SSA Newsletter, Volume 17, Issue # 1 (1997)

SSA Newsletter, Volume 17, Issue # 1 (1997)

  • From the Editor
  • Tayyib Salih: A Southern Point of View
  • Neglecting The Egalitarian Message of the Quran, (Souad TagElsir)
  • Khalda Zahir of Almorada Village (Amir & Caron Zahir)
  • Their 30 Years War: The Defrocking of Hasan alTurabi (Abdullahi A.Ibrahim)
  • Recent Publications
  • Recent Doctoral Dissertations
  • Research in Progress
  • News, Letters, Pleas and Appeals
  • NDA Conference on Fundamental Issues: Final Communique
  • Announcements

    From the Editor

    Dear SSA Member:

    I have agreed to be the editor of this Newsletter in the coming year or so, till a new editor is identified. I have volunteered to do this job for the second time in the past five to six years because I strongly believe that the publication of our Newsletter should not be interrupted for any reason. It should continue under all circumstances. Our inability to find an immediate successor to Dr Constance Berkley should not be an excuse to delay the publication of the coming volume. The President of the Association and its Board of Directors are still looking for volunteers for this job. I know that you are pleased every time you receive your copy of the Newsletter. So why not volunteer yourself to be the editor for one or two years and let others appreciate your work. I, and many men and women of my generation, are getting old, may be even out of touch. We therefore need new blood, new vigor, new ideas, new determination. I ask our younger colleagues to please take the responsibility of SSA leadership now rther than later. A good place to start would certainly be the editorship of the Newsletter.

    It is true, the preparation and the publication of this Newsletter three or four time a year is time-consuming. On the one hand, one has to keep nagging friends, colleagues and SSA officials to send news items; asking them repeatedly for their latest publications, their academic activities, their readings or any thing that may be of interest to the rest of us. On the other hand, one also looks for information on the Sudan from every possible source. One joins this of that Internet group (see details about these below), read other Africanist Newsletters, Books in Print, Dissertation Abstract, and the like for additional information about Sudanese studies, about politics in the Sudan, and about anything that is relevant to our membership. It is in doing this kind of info-hunting that one gets informed about many things on the Sudan, and gets the satisfaction that comes with that. Perhaps not all people would want that. But I am sure there are a few who would like to avail themselves with such an opportunity. To these I am making the appeal to consider volunteering to be the next Editor one year from now.

    We are now faced with a tremendous challenge in the publication of the Newsletter. Things have changed dramatically in the last year or so. We are now in the High-tech information age. The slow moving news items that used to reach our readers in three to four months, for which they were often grateful, now reach them instantly through the internet. As more and more people link to this electronic super highway, this publication can not survive if it can not provide for our readers something special; something that Internet discussion groups will not or are unable to provide. I am talking here about content, about valuable information on ongoing research, on intelligent communications, debate, book reviews, panels proposal and the like. Not that these are taboo topics in the Internet. No, but I do not think they have the same value or significance if they do not appear IN PRINT. That is the difference. It is the permanence of the information we print that makes the difference. If that information takes longer to reach those for whom it is intended, so be it. Again, a sizeable number of our readership either have no access to or are unable to take advantage of this new medium of communication. To these, news in print remains essential. Likewise, those of us who need documentation for tenure or promotion, circulation of ideas in the Internet, though faster, is of no significance at all. If you need to put something in print fast, a Newsletter which is geared to deal with academic issues, a Newsletter which is serious, professional, and punctilious is the place to get published. With your help and contributions I will make sure that this Newsletter live up to every body's expectations.

    As you must have already noticed, the Newsletter has a new face up-lift. This is the second time I use my surgical pen or desk-top publisher to make changes in the appearance of the cover sheet. On the substantive level, there are equally important changes as well. First, I managed to constitute an Editorial Advisory Board for the Newsletter to which I have recruited a handful of eminent, dedicated and productive scholars of Sudanese studies. They will advise me on the best way to produce a scholarly and attractive Newsletter on regular basis. Their names appear on the inside cover. I have also got on board as an Assistant Editor Dr Ali Dinar, the Outreach Coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr Dinar's expertise in the electronic media has been recognized by many, including the African Studies Association. He is going to put to good use this expertise in the coming issues of the SSA Newsletter. Secondly, and this important for submissions for publication, I have pre-fixed the dates when we wil go to the print shop. This will force all of us to think ahead if we are to meet these deadlines. I hope you, too, will work with me to ensure that these deadlines are met every time.

    One more thing. it is important that we take advantage of available publishing technique to keep up with the competition. As more and more of us become proficient in word processing and graphics, we will continue to see improvement in the style of our publication. More importantly, I predict that very shortly we will be able to put into the hands of our readers, and at a reasonable cost, the entire collection of articles given at our annual meetings. Producing a master copy of these papers is very easy now, and many print shops offer very competitive prices for the reproduction of multiple copies. All we need is for people reading papers at these annual meeting to provide me or any other person who volunteers, with a copy of their presentation in disk form AHEAD OF TIME. This way we would not be spending precious time reading our papers at the panels. Instead, we will have all the time for serious discussion of content and for the exchange of views.

    In the end, the newsletter is what we, as a group, not individuals, make of it. It should be a collective effort reflective of what we as academicians do or think about. All of us are editors, and all of us should contribute.


    Have a productive Spring.

    SSA Newsletter is a forum of free expression. All ideas and opinions circulated here are therefore the sole responsibility of their respective authors, and are not necessarily those of the Sudan Studies Association, or its officers.

    Just before going to press I have received two submissions; the first, an extended note on the Memoirs of Sir George Schuster by Prof. Martin Daly, the other a copy of a paper entitled ìthe Blood of Experience: The Conflict in the Southern Sudanî which Professor Robert Collin read in a recent international conference on ìThe Conflict in Southern Sudanî sponsored by the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, Ontario, Canada. These will be published in the next issue of the Newsletter which will go to press by March 31st. Editor.

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    Tayyib Salih: A Southern Point of View

    "I usually do not publish the correspondence I receive from (my) steam readers. Though many of these letters deserve to be published, I regret I can not do so here because of space limitation. I do, however, thank those who wrote them. Nonetheless, a particular letter from a southern sister living in Vienna (Virginia) caught my attention. As the reader can see, her message to me reflects enormous bitterness, which is common among many of our brothers and sisters from the South. It does not matter whether (the causes of ) such bitterness are true or not, Northerners must take this bitterness very seriously in their future relations with the south.

    I do not want to enter into an argument here with the respectable lady. It suffices to say that she appears not to have been following my writings, or if she did, has failed to understand where I stand (with regard to the current crisis in the Sudan). Had she read my writings carefully, she would not have confused me with the policies of the Sudan government, or accused me of being indifferent to the suffering of the orphans and the widows (in southern Sudan.) Didn't I cry enough (in my novels) at least twenty years earlier (over the fate of the poor and the powerless).

    I have never put myself as a defender of the policies of the various governments in the Sudan, specially the policies of the current government. On the contrary, I expressed my opinion, an opinion shared by most Sudanese, that the successive governments (in the Sudan), specially military regimes, committed unforgivable atrocities (against civilians) in the south. I also made known on several occasions, explicitly or implicitly, my opinion (also shared by many) that the war fought now by the current government under the slogan of jihad is a stupid undertaking which will complicate further the problem rather than solve it. On the history of slavery in Africa, all I did was to criticize the wrong impressions perpetuated by some southerners that it were the Arabs, all Arabs, including Arabs in northern Sudan, who were solely responsible for the trade. It is wrong (to blame the Arabs alone for slavery in Africa). All unbiased accounts of slavery in Africa by Europeans like Professor Basil Davidson, Frank Mark Linon Stanley and the Sale of the Congo, or Dr James Walfin's book "the Black Ivory" (all testify to the fact that slavery was an international business.) Again, this honorable lady thinks that what the governments in Khartoum do is what most ordinary people in the North want, and thus believes that all Northerners are party to the sins and atrocities committed in the South by the various governments, specially the military. In reality, northern Sudanese, just like their southern counterparts, were and continue to be victimized by those who abuse power. I said on many occasions that it is improper for southerners to reserve for themselves the role of the "victimized" and ascribe to the Northerners the epithet of the "Victimizer", or the "Aggressor". It is more complicated than this simple dichotomy, and many thinking men and women in both the north and the south began to realize this fact. Below is Ms Agnes Sabino's letter, written in good Arabic and in clear handwriting."

    I have read with interest your recent articles published in al-Majalla under the title "Impressions from Washington", and I was not surprised that you have expressed those opinions on southerners and their problem. As a traditional Northerner, You, like many other Northerners, have the great propensity to put the blame on others in a clever way. As usual, the blame, this time, was on the British. Why can't you blame the British? Aren't they, at this very hour, destroying the villages in the South and in the Nuba Mountains?. Aren't they the ones who are executing ethnic cleansing there? Aren't they the ones who gave license to their Arab malitia (those form the Baggara tribes known for their hostility to the Nilotics because of competition over water and grazing lands, and to whom the Sudanese government {sorry, the British government} provides arms and food) to rape women, after spilling the blood of their men and children? The goal of what is going on now in the south is very clear, even the blind can see it, and the stupid can understand it.

    The question of renewal of slavery in the Sudan, and the violation of human rights has been repeatedly reported recently by human rights organizations, by neutral eye-witnesses who have no ax to grind. These stories are not fictitious. They are stories reported by individuals who fell victims but managed to run away, or bought back their freedom from their slavers. Do you (Mr Salih) think that these people are confused? Do you believe they made a mistake of not identifying the British as the perpetuators of these heinous crimes? Instead they blamed the Sudanese government which is as innocent as the wolf which was alleged to have killed Joseph (reference here is to the story told in the Quran. Editor.) If this is what you think, then you are right, Oh our eminent Teacher, in what you have written: "they (southerners) see the elephant, but prefer to stab its shadow instead".

