UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
|Issue No 26||April/May 1997|
|'Sudan News & Views'
is an independent electronic Newsletter working to advocate peace, human
rights and humanitarian aid for the Sudan.
Our guest writer for this issue is Dr. Kunijwok Kwawang, who is both a politician and political scientist. Dr. Kunijwok graduated with an Honours degree in Pure Politics from the Faculty of Economics and Social Studies, University of Khartoum in 1976. He obtained a Masters Degree from the University of Manchester in 1979, and a Doctorate from Wolfson College in Oxford in 1982. He worked as a lecturer in the University of Khartoum. He is also the President of the Sudanese African Congress (SAC) political party. He held the position of Minister for Labour, in al-Sadig al-Mahdi cabinet (1986-1987). Dr. Kunijwok had authored a number of articles.
Please note that articles by guest writers express the writer's views which do not necessarily coincide with the editor's.
When All Are Orphans: Reaping The Bitter Pill of Truth in Sudanicology1
The ideals, enshrined in the former Soviet Union, may be history, but the philosophical struggle, between Evolutionary and Creationary norms, is yet to start. Embedded in this struggle is the idea of truth itself: Scientific of Divine. At a time when man's knowledge of maps was limited, the extent of that struggle remained relatively limited; but after European colonization, the world became one, an oasis of bodies, embroiled in the endless competition over the bitter pill of truth. Eurasia, and now America, still believe in giving Africa the bitter pill of truth.
Sudan is Africa's oldest and largest political territory. If the Great Creator, Natural or Divine, can be traced to be continuously active at work, the location, in which to search for resultant truths in the Creator's work is the geographical Sudan. Here, the evolved or created Original Beings have moved through multifarious Desitical Divinities (4000 BCE2) to Christianity, Islam, and presently, to forms of primordial secularism. Observable, as it is in the nature of human psychosis, to create states that necessarily legitimize the use of force, for social transformation, the traceable processes of those Sudan evolutionary trends appear to be displacementary in character. That at least, would explain how the Sudan of the Bible, like previous Kush, Nubia, Napta, Menkwaro, Alwal and Fung, progressively displaced each other and, uneventfully, exited into the oblivion of world history. Later, in 1820, when Turkey decided to use the mentally metamorphosed Egyptians, to eradicate all naturally evolved African Civilizations of the Upper Valleys of the Nile rivers3, there was not just one nation but Seven conceptually, and philosophically very dissimilar nations, existing as follows:
The Pro-Egyptian Arab slave owning Family of Ali al Mirghani and her Islamic Khatmiya Sect favored the government's condonation of (1898 - 1955) and active involvement (1955-1997) in enslaving Africans. After 1924, having realized the Egyptian Interest in elbowing out Christian Britain from the presumed 'Southern flank of Arab Homeland', the British ruling officers shifted alliance from the Mirghani Family to the hitherto disinherited Family of Mohammed Ahmed Abdallaha, the 1885 executioner of Charles Gordon8. Within the conceptual framework of 'Mahdism and Sudan for Sudanese slogans', the British implanted a new sensual policy of Arab nationalism into the psychic nerve-field of Ansars, followers of Mohammed Ahmed Abdallaha, who then was officially promoted to the status of 'Sudanese Mahdi'. Abdel Rhaman Abdallaha, the posthumous son of the newly celebrated Mahdi, was accordingly knighted and given capital and property, to rebuild a nationwide image of Mahdism.
