studies and textbooks in some of the Sudanese University. To linearly relegate them even more, their region is never recognized in official documents as ‘Nuba Mountains’ all through the Egyptian-Turkish, Egyptian-British or national rule; it is dubbed as ‘South Kordofan’. To recognize the toponym, which is drawn from the ethnonym, might give a boost to the consciousness of their Nubian identity. Being blacks, with their own rutānas, legacy of slavery, paganism and Christianity, and finally being southerners of some northern Kordofan… that is enough to qualify them for the stigma along with the people of the South.

Just like the case of the Nuba, the people of the Funj region are also dubbed ‘Southern Blue Nile’ without ever recognising the real toponym which clearly relates them to the Funj Sultanate. The first tactic is to strip them from the truthful prestigma of being the people who founded the first Islamic State in the Sudan. Another derogatory name is to call them hamaj, literally meaning the barbarous. Being like the Nuba Mountains regarding the above-mentioned qualifications, i.e. being true Africans, they end up with the same degree of stigma. As they live in the background of the highly Islamized and Arabized middle area, hedged by their mountains and engulfed by almost 99% illiteracy, they have always maintained a low profile. Part of the tactic of relegation has been to leave them unbothered so as to be enveloped by oblivion. That was the case until they took to arms. Both regions of Nuba and Funj will be linearly relegated as via media regions to other greater regions of the stigma; the Funj with the South, and the Nuba with the West which will be dealt with below.


9.1.3. Al-Gharrāba: Third Degree:

A linear demarcation that discriminates the African peoples of Western Sudan is conveniently made when there is need to target them with the process of the stigma. They are labelled ‘al-Gharrāba’, i.e. the ‘Westerners’. But the ‘Westerners’ are not linearly countered by the ‘Easterners’; they are rather countered by ‘awlād al-bahar’ i.e. the ‘riverain people’ which equates with another term heavily loaded with the ideology of power that is ‘awlād al-balad’, i.e. the ‘people or masters of the country’, which is also equated with ‘awlād al-‛Arab’, i.e. the ‘Arab people’. Although living on the banks of the Nile, the Shilluk, Nuer, Dinka and Funj have not merited the description of ‘awlād al-bahar’; the term is a prestigma, and they are stigma. The Gharrāba themselves are linearly demarcated: the Gharrāba who are indigenous Sudanese like the Fur, Daju etc.; and the Gharrāba who are not indigenous Sudanese, i.e. those who have originally migrated from Central and or Western Bilād al-Sūdāan, such as the Fulani, Hausa etc. The latter group are the most stigmatized, simply because originally they are immigrants, as if the Arabs are indigenous Sudanese. Historically, the Fulani began settling in the Sudan before the Arabs.


9.1.4. The Beja and Nubians: not yet prestigma:

The people of the East (the Beja) and the North (the Nubians) come last as they, colour-wise, do not look different from the prestigmatized people of the middle. As the battle against the most stigmatized groups mentioned above has not been completely won yet, the grilling escalation of the stigma against the Beja and the Nubians is at bay, at least for the moment. Their relegation is confined to only two aspects, the language (rutāna or twisted tongue, or more derisively ‘lisān aghlaf’ i.e. uncircumcised tongue’) and development. The chain of derogatory names is also endless, such as ‘barābra’ i.e. barbarous, for the Nubians.

In a situation similar to that of the Funj, the Beja will be left to perish unnoticeably from poverty and disease in their secluded hills. To add to their misery and stigma, a considerable migration of the Gharrāba- indigenous and non-indigenous as well- came and settled with them. Hedged by the Sahara at their Nile strip, the underdeveloped Nubians underwent regular migrations to the urban areas of the centre where they would have greatly been identified with the prestigma if it were not for their twisted tongue. The ones who have succeeded in ridding themselves of this stigma were assimilated in the prestigma. As they are the least to be stigmatized, they are also the last to be disillusioned.


10. Obscurantism and Deception:

The centre has so far managed to manipulate the margin by the tactic of obscurantism and deception. The reality of centro-marginalization was obscured by the linear polarization lest that the marginalized groups identify with each other and achieve unity in their struggle against it. Such identification would have been characterized with circular polarization: the marginalized groups in the North, South, West and East united together in a circle against the centre. (A besieged castle, however strongly fortified, is doomed). Each of the marginalized groups has led a noble struggle against this diabolical machine of relegation within its own realm, but, thanks to the tactic of obscurantism and deception, the possibility of orchestrating their efforts has dawned on them very late, but not too late, however. In this linear way of dividing people, the centre has managed to keep the only force that could have caused its own demise under control, i.e. the circularly unified margin. But what for? To achieve what at the end? To achieve the ‘big failure’ of relegating the whole Sudan into a marginal Arab State. This is the ultimate goal that centro-marginalization can achieve as it will unfold later.


10.1. The Funj Sultanate:

The process of centro-marginalization has been going on for the last 500 years without ever claiming ultimate success. Since the Funj Sultanate, all through the successive regimes up the present, Sudan has been run in accordance with this process. The Funj people who stuck to their African identity have ended into marginalization and total dereliction; The Funj people who surrendered themselves to the process of cultural re-production have ended in the ‘nothingness’ of assimilation. We know nothing about them. In all cases they have not come out the same like their apical father, ‛Amāra Dungus, who was a black African with a non-Arabic language.


10.2. The Egyptian-Turkish Colonial Rule:

The infamous Egyptian-Turkish colonial rule invaded the Sudan with its shamelessly declared objective of enslaving its people and robbing what was available of its wealth. Nothing could have fitted more perfectly in the grooves of centro-marginalization with its processes of the stigma vs. prestigma. In all contemporary Sudanese educational curricula, this rule has never been dubbed as ‘colonial’. The fact that this infamous rule committed in its slavery raids the worst crimes in all our history against peaceful Sudanese people is taught in a manner-of-fact way without any sense of national hurt. The lines are drawn very clearly: those who identify with the slaver are not expected to feel hurt; those who identify with the slave will have their stomach churned with agony, and their pride hurt with humiliation. The question: where does the State stand here? This shows how that infamous rule did follow the channelled groove of centro-marginalization.


10.3. The Mahdia Revolution:

The Mahdia, in essence, was a revolution of the marginalized people of Sudan against the centre which was occupied by the Egyptian-Turkish colonial rule and its accomplices of Arabized Sudanese. Furthermore, it was a revolution where the marginalized forces were brought together with people of the middle. In this respect it was a national revolution and Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi was a forerunner of Sudanese nationalism which will take its shape a few decades later. Facing a foreign ruler was the catalyst for the orchestration of national struggle. However, being entrapped in an Islamic discourse of fantasy that proved to be very useful in mobilizing people to revolt, the Mahdia State had no choice but to run in the same groove of centro-marginalization. Where the revolution was national, the State came to be of extremely central nature; it tried to physically push the people of the margin into the centre by enforcing migration from the country to the Capital, Umdorman, under different pretexts. The perspective for national integration or ‘nationalism’ consequently came to be the “melting pot”. The Mahdi’s Khalīfa, himself of a Fulani origin co-opted by Baqqāra Arabs according to certain sources, showed a Turkish kind of ruthlessness in ruling his subjects; not only did the Sudano-Africans moaned under the yoke of his despotism, but also other strata of Sudano-Arabs, especially the historically privileged riverain Arabized stratum. Slavery was once again a State-supported practice. The Mahdia’s tragic scenario of fanaticism, despotism and slavery will be repeated in Sudan a century later with its impact proportionate according to the level and degree of stigma.


10.4. The British-Egyptian Colonial Rule:

The British-Egyptian Colonial rule came with its motto being “divide to rule”, which properly fits in the linear polarization model. Where it showed a relative leniency in dealing with the resistance made by the centre, especially the riverain Arabized Sudanese, it was extremely savage and merciless in crushing the resistance of the peoples of the margin, especially in Nuba Mountains and Southern Sudan in what is known as the Pacification Wars. We still know very little of the crimes committed there as no one dared raise the issue. In the national rule time no one bothered. The heroic resistance of the people of Southern Sudan, Nuba Mountains and Dar Fur have always been absent in our national education curricula. The British-Egyptian rule manipulated two virtues and almost turned them into vices; academia and Christianity. In its pretension to protect the Southerners from being enslaved by the Northerners, it fell fittingly in the groove of centro-marginalization and its model of linear polarization.

The first linear division they applied was to separate Dar Fur from the rest of the Sudan. In the Mahdia time the riverain prestigma was relegated in favour of the Arabized people of Western Sudan in general and the Baggāra Arabs in particular whose migration to the middle Sudan was a State policy. Against such an invasion the prestigma engendered a host of highly discursive and prestigmatic terms such as ‘awlād al-bahar’ who are ‘awlād al-‛Arab’ who are also ‘awlād al-balad’, i.e. masters of the country. On the other hand the people from Western Sudan, regardless of whether they are Baggāra or Fur, were derogatorily dubbed in a wholesale manner as ‘awlād al-Gharib’. However, those people or ‘awlād al-Gharib’, have succeeded in enforcing themselves into the high club of the prestigma. Thenceforward it will be a model followed on an individual scale by people from Western Sudan to penetrate the prestigma of the centre by various tactics such as co-opting and marriage. This tension has not yet come at bay. It was this tension that colonial British wanted to manipulate. By then al-Sultān ‛Ali Dīnār had succeeded in restoring the kingdom of the Kunjāra. The British plan was to let him keep his self-assumed monarchy in order to render him into a puppet. They will prove to be greatly mistaken in that.

Failing in that, they turned their attention to the South. The British infamous policy of the “Closed Districts” was a linear demarcation that consolidated the stereotype of South vs. North. It pretended of abolishing slavery, but could tolerate it in what it depicted as the North. That was in the aftermath of the disillusion of the British regarding the stance of the Southern Sudanese in their army. In tune with the processes of the stigma and prestigma, the British began a decade ago dismantling what was known as the Sudanese Battalions which consisted mainly of black Southern Sudanese with ex-slave backgrounds, and slowly replaced them with what was believed by the prestigma of the centre as people of ‘noble’ origin. By the time the British left, the soldiers were still mostly jet-black Sudanese, but not the officers; they were replaced by recruits from ‘awlād al-gabāyil’ or ‘awlād al-balad’, the same officers who will lead another ‘Pacification War’ in Southern Sudan and ravage it. If the black Sudanese officers were kept, the future of the Sudan would have been different. Completely detribalized from their respective black peoples but still keeping their jet-black colour, they were let down by the British and Egyptians alike to be stigmatized by the centre. The British and Egyptians could not pretend to be unaware of what had become of those people who helped them in their victory over the State of the Khalīfa. To make them utterly vulnerable, they were gradually and systematically stripped from the only prestige and power left to them, i.e. their percentage in the Army officers. They have kept bearing the cross of the stigma, even though they were completely assimilated in the Islamo-Arab culture of the centre. Assimilation by nature means that some thing held as inferior is accepted into what is held as superior. The function of this process is not in any way an exercise of social equality. On the contrary it means to facilitate the superiority and prestigma by providing it with what can be held as inferior and stigma.


11. Independence: Who is Sudanese?

            The national rule will not only run smoothly in the groove of linear polarization, but will institutionalize it by law. The law held any Sudanese as a suspect foreigner until he/she proves that he/she is a Sudanese. The Sudanese people will be the first people in the world to hold inside their own country official documents to prove that they are Sudanese and not foreigners. The States all over the World take the population in its generality as to be nationals, and then tend to control the foreigners who are relatively very few. This is common sense: if you have a bushel of peas mixed up in a sack of broad beans, you sort them out by picking up the peas from the broad beans. The successive governments of post-Independence did exactly the opposite; they began picking up the Sudanese inside the country and leaving back the foreigners.  Until now, it is far less than 10 millions who have proved that they are Sudanese in this linear demarcation way of nationality. This strange nationality law is nothing but a tactic of obscurantism and a tool of deception and alienation. What is the criterion adopted by the successive governments for nationality in the censuses undertaken since Independence? According to the last one undertaken in the 1990s, a figure of at least 26 million is given for the total population of Sudan. These are two systems that defeat each other, but simultaneously adopted for a reason. According to this law, all the marginalized Sudanese are officially not considered as Sudanese until they prove otherwise.

 The linear significance of the law in classifying the people as stigma vs. prestigma becomes clearer as its first victims are always those whose ancestors were immigrants, but not the so called Arabs. In the mid 1970s a Libyan-backed movement of armed Sudanese opposition broke into Khartoum with the intention of toppling the Regime. After being routed out, it was dubbed by the Regime as the movement of the “Mercenary Foreigners”. Sudan TV made live interviews with people in the streets of Khartoum to show to the World that they were really mercenaries and foreigners from the public’s point of view. The standard question was as follows: “How did you know that they were foreigners?” The average answer was that: “They were blacks and did not speak Arabic”. The people were not saying this because of siding with the Regime. By simply belonging to the centre culturally and socially, they were telling the truth as they perceive of it. On the other hand the government was well aware of this situation and was making use of it.


11.1. The Mondukuru Intellectuals:

            With the rise of the movement of the Graduates of Intermediary schools and Gordon Memorial College (later Khartoum University), an intellectual movement also came into being. Until long after Independence, the intellectuals of that time did not show in their writings an awareness of any African depth regarding their own Sudanese identity. There are very few exceptions which are related in a way or another with the margin. The multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic and multi-cultural Sudan of today, which is very ancient, does not show in the writings of those intellectuals who will come later to take over from the colonial rule.