    The important question, though, is still who are they? Who are these people who see the elephant, but aim at its shadow instead? Do you realize that the big problem is with Sudanese like yourself, people who know all these facts, yet try every thing possible to prove that they were false, or, failing that, to find a scape goat? Sudanese like yourself who can not stand seeing Carolyn Fluehr Lobban crying (over the fate of the Sudan. Editor.), yet are quite indifferent to the tears of thousand and thousand of orphans and widows who shed tears every second and every minute all over the Sudan, but specially in the south and the Nuba Mountains. But why should their tears be important to you any way? After all, whatever tears they may shed, they are cheep tears. They were better off if they accepted their fate, and agreed to the dictates of people like Mrs Lobban (on the unity of the Sudan, Editor), even if that means their continued slavement, their being despised by Northerners who treat them like citizens of the tenth class, since the status of (even) the second-class citizenship is considered too honorable for them. To Islamize them, to Arabicize them? Why not. All people are born free, except these southerners, for they are deemed slaves even before they are born. Every adventurer in their lands wanted to control their destiny as he wished. He would like to mould them and shape them in any way he desired, or believed fitting to do. All hell brakes loose if these southerners, with their stern faces and red eyes, choose to hold on to their identity and beliefs, and begin to resist being dominated by you, Oh Masters of the land. When they do, you accuse them of aiming at the shadow of the elephant instead of the elephant itself. And why are you surprised if some one doubted that you were African? Aren't you the same person who made fun of Black Americans calling themselves "Afro-American"? You accused that black American immigration officer of all sorts of things, simply because he was doing his job as thoroughly as he was told to do. Of course it would have been different if the immigration officer was a white person with blond hair and blue eyes, named Mrs Lobban. Then you would have thanked him immensely, even if he denied you entry into the United States, and sent you back to Britain instead. Who knows, you might even have probably written us a nice piece about him praising him and his family. Finally, I respectfully ask you that next time do not shout at the top of your voice that "they see the elephant, but decide to pierce its shadow". Just make sure that you do not have a block of wood in your eyes before telling others that they have twigs in theirs. Agnes Sabino. I am not aware if Mr Yayyib Salih has responded to this letter, as he promissed to do. If he has, I appreciate if you let me know so I may publish his response the next time. Editor

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    Neglecting The Egalitarian Message of the Quran

    Souad TagElsir Ali
    Brigham Young University

    "In nothing does Islam maintain its fitness to be considered a modern world religion than in the high position it accords to women." Imam Muhammed Abduh I have been appalled at the various comments expressed by a few highly educated Muslim women and men that "Islam is oppressive to women," that the Quran is "antithetical" to feminism. What has been surprising the most is the fact that these views deliberately neglect the most egalitarian message of the Quran regarding women, and focus on a few areas out of their contexts. Since this subject cannot be addressed in such a small piece of writing, I would attempt here to highlight some of the numerous Scriptures in the Quran that reflect a remarkable feminist concept in a surprisingly contemporary manner, hoping to address those other controversial areas of the Quran in a different contribution.

    I have chosen two Verses from alQuran that discuss some important aspects of women's issues. We read in the Quran from Surat alNissa' [Chapter 4 on Women] the following:

    [1] "If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves. And such settlement is best; even though men's souls are swayed by greed. But if ye do good and practice selfrestraint, Allah is wellacquainted with all that ye do" (Quran 4:128

    The same Verse in different translation:
    If a woman fears illtreatment or desertion on the part of her husband, it shall be no offense for them to seek a mutual agreement, for agreement is best. Man is prone to avarice. But if you do what is right and guard yourselves against evil, know then that God is cognizant of all your actions. We read in the Tafseer [interpretation] of this Scripture as follows: "To protect women's economic interests, various rules are prescribed for dower in marriage. But the sanctity of marriage itself is greater than any economic interests. Divorce is, of all things permitted, most hateful to Allah. Therefore, if a breach between husband and wife can be prevented by some economic consideration, it is better to make that concession rather than imperil the future of the wife, children, and probably the husband too. Such concessions are permissible, in view of the love of wealth ingrained in unregenerate man, but a recommendation is made that we should practice selfrestraint, and do what we can to come to an amicable settlement without any economic sacrifice on the part of the woman."

    [2] A Landmark Chapter in the Quran: SHE WHO PLEADED:
    This remarkable whole Sura in the Quran [Chapter 58: 'She Who Pleaded' [alMujadilah] was revealed and dedicated to alleviating a woman's indignation of her husband's injustices, and thus issuing a Divine Verdict that abolished a sacrilegious misogynous social custom that Islam had inherited from the preIslamic era: "Allah has heard and accepted the statement of the woman who pleads with you (the Prophet) concerning her husband and carries her complaint to Allah, and Allah hears the arguments between both of you for Allah hears and sees all things..." (Quran 58:1).

    The whole chapter discusses this significant case. About the story behind this key Scripture, we read in Dr. Sherif Muhammed's analysis: "Khawlah was a Muslim woman whose husband Aws at a moment of anger pronounced this statement: "You are to me as the back of my mother." This was held by pagan Arabs to be a statement of divorce which freed the husband from any conjugal responsibility but didn't leave the wife free to leave the husband's home or to marry another man. Having heard these words from her husband, Khawlah was in a miserable situation. She went straight to the Prophet of Islam to plead her case. The prophet was of the opinion that she should be patient since there seemed to be no way out. Khawla kept arguing with the prophet in an attempt to save her suspended marriage. Shortly, the Quran intervened; Khawla's plea was accepted. The divine verdict abolished this iniquitous custom. One full chapter (Chapter 58) of the Quran whose title is Al Mujadilah or "The woman who is arguing" [She Who Pleaded] was devoted to this incident, "Allah has heard and accepted the statement of the woman who pleads with you (the Prophet) concerning her husband and carries her complaint to Allah, and Allah hears the arguments between both of you for Allah hears and sees all things...." (58:1). A woman in the Quranic conception has the right to argue even with the Prophet of Islam himself. No one has the right to instruct her to be silent. She is under no obligation to consider her husband the one and only reference in matters of law and religion. Despite of this egalitarian aspect of the Quran, women in most Muslim communities are oppressed and treated as secondclass citizens. Should we take the abuse of women in Muslim communities, that is largely derived from a misogynous attitude towards women and a misinterpretation of the Quran, against Islam? Or is it high time that Muslim women enforced the egalitarian message of the Quran that is clearly in their favor? It is indeed interesting that those who advocate the idea that Islam is "antithetical" to feminism see Islam through either Marxist ideologies, or through Islamic fundamentalist ideologies. In examining the position of women, Islam will continue to be distorted, as long as we insist on interpreting Islam through these two theories. Looking at Islam through the paradigm of its main source, the Quran, is probably the starting point of salvation for Muslim women because, as Imam Muhammed Abdu (the most forceful advocate of Islamic liberalism in modern times), accurately argued: "in nothing does Islam maintain its fitness to be considered a modern world religion than in the high position it accords to women

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    Recent Publications

    1)Gender Politics in Sudan: Islamism, Socialism, and the State (Westview Press, 1996). By Sondra Hale, Anthropology Department, University of California, Los Angeles, 312 pages (tables, notes, glossary, bibliography, index).

    Focusing on the relationship between gender and the state in the construction of national identity politics in twentiethcentury northern Sudan, the author investigates the mechanisms that the state and political and religious interest groups employ for achieving political and cultural hegemony. Hale argues that such a process involves the transformation of culture through the involvement of women in both leftwing and Islamist revolutionary movements. In drawing parallels between the gender ideology of secular and religious organizations in Sudan, Hale analyzes male positioning of women within the culture to serve the movement. Using data from fieldwork conducted between 1961 and 1988, she investigates the conditions under which women's culture can be active, generative, positive expressions of resistance and transformation. Hale argues that in northern Sudan women may be using Islam to construct their own identity and improve heir situation. Nevertheless, she raises questions about the barriers that women may face, now that the Islamic state is achieving hegemony, and discusses the limits of identity politics. Westview Press, 5500 Central Avenue, Boulder, Colorado 803012877.

    2) Bithrat al-Khals (a translation into Arabic of Francis M. Deng's Seed Of Redemption: A Political Novel) by Ismail H Abdalla. 236 pp. Center for Sudanese Studies. Cairo, 1996.

    3) Islam, Medicine and Practitioners in Northern Nigeria, by Ismail H. Abdalla (Edwin Meller Press, New York. 1997). The book makes brief reference to traditional medical practice in western Sudan.

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    Research in Progress

    From Heather J. Sharkey" <hsharkey@PHOENIX.PRINCETON.EDU> we have the following communication on her research.
    Most of my Ph. D thesis concentrates on the cultural aspects of Northern Sudanese nationalism for example, how early nationalists expressed their ideas on the Sudan as a nation through poetry. However, one early portion of the dissertation does discuss the ways in which British education policy reinforced precolonial elites, by handpicking boys from fine Arablineage families to attend the Gordon Memorial College and the provincial government schools, while shunting boys of servile background into technical workshops, where they learned manual trades as carpenters, stone masons, etc. (The point is that these disproportionately highstatus young men, who graduated from the Gordon College, went on to become the nationalist and national leadership and to take control of the country at independence. Their emphasis on Sudanese Arabism, as opposed to, say African or AfroArab diversity, as a platform of the Sudan's national identity, reflected their own specific cultural background.)