For the British rulers of 'New Sudan', returning the 'Mahdi' factor to the forefront of modern nation construction was an antithesis of Sudan's racial and social history of conflict. For the truth is, as it was, that the Man, Mohammed Ahmed Abdallah, was a Black African Nationalist. His revolution was an African National Uprising against unjust, alien rule9. His soldiers were from Pachodo, Palugo, Pacir and Podhigillo-Dimmo. Not surprisingly therefore, the Sudanese Mahdi was murdered by Pro-Egyptian Arab conspirators. The Mahdi's false successor, one Egyptian Messirya Arab serf, called Abdullahi al Taisha, turned the murdered Mahdi Ideals into 'Arab Islamic nationalism'. Four years of 'War for sovereign Control' followed the Mahdi's assasination10. As a result of those wars, both Egypt and Britain were in an impossible position to create one Sudan nation. Neither a concoction of 'Sudan for Sudanese' nor 'Unity of the Nile valley' could work. It did not take long for the British colonial rulers of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, to discover that Azande, Imatong, Mangalla, Pachodo and Palugo (territories in the 'South of colonial Anglo-Egyptian's New Sudan') provided 'that' Mahdi with the fighting forces which successfully routed out of power the sixty-five year old Turko-Egyptian enslaving military tyranny. Again (as in 1250), it was African Nationalism, not Islamic zealotry, that signified the emergence of a Mahdi in the country of Black People. The British difficulty, then was how to fully swap allegiance: To start collaborating with Black African 'Savage Races' (the general inhabitant populations of the South and Closed Districts". Had that change of policy to happen, it would mean a logical withdrawal from colonial partnership with Egypt and the local, educationally and socially prepared Arab, Islamic Minority (the general Muslim inhabitants of the Lower Nile Valley - the Arab North) considering in particular, that the latter Black African Majority in the East, West and South, who, previously having been so successfully neglected, nevertheless seem to remain 'happy in their ignorance of the world around them?'.
On behalf of Britain, in 1946, one man, Sir James Robertson, decided to abandon the so-called 'protectionist Southern Policy' and, by that act, returned the Africans of the South to the open slave markets of the Middle East.11 An administrative official formalisation, in 1947, of that unconstitutional government unilateral decision brought back the restless Arabs to Black Sudan. Luckily, every African nationalist in the South, East and Closed Districts of the New Sudan knew what Arab return to the country of black people meant. So, on 18 August 1955, the Africans in Torit, South of Sudan, shot up the first bullet to express African demand for freedom from Arab slavery and political domination. On 19 December 1955, the Arab dominated constituent Assembly voted for full independence from the London Foreign and commonwealth Office12. The British personnel did leave Sudan, but Cairo and Egypt remained to continue Arab wars of genocide, colonialism, domination and enslavement of African inhabitants of the East, West and South of Sudan.
For a while, free political democratic debate, especially between 1956 and 1957, brought the equally neglected Africans in the West, East and Centre of the New Sudan, closer to their compatriots in the South. Consequently, in 1958, the Umma Arab Islamic Party agreed with the ruling, Pro-Egyptian National Unionist Party, NUP, to hand political power to the army, in order to further Sudanise the recalcitrant African, by competently forcing Islam, Arab language and culture onto entire populations in the south, East and West of the primary Mahdist State of Omdurman. On the pretext of national integration., Arab nationalism, race and Islam predominated over freedom and democracy. In the processes of that assimilation policy (1958-1964), Muslim Africans were irresponsibly and immorally used, by the Arab State of Omdurman, to massacre fellow Africans in the South, again, in the name of Arab Culture and Islam. Happily, in 1967, the Africans of Pacir and Podhigillo (Kordufan and Darfur) woke up to the bitter truth of that racial abuse. Just as well, the Beja Congress, in different 'parliamentary' sittings, had always sided with 'Southerners and Westerners' - formal titles the Arab rulers use to nationally alienate Africans - particularly when matters of sovereignty and 'national' security were raised.
Until the 1985 African Uprising in Khartoum, Islam was carelessly used
to politically prevent the inhabitant populations of the geographical Sudan
from having the democratic opportunity to freely discuss neither the question
of sovereignty, nor their relations with each other, or their unity?.
'National Integration', on the basis of Arab race, culture, language and Islam, has been solely and directly responsible for war, slavery, genocide and popular humiliation, until now the current war, like past wars, is as much about nationalism as it is about underdevelopment, racism, Islamtheid, Arab cultural imperialism, expansionism, land, natural resources, dictatorship and illegal governance. The difficulty in that war is about how to fill, with meaning and truth, the vacuous heart of a constitutionally non-existent nation.
The new arrivals- the International13 Islamic Front of Khartoum - IIF - are the last in the queue for providing constitutional meaning and truth - Islamic Arab Truth. However, in the last eight years of Jihad - Islamic Holy War - the IIF has proved that its nation is the entire world of international capital and terrorism. At last, the IIF has exposed the truth that the Anglo-Egyptians did not intend to have founding Fathers or Mothers of the New Modern Sudan.