The Sudan is reflected in the anthem of the Graduates Congress, which is composed in standard Arabic by a Nubian who actually began learning the language in school, in a verse that reads: “We are a nation whose origin goes back to the Arabs”. They took for granted the Arabized middle as representing the whole of Sudan. They would have been honoured with fairness, if they had limited the frontiers of their Sudan to that only. But they also took it for granted to rule the Arabized middle Sudan and the Africanized peripheral Sudan as well without acknowledging Africanism as the counter component in Sudanese identity. Leave the West, leave the East, and forget about the North whose intellectuals excelled themselves in the art of complicity, what about the South? How did they plan to deal with the South?

A few years before Independence, the leaders of the South, collected in a conference in Juba, decided with profound African wisdom that they did not want separation; they did that knowing that it is the Mondukuru (the Arabized Sudanese) who was going to rule them. Where they came to Independence clean of any grievances of the past, the Mondukuru did not reflect for a moment on what they are going to do. The Mondukuru simply operated the machine of stigma, prestigma, and linear polarization into full throttle. First the linear demarcation was set between the North (the bloc of the free and noble Arab people) and the South (the bloc of the slaves and degenerate African people).

The people from the margin other than the South were left to make their choice between these two categories only. Subject to centuries of relegation and to a biased educational system for more than 100 years, the intellectuals of other marginalized people were left in fact with only one option if they were ordained to fare well in that unjust time: ideological complicity with the centre. The game was very simple: regardless of your marginal ethnic background, which in other linear demarcations may fall into the stigma, if you identify with today’s polarization which only stigmatizes the people of the South, and if you are ready to loyally serve the cause of hegemony which may alienate you from your own people, then you shall be rewarded culturally by being recognized as part of the prestigma, and materially by wealth and power.

This is how all those who have ruled modern Sudan are originally from marginalized groups, with many of them ironically of Fulani background, one of the most stigmatized groups. Such people will be used as tools of obscurantism, deception and oppression: in certain contexts their true backgrounds will be revealed as a proof that the claimed pro-Arab bias is not true; in other contexts of clashes they are used as cat’s paw by assigning to them the mission of subduing their own people. Thus posing as representing the prestigma, they excel themselves and the others in crushing the stigmatized margin. In this diabolical game, Islam is being manipulated as the legal ticket for crossing the bridge. Where does this leave the Non-Muslim Southerners? Not fit even for ideological complicity, there is only one venue of vice left for them to follow when dealing with the Mondukuru: corruption.


11.2. The Emergence of Sudanese Political Right:

            Out of the centre in general and this intellectual class in particular have come the political parties that are generally active in the whole Sudan with varying degrees, but not in the South. We classify them here as the real Sudanese Political Right as they all belong ideologically to the centre, though they are classically taken to be either Right or Left. It is this Political Right that has ruled the Sudan since Independence up to the present; it is this Political Right which should be held responsible for the failure in managing the crisis of national integration and progress. Their rule of the country will shift alternately from elected governments to military regimes. In a reality of multi-culturalism they will have only one programme which is mono-culturalism: Islamo-Arabization. The Sudanese political Right consists of Islamic organizations, whether sectarian or fundamentalist, Arab nationalist movement organizations and the Arabized Sudanese in general; the latter group feels very awkward when identified as African merely for speaking Arabic language as a mother tongue. Most of the Sudanese Marxists fall in the last-mentioned category. The racial equality, which is vehemently adhered to in Islam, and the appeal of Marxism of being above culture and race are manipulated by the prestigma in the process of assimilation.

In the short democratic periods the low profile endeavours of the margin to fight peacefully for their rights are manipulated by the prestigma machine for counter-mobilization by portraying these endeavours as targetting the existence of Islam and Arabism in Sudan. In democratic times mono-culturalism becomes appallingly indefensible; the governments that follow it usually become laughing stock with a Guinness record of failure. The propaganda machine of the prestigma, including Radio and TV which are owned by the State, nurtures a hateful grudge against the growing voice of the margin. When it is time for the elected government to go, the military regime will come to push back the margin into the status of stigma under gun point. The military regime will carry out the programme of mono-culturalism to its extreme thus accomplishing the dirty part of the job. Furthermore, it relieves the prestigma from accountability for the failure of its elected government; the same prestigma which will immediately assume the role of opposition to the military regime. When the season of democracy comes the same politicians of the prestigma will come back as heroes- not failures- to carry out the failing and oppressive programme of mono-culturalism from where the military regime left it … and so on. The democratic/military alternation is in fact a process for exorcising the failure on one side and realizing achievement with heavy-handedness on the other side.

In a context of centro-marginalization and mono-culturalism democracy is reduced to a matter of technical procedure that lacks in essence the representation of people. Elections have never been conceived by the people as their own power exercised on a higher level of delegation. It has been taken by them as a political game where the prestigmatic politicians assume low profile posture until they are elected whereby they resume their aloof and high profiles.


11.3. The Mondukuru Governments of the Right:

Since Independence, Islamization and Arabicization have been shared in common by the successive governments as State-dictated policies. Taking the middle of Sudan as representing the whole country prompted this. The Post-Independence governments dealt with the Sudan as consisting of (a) the noble Arabs of the middle, (b) the Muslim Africans [with possible Arab blood] in the periphery who are supposed to undergo very quickly the process of Arabization so as to be honoured with Arabism, and (c) the slaves [those who have not yet undone their black Africanism with Islam and a drop of noble Arab blood] who have no place so far in the bench of power. If allowed, the prestigma would have created an institutional apartheid State.

Being the first Sub-Saharan country (i.e. black African) to achieve independence, Sudan was thought by many African liberation movements to lead the struggle against colonialism. Its flag of independence which consisted of the three horizontal colours of yellow (desert), green (jungle) and blue (Nile) will be reverenced by black peoples as the flag of freedom; later when they respectively achieve independence all their flags will more or less be composed of these colours. But Sudan turned its back to black Africa and ran to the Arabs so as to be recognized as an Arab nation. Declined by some Arab States, its membership might have not been accepted if it were not for Egypt to which Sudan is the strategic backyard. This prompted an African liberation movement veteran to say: “Instead of being the best Africans, the Sudanese people have chosen with their own free will to be the worst Arabs”. Later, under May Regime (led by an Arab nationalist Nubian sic) Sudan dropped the flag of freedom for a typical Arab-design flag. And this shows how the ultimate goal of the processes of centro-marginalization is to marginalize Sudan, and Sudanese people, as an Arab State.

The successive national governments have taken to the tactic of corrupting the Southern politicians by first preferring to deal with the corrupt ones, and later by explicitly encouraging others to follow suit by closing the official eyes on what has come to be known in Sudanese politics as Southern-style corruption: a convoy of 200 brand-new government vehicles assigned to the South will mysteriously vanish en route. The Southern intellectuals were so vulnerable to temptation. In the whole tribe only one or two were to be found of high education, and those usually live in the centre as there is no place for them in the village and as the government to which they want to represent their people is centrally limited to the Capital. Having some of its sons as ministers, Parliament member or big government official is considered as a great honour for all the tribes of Sudan; the more marginalized the tribe, the more important this becomes.

In the case of Southern intellectuals it is understandably much more important. The residential compound of a Southern intellectual in Khartoum might be housing most of the tribe people who happen to be in the Capital for medical treatment, education or any other service. People of the prestigma in Khartoum occasionally express their astonishment of how the Southerners cram in one house like that, as if it is to their liking they are living in that way. It is the intellectual’s responsibility to have them all fed, clothed and looked after. With what? His salary? It begins by going to his government seniors complaining about difficulties of life like any other government official, and there the Mondukuru Government is waiting for him with the bait to get him hooked. Those who have already been hooked may lose their bashfulness in the course of time and become bolder as to bargain a price. A famous Mondukuru Statesman, who originally belonged to a marginalized group, commented upon such a case by saying: “Would he [the Southern intellectual] merit this price if a bell was rung on him?” And this is how we have the so called ‘Southern politicians of all governments’, bought with money. Isn’t it slavery?


12.  A Linear Civil War and a Linear Peace:

            In the three years of Self-Rule that preceded independence, the Southern politicians made it clear that they wanted the South to be ruled by its own people in whatever way possible, whether federacy, confederacy or self-rule. Too excited to reflect on what they were saying in their eagerness to take over from the colonial ruler, the North-Mondukuru politicians generously made promises to this effect. Holding the Southerners generally in the status of slaves, they naturally took the Southern politicians lightly with an evil intention of flatly dishonouring these promises. Overnight the Southerners discovered that independence meant to them, at least, a change from master to another, from foreign master to an indigenous master. But then it is too much for a slave to have his fellow-slave freed and then made master on him. The conflict will be triggered by what was then called the Sudanization of government senior posts in which the Southerners were not only generally disqualified, but even the few ones qualified were conspiratorially removed away from the milieu of their influence, i.e. the South. To further strip the South from any potential power, the Mondukuru came up with a plot to disperse the Southern soldiers in the Army in different parts of the country away from the South. To enter the phase of independence with such weakness meant that the Southerners will be doomed for ever. One year before independence they took to arms; having their just demand of self-rule declined by the Mondukuru, now they will fight for the separation of the South from the North. The Mondukuru civilians living in the South were chased out and a mass killing of the unfortunate who could not make it took place, something the Mondukuru intellectuals will never forgive. Whenever the killings of the South, which are in millions, are mentioned, the unjust killing of those handful Mondukuru civilians will also be mentioned as a balance.




12.1. Separatism and the Emergence of Sudanese Political Left:

            By fighting for the separation of the South from the historical Sudan, the separatist Southerners emerged as representing the real Sudanese Political Left. From now on the struggle of the marginalized groups will always be triggered off with the extreme leftist goal of separation clearly expressed in their slogans and manifestos. Although naturally borne of the conflicting ideologies of Africanism vs. Arabism and the processes of centro-marginalization, the formations of the Political Left and the Political Right were enhance by the linear polarization. It will take a few years for the Political Middle to emerge and a long time to be recognized as so.

 For many factors beyond the control of the Southerners the civil war came out based on the same linear polarization, South vs. North. The colonial rule did not only obscure the processes of centro-marginalization, but further it reinforced it by adopting the linear polarization in its policies. For instance, in what it took to be the North, the educational system was designed in a way that would only enhance the Islamo-Arab ideology of dominance and assimilation. Where it delayed the peripheral Sudano-African people of raising their consciousness of their respective identities regarding the imminently looming marginalization, it accelerated the rate of their assimilation in the dominant culture. This has made their intellectuals, who were supposed to represent their people, take side with the centre, thus alienating themselves from their own people. Betrayed by both the colonial British who boasted of protecting them and by the Mondukuru politicians of Khartoum who dishonoured their promises, and having the rest of the Sudan menacingly posing as an Arab entity, the Southerners were left with no choice but to mobilize the Africanism of the South to linearly counter the Arabism of the North.

            The Sudanese army, the same army that the colonial British began centralizing three decades ago, will systematically ravage the South. Alternately, either elected governments or military regimes will run Sudan with one goal regarding the South: to subjugate it. Where the role of the former is to deceptively kiss the South on one cheek to lure it into a peace that does not solve its problems, the role of the latter is to heavy-handedly slab it on the other cheek. It is very rare for any one of us not to have come across an ex-soldier who has stories to tell about the nasty atrocities committed by the army in the South in the period 1956-1970. We may never know all of them as the victims are long since dead and the culprits have kept silent. The Sudanese army must come clean on this issue. As said above, centrist scholars always mention the mass killings of Mondukuru with which the rebellions initiated their civil war as a balance of the atrocities committed by the army of Khartoum governments. Without condoning with their killing, this can be true by only rationalizing that the handful casualties of Mondukuru are equal to limitless casualties of Southerners.


12.2. A Peace to take a Breath:

            In 1972 simply granting the South the self-rule they demanded 17 years ago successfully brokered a peace. A year later a peace accord was signed according to which the Southerners put down their arms and came with a clean heart to only find the old system of stigma waiting for them. What amazes in the history of racial bigotry, prejudice and intimidation in Sudan is how the victim is whole-heartedly ready to forgive, and how the aloof culprit is indignantly rejecting to be forgiven. At last the guerrilla fighters joined the same army they were fighting and their leaders enjoyed the high echelon of government posts they had been declined. A few years later a President whose day deeds never honoured his night speech will dishonour the peace accord.

            Administratively the South was divided into three districts with Supreme Council. By establishing the whole peace process of rehabilitation of the South on the linear polarization of the Sudan, with its parameters of centro-marginalization and the vehicles of stigma vs. prestigma, the Southerners came out to be completely identified with the North. The South began forming its own prestigma which was represented in the biggest and strongest tribe, i.e. the Dinka. This consequently led to the formation of a Southern centre with its own margin. The Southerners who fought the dominance of the Mondukuru for 17 years could have not tolerated the dominance of their Dinka Brethrens. A tendency to pull out from this Dinka centre surfaced to be immediately picked up by the big centre in Khartoum with the evil intention of scrapping the whole peace accord. The three districts were nominally promoted into fully autonomous regions which practically turned the peace accord into redundancy. These regions did not survive for long; otherwise they would have infinitively undergone further linear segmentations. This is because the linear polarization can only manage dualistic situations but not pluralistic situations. The South is a pluralistic chromosome of Sudan, and Sudan is a pluralistic chromosome of Africa. If applied in a pluralistic context, the linear polarization will push it into dualism in order to deal with it.