    I have scrutinized Condominiumera Education Department reports for statistical breakdowns on students' backgrounds (and have found the proportion of students of Southern/Nuba descent in the Gordon Memorial College to be shockingly low, and to have become lower as the years progressed for example, only 2.2% of the Gordon Memorial College students defined as "Sudanese" or "Black"as opposed to "Arab" in 1930, down from 18.9% in 1907). I am convinced that the reduction in "Sudanese"/"Black" representation was a fallout of the 1924 revolution, i.e. British mistrust of "detribalized blacks". I have also found comments scattered throughout the unpublished memoirs of British officials (deposited in the Sudan Archive at Durham) to be illuminating. The whole issue is, of course, intimately connected with education policy in the South. Moreover, I have even found some sources which suggest that missionary schools in the South also privileged southern boys of fine descent (i.e. the sons of Southern chiefs), over southerners of humble background. In other words, there are parallels between Northern & Southern education policies and elite formations
    God willing, I'll complete my dissertation over the summer.

    And from Ann Lesch (LESCH@UCIS.VILL.EDU) we have received the following note about her current research:

    The Nigerian government hosted negotiations between the government of Sudan and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement in 1992 and 1993. Those negotiations included detailed discussions about the national character of Sudan, the relationship between religion and the state, and the nature of an interim period. Ann Lesch and Steven Wondu have received a research award from the US Institute of Peace to undertake an analysis of the formal positions and the official minutes in order to write a monograph that will assess the parties' stances and strategies and provide a guide to the outstanding issues that would need to be addressed in any future negotiations.

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    Recent Doctoral Dissertations

    Alber, Arlene M, "Assessment of the variability in the timing and pattern of epiphyseal union associated with stress in teenage and young adult skeletons from Medieval Kulubnarti, Sudanese Nubia" Ph. D. U. of Colorado at Boulder. 1995. 9613226.

    Abdelrahman, Ali H., "Agricultural cooperatives and community economic development: A Case study of western Sudan" Ph. D. Pennsylvania State U. 1995. 9612677.

    Morton, J. F., "Economic Development in Darfur Region, Sudan: With special reference to impact of aid" Ph. D.., U. London, 1994.

    Ali-Dinar, A. Bakr Aldin, "Contextual analysis of dress and adornment in al-Fashir, Sudan" Ph. D., U. Pennsylvania, 1995. 9615009.

    Morkot, R. G., "Economic and Cultural Change between Kush and Egypt [Sudan]" Ph. D. U. of London, 1994

    Pitya, Philip L., "History of western Christian evangelism in the Sudan 1898-1964" Ph. D., Boston U., 1996. 9617017.

    Geiger, C., "Geologically/geophysically constrained integrated basin analysis for the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden and its implications for hydrocarbon exploration [Sudan]" Ph. D., U. Oklahoma, 1994. 9513755.

    Ibrahim, A. E. "Interpretation of Gravity and magnetic data fro the Central African Rift system [Sudan]" Ph. D., U. of Leeds. 1993

    Kaballo, S. A. M., "The Political Economy of crisis in the Sudan 1973-1985" Ph. D., U. of Leeds. `1994.

    Osman, E. A., "The Fertility impact of rural development projects: The Case of the Rahad Irrigation project, Sudan" Ph. D., Boston U. 1995. 9540804.

    Abdelrahman, K. A., "Fertility differentials in an agricultural area: A Case study of the Gezira and Managil [Sudan]" Ph. D., Mississippi State. U., 1995. 9533404.

    Where to Find news about the Sudan in the Electronic Media There are many Web sites, and the number increases by the minutes, from which you can easily down load information about the Sudan. Once you are in any Web site, you can browse through and connect to many other Web sites in and outside the US. Here are a few.
    Please note, some of these addresses may be case sensitive.

    You can also send e-mail message to the following LIST SERVE sites for information and membership.
    5) (Once in, you can navigate to other web sites. You can do the same from most web sites.)
    7) This is a discussion group dealing execlusively with Sudanese issues.


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    Inflation in the Sudan

    I am printing here a piece broadcasted by Reuter on February 14th, 1997, because of its relevance to the general problems afflicting the Sudan now. The Editor. Goats and grains steer rural economy in Sudan When times are good, it costs only one goat in northern Sudan to buy a bag of sorghum. But this year, villagers are bartering up to 17 goats for a 90kg (198pound) bag of the grain in Sudan's rural Red Sea state markets, where livestock is still the currency. ``In the Red Sea state, the coin of trade is goats,'' said Sasi Kumar, Oxfam U.K. country representative. ``...Last year the rains failed, prices went up for fuel and there were barriers to transport. This added to a sharp increase in sorghum prices.

    ``People have sold or given up most of their livestock and are almost destitute now,'' he said. The problem in Sudan's Red Sea state is one example of how millions of people can go hungry in a country which is one of the world's poorest but where surplus food is produced. Fuel subsidy cuts, war, poor transport and drought have ganged up on access to staple grains in Sudan to threaten nearly a quarter of a million people with hunger and destitution in the state, one of 26 in Sudan.

    Food shortage drives Sudanese to hunger and destitution.

    Kumar said scarcity of food has driven thousands of people to state camps in Tokar, Sinkat and Suakin. ``We found high malnutrition rates in children'' of up to 80 percent, he said. ``I expect more and more movements of people.'' United Nations agencies estimate Sudan's production of sorghum, wheat, millet and maize will rise 50 percent to 5.33 million tones a surplus in the year from September 1996. Sorghum will account for 4.1 million tones, wheat 641,000 tones, millet 490,000 tones and maize 94,000, they say. This means sorghum exports could be 600,000 tones in that period and wheat imports about 395,000 tones, less than in recent years because of the increased domestic crop, the World Food Program/Food and Agriculture Organization report said. That's the theory. But reality is not so simple in Africa's largest country, where many people walk miles to fetch water, support families by herding livestock, and struggle to survive floods, sunscorched fields and war. The report said that sorghum exports depend on whether domestic production meets those levels and the government lifts an export ban. The wheat imports are composed of 321,000 tones for commercial use and 74,000 as food aid. ``The overall food outlook for 1996/97 is therefore favorable, but at the levels of certain provinces and states the food supply situation is likely to be precarious,'' said the report, based on a visit ending in December. ``Despite the overall surplus, the six states in Darfur and Kordofan, the Red Sea state and the south as a whole will all be in deficit,'' it said. ``...some areas and sectors of the population will have difficulty in meeting their food needs.''

    Aid officials in Khartoum said while an overall cereals surplus is forecast, it is not evenly distributed. Higher transport costs could put the brakes on spreading the grain among needy states. ``..for the deficit areas, prices will be high especially in certain areas of the West for which transport costs are currently very high due to fuel prices and interstate taxes,'' the report said. Severe food deficits were likely in droughtaffected areas of North Darfur, North Kordofan, West Darfur, West Kordofan and areas of South Darfur, it said. A major transport operation will be needed to bring sorghum from the surplus regions but, even then, prices may be beyond the reach of many rural poor people, the report said.``People have already sold most of their livestock, they have no goods they can trade for food,'' said Philip Clarke, WFP's country director. ``Especially with the war, the government doesn't have the economic resources to transport.'' Sudan has been fighting a war with antigovernment rebels since 1983 in the south. In January it accused Eritrea, which borders the Red Sea state, and Ethiopia of supporting the rebels in a fresh offensive, a charge the two countries deny.

    Sudan has cut fuel subsidies in line with economic reforms. Clarke said it would cost about $80$90 to transport a tone of grain by truck from surplus to deficit areas. He said that one solution was getting donors to pay transport costs and setting up foodforwork programs. We can not offer to provide free assistance to these people in a country where there is at the moment a surplus of food,'' Clarke said. ``We can not have free handouts.'' ***

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    Khalda Zahir of Almorada Village

    (Amir & Caron Zahir) I would like to introduce some women from Almorada. In doing so, by no means do I intend to undermine the contributions of other women in Almorada, or in other urban and rural areas of Sudan. Or, to claim those women were the only ones who had some contributions that are worth mentioning. Rather, I am simply trying to share with you some of the untold stories of the area I love and grew up in, through the eyes of those selected group of women. One of the first women I will like to introduce to you, is Khalda Zahir. Most probably, I will share with you more information about Khalda than about the other women, because of the shared family history. Khalda was born in Almorada in January 8, 1926. She was the first born child of Fatima Ajab Arbab and Zahir Surour Elsadati. Of course, at the time having the first born to be a babygirl, or having girls in general, was not something that a lot of families would be proud of. Notably, that was due to the prevalent sexist attitude. However, since her birth, her father was so determined to provide her with whatever opportunities in order to assist her in reaching her potential. In order to understand Khalda's upbringing, I believe it is important to touch on some of her father's personal history.

    The late Zahir Elsadati (Born, September 2, 1898 and died, November 28, 1981) was an army officer. He was born in Omdurman to a migrant family from Dar Foor in Western Sudan after they settled in the area during the Mahdia. Moreover, he was born in the same day that his father died in the Battle of Karary, and he was brought up by his mother. That was a very important factor in his life, as he developed a deep respect for women and their ability to achieve and survive as he learned from his mother. He joined the army in 1910 as a wald (boy) footsoldier and developed through the ranks. As he stated, he was kicked out of Omdurman Alameeria School, because he plotted with some classmates and beat up the arrogant Egyptian geography teacher. At the time, that was considered an act of mutiny against the newly established colonial authority, regardless of the age of the perpetuators. They were arrested immediately and taken to Alzabtia, or police station. The mufatish (Distirct officer) immediately deemed them unsuitable for formal education, and therefore, the army was the only place that would be able to "teach" them. In addition, shortly after he joined the army, Zahir lost his mother, the only immediate family he had left, after most of the family members died before her in the Mahdia wars.

