[Dehai-WN] Pambazuka.org: Sudan struggle: an African self-determination cause

[Dehai-WN] Pambazuka.org: Sudan struggle: an African self-determination cause

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2011 00:52:30 +0200

Sudan struggle: an African self-determination cause

Explo N. Nani-Kofi

2011-09-21, Issue <http://www.pambazuka.org/en/issue/548> 548


Clashes between the Sudan People's Liberation Movement and the Sudan Armed
Forces are the latest flashpoints in a crisis that points to issues beyond
the borders of Sudan, writes Explo N. Nani-Kofi.

On 2 September, the President of Sudan declared a state of emergency in the
Blue Nile state of Sudan and dismissed the elected governor Malik Agar and
replaced him with the commander-in-chief of the Sudan Armed Forces base in
the Al-Damazin, the capital town. This can best be described as a military
coup against the elected governor of the Blue Nile. There were clashes
between the Sudan People's Liberation Movement - North and the Sudan Armed
Forces the preceding day. This has become the latest flashpoint of the
character of the crisis in Sudan since the independence of South Sudan.

The reasons for South Sudan breaking away from Sudan are strongly applicable
to Blue Nile, South Kordofan and Darfur. During the wars which preceded the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan, the people of Blue Nile and South
Kordofan which explains the strong presence of the Sudan People's Liberation
Movement in these states. It therefore raises a question of how these states
are going to be kept in Sudan when a part of the country has been lost due
to the same grievances which they face. The present situation will lead to
an increased collaboration of the forces of South Kordofan, Blue Nile and
Drafur against the Arabo-Islamic tyranny in Khartoum. The Arabo-Islamic
tyranny under Al-Bashir will also respond with extremely repressive
measures. Reports have it that there are still armed attacks from the
government's forces on the Nuba people in South Kordofan, tantamount to a
military occupation. Bishop Andudu, the Bishop of Kadugli and Suleiman
Rahhal, the Director of Nubba Survival Foundation, informed people through
GFM Radio's 'Another World is Possible' radio programme out of London in
recent weeks that unprovoked armed attacks on civilians affecting women and
children continue to be carried by the Sudan Armed Forces.
A subject of great dispute has been the issue of Arab-led or Arabisation-led
oppression in the Sahel zone of Africa from Mauritania to Sudan. Despite the
fact that quite a lot is researched and written on the subject, including
campaigns by internationally recognised human rights organisations, many
still try to brush this issue under the carpet. The issue of indiscriminate
killing and arrest of black immigrants in Libya has been highlighted by the
news media recently as a major issue. At present most people present this as
an anti-Gaddafi attack on black immigrants by the rebels because of
Gaddafi's support for African unity and, so the blacks have become targets
just as the rebels oppose Gaddafi. This slant ignores the pogroms in Libya
against Ghanaians, Nigerians, Niger nationals, Malians and Chadians in 2000.
It was then reported that more 100 black Africans were killed during those
attacks in September to October 2000. In fact, Ghana's then President J.J.
Rawlings went to Libya himself during the crisis and returned on a special
Ghana Airways flight with 200 Ghanaians. A lot of black migrant workers fled
Libya during the period. During the Conference of African Migrants in Europe
in Tripoli in January 2011, some black migrant workers came to us, the
delegates, and complained about Arab racism in Libya society towards them. I
see the present attacks on black migrants in Libya today and the 2,000
attacks as linked and evidence of the fact that Arab racism towards blacks
is as much a reality as European racism is.

Back to Sudan, it is this reality that the people of Sudan have faced since
the 7th century when Islam drifted southwards from Egypt. This has resulted
in the targeted oppression of the people of Blue Nile, South Kordofan,
Darfur and South Sudan under the Arabo-Islamic ruling class in Khartoum. It
has unfortunately, in Sudan, become an institutionalised tool of capitalist
exploitation as well as divide and rule. Elsewhere, I have seen the
separation of Eritrea from Ethiopia being put in the same category as the
separation of South Sudan from Sudan. By putting them in the same category
will hind this important fact of the Afro-Arab societal conflict. Eritrea
got differentiated from Ethiopia by Italian occupation but South Sudan
alongside Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan are in conflict with Khartoum
because they want to remain what they have always been and resist becoming
Arabised clones. The fact that this issue is not raised by many
self-acclaimed progressives is rather what is worrying. It is even a very
difficult question for most progressive and radical Arabs as they become
very defensive instead of approaching the issue as one of social justice
which should concern all. When I raised the issue in discussions during an
anti-imperialist conference in Beirut, Lebanon, in January 2009, people
found it difficult and the Sudan delegation of black Arabised Sudanese there
promised inviting people on a fact finding mission. They even took down
names of interested people but I never received any invitation and have also
not heard anything of any fact finding mission yet taking place. With the
recent genocidal actions on the Khartoum regime in South Kordofan and Blue
Nile, who needs a fact finding mission before being aware of what is
happening as a follow up to the feudal and religious expansion and
occupation since the 7th century?
My deduction from this is that the problem in Blue Nile, South Kordofan,
Darfur and South Sudan is not an internal Sudanese issue but an issue beyond
the borders of Sudan, and that what is happening in Sudan is a manifestation
of a more general problem. It is an issue of self-determination. The problem
is not separate from the reports of Afro-Arab conflict along the Sahel zone,
nor is it separate from the present attacks on black immigrants in Libya now
and in 2000. Without this understanding we will not develop a successful
strategy for the permanent resolution of the conflict, as it will be
tempting to be dealing with the manifestation rather than the conflict
itself. From this analysis, the first line of resistance and solidarity will
be all black Africans who are not ready to be cloned into something else
than what they are, so it is a Pan-African issue and task. As a social
justice movement this should attract the attention and solidarity necessary
to rectify the situation by all progressive and democratic minded people the
world over, including progressive and democratic minded Arabs. I see this as
the first necessary step towards the permanent resolution of the conflict.


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Received on Thu Sep 22 2011 - 18:52:41 EDT
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