12.4. Al-Di‛een: the Massacre, Holocaust and Slavery:

            The ideological polarization of centro-marginalization will reach its zenith when people who have a lot to share together would come after each other; when the prestigma would no more tolerate the stigma and therefore would manipulate its own prestigmatic periphery as cat’s paw to do the dirty job of physically eliminating the stigma. And that is how the Baggāra Arabs came to commit the worst bunch of crimes in Sudan’s contemporary history.

The Baggāra tribes in Kordufan and Dar Fur are nomadic Arabs who have been greatly influenced by the Nilotic tribes, especially the Dinka, from whom they have taken the cows for livestock and the colour of blackness. The word “Baggāra” is a plural adjective in Sudanese colloquial Arabic derived from the word “cow”. On the other hand, they have also influenced the Nilotics. Highly conscious of their Arab identity they are naturally susceptible to prestigmatic orientations, but they are not in any way prestigma. A bedouin Arab is never considered a prestigma even in pre-Islamic Arabia. However such orientations were triggered off in an anti-Dinka direction for the first time during the Egyptian-Turkish rule and the Mahdia as the Baggāra were drawn into the vice of slavery. Although the rift between the Baggāra and the Dinka had already happened during the British-Egyptian rule, they were, however, kept at bay by the infamous policy of pacification, i.e. crushing the people in order to impose stability. By the time the prestigma assumed the national rule immediately before independence, the Southerners declared their first civil war. The manipulation of the Baggāra Arabs by the prestigma as cat’s paw has also begun. The dirtiest and most gruesome part of the game will be assigned to them to undertake; later prestigmatic intellectuals can easily furnish excuses by portraying them as savage and wildly uncontrollable bedouins. With the intensification of the civil war, the Dinka and Baggāra Arabs, like Kane and Able, found themselves going after each other.

            By 1987 the prestigmatic elected government engendered the infamous Popular Defence Forces as a pretext for officially arming the Baggāra Arabs to fight the Southerners, in this case the Dinka who were taken for granted to be SPLM/SPLA. The defence minister was an army general from the Baggāra Arabs. Until then the hostility between the two sides was weakened by the history-long interrelationship. Thousands of Dinka who fled the war zone came and lived with the Baggāra. It is very rare for a Dinka family not to have an inter-marriage relation with another Baggāra family and vice-versa.  In a certain village called al-Di‛een in Southern Dar fur more than 6.000 Dinka people were peacefully taking refuge and living with the Baggāra.

Armed in this way, the marauding Baggāra squads of PDF began making incursions into the south raiding the Dinka villages that naturally sought help from SPLM/SPLA. The latter came to the rescue with a vendetta. In all aspects the Baggāra Arabs were not an equal to SPLA. They began licking defeat after defeat. This was good news to the prestigma as it meant that the Baggāra are getting too deeply involved in the conflict that reconciliation with the Dinka (the Southerners i.e. SPLM/SPLA) is becoming far-reaching. The prestigma was driven too far away with its own vanity to sensibly feel the incumbency of saving the Baggāra the degradation of this manipulation. The fact was that not only were the Dinka being victimized but also the chivalrous Baggāra as well. With the increase of their defeats, the Baggāra began nursing deep hatred towards the Dinka in general. A certain bitter defeat that befell them at the moment when they thought themselves victorious led the Baggāra to direct their attention to the peaceful Dinka who were living with them at al-Di‛een on whom they sought to take revenge, pouring the venom of their hatred.

In one day at least 1.000 Dinka were massacred, 4.000 were burned alive, and the survivals- around 1.000- were enslaved. The massacre began early in the day. At first the bewildered Dinka did not believe what was going on. When the reality dawned on them, they fled into the houses of their hosts who were their attackers at the same time. They were dragged from their feet like animals to be butchered outside the houses. The Dinka took refuge in the Church; there they were killed along with the priest. They ran and took refuge inside the Police station which was part of the railway station, but, alas, the Police turned to be an accomplice. They were killed there also. Whether in good or bad faith- as it does not matter- they were ill-advised to take refuge in the empty carriages of a standing freight train so they can be taken away from al-Di‛een. With the trustfulness of totally vulnerable and helpless people they hurriedly obeyed. Once crammed inside, they were locked from outside. Caged in like animals they saw with their own eyes barrels full of diesel being rolled toward them. They were burnt alive, all of them. Only then, with the barbecue smell of that holocaust, did the Baggāra come to their senses. The survivals were so fortunate that they were only enslaved. Slavery was the common sense of that doomed day.

                  A booklet hurriedly prepared by two brave scholars who pumped on al-Di‛een by accident the day next to the massacre, appeared with understandably many academic loopholes. The first reaction of the government was condemning the booklet and meekly denying the incident, especially the part relating to slavery. The prestigmatic intellectuals, the enlightened ones particularly, accepted the fact that that was slavery, but they classified it as African traditional slavery confined to tribalism. Then they turned their full attention to the academic misfit of the booklet in order to disqualify the credibility of the whole case. Where the massacre merited their noble attention, the least to be discussed, however, was the holocaust. The atmosphere became very tense with the outside world awakening to the shocking realities in Sudan. While snarling at any one who dared discuss the massacre, holocaust or the enslaving of the survivals from a point of view that did not agree with its own, the government declared the formation of fact-gathering committee. In Sudan it is known that if you want to kill out a case, form a committee for it. Discussing the events was discouraged as far as the committee was doing its work. Fortunately the coup of June 1989 took place. The elected government was spared the day of reckoning. The junta took from where the elected government left; recruitment for Popular Defence Forces was generalized in an attempt to militarize the whole society in order to get it stuck with the war in the same way as the Baggāra so they can also nurture hatred against SPLM/SPLA. Islam and Arabism were abused as never before. Militarizing children was adopted in the repercussions of PDF. In the period 1989-1999 only God knows how many Di‛eens took place.

            In its reaction to the deterioration of the conditions of human rights in the Sudan, and the reinstatement of the institution of slavery, the West showed an equal evilness; as if drawn to its past, it joined in trafficking in slaves, with hard currency of course. A British woman with a       prestigmatic title and colonial experience in slavery began buying slaves from Baggāra Arabs with the naïve intention of freeing them. With the prices of slaves rocketing up in hard currency, trafficking increased as slavery -thanks to the British prestigma- proved to be more lucrative than many other businesses. Far from being concerned with the problem and the ways to solve it or at least help the victims, the West was keen on demonizing the Arabs, defaming Islam and feeding its ever scandal-monger press. The self-interested West was settling its own accounts with the Arabs and Islam. Both the West and the Arabs have really ravaged Sudan, the former by its manipulation of democracy, and the latter by its manipulation of Islam.

After committing the massacre of al-Di‛een, the Baggāra Arabs expected that atrocity to be considered as sanguinary rites of initiation for their acceptance into the institution of the prestigma. Contrarily they were even more stigmatized by the centre and were dubbed as representing a barbarous Arab stock; if you accept to do a dirty job, then of dirtiness you smell and like a dirty thing you are thrown away by the same people for whom you did the dirty job. Desperately trying to stick with the prestigma, and as a last resort, the Baggāra desperadoes went to the extremity of declaring an extremely right organization named Quraysh, after the tribe of Prophet Muhammad. Highly anti-African releases, fortunately not more than three, were dispatched bearing the numbering “Quraysh One”, “Quraysh Two” etc. The only way that would have qualified the Baggāra to assume a prestigmatic leading role was to drag the prestigma into this kind of horrible massacres and holocaust. Their paradox is that the Baggāra Arabs generally speaking are descendants of the tribes of Juhayna and/or Rabī‛a, but not in any way of the prestigmatic tribe of Quraysh.

For such a vanity a chivalrous African-Arab tribe has turned itself into a laughing-stock … to whom, but to the same prestigma.


13. Sudanese Nationalism: A Consciousness in the Making:

            Being multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious, Sudan has posed a challenge regarding nation-building and national integration. Until the 20th century, the question of national integration was answered by assimilation. Although the Declaration of the Human Rights goes back to time of the French revolution, the right to preserve one’s language and identity as part of the package of human rights has been recognized very late. Immediately after the French revolution minority languages had been systematically turned into extinct by the State in its pursuit to assimilate the whole population into French language and culture.

            The ancient Sudan was multi-lingual, although various languages in different periods were presumably supported by the State and probably held as lingua franca. As shown above, the languages, consequently their speakers, are much related to each other. The ethno-linguistic pluralism has prevailed up to the present. The spirit of this age is cultural and linguistic rights, the violation of which will raise more problems than might be thought to solve. In this regard a consciousness of Sudanese nationalism has come into shape but has not yet crystallized in a well-defined concept; so far the public and scholars use the term ‘Sudanese Nationalism’ in a loose manner. Arab nationalists do not tolerate the term used in this sense as it contradicts with the Arabism of Sudan. Officially Sudan is an Arab State, but only culturally are its Arabized people recognized as Arabs.


13.1. The Emergence of Modern Sudan:

            The Funj Sultanate dates the modern Sudan, which is characterized by Islam and Arabic language along with its very old cultural pluralism. What characterizes that Sultanate is the fact that it was a secular State even though it strongly propagated Islam and Arabism. The religious institution represented by the Sufi sects was an ally of the State but not incorporated in it. As the case in African civilizations, there was no division between the State and religion in ancient Sudan. The monarch was a principal figure in the religious institution. In Christian Nubia many kings were bishops and vice-versa. But in the Funj Sultanate the two institutions are distinctly separate.

            The Funj Sultanate appeared in the time when the Ottoman Empire was expanding. Besides being the language of the State and science, Arabic was more or less the lingua franca in many parts of the Islamic world. Considering the encapsulation of the faltering Christian kingdoms, the pro-Arabic, pro-Islamic sultanate was a breakthrough; it opened the country to outside world and maintained the history-long continuum of traditional federacy of the ethnic groups. Islam and Arabism were the new tools of the ideology of the State.  ‛Abdu Allah Jammā‛ and ‛Amāra Dungus were the founders of modern day Sudan. They are also the forerunners of the “Melting Pot” model of Sudanese nationalism, i.e. the process of assimilation. That was the only way perceived of nation making, so far.


13.2. Anti-Colonial Traditional Nationalism:

            The Sudanese people nurtured a deep resentment toward the Egyptian-Turkish colonial rule. Beside the ruthless savageness that characterized it, the Sudanese prestigma mainly resented that rule because it had turned them into a kind of second class within the strata of the prestigma. The people of the margin resented it not only for slavery and savageness, but because it showed the same values of the prestigma as a result of adopting the centro-marginalization process. Following the African model of anti-colonial revolution where religious mobilization is vitally involved, the Sudanese revolution also came with an appealing Islamic discourse represented in the Mahdia. Being nationalist in nature, the fact that both the Egyptians and the Turks were Muslims did not raise any contradiction regarding the religious mobilization; the employment of non-Muslims as governors’ aides was practically used as a catalyst.  Although basically rallied by people from the margin, the revolution succeeded in bringing together both the prestigma and the stigma as they were both mobilized against the foreign colonial rule. However, the Mahdia State will end up siding completely with the prestigma, thus jeopardizing the nationalist potentials of the revolution to the brink of disintegrating the country. Later this will cause many people to vindictively ally with the invading army of British-Egyptian colonialism.

Where the revolution was nationalist, the State came out to be prestigmatically central. However, the Mahdi is rightfully a forerunner of Sudanese nationalism. From then on the Mahdia revolution will be an aspiration for Islamo-Arab movements in the Sudan.

Losing the whole Sudan to the Mahdia revolution, the Egyptian-Turkish colonial rule managed to keep the Red Sea port of Suakin. It could have easily maintained the whole Eastern region if it were not for ‛Uthmān Digna, one of the greatest national heroes in Sudanese history. Led by him, the chivalrous Beja people have succeeded in keeping their region as part of this country as it has always been. If it were not for them, that region could have been turned into an Ottoman littoral state. After the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, such a state with such a strategic position could have changed the picture of the Red Sea region. The European colonial forces could have not missed that opportunity. The Beja people would have been the first victims of this state. All through their history they have been related and involved in hinterland geopolitics. Although having the entire Red Sea coast as part of their region, they have never been known as marine-cultured.

After the fall of the Meroitic kingdom in the 5th century AD, and before the emergence of the Christian Nubian Kingdoms, many kinglets prevailed in the Nile strip from Meroe down to Asuan. Military lords or generals who were Beja ruled them. The colloquial Sudanese Arabic is greatly influenced by Bedaweyit, the Beja language. As it is expected from the Beja to be nationalist, it is also expected from the prestigma not to give them this credit. The role of ‛Uthmān Digna is confined to his position as a Mahdia general only, and not without hints of his failure to capture Suakin. It does not make sense for the Beja who are historically known as Khatmiyya followers to relentlessly fight for the Mahdia state while the Khatmiyya leading Shaykh escaped the country to live in exile as a result of his relentless opposition to the Mahdia. The Beja dealt with the Mahdia from a nationalist perspective.