    Although, Zahir did not have any opportunity to ever complete his formal education, he was determined to seek knowledge in every source he could find at the time. So, reading was his major interest. In particular, he was fascinated with history and politics, and he actively got involved in it through the secret activities of the White Brigades Society during the 1920's. Further, that fascination with knowledge, led him to develop a very strong relationship with one of the first Sudanese historians, Shiekh Mohamed Abed Alrahim who became his mentor. Mohamed Abed Alrahim was one of the Kataba of Alkhalifa Abdullahi and he took it on himself to document the history of Sudan as he has seen it or heard it. Furthermore, he had a huge home library that was made available for knowledge seekers. He also published "Omdurman Magazine", which was later became the training ground for a lot of Sudanese writers, journalists, and poets, such as Altijanie Yousif Basheer.

    The fact that Zahir was denied the opportunity to complete his formal education, was the driving force that later made education and knowledge as some of his core values in life. Also, in that early age, he has learned and developed a very strong sense of right and wrong, and the importance of being an independent thinker, and being able to live with the consequences of his decisions, regardless of the severity of those consequences. Those circumstances of Zahir's upbringing, shaped up his tough personality and his core values. He also, made sure to pass these strong values to his daughter Khalda.

    At the time, educating women was a relatively a new phenomenon, and as we all remember the struggle of uncle Babiker Badrie in trying to bring this issue to the forefront. The only school for girls at the time in Almorada, was Mad'ra'sat Bes'mila (Miss Miller's Primary School for Girls. Currently Almorada Primary School For Girls, which is located directly in front of Dar Alryadh in Shari'a Almorada). So, after Khalda completed her primary education, her father send her to Elersal'lia Junior High School, which was run by the English Church. The building of that school is currently occupied by Altijany Almahie's Psychiatric Hospital in Shari'a Alarba'een near Alseen'ia (the roundabout that was donated to the city by Alhadie Mursal the prominent businessman in 1960). She finished her junior high school years in 1940. That was quite an achievement for a young woman at the time. Particularly, because most young women used to be forced to quit school to wait for the future groom. Or, if they had some support from their family, they would go into teaching, or nursing. However, Khalda expressed her interest in going to high school after she was encouraged by some of her teachers to do so. The only high school for women in Sudan at the time, was the Unity High School, which was a private school that was run by the church, and it was solely reserved for teaching banat Alkho'wajat (the daughters of the "foreigners" the British, and the other communities of people of Greek, Armenian, Italian, Syrian, or Lebanese background.)

    At the time, her father was with his army battalion in Southern Sudan. Khalda secured the support of her mother and her younger brother Anwar; however, there was no one else from her immediate, or the extended family that would dare to give her support. Subsequently, she wrote a letter to her father expressing her desire to go to high school, requesting the school fees, and his support. This whole process took some time from start to finish. However, in the neighborhood, it was quite a fiasco, everybody was talking about the fact that Khalda was going to be educated with banat Alkho'wajat. Some of the people had meetings after meetings in Nadi Alzubat (The Officers Club) to discuss the matter, and some people even started joking about it by saying "ha ha ...Zahir awiz yitall' betto mufattisha (Zahir wants his daughter to become a district officer) which was unthinkable even for a Sudanese male at the time. Some even send letters to her father in the South in order to influence his decision. Some suggested that she should abandon her effort to continue her education, and she should instead be a teacher, because, according to them, she was bit fasie'ha jiddan (a very outspoken girl)?

    However, after thinking about the whole issue, her father send back to Almorada two letters. The first letter was to Khalda commending her on her decision, and the second letter was to her uncle Mohamed Ajab instructing him to accompany Khalda to the Unity High School in Khartoum and register her for the coming year. Needless to say, Khalda's uncle Mohamed was not please. He, nevertheless, reluctantly signed the registration forms as her guardian, paving the way for Khalda to start the application process. It was not that easy because in the Unity High School at the time there was no Sudanese girl among the Students, and it seems that the administration was not in a hurry to grant the final acceptance. Luckly for Khalda, she received a very unusual support form Ahmed Yousif Hashim, the prominent Sudanese journalist, who was the editor of one of the newspapers at the time, alSudan alJadeed (The New Sudan). It happen around the same time that Khalda was struggling with this issue, Ahmed Yousif Hashim was writing a series of articles about women education in Sudan, or the lack there of, and he mentioned that there was only one high school for girls in Sudan which was the Unity High School, and it had no Sudanese girls among its students. Shortly after that, Khalda received the acceptance from the school administration to start her high school in the following year.

    Khalda continued her high school years achieving very good grades. Moreover, that was particularly challenging because, during those high school years, her father was away in Alkafra and Alalameen fighting with the Allied Forces in World War II. So, Khalda as she was the first born, and her brother Anwar as the second born, had to share the parental responsibility of their other younger brothers and sisters. However, and to the astonishment of the school administration, Khalda graduated from high school with very high grades in 1946. Some people in the school administration did not believe a Sudanese girl could achieve such a high academic standard. With those good grades Khalda could have gone to any school she chose. Khalda expressed her interest in going to university and study medicine!! When she made her preference known, another battle started.

    At the time, Gordon Memorial College, which was later became the University of Khartoum, was not for everyone from the Sudanese people, especially women. The first battle Khalda had to fight was to secure the support of her family, and her father was very quick to encourage her to continue on with her education. Her father had already returned back from the front and he was living in Almorada. So, other family members and the rest of the elders in the neighborhood, did not bother to fight him on his decision. The second battle was around securing acceptance form the college. To their credit, some of the progressive teachers in the Unity High School, used Khalda's performance and the good grades as a spearhead to lobby the college administration to grant her acceptance to Gordon Memorial College School of Medicine in 1946. In being accepted, Khalda became the first Sudanese woman to ever enter the college and the medical school. That acceptance came just in time, for her father had already made plans to send her to Egypt if she was denied addmittance to the Medical School. The other obstacle that Khalda had to face, was to be able to coup with the college's timetable, and hectic schedule (from seven in the morning to sometimes late at night). At the time, the school had no residence for its female students, and there was no kubrie (bridge) between Omdurman and Khartoum where the college was located. Quickly, her father arranged for her to live with his life time friend, alAmeera'lai Hassan alzin, and his wife Fatima Mohamed Abed Alrahim the daughter of his mentor who lived in the army islag (barracks) in Almog'ran. The arrangement was that she would live with them during the week days and would go home in weekend. With this arrangement Khalda simultaneously had a new family. That relationship between the two families continued strongly until today.

    1946 was also a turning point in Khalda's personal history. In addition to starting college, she also became very active in the political and social life in Almorada. As an early sign of developing her feminist consciousness, Khalda and two of her friends from the neighborhood Fatima Talib and Mahasin Abed Alaal founded Jam'ee'yat alfata'yat althaqa'fia (the Women Cultural Society) in order to promote women education and helping to empower young women to enrich their social lives. Around the same time, she also met a close friend of her brother Anwar by the name of Osman Mahjoub the older brother of Abed Alkhlik Mahjoub. (Abdel Khaliq Mahjoub, it is to be remebered, was the former Secretary General of the Sudanese Communist Party, who was executed by Nimeri in July 28, 1971). Subsequently, Osman introduced her to Dr. Abed Alwahab Zin Alabdeen. Later, in the same year, Osman Mahjoub and Dr. Abed Alwahab recruited Khalda to become a member of the alharaka alSudania Lel-taharror alWatani (Sudanese Movement For the Liberation of Sudan), which later became alJebha alMo'adia LelEsti'mar (The Front Against ColonizationFAC), and eventually became the Sudanese Communist Party. In doing so, Khalda became the first Sudanese female to ever join a modern political organization.

    Khalda continued her political activities both in college and in the neighborhood. In 1948, and due to the mounting pressure from Mutamar alKheriejien (The Graduates Congress), the colonial authority introducedthe idea of establishing a Sudanese Legislative Assembly in order to ease that pressure; however, they reserved the right to appoint its members. A political battle started right away between the supporters and people who where against the colonial idea. alJebha alMo'adia LelEsti'mar (FAC) led that political battle, and that what is known now in history books as the "battle of the legislative Assembly". Nadi alKheriejien in Omdurman, became the battle ground, and a series of ndawat (workshops, forums, or meetings) were arranged. The party announced that it was going to introduce Khalda as one of key speakers against the colonial idea of the Legislative Assembly in one of the nadawat. At the time, the idea of having women attending a political forum was very unusual, and particularly having a rather young man as a speaker, was even stranger.

    Everybody was very curious, and in the day of the nadwa, a large crowed had assembled in Nadi alKheriejien in a very hot afternoon. Although, a lot of people were skeptical, Khalda delivered a fiery speech that made the crowed shout slogans against the colonial authority. As consequence, Khalda was arrested immediately by the police, and she was taken from there to alzabttia (The Police Precinct), and that was her first arrest. Moreover, that was the first time ever for the Police to arrest a Sudanese woman for her political views. The news of her arrest travelled very fast in all Omdurman, and people started talking loudly about the fact that the Police arrested a "woman" for talking against the colonial authority. At the time, her father was in Bayt Itleet Prison Camp near Tel Aviv in Palestine, after he was taken as a prisoner of war in the War of 1948. So, her uncle Osman Mutwallie met with the Police to negotiate bail. For fear of public outcry, the Police was very quick to grant her bail that same night.