To Emphasize the seriousness of the crisis, Sudan's first 'Independent President', the pro-Egyptian Khatimiya zealot, Ismael al Azari, died in disgrace and was buried like a dog.14 Imam El Hadi El Mahdi, then leader of the historic Ansars and President of the Umma Arab Islamic Party, was equally and shamelessly murdered in cold blood. Just now, Sadig El Mahdi, grandson of the Sudanese Mahdi, twice former Prime Minister of Sudan and current Leader of the Umma Party, is hiding in exile. Mohammed Osman El Mirghani, former President of the Head of the Council of the State of Sudan, Leader of the Pro-Egyptian Democratic Unionist Party DUP, and Spiritual Head of the Khatimiya Islamic Sect, is also in exile. Conclusively, the historical Arab Muslim Leaders and dominant rulers of Military and Civil Sudan for the last forty years, are, like Orphans, destined to the same fate as the African Desitical and Christian Leaders. All are reaping the bitter pill of truth, the human truth for Equality, Meaning and Being.
At last, it is clear that the missing link from the root of nationhood
can now creatively be forged. When all are orphans and equal,
the time of reckoning is due. Already, an Opposition 'National'
Democratic Alliance, NDA, is a hope that is to prove the point of
collective action for all victims of false ideologies and misrule. The
crucial time to turn the opposition into a constructive machine, for all
politically organized constituent natusnations is now. The New, historic
geographical Sudan could after all, be a possibility. Secularism, social
equality, freedom and collective nationalism seem to pull together, the
seven point genetic and historical African Politico-military High Command
of Pacir, Blemmy, Azande, Pachodo, Mangalla, Otugho and Imatong. In that
respect, the IIF has truly been necessary eye-opener for all to see the
truth, Evolutionary or Divine.
Amid much fanfare and celebrations, the Sudanese government and several splinter factions have signed a peace agreement in Khartoum on April 21, 1997.
The groups that signed the agreement were the Southern Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM) led by Riak Machar, SPLA-Bahr al Ghazal, headed by Kerubino Kwanyn Bol, the Equatoria Defence Force of Thiopholus Ochang Loti, the Independence of Bor represented by Arok Thon Arok, and Independence Group of Kawac Makwei, which was named the South Sudan Independence Group in the accord.
The groups which signed are all splinter factions with few forces. Most fought the SPLA as pro-government militias.
The five factions said they have united under the name United Democratic Salvation Front for Southern Sudan and had chosen Riak Machar as their leader.
Reflecting Sudan's international isolation, only two African presidents attended the signing ceremony; Presidents Felix Patasse of the Central African Republic and Idris Deby of Chad, joined by a visiting Malaysian deputy foreign minister.
Jimmy Carter, who visited Khartoum in a bid to broker reconciliation talks between the government, its opponents and neighbouring countries, flew out of Khartoum one day before the signing ceremony. Hassan al-Turabi, NIF leader and speaker of parliament, said on national television, that the US and Britain had persuaded Carter not to attend the ceremony.
Carter alter commented that without the participation of the SPLA and the political opposition comprehensive peace in Sudan is unthinkable. 'Until that happens, I do not think the conflict inside Sudan is going to stop' he said.
The main outlines of the agreement are:
OPPOSITION FORCES ADVANCE IN SOUTHERN AND EASTERN SUDAN
Within a fortnight of launching a new offensive on March 97, the SPLA
had advanced more than 90 miles towards Juba, dislodging well-dug-in troops.
All army garrisons around Juba were overrun by the SPLA.
While all focus was on Juba, the SPLA, in a brilliant tactical maneuver, attached and seized a string of important towns Bahr al-Ghazal region and were advancing towards the district HQ at Waw.
The SPLA had taken the southern town of Warab, capital of Warab state, and home town of vice-President George Kongor. They had also captured Tonj, where they seized 56 trucks in good condition and took prisoner the governor of Buhayrat state, Ramsay Montong. This was soon followed by the capture of the Buhayrat state capital, Rumbek, where several state ministers and members of the state parliament were taken prisoners by the SPLA.
The first government reference to the fighting in Buhayrat state came
from the secretary-general of the Peace Council, Mohamed al-Amin Khalifa,
who was quoted as saying 'the fighting started by John Garang forces in
Bahr al-Ghazal area is meaningless and unjustifiable'.