 ‛Uthmān Digna will be let down by the prestigma in an ungraceful manner. Captured and tried by the British-Egyptian colonial rule, he spent 28 years in prison until he died in 1926. At that time the prestigma were fighting each other in rivalry to show their allegiance to the colonial rule. A few years ago they signed a Magna Carta (of allegiance to the King of England) to support the British in their war against the Ottoman Empire. In educational curricula, ‛Uthmān Digna is taught as a brave and strategist Mahdia general, but never as one of the founders of Sudanese nationalism and as one who directly contributed in making present day Sudan. The fact is that many people who defiantly resisted the colonial rule perished in prison. In educational curricula you do not find passing and scanty information about them. They are forgotten because the prestigma has got its own version of compliant nationalism to sell out.


13.3. Anti-Colonial Nationalism and Islamo-Arab Ideology:

            After the fall of Mahdia State the resistance against the new colonial rule continued. Following the African model, it was still characterized with religion. In many parts of the country Islamic movements of the Mahdia-style declared themselves to be easily contained by the colonial rule. But the strongest national resistance of religious nature to face the colonial rule was the ones raised by the Nilotic tribes in Southern Sudan. Local prophets of African traditional religions led these movements. (What is mentioned of these movements in national educational curricula is also very scanty). The colonial rule took unprecedented measures of brutality to contain the situation, or to pacify the Southerners, as it put it.

            Immediately after the defeat of the Mahdia State, the British, the strong partner of the colonial rule, accepted the de facto monarchy of al-Sultān ‛Ali Dinār who had already restored his ancestor’s rule. In the repercussions of the Mahdia, the clear linear demarcation –as mentioned above- was awlād al-bahar vs. awlād al-gharib, i.e. a longitudinal line between the riverain people and the westerners. The West from where the Mahdi drew his main support was to be separated from the Arabized centre. Furthermore, France was encroaching eastwards from West Africa; a buffer state that can easily be mobilized at the suitable moment to fight the French on behalf of the British was deemed necessary. Lastly but not least, an Islamic State was needed by the British in preparation for their war against the Islamic Caliphate in Constantinople.

            From the other side, al-Sultān ‛Ali Dinār had different plans in his mind. Although lacking the worldwide vision with which his enemy was provided, he was very committed to the Muslim peoples. Declaring himself custodian of the holy mosques in Mecca and Medina, he took to the duty of sending aid caravans every season of pilgrimage. When the First World War was declared the British managed to bring the Arabs of the peninsula along with them against the Turks. Until now the Arabs are paying with blood and tear the cost of believing Britain. They promised the Arabs self-rule after defeating Turkey when they had already agreed with their allies on how to divide the area between them and on creating Israel. Inside Sudan the riverain prestigma was never so eager to show their allegiance to the British Master against Turkey which was then, according to their own belief, the Islamic Caliphate. But to the dismay of the British, al-Sultān ‛Ali Dinār turned to be either too dumb or too clever to swallow the bait. The British dubbed him as too dumb, and that is what has prevailed until the independence of Sudan. In the national rule the complicity with the British view shows in relegating the history of al-Sultān ‛Ali Dinār into obscurity. Systematic obliteration marred the notion that a man committing himself for Mecca, Medina and Constantinople would have never let down his own countrymen, if only he fared. Since time immemorial, the milieu of Dar Fur has always been eastward rather than westward. All through history, Sudan has been nothing but the Nile flanked by the west region on its left side and the east region on its right side. In fact al-Sultān ‛Ali Dinār was let down by the prestigma long before the British confronted him. From thenceforward, the British will turn their attention to the centre to seek an ally in the riverain prestigma.

After the First World War the Colonial rule continued adopting the establishment of centro-marginalization and consequently sided with the prestigma. Middle Sudan will be the milieu for anti-colonial national movements which are generally characterized with Islamo-Arab ideologies. As the Sufi sects are the parameters of Sudanese Muslims, they will shape the national political movement. In order to cope with this situation, the religio-political organization of al-Ansār, formed from the Mahdi’s followers, took also the shape of a Sufi sect. The biggest anti-Mahdist Sufi sect of al-Khatmiyya along with al- Ansār will be the spearheads of anti-colonial nationalism with its Islamo-Arab ideology and the perspective of “the Melting Pot” as its model for national integration. The urban centres will be the chemo-cultural laboratories for culturally re-producing the people of the margin. Umdorman, the newest town to be established in central Sudan, was sublimated to the status of nationalist model, not only because it was the Capital of the Mahdia State, but because it truly represents a model of assimilation, i.e. a melting pot. Later the intellectuals of the centre, in their eagerness to identify with the genre of town literature in the cultures of other countries, will manufacture their own genres of town-folklore and literature for Umdorman by intensively focussing the State-owned propaganda machine on it. By the late 20th century, when it was almost 100 years old only, Umdorman will pose as the most historically ancient town in the Sudan.

Taking the colonial rule as de facto, the point of departure for this national movement was first to befriend the colonial rule and then, secondly, to develop a lenient way of struggle. Where the Khatmiyya sided with the Egyptian colonial partner, the Ansār sided with the British colonial partner. The former developed a convenient ideology represented in the unity of the Nile valley, i.e. Egypt and Sudan. The latter developed the concept of “the Sudan for the Sudanese” thus aiming at independence without uniting with Egypt and having the British as prime friends. However, both ideologies were the brainchildren of a certain Sudanese nationalist who will colour the whole future of Sudan. The growing intellectual class generally fell into the channels of either the former or the latter, but not before getting an early injection of secularism which will prove to be very essential in achieving independence. The same man referred to above has also made this injection.


13.4. Anti-Colonial Secular Nationalism:

            By the early 1920s, with the growing of the infant intellectual class, a secret political organization was formed by a tiny group of intellectuals in Umdorman. Called “the Sudanese Union Society”, it was mainly founded by people who belonged to the prestigma. Then an ex-army officer who was black of Dinka origin and whose parents were both slaves joined the Society. Dismissed from the army for his anti-British and anti-colonial views and behaviour, ‛Ali ‛Abdu al-Latīf was held in high esteem by the Sudanese society of Umdorman. Being a black of Dinka origin and having the stigma of slavery hanging on him, he was left to rely ultimately on his well-developed views and charismatic personality. It turned that the founding figures of the Society were relying on the prestigma in their nationalist views and leadership assumptions.  In a short time the charismatic leadership and nationalist views of ‛Ali began showing and attracting followers within the Society and outside it, something that did not merit the appreciation of the founding clique simply because these views were neither based nor did they acknowledge the prestigma. Eventually a split took place that ended in the actual demise of the Sudanese Union Society and the emergence of a new society led by ‛Ali and based on his views of nationalism; it was named the White Flag Society. It quickly began spreading among trusted groups of intellectuals in urban towns.

            Two factors characterized the White Flag Society in this respect; the first was the secular nature of the movement; and the second was the role of the people from the margin in creating the society. Both al-Ansār and al-Khatmiyya organizations were religious in nature with their internal ranks based on religious excellence which is essential in qualifying any member of them in this capacity to assume public posts. As families that claim the ashrāf descent led both of them, their religious discourse was deeply rooted in the institution of the prestigma.  On the other hand, the White Flag Society came with very clear view in regards of the secular approach it followed. From thenceforward, thanks to the White Flag Society, the Sudanese political movement will be put on the track of secularism to the disadvantage of the religious political movements that to come in the future. Later with the growing influence of the graduates of Gordon Memorial College, the two religious organizations were not deemed eligible in their religious capacity to form political parties. The only way for them to attract allegiance was to allow their respective intellectual affiliates to create secular political organizations parallel to the religious ones. The tension between them has not come to an end yet.

            The pioneers of the White Flag Society were mainly people belonging to groups from the margin. But the major backing of marginalized people came from the blacks of the urban areas who represented the stigma by mostly being descendents of ex-slaves like ‛Ali ‛Abdu al-Latīf himself. As they were also the majority in the Sudanese armed forces under the colonial rule, soldiers and officers alike, the White Flag was in a very strong position in regards of mobilizing the masses against the colonial rule. Therefore the uprising of 1924 is rightly associated with it. Some recent scholars may argue against this, but the fact that the backbone of the uprising was the military black descendents of ex-slaves should be read in the light of the fact that ‛Ali ‛Abdu al-Latīf himself was a military black with the same background.

            The anti-colonial nationalist orientations of those black Sudanese, who were taken as a stigma in the Sudanese society of middle Sudan, will make the British reconsider their situation in the military as well as in the society. The prestigma of middle Sudan was frightened by the leading role this stigmatized group assumed; they felt that their status was being undermined. The crackdown on the Whit Flag and the uprising took three measures. The first was to brutally and unjustly eliminate the leaders either physically or psychologically. Some of those who socially belonged to the prestigma were spared at the last moment when facing the firing squad. Secondly by stripping the military from its component of black officers and gradually replacing them by people who belong socially to the prestigma which proved to be more manageable. The third was to render those blacks, according to the criteria of the prestigma, to their right status by intensifying the mechanisms of stigmatization, starting from Umdorman, Khartoum, and Khartoum North after which the other urban areas will follow suit. The cultural activities, such as music, singing etc, of which the blacks were known to have been the pioneers were being encouraged by the prestigma with the intention that they become led by their own youth. (A conspicuous member of the prestigma, who flogged in his youth women who tried to crack out joyful shrieks in his marriage, ended up in his late years inviting singers in his own house in Umdorman to sing for his big family). The most famous cultural activity of home-library and reading-discussion groups was especially targeted; the old ones established by the blacks were abandoned to newly established ones associated with the prestigma. The White Flag Society along with the 1924 uprising will be systematically obscured. This is how the Sudanese people, aside from the main outlines, have come to know very little about it.

            The British-Egyptian colonial rule, with the total complicity of the prestigma, gave ‛Ali ‛Abdu al-Latīf a special treat: personality assassination. He was imprisoned after his trial to be declared a few years later as being insane. They did not eliminate him physically lest he became a national martyr and an inspiration for the whole Sudanese people in their fight for liberation. The prestigma, while knowing that he was fully sane, contended in rendering him into the obscurity of madness when it failed in stigmatizing him. Years later, after his release, and finding it too difficult to waive away the vindictively spread umbrella of madness that hung over him, he decided to go to Egypt. It was like running from the lion to only fall in the hands of the crocodile. There he was immediately taken to jail under the pretext of insanity to remain there until he passed away. To add insult to neglect, in the mid 1970s the State decided to reconsider to pay his suspended pension to his widow. After half a century of shameful neglect, the redemption is figured out in terms of money only. Despite the systematic stigmatization and personality assassination, ‛Ali ‛Abdu al-Latīf has compelled his presence in national memory. Finding it impossible to erase him, the institution of prestigma has obscured him into an abstracted figure of patriotism. Some TV national historical drama has even dared to portray him as not a jet black Sudanese of Dinka type.


13.4.1. Pluralism and Nationalism:

            After being dismissed from the army, ‛Ali ‛Abdu al-Latīf addressed the colonial administration demanding freedom and self-rule for the “Sudanese Nation”, in Arabic “al-Umma al-Sūdāniyya” as comprising all the people regardless of their different tribes. That was the first time in history for the term “Sudanese Nation” to be employed with such a political significance. In response to ‛Ali’s letter, the prestigma also addressed the colonial administration mocking ‛Ali ‛Abdu al-Latīf and his view and disqualifying him from posing to speak on behalf of the Sudanese people. The prestigma did not only allude to the slavery past of ‛Ali, but clearly stated that only people of noble and honourable origin can pose to speak for such sublime a mission.

That was the launch of the concept of “Sudanese Nationalism” which will start to develop from the level of the “melting pot” perspective up to the level of the “unity in diversity” perspective. From thenceforward the term “Sudanese Nationalism” has been taken for granted by politicians and scholars to signify the perspective of the “melting pot” which represents the cultural project of assimilation and re-production of the marginalized people in the centre. The concept, hijacked in this way, has proved to be very abortive to the view of ‛Ali ‛Abdu al-Latīf. Later in the 1980s the term “Sudanese Nation” will be used in reference to the perspective of “unity in diversity” where no culture is supposed to be marginalized. What distinguishes ‛Ali ‛Abdu al-Latīf is not only that he was the first to use the term in a political context, but the fact that he used the term referring to what has come to be known half a century later as the perspective of “unity in diversity”. All we know of ‛Ali ‛Abdu al-Latīf is from what he said or did in approximately four years of his early youth; even though, he was at least half a century ahead of his generation. A period of 10 years in the 20th century may equal more than a whole century in past time.




13.4.2. The Path to Independence: the Tactic:

            The White Flag Society adopted the slogan of the unity of the Nile valley, i.e. Egypt and Sudan, like its predecessor the Sudanese Unity Society. Nonetheless, no Egyptian was allowed to be a member of the White Flag Society. By this the Society renders the slogan to a matter of convenience and tactics; rather than only neutralizing the weak colonial partner, i.e. Egypt, it turned it into an ally of the movement of liberation. Unity of Nile valley will be propagated along with the newly launched concept of “Sudanese Nationalism”. Later the Ansār Organization and Khatmiyya Sect will divide between them the ideological legacy of the White Flag; the former adopted the core concept of “Sudanese Nationalism” as title for its parallel secular organization, i.e. Hizb al-Umma (the Nation Party), thus making the independence of the Sudanese nation their goal. The latter adopted for its secular parallel party the project of the unity of the Nile valley; hence its adherents are called the Unionists.