    The second arrest was in 1950 duringa student demonstration in the college campus. This time, her uncle made it very clear that she had to graduate first, before resuming any political activities. Indeed, for Khalda it was easy said than done. However, she managed to graduate from medical school in 1952, as the first Sudanese female medial doctor. 1952, was also another turning point in Khalda's personal life, as her long time friend and comrade Osman Mahjoub proposed to her. Again, that marriage proposal started another battle for Khalda; however, this time it had a very strong racial overtone. Osman Mahjoub's family were from the Shay'gee'ya tribe, and as I have stated earlier, Omdurman was sharply divided among racial lines. So, people from both families were dead against that proposed marriage. Large number of her family were against it because Osman was Shay'gee, and they wanted her to marry an officer or at least a son of an officer, preferably from the neighborhood, not a teacher like Osman. Whil Osman's family were against the marriage because, Khalda was Foora'wia sakit (a person from western Sudan and did not live up to their standards). Everybody had his or her agenda, and it would appear that there was no consideration at all for the feelings of the young couple. Again, her father who had a deep respect for Mahjoub Osman, the groom's father, met with Mahjoub and finalized the wedding plans, regardless of all of the opposition from members of the two families. None of Khalda's uncles attended the wedding, and a large number of Osman's family did not either, and also boycotted his father and his immediate family for years to come.

    In 1952 Mahasin Abed Alaal, Fatima Talib and Khalda, recognized the need of establishing an umbrella organization to unite and promote women issues. Subsequently, they founded alEtihaad alNisaa'i alSudani (The Sudanese Women's Union), and Khalda was elected as the first president. Up to that time, for Khalda, it seemed that every single step she had taken in her life, such as what a lot of people take for granted today, was a major battle. She started her career as medical doctor after finishing her residency between Omdurman and Khartoum General Hospitals. In 1954, the young couple were transferred to Baher Algazal Province in Southern Sudan. Osman as a teacher in the newly established Rombaik High School, and Khalda as Medical Inspector for the province, responsible for supervising the medical assistants in all of the villages and the urban centers in the province.

    Shortly after that Khalda and Osman started their new family; however, she continued to work while raising her young children. Through the years, andas a career woman, she had to deal with the pressures and the demands of the job, the sexist attitude of some of her colleagues, as well as, the demands of her large family (a father, a mother, a step mother, nine sisters and nine brothers). Also, the demands of her political and social activities, such as meetings, beyoot bekyat (funerals), sma'yat (celebration for newborn babies), and other social engagements. Visiting sick people in the neighborhood, in their homes, or in hospitals, was an expectation, simply because she was aldictora bet alhilla (the doctor from the neighborhood). Notwithstanding all of that, she never complained. Aas a matter of fact, she saw that as her duty to do. Khalda continued to work in the Sudanese Ministry of Health, refusinf all other gerenous offers and lucrative jobs she has received from international and regional kealth organizations. In the mid 1970s she assisted in the establishment of Mujamma' Sihhat alAtfaal (Children's Community Health Center in Omdurman). It was located in an old building that used to be occupied by the administration of her old junior high school, alErsalia in the corner of Shari'a Alarba'een and Shari'a Alurda in Omdurman. Her last post she was the department head of Pediatrics with the Sudanese Ministry of Health. Khalda retired in the mid 1980's. She has four children (Ahmed, Khlid, Mariam, and Suad). Currently, she lives between England, Cairo and Sudan.

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    A Plea to NIF

    (Abel Alier) On February 1st, 1997, Mr Abel Alier, former Vice-President under Nemeiri, sent a sincere and passionate plea to the current head of the military government in Khartoum, General Omer al-Bashir, with a copy to Dr Hasan al-Turabi asking them to enter into a dialogue with the various opposition groups or risk leading the country to total disintegration. Here are some excerpts from this important and courageous document.

    President Omer Hasan Amed El-Bashir and
    Honorable Dr Hasan Abdallah Turabi

    I wish to address you directly again on the fundamental issues which have confronted the state and the people for years, in particular, the last seven years. (These) include:

    a) the 14 year (old) civil war between the central government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement [SPLM], and its factions. In those last seven years the conflict has been further fueled by the new unhelpful policies such as a holy war (jihad) against the people of Southern Sudan and other people of the Sudan, establishment of an Islamic state that recognizes non-Muslims and non- Arabs in the Sudan as foreigners in their own land.

    b) the difficult economic condition that has created enormous suffering for all the social sectors......Most citizens in urban and rural areas of the country can no longer afford even one-half of semi-decent meal a day. The soldier, the policeman, the school teacher, the health worker, the civil servant, the businessman (except a few favored by the government) and the millions of armies of the unemployed citizens, are all impoverished as incomes are entirely inadequate to meet basic needs.....In the South, all public sector employees who are incidentally are (paid) less that their counterparts else where in the country, are not getting their salaries at all, contrary to whatever positive reports you may be receiving......The small Southern Sudanese traders (are now) reduced to economic bankruptcy, destitution., and poverty.......The business community in the North (prosperous seven years ago) are languishing in jails, due to government over taxation, and unfair and discriminatory market practices that workin favor of individuals favored by the government......Large populations (are) displaced by the war and (are) regularly harassed by endless government plans of residential relocation..... The streets of our national capital (are) teeming with the disadvantaged members of the society; roaming helpless street children, the handicapped, widows, the old and the sick (are everywhere). ....This very ugly social condition, which ought to draw the attention of even the most insensitive human being, should be urgently addressed.

    c) Our government's determination to establish, promote and sustain an unusually repressive system of governance need to be urgently addressed. The ban and clamp down on dissenting political, social, professional, constitutional (voices) and the very absence of justice and the rule of law has of late led some prominent citizens to join the growing ranks and files of other citizens fleeing the country for a life in exile. Some of them are forced by the style of rule of their government to resort to non-peaceful options...

    d) Our government's policies on race, culture and religion have further enlarged the gulf between the various peoples of the Sudan. Our public officials speak and act so often as if there is only one religion, only one culture, only one race and only one language in the Sudan. There is need to address what the Sudan is, and what it aught to be.

    (The) WAY OUT I wish that our government does admit that the problems is has helped create and which it now faces are many, almost intractable and fundamental. Both of you have a moral responsibility to lead in addressing these problems, and in resolving them. You can do this by responding to a long standing call for a genuine dialogue among all political groups; the Government of National Salvation, the National Islamic Front (NIF), the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), The Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), and the South Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM).........The parties should discuss:- a) two images of the Sudan; the one which you have promoted vigorously in the last seven years by which you see the Sudan as Arab and Islamic with one culture and one language as against the second (image in) which others see a Sudan of diverse races, cultures, religions and languages. b) Other related issues, including democracy, plural political and social systems, human rights and freedoms, justice and the rule of law administered by an independent judiciary. c) A newly constituted government of transition to (a state of ) just(ice), peace, security and democratic elections. d) Self-determination.

    ............... You have a moral responsibility to save the people from (the) scourge of war and from a violent political disintegration of the country. The people yearn for peace, for freedom, for the rule of law, for prosperity and amicable relations with neighbors and the wider international community.
    Your brother
    Abel Alier

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    Independence Celebrations in Philadelphia

    By Ali Dinar
    African Studies Center. University of Pennsylvania

    On January 4th, 1997, the Sudanese National Rally of Philadelphia [SNR], has celebrated the 41st anniversary of Sudan Independence. The Sudanese National Rally, is an off-shoot of the Sudanese National Democratic Alliance, the main opposition group against the current regime. Since the establishment of the SNR in December 1995, it has been active in exposing the regime's repressive policies and its violations of human rights.

    The theme of this year's celebration was "Sudan: Crisis & Solutions". Featured in this oneday event was a photographic exhibit in which biographies and pictures of different Sudanese historical figures and major events which lead to independence were presented. Part of this exhibit was sponsored by the Sudaese Victims of Torture Group [SGVT] who provided pictures and written posters about their activities and future work. There was a book exhibit and handouts provided by the different participants.

    The celebration which was attended by around 100 individuals some of whom came from New York, New Jersey, Washington, and Rhode Island, was officially inaugurated by Dr. Abdullahi Beraima, the President of the SNR. The program began with slides' show delivered by Dr. Ali Dinar. With the aid of these slides Dr Dinar narrated the history of the Sudan from prehistoric era to the present, highlighting the struggle for independence, stressing the interrelationships among the different peoples in the Sudan, and underscoring the theme of continuity and change in Sudanese culture.

    This was followed by a panel of speakers with representatives from the Umma party, the National Democratic Unionist party, the Zanjarab Party, and the Democratic Alliance. All speakers have iterated similar views regarding the severity of problems in the Sudan which have been aggravated further by the current government. The representative of these parties agree that the devastation that has ravaged the country in all areas must be addressed decisively and immediately after the toppling down of this regime.

    Dr. Ismail Abdalla of the College of William and Mary was the Keynote speaker who addressed the issue of survival strategies currently adopted by the Sudanese . Dr. Abdalla thinks that the Sudanese have shown more resilience than given credit for in adapting to the harsher conditions of life in the Sudan now. He also implored the Sudanese in the diaspora to think of practical ways to help their brethren in the country. He cited, as an example, book and computer donation to institutions of higher education the Sudan.

    The attendants were later entertained by the actress Tamadur Shaikhaldin who presented sketches from her renowned work "alIndirawa/Insanity" which featured the dilemma of the Sudanese immigrants in the USA. The program had concluded with songs performed by Mohammed Khalifa, who was great.