Garang told the BBC by satellite telephone 'We will soon take Waw. We are liberating the whole of the southern Sudan', He said there was a lot of fighting involving 2,000 government troops at tonj, with many dead and wounded on the government side. 'We are literally destroying the government army in the south' he said.
The capture of Rumbek and Wun Rog has cut off all government's land links to Juba, the main southern town and army garrison.
On the eastern front, NDA forces had taken a string of garrisons and
pushed towards the town of Tokar, 150 km southeast of Port Sudan. In April,
NDA forces captured the garrisons of Gadamayeb, Karora, Itairba, Tukan,
Agig. They also overran Marafit, 25 km from Tokar. In the garrison at Karora
town, NDA forces killed 220 government troops and captured large amounts
of weapons and ammunition.
In the first week of May, two army garrisons, Timkit and Thaday fell after a siege which lasted several weeks.
Government troops had withdrawn to Kassala, where they started digging trenches around Kassala and reinforcing their defences.
On the invitation of the Kenyan President, Daniel Arap Moi, both the
Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni and Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir,
met in the Kenyan town of Eldorel in May 10.
Both parties agreed to swap prisoners and stop trading accusations. Bashir said, after the meeting, that all issues of the dispute between Sudan and Uganda had been resolved and the following days will witness a complete return to normal relations. His optimism, however, had been met by Uganda's demand for the release of 19 girls abducted last October by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda, as a condition for further talks. 'After the return of the girls, Uganda and Sudan will swap the captured soldiers', Uganda state minister for foreign affairs said.
During its recent offensive in southern Sudan, the SPLA overran and destroyed most the Ugandan rebel groups stationed in southern Sudan. The SPLA overran the headquarters of the LRA in Aru and Pingiri in southern Sudan, killing 153 people and capturing 210 Ugandan rebels. The LRA's HQ were heavily guarded by Sudan government troops. The dead include government soldiers and Ugandan rebels. Five tanks, one Katyusha rocket and dozens of guns were captured by the SPLA.
The West Nile Bank Front (WNBF), another Ugandan rebel group sponsored by Khartoum, also suffered heavily. Five of its 16 high command members, including the deputy commander, have been detained by the SPLA in southern Sudan. The five, together with 518 of their troops, were captured by the SPLA in an ambush in March. Among the 16 high command members, only two, including Juma' Oris, leader of the WNBF, survived the ambush. Oris was wounded in the ambush, but managed to reach the town of Juba. He was later flown to Khartoum.
The Ugandan army said it killed 60 Sudanese soldiers and captured 114 in April, in a border clash, and the Sudanese army, in its turn, have captured two Ugandan soldiers who were on an intelligence-gathering mission in southern Sudan.
 Britain is to provide 1.2 million GBP for food supplies to refugees in Sudan. The money will pay for 5,000 tons of food. The aid will be distributed by Oxfam and the Red Cross for people in the Red Sea Hills Province, currently facing severe shortages due to drought and instability due to the fighting between NDA and government forces in the area.
 The World Food Program (WFP) had announced that it will spend
$18.6 m on a project to boost primary school meals in Sudan's poor areas.
The project is to provide mid-morning meals (breakfasts) or fatur in
Arabic, to 230,000 primary schools in 12 food-deficit provinces.
The provinces chosen are Sinkat, Toker and Halaib in eastern Sudan and Bara, Sodari and Um-Rawaba in Northern Kordofan. The project will also cover al-Fashir, Kutum and Um-Kaddada in northern Darfur and al-Ginaina and Wadi Salih in western Darfur.
The food project is expected to encourage pupils to attend school instead of becoming shepherds or going astray.
In addition the WFP will provide a cash assistance of $1,265,000 to further redress gender imbalances in educational opportunities by constructing and improving classrooms and hygienic facilities in 650 girls' primary schools.
Under the project, WFP will supply 20,000 tons of sorghum, 4080 tons of pulses, 2720 tons of vegetable oil and 408 tons of iodized salt.
 Low international prices and problems in marketing have decreased this year's output of gum Arabic, Sudan's main export crop. World prices of gum Arabic fell from $5,000 to $2,200 per ton. Sudan produces 80% of the world's gum Arabic and exports of the crop make up to 20% of Sudan's export earnings. The lower international prices have discouraged farmers from harvesting the crop.
SHORT NEWS ITEMS
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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