Later in the elections for the parliament that declared independence, the Khatmiyya-backed Unionist Party won the majority against the Ansār-backed independentist Umma Party. Egypt was very pleased with that result taking it to mean the imminent unification of the two countries. It was very clear if that unity was declared, Sudan would have been the weak partner just as Egypt was the weak partner in the colonial Condominium Rule. But the Unionists declined the unity of the Nile valley and, instead of it, declared Sudan as an independent Republic. Once again the nationalist views of ‛Ali ‛Abdu al-Latīf (independence as a national ideology and Nile valley unity as a political tactic) have proved to be crucially decisive for the destiny of Sudan. Although younger, the leading figures of the great generation that managed the battle for independence were both contemporaries and hamlet-kids (awlād hilla) of ‛Ali ‛Abdu al-Latīf; bearing his charisma in mind, there was no way for them to miss his nationalist and political views. They all followed him without giving him the credit for that, but, then, a prophet commands no prestige among his own people.         


13.5. The Trend towards the Balance of Identity:

            The national consciousness of the centre emerged in the 20th century to be wholly Islamo-Arab. There was no reflection of the existence of non-Arabs in the cultural discourse of the centre. In the literature they produced, the infant class of intellectuals of the centre identified completely with ancient Arabia. Those who were related to pastoralist nomads marvelled themselves in the bedouin style itineraries they had taken to occasionally make. This led a certain intellectual who belonged to a marginalized ethnic group and who practically began learning and speaking Arabic when he went to school, to make a call to Sudanize literature by grounding it on Sudanese soil.

            Independence brought the intellectuals of the centre to face the realities of Sudanese multiculturalism; election campaigns put them face to face with non-Arabic speakers. To tell such people that they are Arabs will surely create laughter but not political support. The parliament brought non-Arabized intellectuals, especially those of jet-black colour, who were very aware that they could only be accommodated in a multi-cultural, not a mono-cultural, Sudan. Data pertaining to ethno-linguistic pluralism resulted from social sciences and particularly anthropology, a science greatly indebted for its existence to studies made on Sudan, were too much and too compelling to ignore. Independence also brought the consciousness of Arabism of the centre in contact with what posed to be proper Arabism consciousness. All these factors have contributed in the emergence of Afro-Arabism.


13.5.1. Afro-Arabism: the Intellectual Discourse:

            With the British-Egyptian colonial army, the Sudanese battalions also came back home. They consisted mainly of black Sudanese the majority of whom were either freed slaves or descendents of slaves. After abolition of slavery, the Turkish-Egyptian Colonial Rule adopted the policy of tempting the black tribal leaders to freely submit a certain number of their subjects for soldiery along with the above-mentioned group. Their battalions were then known as jihādiyya, from jihad, meaning in this context devoted or professional soldiers. Although the jihādiyya joined the Mahdia revolution in its early days, they were the first to pull out however. Living in Egypt during the Mahdia, they were exposed to, and consequently influenced by, the civilization and modern ways of the time. Back in Sudan they were rightly the spearhead of modernization. Genres associated with modernism such as eating on table with chairs, bread and today’s traditional dishes of middle Sudan which were considered as fancy food at the time, music, monograph and later radio, home libraries, and more importantly women freedom in regards of education and work, were introduced by those jet-black people. At that time the society of middle Sudan -taking Umdorman as an example- was extremely conservative; women were confined to the house, vocal music was considered -since the Funj time- as kind of hooliganism. Although still considered as stigma, the blacks of the Sudanese battalions had compelled their presence as being the most enlightened and modernized class in the society; people were taking after their ways of life without giving them credit for that. This created an embarrassing crisis for the prestigma as the master was put in the position of imitating his slave. In this socio-cultural setting it was natural for people like ‛Ali ‛Abdu al-Latīf to lead that society, and it was also expected from the prestigma of that society to obliterate his leading position in the following years.

            The movement of balancing the Sudanese identity between Africanism and Arabism began with this class and particularly with ‛Ali ‛Abdu al-Latīf. In the course of time it was weakened by the intensive stigmatization launched by the prestigma. Some Arabized intellectuals took Africanism for a fashion in their early youth. With independence in 1950s, the voice of African Sudan became loud enough in academic corridors to be merited with pioneering studies that began probing the African identity of Sudan in general and middle Sudan in particular. In the early 1960s it became clear to the intellectual class that Arabism alone does not answer the quest for Sudanese identity. Where some of them went far back to the Meroitic civilization in search of their identity (the Apedemak group), another pragmatic group just crossed the desert into the jungle. As a result a literary discourse called the “Jungle and Desert group” advocating Afro-Arabism came into existence.

However the newly launched Afro-Arabism turned to be an Islamo-Arab project designed meticulously to assimilate the growing voice of Africanism. The “Jungle and Desert” discourse has declared the Funj Sultanate as their model for national integration, i.e. the process of cultural re-production and centro-marginalization, prestigma, etc. They came riding their camels in their venture to penetrate the jungle. That is not to say in any way that the true identity of the Sudan is not Afro-Arab. But an Afro-Arab identity where the mechanism of Arabization is in full throttle in all aspects of life will render Africanism to nothing more than a lip service. The institution of State will very soon pick up this fake Afro-Arabism purposely for political manipulation. By the decade of 1965-1975 the scientific publications pertaining to the Afro-Arabism of Sudan appeared to only be undermined by the political manipulation of the term.


3.5.1. Afro-Arabism: the Political Discourse:

The signing of Addis Ababa Accord in 1973 marks a turning point in the identity of Sudan as officially recognized by the State. Afro-Arabism was hailed in official statements as the true and indisputable identity of the Sudan. Recognizing them as black Africans was the only way to accommodate the returning Southerners. If Sudan is also their country, then Sudan has to do with Africanism. For the first time in the history of Sudan the prestigma has chanced to be bossed in many government key posts by Southerners, i.e. jet-black Africans, i.e. the stigma. This caused an upheaval in many aspects of Sudanese social and cultural life. The prestigma nurtured a strong dislike to the peace that had shaken their establishment. On the other hand the African dimension in Sudanese identity was pushed up the stage, eventually giving way to the breakthrough of pluralistic approach and perspective of “Unity in Diversity” against the assimilatory perspective of the “Melting Pot” adopted then by the Regime.

The Addis Ababa Accord took place in a context of political contradictions; backed by Communists at its outset, the military coup of May immediately committed Sudan to the cause of Arab Nationalism, patronized then by Egypt. In 1970 both Sudan and Libya posed as the toddling cubs of Arab nationalist Egypt. In the course of its lifetime, the May regime will keep jumping from ideology to another like a monkey without ever admitting that; accused of communism at its outset, it ended 16 years later with Islamic fanaticism. However it had had its constant and that was Arabism which was kept all through while dragging the legacy of contradictions. In such a context of clashing winds Afro-Arabism was endorsed out of convenience rather than self-discovery. This is how the perspective of the “Melting Pot” was maintained as a constant model for national integration.

Regionally, Afro-Arabism proved to be very convenient to the Sudan. The Arabism of Sudan and other marginalized States such as Somalia, Djibouti, was either dismissed indignantly in proper Arab circles or tolerated as a stigma. There was only one way left for the centre of Sudan to fight out its jihad of Arabism internally and externally: internally it had to make a compromise lest the growing consciousness of Africanism claim supremacy. In this regards the tactic was to neutralize Africanism by compromising it with Arabism. Externally the centre was so keen to have its doubtful Arabism recognized by proper Arab countries. In this regards Sudan was portrayed as a corridor through which the Arabs can penetrate black Africa as they did in the past. It was a sell-out deal in essence, and that was their way of proving that they belong to Arabia more than they belong to Africa. Hence we have Afro-Arabism which will prove to be nothing but a tactical retreat from the openness of the desert to the cover-up of the jungle.

But it will be almost impossible for the State to drop Afro-Arabism in its official discourse; however it might be extremely Islamist and Arabist. By the end of 1970s two contradictory intellectual discourses began showing; the first was the discourse of pluralistic Sudan, and the second was the purely Islamo-Arab Sudan. The first which was launched by the Addis Ababa Accord and in which the intensive presence of the Southerners served as catalyst, achieved its crystallization in the perspective of “Unity in Diversity”. The second was based upon the perspective of the “Melting Pot”. It gained momentum as a backlash against the Peace Accord where the resentment of the prestigma served as a catalyst. It achieved its final goal in the Islamo-Arab fanaticization of the State. By the early 1980s, instead of progressively leaping forward, Sudan back-warded 100 years to be ruled by an extremely fanatical and centralized State equal to that of the Mahdi’s Khalīfa: a false Imam, abuse of the whip and sword of Islam, extreme impoverishment of marginalized areas, intensive migration from the margin to the relatively privileged centre, drought and starvation, neighbour bilateral relations severed, civil wars and national disintegration and slavery. Once again Sudan will need a new national leader of the Dinka type of ‛Ali ‛Abdu al-Latīf to sort out the mess theoretically and practically.


14. The Perspective of “Unity in Diversity”:

            By the signing of Addis Ababa Accord Sudan was officially baptised as an Afro-Arab. The intellectual pioneers of Afro-Arabism will be given key posts in cultural institutions along with the returning Southerners. So far the State and the intellectual pioneers of Afro-Arabism were still stuck with the “Melting Pot” perspective. Nonetheless the intensive presence of the Southerners in every aspect of Sudanese life, political and socio-cultural as well, opened new venues for further probing the identity of Sudan. Debates flared up among intellectuals (1975-1980) where the Islamo-Arab parameters of the State-adopted Afro-Arabism were eventually discerned thus paving the way for the emergence of the perspective of “Unity in Diversity” as the proper perspective to potentially ground true Afro-Arabism. A new movement with a new vision of Sudanese nationalism was prospectively in the making.

As the symptoms of fanatic fever began showing on the face of the Head of State, the prestigma institution worked hard to hamper the rising consciousness of pluralistic Sudan by manipulating both the glamour of Islam and the clamour of Arabism in tune with the delirious visions of the new Imam.  By that time certain powerful dissident factions historically belonging to the prestigma joined the Regime in what was called the National Reconciliation. The most powerful organizations among them were the Ansār and Muslim Brothers, with their heavy weight in many parts of Sudan- in the case of the former- and the highly organized capability of mobilizing and mustering students of higher education institutions in the case of the latter. The student unions, which had been abolished for years, were reinstated by the government to be eventually won by the State-supported Muslim Brothers. The faltering May Regime could have dreamt of nothing more than that.

Against this background a new student movement appeared in the late 1970s. Called the Congress of Independents, it declared itself as ‘a healthy alternative’ for all other political organizations: the sectarians (Ansār and Khatmiyya), Muslim Brothers, Arab Nationalists (Nasserite and Ba‛thist) and the Communists. Recognizing itself as the true political Middle, its political programme centred on toppling the May Regime and the restoration of democracy. On the other hand, the core of its treatise of thought centred on Sudanese nationalism as revived and constructed from the variety of genres of Sudanese heritage and folklore. Cruelly grilled by other political organizations on what looked to be a vague view, the new movement very soon caught up with the then heated debates of intellectuals regarding Afro-Arabism and its wavering between the perspective of the “Melting Pot” and the other of “Unity in Diversity”. By 1983 a view of thought of highly theorization that can only be defined by Sudanese premises and that can only be referred to this movement was developed with its core being democracy and Sudanese nationalism as based upon the perspective of “Unity in Diversity”. It branched conceptually to critically and analytically condemn centro-marginalization, cultural re-production, and Islamo-Arabism- a term coined by it with purely ideological bearing in contrast to honourable Islamic and Arabic cultures. Since then the Congress of Independent Students has been preaching this doctrine of Sudanese Nationalism as opposed to the doctrine of Arab nationalism officially preached by the successive governments.

The Movement of Independent Students played a decisive and crucial role in toppling May Regime. Immediately after its inception in 1979, it succeeded in mustering the various political organizations and led a coalition against the State-supported Muslim Brothers in the elections of Khartoum University Student Union (KUSU), the strongest political arm in post independent Sudan. By 1984 it led a similar coalition that ousted the Muslim Brothers again. Next year the May Regime will be toppled by a people revolution led by a broad coalition of political parties and trade unions spearheaded and mobilized in the first place by KUSU along with other university student unions headed by the Congress of Independent Students.

Since 1985, while the Congress of Independent Students began dwindling and diminishing as a political organization, paradoxically its intellectual discourse of Sudanese Nationalism has steadily built up momentum. By the turn of the century, while its young but invalid mother is barely surviving especially in the big universities, the discourse of Sudanese Nationalism as represented in the perspective of “Unity in Diversity”, criticism of centro-marginalization and the call for the unity of marginalized groups has not only gained supremacy all over the Sudanese student movement, but has also become the core ideology of the “New Sudan” and thus completely identifying with the views of SPLM/SPLA. All roads have truly led to Rome.