    For more information about the SNR, please write to:
    Sudanese National Rally of Philadelphia
    P.O.Box 34836. Philadelphia, PA 19101. USA

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    UN Appeal for Food for the Sudan

    The United Nations has recently made an appeal in Geneva for 120.8 million dollars to meet the needs of an estimated 4.2 million people facing starvation nd disease because of war and natural disasters in Sudan. The money will be used to finance 33 humanitarian projects in Sudan this year. Most of the affected people have been struggling to cope with chronic malnutrition and infectious diseases, which are spreading at an alarming rate, according to the UN statement. Their plight has been exacerbated by crop failures and floods. The most vulnerable group include some 630,000 children under the age of five.

    The largest request was made by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), which needs some 46 million dollars to help improve the health, nutrition and food security of children and the elderly. The World Food Program (WFP) is requesting 43.1 million dollars for food aid and to meet its transport and handling costs. Some 3.4 million people in southern Sudan, 445,000 in the transitional zone between the north and the south and 395,000 others in the capital require assistance in the form of medical care, basic education, emergency shelter, livestock and fishing inputs. The most severely affected regions in the south are the Bahr AlGhazal, Jonglei and Upper Nile states. Other vulnerable areas include camps and settlements around Khartoum where an estimated 1.8 displaced people live in squalid conditions. Sudan, with a total of four million internally displaced people, is believed to have the highest number of such people in the world. Eighty percent of them are women and children, according to the UN statement. Most of the emergency assistance in Sudan is channeled though Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS), under which seven UN agencies and more than 50 nongovernmental organizations cooperate to bring assistance to waraffected populations in southern Sudan and other regions. The OLS also works in partnership with all parties to the Sudanese conflict, including the government.

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    Their 30 Years War: The Defrocking of Hasan alTurabi

    (Abdullahi A.Ibrahim) Department of History. University of Missouri

    The Arabic proverb "inna al-Masa'ib la ta'ti furada" or "Misfortunes do not assail in ones" is the equivalent of what an English speaker means when he says "misery loves company." Hasan alTurabi, the leader of the Islamic revival movement in Sudan and SecretaryGeneral of the sixyear-old Islamic "International," could not agree more these days. Sudan government, whose "evil genius" he is said to be, is under pain of international sanctions to surrender the men who crossed into Sudan from Ethiopia after their failed attempt to assassin President Hosni Mubark of Egypt last year. To make what is bad worse, Ja'far Sheikh Idris, a dissident who broke ranks with the Turabi-led Muslim Brotherhood almost thirty years ago, and has lived ever since in Saudi Arabia and the United States, gave a public lecture on October (1995) at the University of Khartoum in which he charged alTurabi of apostasy and dismissed Turabi's views on religious reform as secularism in Islamic garb.

    Charging al-Turabi with apostasy is not new. It has stalked him all the time, specially during the course of the conflict that raged in the Islamic movement in the late sixties. This conflict was between al-Turabi's faction, what I would call here "the political group," and their opponens whom I call the "educationalist group." The educationalists were appalled by the readiness of the political group, led by alTurabi, to overhaul the internal structure of the movement in order to accommodate the numerous and extremely successful, if ethically questionable, political alliances with other centers of power. They accused alTurabi's faction of being preoccupied with politics and showmanship at the expense of deepening the educational foundation of members. Ignored and outnumbered, the educationalist, among whom was Ja'far Shaykh Idris, rebelled in the late seventies and formed their own organization. Apparently, it was this brake-away organization that sponsored the lecture of Mr Shaykh Idris; their old, fiery brother who was returning from the USA.

    The lecture was by and large a rehash of a litany of the alleged heresies of alTurabi, long in circulation among the initiated. In going public, the educationalists might have wanted to settle old scores with alTurabi whose government and movement appeared to have attained both power and prestige. Members of the alTurabi's movement in the audience were angry and disconcerted. A young and apparently confused member of the audience asked the lecture; Mr Idris, if alTurabi could lead Muslims in prayer, considering the things Mr Idris had said about? Mr Idris, who sounded like passing a sentence rather than giving an answer, responded by saying: "Not before he recants".

    The accusation of apostasy apart, alTurabi could hardly fail to recognize this flagrant selfrighteousness his movement has perfected into a technology of political power. Two of the heresies of which alTurabi was found guilty by his critics would evoke memories of dramatic and tragic episodes in the recent history of the Sudanese people; memories that would rub salt in wounds that are still raw. The first heresy is alTurabi's flippant language in the public statements in which he discusses matters pertaining to Prophet Muhammad, his household and his companions. Thirty years ago, the use of such un-restrained language gave the budding Islamic movement its first clearcut victory over the Sudan Communist Party, believed then to be the most popular and well-organized communist party in Africa. In 1965, a student, allegedly a member of the Communist party or one of its splinter groups, made a statement that the Islamists deemed frivolously disrespectful of the Prophet and his household. Mobilizing a broad alliance comprizing other Sudanese parties, clerics and sufi brotherhood, the Islamists succeeded in altogether banning the Communist party and in barring its dully elected representatives from sitting in Parliament. The party never recovered from this fatal blow. This event and its repercussions gave alTurabi's movement an unsurpassed authority to speak on religious matters, an authority enjoyed neither by the popular and dominant sufi fraternities nor by the clerics.

    It would be one of the bizarre ironies of fate if alTurabi could be forced to recant or be charged with apostasy in the wake of Mr Idris's lecture. It is only ten years ago that the Muslim Brotherhood were implicated in the execution of a religious opponent accused of apostasy. Many Sudanese hold the Brotherhood responsible, politically as well as juridically, for charging the late Islamic reformer, Mahmoud Muhammad Taha, who was 76 years old at the time, of apostasy. Accordingly, he was condemned to death and was publicly hanged in 1985. Even those observers sympathetic to the Islamists do not absolve them of having a hand in the murder of this important man. The Muslim Brotherhood had for a long time dismissed Taha as an annoying, eccentric demagogue, but took no action against him. But when Nimeri, the military dictator who ruled the Sudan between 1969-1985, tried Mahmoud M. Taha for heresy, the Brotherhood threw its weight behind him. As a "newborn" Muslim, Nimeri had already allied himself with the Brotherhood a few years back. On the day of the public hanging, many followers of the Brotherhood flocked to the "killing field", in show of support for the decision to execute the old man.

    Many Sudanese find some of the charges against alTurabi ludicrous and baseless. Nevertheless, the charges are there, and are serious. AlTurabi is accused, for example, of believing (in contradiction to most Muslim thinkers) that, in Islam, the application of the term "apostasy" is restricted only to those who raise arms against a Muslim government. He is also believed to have said that Muslims who want to change their religions were free to do so. But if these accusations have any foundation in truth, then why did al-Turabi fail to practice what he is believed to have preached, once he has assumed power in Khartoum? Contrary to statements in which alTurabi is said to have made these ideas known, article 126 of the 1991 Sudan Criminal Code promulgated under the present governmenta government allegedly run by alTurabidoes not make any distinctions between categories of apostates. At any event, it is saddening to see lslamic thinkers toy with a matter as serious as apostasy . Apparently, alTurabi is not prepared to enact into law his "heretical" notion of apostasy, for which he may pay with his own life.. As for his adversaries, it is clear that they do not take the trouble to verify their sources or prove their accusations.

    All said and done, secularists in the Sudan and elsewhere should not rejoice in the fact that their "public enemy number one" is having presently big problems. For a change, they should be looking for what is good for their cause rather than what is bad for alTurabi. The promiscuous ease with which Nimeri executed M.M. Taha should be a lesson to secularists to be seriously concerned when they hear the word "apostasy" thrown about, even if it is the head of their hateful enemy that is going to roll this time. Again, the Islamists of the Educationalist group should not be encouraged to carelessly flounce around apostasy charges even if they are slitting each others throats. "Never again" is suitably invented for situations such as the one under consideration here. It will serve as an earlywarning system to help us nip in the bud all accusation of apostasy before they turn sour and cancerous. Secularism, let it be remembered, came into the world to save religious adversaries from killing one another in the Thirty Year wars in Europe. ***

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    The Sudan Foundation

    212 Piccadilly, London WC1V 9LD . United Kingdom
    Telephone: 0171 917 1854
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    Sudan Special Appeal Sudan Foundation Calls for End to Outside Armed Intervention in Sudanese Affairs


    What follows is an appeal for action. Whatever your faith or politics, you have it in your power to help bring about and end to what could easily become a major humanitarian crisis in one of the most sensitive areas of the world. Please read the following text, and please consider writing to at least one of the individuals named below.

    The Beginning of the Crisis
    On Sunday the 12th January 1997, an Ethiopian force of 22 tanks supported by approximately 6,000 soldiers crossed their border into Sudan. This force occupied the Sudanese towns of Kurmuk, Gisau, Yarda and Menza. The invasion was preceded and accompanied by an intensive artillery bombardment. Accompanying the Ethiopians were units of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, a grouping that believes in the creation of a separate state in what is now the south of Sudan. These in turn were accompanied by elements of the National Democratic Alliance, a group of northern rebels who probably do not want the south to break away at any rate, their leader, Sadiq AlMahdi, was the Prime Minister who fought the southern rebels in the 1980s but who certainly wish to overthrow the present Sudanese Government.

    Within a few days, the Eritrean army joined in with its own attack on Sudan. Then on the 26th January 1997, President Museveni of Uganda arrived in London threatening further intervention in Sudanese affairs. He proposed that the Organization of African Unity should call the Sudanese civil war a "colonial conflict", thereby avoiding the ban on intervening in the internal affairs of another Africa country. These actual and threatened invasions followed a year in which the Sudanese Government and the main rebel factions had made significant steps towards a negotiated, internal settlement of the civil war, which has raged on and off since before independence in 1956. The signing of the Peace Charters in March and April 1996, together with the general elections which returned much of the country to civilian, democratic government, had raised hopes that the killing and all the collateral suffering were at last coming to an end.