15. The Madness of State and Holy Martyrdom:

            By 1982 the State in Sudan was plunging in an abyss of extreme religious fanaticism; a secular sanguinary despot feigned sainthood and put on the regalia of Islam as a camouflage. The inquisition type State of the Khalīfa was reinstated once again. Islam was abused by reducing it into a harsh penal code arbitrarily applied. The machine of the prestigma /stigma was operated in full throttle thus targeting the people of the margin; the blacker you are the more targeted you become. In an unprecedented measure, Khartoum was declared a free-stigma Capital; it was decided that people from the margin to be evacuated from the Tri-Capital (Khartoum, Umdorman and Khartoum North) under the pretext of eradicating vagrancy and loitering. In daylight and under the cynical and mocking laughter of the prestigma, they were hunted and herded like animals to be loaded in trucks that took them back to their home regions which were too impoverished by the process of centro-marginalization to sustain them. Simple Sudanese people did not understand what was going on; it seemed to them that leaders at the top had lost their common sense. As the targeting was proportionate with the degree of stigma, the Southerners, by the virtue of their true Sudanese complexions, were the most to moan under the yoke of that Apartheid State. Their intellectual leaders, who were all Christians, were made under the point of gun to undergo the humiliation of declaring their [sic] Islamic allegiance (al-bay‛a) to the fake Imam. Being already abrogated some years ago, Addis Ababa Accord was long since forgotten by the delirious Imam.

That was the moment when the Sudanese people needed a Christ-like saviour who will take their sins and fears and die on the cross. A humble, old Sudanese man of formidable intellectuality and holiness stood up and faced the delirious Imam and then courageously took the blunt of his madness. That was the martyr Mahmūd Muhammad Tāha who was executed in 1985 by that fake Imam; his insightful Islamic thought and saintly courage will be a source of both enlightenment and patriotism. At the moment of execution his face was uncovered for his judges so that they become sure that was him; vindictively they were expecting to see fear and remorse on his face. To the fright of his pharisaic judges, there was a divine smile, a smile of absolute peace and understanding.

That was the example of courageous leadership the Sudanese people were waiting for so as to follow. That was the sublime bravery that revealed to the Sudanese people the vanity of fear. Less than four months later they took to the streets and that was the end of a mad era. But its end has not come before it had triggered off another civil war. In the years that followed his saintly death, the thought of Mahmūd Muhammad Tāha will be adopted by piecemeal by many Muslim intellectuals worldwide and the Sudanese intellectuals in particular without ever acknowledging this. The absurdity is that this piracy has been practised mostly by those who spent their lives fighting his thought; ironically, some of the judges who condemned him to death were among those intellectual scavengers.



15.1. SPLM/SPLA: the Civil War of the Margin:

By 1983 a group of Southern military soldiers rebelled and took to the jungle: the second civil war has begun. It will prove to be the longest civil war in modern history, claiming the lives of millions of Southern civilians who perished unnoticed either by the marauding government army or caught in between fires.

             The rebellion was engineered by three different groups and was very soon joined by veterans of the first civil war. The scenario of civilians’ tragedies and legacy of that war with its demand of separation of Southern Sudan loomed up in the minds of Sudanese people. Of the three factions that were behind the rebellion at least one of them was wholly committed to the separation of the South. Then a highly educated senior army officer, who was also a veteran of the first civil war, joined the rebellion to emerge very soon as its paramount military commander and intellectual thinker. This is Dr. Col. John Garang De Mabior who will make Sudan take its most sharp turn in history since the establishment of the Funj Sultanate in 1505.

According to its Manifesto, the rebellious body was called “the Sudan People Liberation Movement” (SPLM) with its military arm called “the Sudan People Liberation Army” (SPLA). Although greatly and understandably overshadowed by the South, the movement declared itself as concerned with the whole Sudan. It declared that the war was not a war of the South against the North, but rather it was the war of marginalized people in the South, the Funj and Ingassana, the Nuba Mountains, the West, the East and the North against the centre which is represented by the government of Khartoum, which is not in any way the virtuous government of the whole Sudan. The dominance of the centre on and its exploitation of the marginalized people was deeply rooted in the system that only an armed liberation movement could undo it. That is to say to transcend the linear polarization model (South vs. North) to the circular polarization model (margin vs. centre); that is to say to transcend the “Melting Pot” model of nationalism to the “Unity in Diversity” model of nationalism. The true version of Afro-Arabism as an identity of Sudan has been declared where the plural components of Africanism and Arabism shall be honoured on an equal footing without violating the rights of any party. All this was concluded in the banner of the “New Sudan”.

While calling people from marginalized areas to join the liberation movement, it has also called intelligent people who belong to the Arabic-orientated Middle to join it. All people of Sudan, whether in the middle or periphery, are in need to liberate themselves from the vicious entanglement of centro-marginalization. The process of centro-marginalization victimizes the Sudanese Muslims in general and the Sudanese Arabs in particular by creating the false impression that it works in their interest whereas it uses them as cat’s paw.

It took Sudan five centuries to reach this point of national maturity. Assimilation and the “Melting Pot” model of nationalism inaugurated by ‛Abdu Allah Jammā‛ and ‛Amāra Dungus had served Sudan well in the aftermath of the fall of the Christian Kingdoms. For 4 centuries it had been working for that effect until the Mahdia revolution. Since then it has outlived its virtue. In one century Sudan has made huge leaps toward national maturity. It was triggered off by Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi in his revolution, to only crumble down under the weight of the central State of the Khalīfa and the British-Egyptian colonial rule. This leap was consolidated by the patriotism of both ‛Uthmān Digna and later al-Sultān ‛Ali Dinār.  Then followed the movement led by ‛Ali ‛Abdu al-Latīf in theory and practice to be aborted by the system of prestigma and colonialism. The honourable life and death of the martyr Mahmūd Muhammad Tāha symbolizes the sacrificial readiness and nobility of the Sudanese people. Furthermore, he has shown how thought is much stronger than arms, and how thought defeats death. Lastly but not least is the movement presently led by John Garang De Mabior also in theory and practice. Those are the eight pillars of Sudanese nationalism. By then the core theoretical homework had already been done by the Sudanese intellectuals who bravely fought their way through racial bigotry and religious fanaticism, from subjective to objective reasoning. In fact, every Sudanese intellectual –regardless of being pro or contra- is honoured by virtually being engaged in the argument in concern; it started from the level of the “Melting Pot” and steadily developed to the level of “Unity in Diversity”.


16. The Emergence of the Political Middle:

            At the beginning, very few people took the words of SPLM/SPLA seriously. The people from the margin began slowly taking the movement for its words; after so many centuries of subjugation and intimidation, it was so difficult for them to believe in freedom at its face value. Then they began adhering to the movement. The people of the margin joined the call of the movement in accordance with their degree of stigma: the more stigmatized the people the more enthusiastic they were in taking to arms (‹1›the South, ‹2›Ingassana and Nuba Mountains, ‹3›the West, ‹4›the East and ‹5›last but not least the North). A considerable number of people who were socially supposed to belong to the prestigma showed their national far-sightedness by joining the movement as soldiers and politicians.

            Being the most stigmatized, the Southerners were the core of the movement and its army. As the case in the first civil war, they took it also to be their own war. The national nature of the movement will not dawn on them until later when joiners from outside the South began showing among their ranks. Given the relatively small number of joiners, it was extremely distressful for the Southerners to fight and die on behalf of other people who do not support them even sentimentally. Nevertheless they kept fighting under the banner of liberating the whole Sudan. The increase of joiners with whole areas (such as 2nd degree and 3rd degree areas) taking to arms soothed their hurt feelings and boosted up their morale.

            By declining separatism and declaring that the fight is for the whole of Sudan, the margin has achieved a consciousness of  high level of maturity and bravery; it has come up to the truth that the so called Sudan is the historical homeland of them, the Africans. If the Arabs have come to live with them, they are welcome; there is enough room for every body. But if the Arabs have come to be the masters of the land and relegate them, then they have to fight for it. That was the historical moment when the Sudanese political Middle was born. Coming from the columns of the political Left, they are, truly speaking, the Left Middle or the Sudano-African Middle.

But where is the Right-Middle or the Sudano-Arab Middle? Its maturity depends on the intelligence and transparency of the enlightened groups who have socially been brought up as belonging to the prestigma and the centre whether they are from the middle of Sudan or from its periphery. They need to discover that they belong to the truly honourable Arab culture and Islam, not to the prestigma or the centre. Sudan will make it through if only the factions of this political Middle have developed a progressive national consciousness of true Afro-Arabism.

The movement of the Congress of Independents can be the spearhead of Sudano-Arab Middle as it is ideologically fitting the position. Although the Southern students did not contribute in making it as they had had their own political organization, however the movement was shouldered in its early days by students from all parts of the Sudan. Contrarily to the thought it advocated, the strong winds of the prestigma blew the sails of the movement. Gradually students from marginalized areas dropped out; it was very awkward for them with their twisted tongues to remain with people who speak the highly idiomatic colloquial Arabic of middle Sudan. On the other hand it was also awkward for other students to talk in the presence of marginalized students about racial discrimination or cultural persecution, something they do not suffer from; it is a situation where the marginalized student becomes more advantageous to matters pertaining to leadership. Furthermore with the intensification of marginalization students from marginalized areas withdrew deep into their ethnic boundaries. The marginalized groups did not yet identify with each other, let alone with enlightened people from the centre. By the late 1990s, with the rise of the intellectual discourse of the movement, the organizational body shrank to a countable number of students mostly from the centre.

The large number of the graduates of the movement has remained organizationally inactive as they do not have any body to join; the majority of this group are politically active on an intellectual basis, which is likely to materialize in a kind of political body any moment. The remainder are divided between two political organizations, a civilian political party established in 1986, and an armed opposition organization established in 1994. The former (the National Congress Party) did not fare well during the democratic period to the extent that the present military regime vindictively has usurped the name when it decided to have its own political party. All this time the National Congress Party (Opposition) - as it has come to distinguish itself- has consumed whatever energy it has in this futile feud. The armed organization (Sudan Allied Forces) came into existence timidly admitting that it is committed in a way to the Islamic and Arabic culture of the middle Sudan. Not bothering to explain why it did not join SPLM/SPLA from the beginning, this is deemed the reason behind that. Lately a merge was negotiated to only be tampered by external pressure as such a move would complicate the peace initiative presently being brokered by Western forces.

The movement of the Congress of Independents has so far exerted relentless efforts to muster its dispersed forces and potentials with no avail. Since 1979, thousands and thousands of members of this movement graduated from their respective universities inside and outside Sudan. With no inclusive political body to sustain them, they have amazingly managed to kindle the fire in their hearts and keep it ablaze. While the only two political organizations that emerged from this movement (NCP and SAF) have not succeeded in recruiting those graduates, no other political party can claim to have siphoned them into its ranks. The reason behind this is that those people can only be politically organized in accompaniment of their new and distinguished intellectual discourse of Sudanese nationalism of which they are very proud, something both NCP and SAF have dismissed out of miscalculated pragmatism.

The development of this movement in an inclusive political body is crucially important at this critical moment of Sudanese history. The Left Middle cannot do the job alone; one palm does not clap. It can easily be targeted by Islamo-Arabism as an anti-Islamic, anti-Arab movement as it really includes non-Muslim and non-Arab people. Such accusations can hardly be levelled on the Right Middle which is wholly Muslim and Arab. Bearing the cross of stigma on their back, it is very natural for marginalized people to fight against the prestigma for Freedom, Justice, and Peace. But to fight against the prestigma aiming to dismantle it and reinstate in its place a New Sudan based on the principles of Freedom, Justice, and Peace, while you are assumed at the same time to be belonging to the prestigma, is a great mission that can only be shouldered by great people.


17. The Undoing of the Stigma: the South leading the Sudan:

            As expected, the establishment of the prestigma took the declaration of SPLM/SPLA lightly at first. Then when the seriousness of the movement showed clearly and practically, the prestigma gave vent to its venom: it took it as an appallingly repulsive for a slave to boast of freeing his masters. Sarcastic jokes were bitterly cracked picturing John Garang having at his table the prestigious girls and women of the centre as servants at his table handing food and drinks. The joke lies in reversing the picture of the prestigmatic slaver. The machine of stigma/prestigma was never in such frenzy.

By the turn of the century, with the semi-circle spread of the civil war in the West, Nuba Mountains, the South, Ingassana Mountains and the East, the movement succeeded in securing the allegiance and moral support of the people of the circular margin, i.e. including the Nubians in the North who were the last to join and the least to take to arms. By this time the movement has fought against three political systems: two military dictatorships and an elected government in between with the programme of mono-culturalism, Arabicization and centro-marginalization shared in common by the three of them. From this point of view, as far as the movement was concerned, there was no difference whether the ruling system is totalitarian or democratic. The ideological parameters for both of them are the same.

During the May dictatorship the opposition parties of the centre had allied covertly with the movement with its military victories being applauded out of vindictiveness toward the regime. By the fall of May Regime and restoration of democracy the majority of the centre thought that there was no reason for the movement to fight; they sincerely waited and then urged John Garang to put down arms and peacefully join the democratic procession. That was because they did not take him seriously right from the beginning. They thought that he was just doing like them when he used the word ‘liberation’; playing with words while his ultimate goal was to have the May Regime toppled so he can be a prime minister, or minister at least. It took them the period of democratic rule to come up to the conclusion that the man is dead serious, but not before cursing him enough.

 By the coming of the present military regime, the opposition parties of the centre overtly declared its alliance with the movement. They did this without bothering to exercise any self-criticism, especially from the parties which were assuming the government that escalated the war to the extent of severing any contacts with the movement. Shortly before the coup a group of intellectuals venturing an attempt of brokering peace talks contacted John Garang. Immediately at their coming back the minister of Interior put them in prison. Days after the military coup the same minister slipped out of the Country to only put his hands with John Garang to fight the junta. The farce went to its limit when the junta freed the intellectuals imprisoned by this same minister. Although civilian by nature, the political opposition parties- out of total ineptitude- fled their civilian battlefield which is inside the country, and feigned a boastful military posture. With a fake epaulet they joined the movement in the armed struggle to topple the military regime. Part of their plan was to co-opt the movement by assimilating it in a bigger body. All in all, the trick was that they do the political leadership and leave to the movement to do the military homework, i.e. the fighting. The master thinks of what to grow, but it is the slave who toils the land. This time they got it wrong.

The only positive thing that resulted from that alliance is the normalization of the nation-wide leadership of John Garang by undoing the machine of stigma frenziedly operated by the prestigma. Both vices are conjoined like siamese twins; undoing any one of them consequently results in dismantling the other. Moaning under the yoke of Muslim Brothers, the Sudanese people could only look with hope at John Garang. After all he is the only one who stood firmly for them and who defeated them. The Muslim Brothers came with the aim of annihilating his army, but ended with him liberating the whole South and making it have its own flag and its own coin and various governmental institutions. The Muslim Brothers, on the other hand, has ended with dissension and split up. The head-thinker has also come to join John Garang, whereas the head-ruler has clung to the gun while retreating. This situation has kept on reversing occasionally … a peace is supposed to be achieved. But how?


18. The Selling out of Sudan:

Never has the prestigma been faced with such a problem in its long history. There is only one way left in order to get out of this dilemma half victorious: to strip this John Garang De Mabior from the capacity of a national leader and reduce him into a Southerner once again even if this is going to cost the Sudan the loss of the whole South. This will give the prestigma an injection of life by simply keeping other degrees of stigma tethered a little longer to the prestigmatic centre.  To do this successfully they need the ethically unrestricted force of a superpower; America’s think-tank is always ready for such evil missions; this time old British Empire comes behind as a colonial expertise.

When the war kept going on and on without any prospect of solution, the Southerners have begun losing faith in the nationalist approach of SPLM/SPLA. By 1990 the war reached an extreme degree of intensification. The Government fought it as an Islamic jihad, a matter that has alienated the Southerners more than ever. People and villages were razed to the ground under the marauding advance of the fighting parties. A human being standing on earth claimed no more dignity than a shrivelled tree. The Southerners outside the war zone, especially in exile could stand that no more. The call for separating the South was once again revived. The setback of the Southerners from the ranks of the Left Middle to the ranks of the separatist Left has begun. It took them two decades of frustration: 1973-1993. Meanwhile the extreme Right has never abandoned the idea and possibility of separating the South. The junta in their early days in 1989 made that offer, but backed down under the strong public condemnation; it was also declined by SPLM/SPLA as was expected according to its nationalist approach, i.e. by being Left Middle. This time the institution of prestigma tacitly endorsed the call for separation made then by some Southern intellectuals. America and Britain dashed into the scene when they smelt oil. The scenario of the present brokered peace initiative was put forward.

With the prospects of Sudan becoming an oil country it was a matter of time until America pushes its way with heavy-handed diplomacy. It is like a splash of blood in the Red Sea, in no time sharks will smell it. And after all it was Chevron, an American company, which discovered that oil in the first place, before selling out the concession. More opportunely, the richest fields are in the South, where, fortunately to the Americans, there is a civil war against a dictatorial regime. A dictatorial regime is the best thing America can dream of for a Third World country. If it accepts the manipulating friendship of America, then long life is guaranteed; if it does not, nothing is easier and ethically acceptable than to target a Third World dictatorship by the biggest democracy in the world. The West in general and America in particular hate nothing more than to see democracy flourish in the Third World.

Separating the South will leave the North in status quo where the privileged ruling class, i.e. the prestigma will keep going on. Adopting the battered Islamic regime of Sudan will not only do that, but will also make the Americans put their hands on virgin fields rich with oil. In the independent State of what will become of the South of Sudan, a despotic government is probably the kind of rule America will support. An interim period is vitally important as the central government in Khartoum can generously give the Americans concessions in the south that cannot be repealed by the later independent Southern government. Furthermore, a new Islamic fundamentalist government in the Northern State of Sudan is needed by the Americans to accomplish another job. Instead of reconsidering their policies towards the Muslims, the Americans are unwittingly trying hard to bring the Islamic fundamentalist movements back to the harness. A new breed of well-domesticated Islamic fundamentalism remotely controlled by America- not like the one that wildly went out of control in Afghanistan- is needed and is possible to be engineered. This is how America is going to reconcile with Islam, by robbing and subjugating Muslims. And this is how America is going to support black Africa, by robbing and subjugating Africans.

In the past America was not that interested in the Sudan as it was considered to be one of the poorest countries in the world. Now, counting the huge resources it has with oil, America will do any thing but help this gigantic to rise up. This is our time, we the Sudanese people, to prove to the Third World that the battle against evil America can be won without war; by civilization which can only be realized by making freedom, justice, and peace prevail in Sudan.


 19. A Circular Civil War but a Linear Peace:

            By claiming that it came to liberate Sudan from the hegemony of the centre which relegates the whole country into marginalization, especially the periphery, SPLM/SPLA has become very attractive to people from the margin. Now it includes among its fighters people from Nuba Mountains, Ingassana, Beja, Dar Fur and representative figures from all over the country. Presently the civil war is not only in the South, it has spread to these other parts. The war has become circular, i.e. it can only be described in terms of the margin vs. the centre. If there is any peace to be brokered, it should be inclusive in respect of all marginalized groups fighting along with SPLM/SPLA. However, the peace initiative which is brokered by America and Britain, and which is being presently negotiated is concerned only with the civil war in the South. Like the rest of the West, America and Britain have persistently decided to deal with the civil war in Sudan as between the black African and Christian South against the Muslim Arab North.

There is no meaning in putting out the fire in part of the house while other parts are aflame. There no sense in deciding to put an end to the war in the South and leave it to flare up in the Ingassana, Dar Fur, Nuba Mountains or Beja, especially when the causes of the war are the same and the fighting groups have achieved a kind of unifying body. It just does not make sense. There is something fishy here. It is much easier to deal with the unifying body which can help settle the whole thing in one stroke than to have many parties to deal with. Even in this case, what is the wisdom behind telling the other parties to wait until the fight in the South comes to an end. It is like telling them to keep on fighting until you reach a deal with the biggest fighting group? Is it that they have not yet claimed enough importance or that the wars they are engaged in have not yet claimed enough lives?

            The way to rationalize this approach is to assume that the war is between the South and the North, a matter that will take us back to the stereotype of Arab-Muslim North vs. Christian-African South, i.e. the linear polarization with its conceptual entourage of centro-marginalization, cultural re-production and the whole system of stigma. One can expect such a peace to be brokered by the institution of prestigma. But this peace is being brokered by America and Britain! Even the Western mass media and academia, generally speaking, vehemently stick to the linear polarization. Is it simply complicity, or the short-sightedness of stereotype? How can the fighters of Nuba Mountains, Ingassana and the Beja be disengaged from SPLM/SPLA? The simplistic answer is that because they are Northerners. But what about the Dinka of Southern Kordufan? The linear shallowness which is accommodated simply because of complicity shows in the answer that boundaries can be adjusted a little to include them in the South. If this is possible, why not to adjust it a little further to include e.g. the Nuba Mountains as they are also from Southern Kordufan? Why not to push the line a little northward to include the Ingassana? This seems to be a Byzantine argument because of the linear basis of demarcation. This longitudinal line can be pushed northward as well as southward. It can also be a latitudinal with the Nile at least serving as a meridian. In this way Dar Fur can be cut off, and the same can be said eastward to have the Beja cut off. Within any entity of them new lines will eventually appear.

As this scenario is the one likely to happen in the South it will be far damaging as it may trigger off a Rwanda/Burundi style of ethnic genocide, because the linear polarization stops at nothing. The linear peace of Addis Ababa Accord showed the signs of this. Sudan is said to be a chromosome of Africa in its diversity. In fact each part of it is also a chromosome of the whole Country; diversity is everywhere in Sudan. If the Southerners (as a bloc) have decided to pull out of united Sudan because they have come to the conclusion that diversity (represented in regional blocs) is not manageable, what makes them sure that they can manage the diversity within the South bloc when cashed down in its smallest coins? A watchmaker who fails to fix a grandfather clock can hardly be expected to repair a wristwatch.

Bearing in mind that America- like a puppeteer- will have them all dancing at the end of a string, one will not be surprised if the linear segmentation continues on to end up with Vatican-sized States run by the Americans, with two or three of them filthy rich with oil. The Arab shaykhdom-monarchies will be set as a model to follow for the Southerners. Once again Sudan will have a version of black Arabs, the black mondukuru of independent Southern Sudan or whatever.

            Having the South, West and East cut off from the historical State of Sudan, with each of them going into internal linear polarizations, there is no guarantee that the so called remaining North will be intact. Taking Sudan as its backyard, Egypt will threateningly be furious about this disintegration unless she is given a big share of the booty. Under the pretext of protecting its national water security, nothing will stop her from annexing the Nubian region just below the Shāygiyya land. Egypt has already been occupying the two triangles of Serra, north of Halfa, and Halāyib, on the Red Sea, for decades. The Nubian triangle basin of Halfa-Dongola-‛Uweenāt will also be annexed to the so called Toshka agricultural scheme. Presently, news are leaking out revealing that negotiations on highest levels with the Egyptian government are being made so as to facilitate the settlement of millions of Egyptian peasants along with their families in the fertile deltas of Tōkar and al-Gāsh, and the Nubian triangle basin. The aim of this move is said to safeguard the Arab identity of Sudan against the growing consciousness -sic- of Africanism.

            What will be left of present-day Sudan will amount to no more than the Nile strip of the 100% Arabized Sudan, i.e. the centre. Failing to assimilate the different parts of Sudan by the strategy of centro-marginalizatio and the tactic of linear polarization, cultural re-production, prestigma and stigma, the centre will finally be ready to do without them. “Thins fall apart; the centre cannot hold”. Multi-culturalism cannot be managed by mono-culturalism; the bite is too much to chew. In relying on cultural homogeneity, the Nile strip remainder of Sudan should not be hopeful of any peaceful prosperity. A look at Somalia will show that cultural and ethnic homogeneity is not a guarantee of national unity. The middle of Sudan is nothing than the people of the margin being re-produced into Islamo-Arab culture. Based in essence on centro-marginalization, it will eventually come out having its own linear stratification with its prestigma and stigma. Centro-marginalization is like a black hole in the sky; it siphons cosmos and itself into absolute nothingness.


20. The True Peace:

            True peace in Sudan is a matter of common sense, long since lost as a result of cultural and racial prejudices. Prejudice is like snow, it melts out slowly; in a context where prejudice reigns, common sense becomes like breeze, it vanishes with the weakest wave of heat. Losing our common sense, we may not be lunatic but we are not fully sane either. The dilemma is that without common sense, the vanity of prejudice cannot be discerned; with prejudice there is no common sense. When there is no breakthrough of this vicious circle, the only way out is to wear off prejudice by maximizing it: by war until people has had enough of it. And we do have had enough of it. Isn’t it time we regain our common sense?

            People of the margin should come together. On the civilian political level they should have an alliance that represents their think-tank. Before coordinating or uniting their military organs they need to have their civilian organizations united in a big alliance. The battle against the centre has had to fronts: military and civilian. So far they have been faring very well on the military front with nothing done on the civilian level. The two kinds of bodies are not to be necessarily conditioned by each other; although driving at one aim, the civilian battle is virtually different than the military battle however. The Sudanese political Middle should develop into its two wings: Left Middle and Right-Middle. The Right-Middle should not mistake its position; it is part of the margin by the virtue of fighting the institution of prestigma and centro-marginalization. This alliance of the forces of the margin is fundamental in peace and war. If it is war, then war should be fought out properly; if it is peace, then peace should be well-guarded.

            The paper homework of this alliance has already been done in what has come to be known as the Congress of United Sudan Homeland (CUSH). In the mid 1990s a group of Sudanese intellectuals representing almost all marginalized areas began in Khartoum, under very difficult security situations, to formulate a manifesto that can serve as a political platform of wide alliance for the marginalized groups. The draft -initially written by a young man from the Nuba Mountains- was revised and revised many times. The process of revision was in fact governed by successive consultations with representatives of marginalized groups. Still no one claims that it has taken its final shape.

 In 1999 a body called the Coordination Board was formed in which the marginalized areas were also reasonably represented. In its first meeting three land-marking points were decided: the name and principles of the alliance, the types of organizations eligible to membership, and democratization.

The name of the proposed organization which was (the Congress of the United Sudan Homeland {CUSH}) was unanimously endorsed. “Congress” was taken to represent democracy; “United” was taken to indicate the commitment of the movement to the unity of Sudan; “Sudan” was taken to show how this country has been associated with the blacks all through history, a matter that stands for both identity and continuity; “Homeland” was to represent the unshakeable belief of the movement in citizenship regardless of race or religion. The principles agreed upon were: freedom, justice, and peace. There is no peace where there is no justice, and there is no justice if Man is not free. These principles connote the relentless struggle of Sudanese people for dignity, progress and prosperity.