    The Causes of the Crisis
    Perhaps the main reason why these hopes have for the moment been retarded let us all hope not dashed is American hostility to the present Sudanese Government. The public justification for this hostility is alleged Sudanese involvement in international terrorism. This has been made to justify a recent grant of $20 million in military aid to Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda. What is the Sudan Foundation Doing?

    The Sudan Foundation, of which I am the Director, is an independent organization. It is controlled by no government, and is associated with no specific religion or ideology. However, its policy is to encourage all and any moves towards a just and lasting settlement of the civil war. It has therefore consistently supported the internal settlement based on the Peace Charters. It has also pragmatically accepted that, while there is much that could be improved there, the present Sudanese Government is the only one likely to contribute effectively to a settlement. This pragmatism is supported by a strong skepticism regarding the claims of international terrorism and human rights abuses see, for example, Sean Gabb, "AngloSudanese Relations: An Open Letter to the Right Honorable Malcolm Rifkind MP QC, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs", published by the Sudan Foundation, December 1996. It is for this reason that I wrote my most recent letter to Mr Rifkind. Its text follows below:

    Dear Mr Rifkind,

    I am writing to urge you to take immediate and urgent action with regard to events in Sudan. Last Sunday, the 12th January, 22 Ethiopian tanks plus around 6,000 Ethiopian soldiers and a sections of the Sudanese People Liberation Army (one of the Sudanese rebel groups), crossed into Sudanese territory, occupying several towns. This aggression was preceded and accompanied by artillery and rocket bombardments of these Sudanese towns from within Ethiopia. Though the precise form it took was a surprise, this alliance between the Ethiopians and some of the Sudanese rebels was fully to be expected. It derives from the granting of $20 million in military aid by the United States to various of Sudan's neighbors for the purpose of destabalising the present Sudanese Government.

    Whatever can be said against the present Government in Khartoum, you will surely agree that aiding and abetting wars of international aggression is no way for a civilized country to achieve its foreign policy aims. You will also agree that the examples of Rwanda and Zaire and Somalia show the inhuman folly of trying to create a political vacuum in this most unstable and sensitive region of the world. Also, from my previous communication, the Open Letter to the Right Honorable Malcolm Rifkind MP QC, sent to you last month, you will be aware of the internal peace process currently underway between the Sudanese Government and the main rebel actions a peace process that the overwhelming majority of the Sudanese people believe can bring a just and lasting settlement to the civil war that has raged in that country since before it became independent from Britain. Therefore, the Sudan Foundation calls on you to do the following: To denounce this act of aggression by Ethiopia, and to work within the United Nations to achieve a total withdrawal of Ethiopian armed forces from Sudan, and an end to Ethiopian military support for any Sudanese rebel group; To use all the influence that Her Majesty's Government may possess in Washington to end the present American policy of violent destabilisation within a country that is a sovereign member state of the United Nations and a former territory of the British Empire; To commit Her Majesty's Government to a full support for and encouragement of a just and lasting and internal settlement of the Sudanese civil war.

    I have the honor to be, Sir,
    Yours sincerely,
    Sean Gabb. Director. The Sudan Foundation.

    Last 30th January, I received the following reply from the Foreign Office:

    Foreign and Commonwealth Office. London SW1A 2AH 27 January 1997 Sean Gabb Esq The Sudan Foundation 212 Piccadilly London WC1V 9LD

    Dear Mr Gabb,

    Thank you for your letter of 15 January to the Foreign Secretary. I have been asked to reply.

    We too are concerned by reports of fighting in Sudan's border regions. We are particularly concerned by the effect on the already difficult humanitarian situation in the country. We have not however seen any evidence that there has been an Ethiopian invasion of Sudan. (The Ethiopian Government have strongly denied such allegations.) Rather the fighting appears to be the start of the longexpected offensive by the Sudan People's Liberation Army, the largest southern rebel group. We would like to see a negotiated end to the civil war in Sudan and peace talks based on the recognition that Sudan's different communities all deserve equal respect. The US Government have also urged a peaceful solution to the civil war through dialogue and negotiation. They have also stated publicly that none of the $20m of nonlethal assistance to Sudan's neighbors has yet been delivered; and that it could therefore have contributed in no way to the current fighting.

    Yours ever,
    A. W. Turner. Near East and North Africa Department.

    This is an interesting letter. The claim of ignorance regarding Ethiopian involvement in the invasion is surprising. The British and Irish media have been reporting on it since the incursions began. If Mr Turner's informants in East Africa have failed to notice the sound of gunfire, he must surely have bought a newspaper during the past few weeks. More important is his repetition of the claim that none of the American "nonlethal" assistance has yet been delivered, and that it could therefore "have contributed in no way to the fighting". It is almost a truism that there is no such thing as nonlethal military assistance. Give a government bandages: money is thereby saved for the purchase of bullets. It should be equally plain that the promise of aid in the future is a subsidy on present action: promise a million dollars for March 1997, and the million dollars already set aside for that month can be used for some other purpose in this instance, a killing and burning spree that threatens to repeat the horrors of Zaire on a far greater scale. The $20 million of pledged aid is also very much the tip of the iceberg so far as American involvement is concerned: United States military instructors, for example, have been training rebel Sudanese military forces for over a year in Eritrea itself. Of most importance, however, is the tone of the letter. The British Government will do nothing to bring pressure to bear on the Americans and the other aggressors in this war, so long as British public opinion remains inactive. It must therefore be activated.

    What Can YOU Do?
    I encourage all my British and Irish readers and any of those overseas who feel inclined to contribute to write to at least some of the individuals and organizations listed below. Some people believe that writing letters is a waste of time. It is not. Most of the individuals listed below have a duty to reply. If their replies are unsatisfactory, they can be challenged by further letters. If there are enough letters doing this, minds can be changed. As for newspaper editors, these are employed to give readers what they want. If enough readers can make their voices heard, the editors may decide to increase or amend their coverage. Remember, people are basically good; and most of the world's ills come not from deliberate evil but from ignorance of the truth. Here is the list:

    His Excellency the Ambassador Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan 3 Cleveland Row . London SW1.
    (Condemning the Ethiopian, Eritrean and SPLA aggression, but at the same time calling on the Sudanese Government to redouble its efforts to bring about a just and lasting settlement to the civil war.)

    His Excellency the High Commissioner, Uganda High Commission. Uganda House, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N.
    (Calling on the Government of Uganda not to try breaking the Charter of the Organization of African Unity using the means proposed by President Museveni, but instead to abstain from interfering in the internal affairs of its neighbors.)

    His Excellency the Ambassador. Ethiopian Embassy , 17 Princes Gate, London SW7.
    His Excellency the Ambassador. Embassy of the United States of America, 24 Grosvenor Square. London W1.

    (Both condemning the armed intervention in Sudan. The Ethiopians should be requested to recall their armed forces back within their own borders and to abstain from future aggressive actions in support of any side in the Sudanese civil war. The Americans should be asked to consider the humanitarian impact of their military aid to Sudan's neighbors how the mere promise of it has ignited a conflict that has perhaps already killed and injured thousands and driven tens of thousands from their homes and land.)

    The Right Honorable Malcolm Rifkind MP QC Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. King Charles Street London SW1A (Reiterating though not repeating word for word the points made in my letter above. Mr Rifkind should be encouraged to use all his considerable political and diplomatic skills, plus his equally considerable influence in Washington, to help bring about an end to what could turn into a major humanitarian disaster with repercussions throughout Africa and the Middle East.) Readers are also urged to write to their elected representatives, whether national or local.

    One need only look at the vicious civil wars within West Africa and within Somalia to recognize the danger in foreign attempts to destabilise Africa's largest country. What Sudan and its neighbors desperately need is peace and stability. By writing one or two of the letters suggested above, it is possible to bring pressure to bear on those who have the power to end this conflict before it escalates beyond all control.
    Remember, your involvement can make a difference.

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    NDA Conference on Fundamental Issues: Final Communique

    The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) convened an extra ordinary conference in the city of Asmara, the capital of the State of Eritrea under the motto "Conference on the Fundamental Issues of the Nation", in the period between the 15th and 23td of June, 1995. The Conference was attended by leaders and delegates representing the Democratic Unionist Party, the Umma Party, the Sudan Communist Party, Union of Sudan African Parties, Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement and Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army, Legitimate Command of the Sudanese Armed Forces, Sudanese Alliance Forces, The Beja Congress, Sudanese Trades Unions and Independent National Personalities.

    The Conference deliberated extensively on the following fundamental issues: (Article) l. Ending of the civil war and restoration of peace in the Sudan: In order to realize this objective, the conference recognized the need to address and resolve the following issues:
    Sectiona) Right of selfdetermination,
    Sectionb) Relationship between religion and politics
    Sectionc) System of rule during the interim period
    (Article) ll. Programs and modalities for the intensification of the struggle to overthrow the NIF regime.
    (Article) lll. Arrangements and tasks of the interim period
    (Article) lV. Foundational bases for the future Sudan
    (Article) V. Humanitarian issues
    (Article) Vl. Structuring of the National Democratic Alliance

    The NDA held its conference in full awareness of the hard and oppressive conditions currently endured by the Sudanese people as a result of the policies of the illegitimate fascist National Islamic Front (NIF) regime which has degraded the dignity of our people, tarnished and put in disrepute the image of the Sudan in the outside world, threatened international and regional peace and security, caused instability in neighboring countries and exported and continued to sow discord in more than a country. The NIF aggressive policies have led to their rejection of all peace initiatives and the escalation of civil war in the country. Pursuant to the declared objectives and principles of the NDA as enshrined in its charter;

    Inspired by our people's struggle against successive dictatorial regimes; Guided by our past experiences in consolidating national unity and; Committed to the establishment of a new democratic system of governance based on pluralism and respect for human rights; The Conference resolves the following: (Article l), Section a) Self Determination

    1) Affirms that the right of self determination is a basic human, democratic and people's right which may be exercised at any time by any people.