Three types of organization were decided to be eligible to join CUSH. They are as follows: a/ “Regionally-defined” organizations, such as “Ittihād Nahdat Dār Fūr” or “Ittihād Jibāl al-Nūba” which respectively represented two different regions that contain various ethnic groups with legitimate demands in regards of development, identity and welfare. Such organizations were agreed to bear the name of “Ittihād” i.e. “Union” in honour of the above pioneering organizations which, against all bigotry and prejudice, have normalized regionally-defined movements; b/ “Culturally-defined” organizations such as “Mu’tamar al-Bija” which represents an ethno-cultural group with its legitimate demands in regards of development, identity and welfare. Such organizations were agreed to bear the name of “Mu’tamar” i.e. “Congress” in honour of such movements which have normalized culturally-defined organizations against all the accusations leveled on them; c/ “None-defined” organizations such as the Communist Party or The Muslem Brothers which cannot be referred to or posited on definite socio-cultural or regional settings, taking what they say of themselves by face value. No particular naming was suggested for such organizations.

It was believed that the cultural pluralism of Sudan can only be recognized practically when the unalienable right to form smaller organizational units to express the geopolitical and ethno-cultural peculiarities of this pluralism is also recognized. Belonging to more than one political organization is permissible as far as they are CUSH signatories.

 “Grounded democracy” has been deemed basic. It means democratizing the basic processes of decision-making within CUSH, i.e. between the signatory organizations and within the organizations themselves. For instance, in cases of constituencies where there are more than one CUSH signatory organization, the candidate to represent CUSH should be chosen by internal elections confined to CUSH affiliates in the concerned constituency. This grounded democracy will teach the smaller organizations how to build up coalitions within CUSH to have their voices heard. So instead of hypocritically denying differences, grounded democracy developmentally organizes and manages them; those who do not tolerate this democratic game disqualify themselves from CUSH. In this way CUSH will go down to the people through their local organizations, while going up nationally; a rally organized to protest against slavery or massacres such as that of al-Di‛een, would bring people from all over the margin, whereas elections in Nūba Mountains will concern only the local organizations affiliated to CUSH. It is this democratic and procedural dynamism that really distinguishes CUSH from other traditional and classical political organizations.

The Manifesto is considered to be the most comprehensive treatise of its kind. It is written in a straightforward way that would allow only those who really belong to it to come together. There is no way of either mistaking or confusing it with trends that do not belong to it. It bravely faces the crisis of centro-marginalization by naming and shaming. No marginalized group has so far claimed that its demands are not properly addressed by it or missing. Reference was made in the Manifesto to certain marginalized groups usually passed by unmentioned by politicians as they cause a lot of embarrassment and sensitivities, such as the Copts, Armenians, Chamese, Indians, Rashāyda, Fulani, Hausa, and Berno etc., to say nothing of the so-called refugees from the neighbouring countries who have been living in the Sudan for decades and who rightly deserve citizenship.

            Such a strong alliance can positively lead the negotiations with the government that represents the prestigma. Peace can be achieved in one stroke and can be well-guarded against any relapse. Eventually the Right will be pushed by events to build up its own alliance; in such context the prestigmatic Right will never fare well. In the long run both the Right and Left will regain their common sense, a matter that will end up in having them absorbed in the Right-Middle and the Left-Middle respectively. Not flanked anymore by its extreme extensions, the Middle will split up into proper Right and Left, and that is the moment when Sudan will have its healthy Right and Left; a new Middle whose identity is very hard to forecast will eventually come into shape.


20.1. Self-Determination:

The war, any war, lived from outside is news whether good or bad; the war lived from within is a tragedy of bereavement. For four decades the Southerners have been living through continual bereavement incurred by the civil war in Sudan. No one but God knows how the Southerners are coping with their eternal bereavement and noble sorrows that has no equal in history but the one incurred by slavery. More than 3 million lives of peaceful civilians lost. They have become a figure, 3 million, but no names or official records, let alone photos. The least solace we can have is that each one of them was missed and mourned by a relation, at least. The infinite horror of this war could have been well conceived if it were possible to collect the tears shed by the Southerners in barrels. As if this is not enough the war has spread to other parts of the Sudan. The real solace we can have is to honour the survivals with true peace. By the turn of the century peace looked too far than ever. This is how the Southerners have come to welcome the call for the separation of the South. Enough is enough!

One of the tactics employed by the successive governments of Khartoum in this war is the manipulation of ethnicity to disintegrate the unity of the Southerners. Many ethnic groups were used as cat’s paw to fight in agency for the government. Total vulnerability on behalf of these ethnic groups was the major factor behind it. SPLA has handled such cases with ruthlessness equivalent to that of the other party. This will never be forgiven by a considerable number of Southerners who will pose as the true representatives of the South. Those are the spearhead of the call for separating the South. It is unfair to say that they are ultimately the outcome of the manipulation of ethnicity by the government. They have always been there lurking behind the nationalist banners of Addis Ababa Accord and the manifesto of SPLM/SPLA. They came on the centre of stage when the West directed its attention to the Islamic fundamentalist government in Khartoum with its infamous and fake jihad in the South. The separatists began working hard to have their demand recognized by the West. On the western part, it was considered as too bold to put in the agenda of Sudan the separation of the South in a straightforward way. Such a move is against the ordinance of the African Unity Organization.

By that time the war began spreading to other marginalized parts of Sudan with SPLM/SPLA being either a convenient body to merge in and join or taken as a model to follow. That is the time when the prestigma began working hard to contain the growing influence and leadership of the Southerners, especially John Garang whose formidable national image was becoming too much threatening. The prestigma were not necessarily people affiliated to the Islamic regime, they were among the opposition also. Influential, non-partisan people among the intellectuals were also active to curb the nationally growing picture of John Garang. Self-determination for the South was timely put forward; it does not mean separation, but it will definitely lead to it. It is always expressed through the discourse and context of separation.

 In no time it has become very appealing to the Southerners. For many of them it caused euphoria. The history-long grudges and grievances were projected on the dismissive arguments of many Southerners regarding any prospects of national unity. Adamantly and sometimes vindictively they argued for the separation while talking about self-determination as if they are synonyms. To them separation was like an achievement replacement of the lasting and humiliating victory they have so far failed to inflict on the so called North. On the other hand it has also settled an account they have with John Garang. It is either he complies with the new trend and behaves himself as a Southerner, or he will lose the backing of the Southern public to whom John Garang will look like a warmonger who takes Southern soldiers to die in a war that does not concern them. This was meant to bring the high national esteem of John Garang back to the curb as nothing more than a Southerner, just like them.

So far John Garang has stood firm against the plots of Khartoum successive governments to make him come for negotiations as a Southerner fighting for the South only. Ruthlessly he has also eradicated separatists from the ranks of SPLM/SPLA. He has also managed to evasively manoeuvre around the pressure of America and Britain to make him fight for the separation of the South with assured promises of backing. But this time it looks like he has got hooked. John Garang cannot afford to lose the Southern public which supplies him with more then 85% of his soldiers. This is the paradox of his nationalist project; he is fighting with soldiers mainly from the South a war for the welfare of the whole of Sudan. The stigma is fighting and dying for the welfare of the prestigma without meriting its gratefulness. This is too much for the Southerners however great people they may be. Like ‛Ali ‛Abdu al-Latīf, John Garang has been let down by the enlightened class of Sudanese who while admiring him and believing in him have lacked the courage to bring themselves under his leadership. There is no reason for that other than a last surviving trace of the vanity of prestigma the roots of which go back to slavery.

Self-determination is a legitimate demand raised in bad faith. If it is only about separation, then it is referendum that all we need. All marginalized areas are entitled to self-determination. But the question is to determine what? The answer is to determine their rightful positions in the united Sudan in the first place. This presupposes that you must have a clear vision on what kind of position you claim that you are entitled to occupy. These are the basic agenda to negotiate with the centre your project of self-determination through. An interim period is required as a test of credibility on behalf of the centre and a test of capability on behalf of the margin. If this fails then a referendum is made as part of the self-determination package in which the concerned people should decide whether to keep on or to pull out … but to pull out from what? From the federal State. This means that federalism should be the basis for this self-determination.

The Southerners should know that in their noble fighting and dying they are not doing this for the prestigmatic centre. They are rather fighting to occupy the rightful position they are entitled to in the socio-economical realities of Sudan. They are fighting against the institution of centro-marginalization in order to bring an end to the so called prestigma.  It is a battle ordained to be won. After victory Sudan will be run by a governmentality that owes its existence to the struggle of the marginalized people of whom the Southerners will emerge as the leading group. Opting for separation may imply succumbing by fleeing the battlefield. What does not make sense is that separation does not guarantee peace; fighting and dying will continue with only one difference. This time fighting and dying will be for the benefits of America. What a shame! History will never forgive us for that.


20.2. Federalism: the Dismantlement of Centro-Marginalization:

            Autonomy is the essence of federalism. The different parts of Sudan has enjoyed autonomous rule since time immemorial. In the Funj era the tribal kinglets were autonomous. During the Egyptian-Turkish rule a policy of decentralization was adopted. During the British-Egyptian rule the tribal and local administrations was a continuum of what prevailed before. So federalism has a deep-rooted legacy. During May Regime regional government (a different appellation of the same product) was introduced. Since then politicians and regimes have employed a host of word play terminologies from Arabic to English and vice-versa. Nevertheless the process of centro-marginalization has undone this history-long tradition of federalism.

            Cultural centralism is the base of centro-marginalization. In such a context technical federalism will amount to nothing more than a trick. Evasively the concept of share of power and wealth is being deliberated and then presented as the appropriate approach for solving the problem. As far as the process of culturally re-producing the margin in the centre is going on, there is no way that a sound federalism can be achieved. Centro-marginalization defeats federalism. If the child pupil from marginalized groups will be humiliated in his early years in school simply because he/she does not speak Arabic, then what is the meaning of federalism that stigmatizes non-Arab people?

The concepts of stigma and prestigma are embedded in the process of centro-marginalization. This is directly related to the problem of national character, personality and national identity. How is this going to be portrayed in our national educational curricula? Lacking any vision pertaining to the cultural problem has been the primary shortcoming of the struggle of the margin against the centre. The Western model of superficially recognizing the blacks and other races under the banner of multiculturalism and having them on the façade of every cultural activity where the parameters prevailing are the mechanism of assimilation is in no where to be followed. It has relegated the blacks in a similar way as slavery. Just like the marionette-slave, the Western culture of assimilation has yielded a very degenerate model for the blacks: to sing, dance and run. With such poor models it is hardly possible for them to fare well; to sing, dance and run you do not need to read and study hard- as perceived by young blacks. You only need to imitate. With school dropout and consequently juvenile crime in increase, the blacks are stigmatized as never before as good for nothing people. There is no way for this to happen in the Sudan, simply because this way the war is not going to stop.

The parameters of federalism should be the cultural        premises and the cultural rights of all the people of Sudan. Federalism should be based on the perspective of “Unity in Diversity” not that of the “Melting Pot”.




20.4. Plural Democracy not Liberal Democracy:

            Democracy is not necessarily liberal. Liberalism is a Western cultural characteristic. The liberal philosophy came into shape in the course of defending the individual’s rights against violation by the state. Liberalism is individualistic by nature. In Sudanese society where the individual is identified according to his/her age group there is no place for either individualism or liberalism. Democracy is not a self-sufficient concept; it takes different shapes according to the cultural premises on which it is being grounded. This is why the Westerners have defined it with their own cultural identity, i.e. liberalism. This means that liberal democracy can never be applied in a society whose culture is not characterized with individual liberalism. It is really disgusting when one sees how the Sudanese intellectuals chew the term ‘liberal democracy’ without ever being able to swallow it. More than shallowness it tells about the vanity of their democracy which is nothing more than a technically expensive way of hassling people through the poll.

            Another cynical term also chewed by our bogus intellectuals is the ‘democracy of Westminster’. It is the democracy where the bishops of the Church of England, not imams or rabbis, are members of parliament by the virtue of being religious men with the right to vote. It is a democracy where the Queen is the sponsor of the church. A democracy where the parliament is wholly based on two countering bodies: the Lords vs. the Commons, i.e. prestigmatic vs. stigmatic. The Lords are members by prestigmatic heredity or at their best appointed. This is not meant in any way to mock the British system, a mockery it rightly deserves, but to show how they have grounded democracy in their own culture according to their own ageless system of prestigma/stigma. How can our intellectuals use such a term in referring to the crippled democracy so far applied in Sudan? Unless that they are observing the prestigma/stigma similarity.

            The democracy that can be applied in a culturally plural society is by definition pluralistic democracy. The premise of pluralism here is the various cultures. The whole culture of the group is equated to the individual in the Western democracy. In a society where the individual is asked of his tribe before asked of his name, there is no individualism and by this virtue there is no liberalism.


21. Prosperity:

            Sudan can make history once again by bringing the peoples and countries of Bilād al-Sūdān together with the peoples and countries of East Africa in a commonwealth and a common market with an area on the Red Sea as a Free Zone with outlet lifelines to inland countries, if only he knows where he belongs.


            Muhammad Jalāl Ahmad Hāshim

          Beacon House, Ibstone Road

Stokenchurch, Bucks


01. 01. 2004