    2) Recognizes that the exercise of the right of selfdetermination constitutes a solution to the problem of ending the ongoing civil war, and facilitates the restoration and enhancement of democracy in the Sudan.

    3) Affirms that this right shall be exercised in an atmosphere of democracy and legitimacy and under regional and international supervision. 4) Affirms that the areas afflicted by war are Southern Sudan, Abyei are Southern Sudan, Abyei District, the Nuba Mountains and Ingessena Hills.

    5) Declares that the people of Southern Sudan (within its borders as they stood on 1.1.1956) shall exercise the right of self-determination before the expiration of the interim period.

    6) Resolves that the views of the people of Abyei District as regards their wish to either remain within the administrative set up of Southern Kordofan region or join Bahr El Ghazal region shall be ascertained in a referendum to be held within the interim period but before the exercise of the right of self-determination for the South. If the outcome of the referendum establishes that the majority of the people of this district wish to join Bahr El Ghazal, the people of Abyei shall accordingly exercise the right of self-determination as part of the people of Southern Sudan.

    7) Resolves that with respect to the Nuba Mountains and Ingessena Hills a political solution to redress the injustices suffered by the people of these areas shall be sought by the interim government and that a referendum to ascertain their views on their political and administrative future shall be organized and carried out within the interim period.

    8) Reaffirms its commitment to a just peace, democracy and unity based on the free will of the people of the Sudan and to resolving the present conflict by peaceful means through a just and lasting settlement. To this end the NDA endorses the IGADD Declaration of Principles (DOP) as a viable basis for such a just and lasting settlement.

    9) Reiterates that true peace in the Sudan cannot be viewed within the framework of the problem of the South but rather from the standpoint that our problem is of a national origin.

    10) Affirms that our national problems cannot be solved except through clear, serious and continuous dialogue among all Sudanese national groups.

    11) Asserts that the nature and history of the Sudanese conflict has proved that permanent peace and stability in the country can not be achieved through a military solution.

    a) II. The constituent members of the NDA shall adopt a common stand on the options to be presented in the referendum in the South, which options shall be a) unity (confederation I federation) and b) independent statehood.
    a) III. The NDA affirms that the Central Authority shall within the interim period devise and implement the necessary confidence-building measures and the appropriate restructuring of the State and socio-economic institutions and processes, so that the exercise of the right of self-determination could have the best chances of upholding the unity option.

    b) Relationship between Religion and Politics
    1) All human rights norms and principles enshrined in regional and international human rights instruments and covenants shall be an integral part of the constitution of the Sudan, and any law, decree, executive order or policy measure contrary thereto shall be considered null and void and unconstitutional.

    2) All laws shall guarantee full equality of citizens on the basis of citizenship, respect for religious beliefs and traditions and without discrimination on grounds of religion, race, gender or culture. Any law contrary to the foregoing stipulation shall be considered null and void and unconstitutional.

    3) No political party shall be established on religious basis.

    4) The state shall acknowledge and respect religious pluralism in the Sudan and shall undertake to promote and bring about peaceful interaction and coexistence, equality and tolerance among religions and noble spiritual beliefs, and shall permit peaceful religious proselytisation and prohibit coercion in religion, or the perpetration in any place, forum or location in the Sudan of any act or measure intended to arouse religious sedition or racial hatred.

    5) The NDA undertakes to preserve and promote the dignity of the Sudanese woman, and affirms her role in the Sudanese national movement and her rights and duties as enshrined in international instruments and covenants without prejudice to the tenets of prevailing religions and noble spiritual beliefs.

    6) National programs in the fields of information, education and culture shall be formulated and disseminated in accordance with the regional and international instruments and covenants on human rights.

    c) System of Rule During the Interim Period:-
    1) The Sudan shall be ruled during interim period on the basis of decentralization. The interim constitution shall stipulate the powers and competence of the central and regional entities and the manner of their distribution.

    2) The NDA shall formulate a law for the decentralized system of rule in the Sudan.

    3) The decentralized system of rule shall be based on the distribution of powers and competence, as agreed upon between the Center, Northern Entities and the Southern Entity. An agreement as to the names to be applied to those entities shall be reached subsequently.

    4) The role of local government and the system of native administration shall be taken into account in the formulation of the law on decentralization.

    5) In organizing the interim administrative set up the following issues shall be put into account:
    a) Redressing injustices and root causes of the war and the creation of a conducive atmosphere for the rehabilitation, reconstruction and rebuilding of the country.
    b) Gauging the wishes of the people of the various areas as regards the evolving democratic process in the country.

    6) In implementing the system of decentralization, due regard shall be given to the difficult economic conditions of the country, austerity measures shall be taken with the view to reducing unnecessary public spending. It is also emphasized that wide-based popular participation at all decision-making levels should be ensured within the framework of democratic decentralization.

    (Article) II. Programs and modalities for the intensification of the struggle to overthrow the NIF regime
    1) The legitimacy of the armed struggle being waged by the various forces of the NDA with a view to overthrowing the NIF regime in accordance with agreed upon mechanisms.

    2) Provision of material and other means required to execute this program.

    3) Establishment of a high politico-military committee to undertake the task of coordination, supervision and implementation of the programs of intensifying the struggle to overthrow the regime.

    (Article) III. Military and security arrangements during the interim period
    The conference adopted all the recommendations proposed by the ad hoc technical committee on this matter.

    (Article) IV. Foundational bases of the New Sudan For the purposes of laying down the foundations of the New Sudan the conference adopted the following programs for the interim period: a) Economic Program for the interim period

    b) Foreign policy and regional and international cooperation
    c) Eradication of the vestiges of the NIF regime
    d) Laws governing political parties
    e) Trades Unions code of ethics
    f) Press and Publications law

    (Article) V. Humanitarian issues
    The erroneous economic policies of the regime and its escalation of the civil war have resulted in unprecedented internal migration and displacement. These have, in turn, caused a serious damage to the environment and subjected large sections of the population, especially women, to untold suffering. Furthermore war, instability, political subjugation and violation of human rights have all combined to force huge numbers of citizens to seek refuge abroad. Out of concern for the welfare of the Sudanese people and their right to free movement inside and outside the country, and in an attempt to address some of the urgent problems facing displaced people and refugees, the conference adopted a practical program of action to be implemented during the interim period. The conference also decided that measures shall be taken to as sit refugees and victims of the regime's brutal policies both in the short and long terms, in cooperation and coordination with the international community and the appropriate organizations in the Sudan.

    (Article) VI. The Structuring of the National Democratic Alliance and amendment of its charter

    The conference adopted the new organizational structure of the NDA which shall consist of the conference, the Presidency, The Executive Bureau, The General Secretariat, The Specialized Departments, and The Branches. The conference also adopted the. program of external action and the proposed Amendments to the NDA charter with a view to accommodating the new and intervening political developments. By successfully addressing these fundamental issues and adopting the above-mentioned programs the NDA Conference on National Fundamental Issues has reached a consensus formula to which all its forces are committed. These programs include the removal of the regime, the ending of the civil war and realization of peace, the restoration of democracy and the creation of a conducive atmosphere for the establishment of the new Sudan. In order to enable it realize these objectives, the NDA earnestly appeals to the international and regional communities, sisterly and friendly countries, peace-and democracy- loving states to come to the help of the Sudanese people in their legitimate struggle to rid themselves of the pariah regime and thus enable the Sudan assume its natural position within the family of nations. The NDA calls upon all the Sudanese compatriots inside and outside the country to unify their ranks and rally around the banner of the NDA in order to enhance the implementation of its programs. The NDA, having been honored in holding its conference in the land of Eritrea, would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude and thanks to the sisterly and heroic people of Eritrea under the leadership of the Popular Front for Democracy and Justice. The NDA salutes the stand of the Eritrean people in support of the Sudanese cause and the fundamental issues affecting the Sudanese nation. The NDA specially salutes the gallant hero, President Isais Afwerki, for his comprehensive understanding of the Sudanese problem and for the heroic stand he has taken in support of the Sudanese people. The NDA would like to take this opportunity to commend the positive role being played by the IGADD countries, led by President Daniel arap Moi, and Friends of IGADD countries in their endeavors to bring about a speedy end to the war and to restore peace and democracy in the Sudan.

    The NDA also commends the positive stands taken by the sisterly and friendly countries which have special historic and close relations with the Sudan and its people, namely Egypt, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, all the neighboring countries and all other friends in the world at large. The NDA cannot help but also express its appreciation and thanks to all those friends who cabled the conference to convey messages of support and encouragement.

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    Important Announcement from the SSA Executive Director, Dr Malik Balla.

    The SSA International Conference will be held in Cairo between June 11 through the 14th, 1997). The deadline for submission of papers and request for participation is March 31, 1997. So take this opportunity to write to Dr Malik about your plans to attend this international conference. His address is on the inside cover sheet.

    Dr Malik also encourages members to re-new their SSA membership for the 1997-98 academic year. See details for annual subscription on the inside cover of this Newsletter.

    Note from the Editor
    As promised, the second issue of this Newsletter will go to the printer on March 31st. So send in your submissions right away. Thanks


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    > Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar,