Sudanese Alternative Discourses (SAD), Vol. 2

Sudanese Alternative Discourses (SAD), Vol. 2

Published and edited by Elfatih Osman


  • Articulation of Cultural Discourses and Political Dominance in Sudan, Salah El-Zein
  • Girls Songs - A Measure of Freedom (Part 1) , Isam Hagmusa
  • **********************************************************************************

    Articulation of Cultural Discourses and Political Dominance in Sudan


    "There is no better starting point for thought than laughter" Walter Benjamin, " The Author as A producer"

    Sudan , as a multi-cultural society, figures, among other African states as a sparkling example where one cultural strand was in a position to retain hegemony and dominance, politically and economically, through peaceful and other means. Configuration of geographical factors may, certainly, not be hold, alone, accountable for the present articulation of economic and political dominance of Arab Islamic culture.

    Grasped in actual events, the basic political philosophy of the Arabic-Islamic political discourse towards the South and other underprivileged regions of the Sudan is to retain the country united and integrated without jeopardizing the triangle of Khartoum-Medani -Portsudan Northern monopoly of political and economic power. In its extreme, the policy entails the exclusion, even damage , of Southern Sudanese and other backward regions of the country from sharing political and economic power. Politicians, and to some extent, scholars of Arab origin, merge to argue that " ...the African past of the Sudanese was not regarded as an object of glorification or seen as a source of self-gratification by politically conscious Sudanese" 1.

    The scholar vigorously followed suit the political. During the euphoria of independence of Sudan, Ali Abdel Rahman, then Minister of Interior of the first independent government had this to say in the Parliament, " Sudan is an Arab country and whoever does not feel Arab should quit" 2.

    One year before, the south was being ravaged by Equatorial military mutiny of 1955 which is the first military reaction to counteract the immanent process of cultural homogenization. Successive governments, both multi-party and military , dominated by Arab-Muslim sectarian political parties failed, for conceivable ideological reasons, to address themselves to the issues involved. Instead,

    "assimilation and cultural domination were assumed to be the only ways of achieving national unity " 3 . The participation of southern politicians in the national political spectrum was underscored, if not non- existing.

    Historically, but not to be taken as a justifying counter-argument for the subsequent politics of Arabic-Islamic cultural domination, nationalist movements in Sudan were of Northern character, i.e. , they originated and flourished in the northern part of the country and were dominated by Northern Islamic Arabic-speaking "elite". The crux of that nationalist ideology was strongly advocating Islamic- Arabic orientation through the assimilation of the entire non-Arab nationalities into the Arab national group. Spread of Islam and Arabic education was envisaged as instrumental and instructive. In fact, since July 1939 the leading members of the Sudan Graduates Congress, the latter on political parties leader, presented to the Government with the proposals " that education should be oriented towards the Arab and Islamic, but not African, culture, because the Sudan had much in common with the Arabic countries of Islamic Orient . They were in the opinion that the proselytizing missionaries were incapable of improving education in the South. Only "through the opening of government schools, similar to those in the North, and where the Arabic language would provide the Lingua Franca " 4 , could real development of education takes place in the South.

    Independence of the country was a mere episode in this process. These policies were pursued and activated by the dominant Arabic-Islamic discourse in power since independence. The first military regime (1958-64) launched an unprecedented campaign of diffusing Arabic language and Islamic religion. Missionaries activities were banned, mosques were built in the South, Friday was repealed. It goes without saying that nascent discourse of cultural assimilation necessitates the economic and political power of the state which was dominated by the Arab-Islamic political parties. Even when, in 1968 elections, William Deng had won the election as representative of Sudan African National Union (SANU), it was beyond his political capacity to assume whatsoever role in the ascending assimilation discourse. Instead he was "assimilated" into the Coalition Government of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the Imam wing of the Umma Party. It was common practice for Northern political leaders, in their efforts to display unanimity and national legitimacy, to recruit Southern politicians in their government, often as ministers without portfolio and representative capacities. Being no potential force for pressing Southern demands, is a prerequisite for their involvement.

    Unraveling the controversy entangled in the intricate relation between the state and the Islamic religion would set the argument in the right track of declothing the intransigent efforts of the dominant Arabic-Islamic discourse in its thrust to assimilate, culturally, non-Arabic groups. Islamisation process, albeit unsaid, is the spearhead of assimilative policies. This could be pushed further back to the heyday of Mahadyya movement in the 19th century.

    Across history, the nationalist movement, in the 30s, led by the Graduates Congress, was, undoubtedly, a kaleidoscope of Mahadyya ideological discourse. Equally indicative were the maneuvers at Juba Conference m 1947. Though the subject of the Conference is to debate whether southerrners should have representatives to the legislative body in Khartoum, to reinforce the unity of the Sudan, in "reality the issue at the Juba Conference was whether the unity between the South and the North, decided upon by British administrators in the Sudan in 1946, should be confirmed by Southerners with or without safeguards for the people of southern Sudan" 5 .

    Safeguards visualized by Southerner were nothing than the cultural identity of the Southern people and the necessity to preserve it through equal soio-economic development of the region, promotion of education , commitment to equality of citizens in the future united Sudan and the participation of Southerners in the administration of the country coupled with self-rule in the South.

    It was not difficult for Northern Sudanese representatives to endorse these safeguards and never put them in practice. No efforts were reserved to make successful fruition of the cultural assimilation targets. The same game was played in December 1955 when preparations for independence were being debated. The Southerners were firmly demanding, time again and again, a reaffirmation regarding safeguard for their pledge to have federal system of government stipulated in the constitution and acceleration of socio-economic development and promotion of education in the South. Repeatedly, reaffirmation were given and the independence was attained in Jan 1995. Following independence, the political scene was pigmented with visions and policies that do not differ from the age-old aspiration for the Islamization of the country; rather they were overtly spoken. The commitment to federal pledge came by the southerners proved to be illusive and shadowy, no other than tactics to pass declaration of independence. Instead, federation pledge came to be equated with separation and was severely rejected and debilitated.

    Having dominated the state, the dominant Arabic-Islamic political discourse was on solid grounds to furnish the political space with claims regarding the Islamic constitutionality of Sudanese society and culture. To its detriment, and because of its myopia, national unity was perceived tantamount to Arabicisation and Islamization. Culture backed by politics was in a full sway and any claims for cultural promotion and development was continuously contemplated and interrelated. Claims for Islamic constitution would have been realized but due to the squabble among the dominant political parties leaders coupled with the ravaging war in the south it was handicapped. It re-figured again during 1967-69 to be battled along the acute difference about whether it should be parliamentary or presidential. Complete disregard of socio-economic issues of development regarding the south and other underprivileged region was sacked by a dominant political center engulfed in issue of Islamic legitimacy and accommodation.

    Nor were the non-Arab groups in the north immune from the encroaching cultural assimilation policy .

    Following the 1964 popular outbreak, regional movements started to appear on the scene, assuming recognized in roles in political, economic and cultural affairs. Claims were asserted by the Beja Congress (BC ) from Eastern Sudan, Nuba Mountain (NMU) in the western part of the country, and Dar Fur Development Front (DDF) . The DDF aim was to create a multi-racial movement to channel people's political, ethnic, social and religious aspiration into the right direction in the Sudan and Darfur Province in particular. 6

    The difference between North-South and North-North counteraction to the encroaching cultural assimilation is one of a kind rather than degree. While the one is military confrontation, the other is a political one. This could be attributed to the fact that, in the first case, the degree of inequality and non-participation in national administrative institutions, coupled with cultural difference is greater, comparatively to the second case. But the fact in both case remain; those regions suffers from the sterile policies of the dominant political parties and the ensuing inequalities since independence. The fact that some of these regions, particularly Darfur and Eastern Sudan, were the traditional electoral stands for Umma and the Democratic Unionist religious parties, respectively, is an onslaught on the two parties' discourse regarding their policies and orientations toward non-Arab groups.

    Common appeals for non-discriminatory policies and assertiveness regarding equitable apportionment of economic and political resources were factors that stimulates regional movements to merge their efforts with Southerners to act, in post 1964 politics. More than two decades elapsed by when the Sudan People Liberation Movement ( SPLAY) was outstandingly conscious, thanks to cultural assimilation policies, to articulate the regional movement aspiration with national problems. The problem is not one of North-South strife but that of the whole country; the battle was brought to an altogether new sophisticated stretches.

    Destined to be ridden by seventeen years of war (1955-72), the country was for the first time and , a fact to be restated, during Nimeri's regime (1969-85), harbored the North-South conflict to peaceful grounds by the conclusion of Adis Ababa Accord in 1972. It was for the first time, in the political history of the country, that Sudan cultural diversity was publicly and politically recognized. The fact that Sudan is a multi-cultural and multi-religious society was taken, by the Accord, as not a factor for national disunity, but rather, when perceived broadly, an stimuli and enrichment to the national integrity of the country. It provided the political and institutional devices through which cultural diversity could be a springboard to unity.

    In addition to the establishment of a regional government in the South, Adis Ababa Agreement contained provisions addressing the cultural diversity issues. This comprises articles that recognized minority's local languages, customs, freedom of religious opinions, development of local cultures, equality of opportunities in education, employment, commerce etc., irrespective of race, tribal, origin, place of birth or sex. The fact that for the first time political power was to be shared with that large non-Arab minority, could not be realized without being protested, overtly or covertly, by some in a cultural milieu historically dominated by Arab-Islamic ideological prejudice. It was that the President " could not have had more than limited support for his new policy.. .. among either Islamists or the pan-Arabists; and even the Arab Sudanese in general were still opposed to sharing power with the " rest", while the civil service was known to be strongly against regionalism" 7

    However, the background scene for the Agreement was a such miserable and fuzzy, " for it would be difficult to find elsewhere in black Africa a population of about five million, occupying over a quarter of a million square miles, who 15 years after independence could boast of only two secondary schools, and neither a permanent secretary nor a director of a department in the public service" 8

    Factors pertinent to the south militate, among other factors, against the full- fledged realization of the political autonomy and cultural self-determination of the South. Central among them, is the all-embracing economic and political destitute of the South. This is not to argue that backward economic and political structures were eternally destined to inherent and structural mechanisms of self-destruction and fragility, but rather, to argue that, and in the case of Sudan, " the Southerners have not only ceased to have faith in promises any more, they do actually believe that these promises are stratagems with which to destroy the legitimate rights of the citizens in the South "9

    Promises for safeguards in Juba Conference 1974, and Declaration Resolution, December 1955, were not yet washed out off the South memory. Another factor, pertaining to May regime, that of strong emphasis and recognition of Pan-Arabism was too devastating and sweeping to allow for amicable conciliatory political and cultural atmosphere to grapple with. It was the new Prime Minister, Babiker Awaddala, who, from the outset epitomized the new regime mission " the Revolutionary Government, with complete understanding of the bond of destiny and forces of Arab Revolution, will work for the creation of economic, military and cultural reactions with brothers Arab Nations to strengthen the Arab Nation in its fight against new-colonialism and Zionism" 10 . No seats were reserved in that show of drama for neither pan-Africanists nor Sudanese citizens of African origins; no convincing reasons to be bothered with such concerns for " the Sudanese...... turned their backs on Africa and became passionately attached to the glorious past of Islam, which, together with the richness of classical Arabic culture and thought, provided the necessary psychological prod" for " instead of helping them to regain their lost self-confidence, Africa would have the effect of accentuating their ( southerners) feeling of inferiority...." 11 . But the road from March 1972 to June 1983 guarantees no safety for whatever margins of free interplay. Host of structurally inherent factors in the unfolding processes of Sudan political history persuade, rather force, the very regime, i.e. which initiate and proclaimed the policy of " Sudanese for all Sudanese", to the threshold of propagating the Agreement which retained a spacious room for the Regime's credibility and devotion in the memory of both Southerners and Northerners.

    The 1977-78 policy of " National Reconciliation" in which the regime reconciled his major political opponents, i.e. Muslim Brothers and Ummar party , was dictated by an interplaying host of economic and political forces following the 1971 plan of " open door policy ". Thematically based on the thesis that the political process in Sudan are best grappled with through the articulation of Arabic-Islamic ideological discourse and political dominance, the paper assumes that economic forces, among others, were the back bench energizers of the unfolding political scene. Rather, a dialectical interplay between economic and politico-cultural and social factors was recommended theoretically instructive instead of the mechanical economistic approaches. Accordingly, the National Reconciliation is looked upon within this perspective. Ultimately, it is an episode, distinctively important, whereby the politically dominant Arabic-Islamic discourse is sparing no effort towards the fruition of its cultural assimilation thrusts. The fact that "throughout the years of nationalist agitation and early independence there had been a persistent assumption that the Sudan was an Arab nation whose culture was exclusively Arab and its language predominantly Arabic" 12 , provides for no margin of cultural tolerance in a political and cultural space exclusively dominated by Arabic-Islamic ideological discourse.

    In the strict sense of the word, the declaration of Sharia law (Islamic law) by the regime in September of 1983 pre-necessitated the repeal of Adis Ababa Accord of 1972. The former should be read upon the background of the later, and both of them should be tested against the general tendencies of Sudan politics since the thirties. Furthermore, neither military regimes nor multi-party system of post-independent Sudan differ in their orientations regarding the dominance of Arabic-Islamic culture, equitable apportionment of economic and political resources, promotion of education, etc. . Some parts of the North i.e. Eastern and Western regions were not exception. To the later the charitable sectarian partisan cadres were sent for missions of mobilizing the destitute population for " national " election and patronage. To the Southerners military troops were sent to crush the "racialist conspirators". The South is a " cultural vacuum" to be filled by Arabic culture under an Islamic revival is a contention for both the junta and the sectarian politicians. Succinctly Arnold Toynbee put it , " the Northern Sudan Arabs seem to me to be flagrant colonialists trying to impose themselves, their religion, their language and culture on a non-Arab African people that want to be itself and does not want to be dominated" 13

    By declaring Islamic Law in 1983, Colonel Nimeri is not a ridiculous black sheep of the cattle. Instead he is a celebrated forerunner, and as such should be deemed by the dominant Arabic-Islamic discourse, and a faithful successor to what his post-independence predecessors fought for: the application of Islamic law. The contention that " the dominant feature of our nation is an Islamic one and its overpowering expression is Arab, and this nation will not have its entity identified and its prestige and pride preserved except under an Islamic revival" 14 was seventeen years later realized by Nimeri declaration of Islamic Law and, and, enchanted by his gut and clarity, was not denounced by post- 1985 Prime Minister Sadig El-Mahadi, though " it does not equal the stuff by which it was written". Thanks and due admiration to the distinctive consistency of the last Prime Minister; Nimeri did what he (El-Mahadi) aspired for. Differences of uniform guarantees no variations in political orientation and mentalities, be it military or multipary system.

    Strictly speaking, National Reconciliation is the most important instrumental juncture in the process of Arabic-Islamic cultural dominance in recent Sudan history. The political squabbling among the dominant sectarian political parties, following independence, was an impediment to the application of Islamic Law in Sudan. Apart from rhetoric and political leaders' speeches and public statements, no departure was made in the direction of Islamic rule application. More that that, is the fact that the political instability, myopia of the dominant religious bigotry and the ravaging war in the South were not conducive of Islamic take-off and resources wee squandered in a political game of playing one against another.

    By the beginning of the early 70s the Arab regions started to echoing the ascending strides of Islamic fundamentalist movements. By and large, the Islamic fundamentalist discourse was a ramification and reaction to the complete bankruptcy of liberation movements that dominate post-independent Arab countries. Dominated by " bourgeois" political parties nurtured by colonial administrative policies, post- independent regimes were completely disable to satisfy the aspiration of their native people. Economic stagnation, political instability and clientism, ethnic strife, etc., to mention the least, slowly but effectively, erupted to erode post-independent social and political formations. Completely fragile and decayed, the post-independent stated, desperate as they were, resorted to oppressive means and policies to safeguard national consensus and legitimacy. Decalo, in length, argued that "fundamentally unaccountable, purchasing a measure of the absence of systematic stability...........via the social glue of patronage or external props, assuming ambitious statist economic policies that rest on myopic assessments of assuming their capability to sustain the requisite costs, both civilian and military regimes have bankrupted themselves, mortgaging their futures to the demands of the day " 15 . Under no conviction we can argue that Sudan is an exception. Nor was it an exception from the fact that of the $143 billion debt repayment loads in Africa is equal to the continent's entire annual GDP, 370 per cent of total export earnings, and individual payment ratios are in some instances stratospheric ____ 1500 per cent for Sudan and Mozambique, 2000 per cent for Gambia " 16 . Upon this background of a desperate portrait engulfing, more or less, all African states, May regime and the religious political parties came to conclude a National Reconciliation that put an end to their political " rivalry". Upon the abrogation of Dais Ababa Accord, expectedly , if not inevitably, that the factions of the dominant Arabic-Islamic political discourse celebrate their nostalgic gathering. Put differently, the relative political stability and cultural tolerance brought about by the Agreement is a too much dose and unforgivable surrender to non-Arabic entities for which the dominant Arabic- Islamic political discourse reserve no room other than submission and absorption.

    Declaration of Islamic Law in Sept. 1983 and the propagation of the Agreement in June 1983 were the gift of May regime to the patriots of 1987 National Reconciliation who, though " not" dominating the state, were never to lose sight and grip of the ascending Arabic-Islamic ideological discourse. Nimeri's "gifts" were nothing other than an apostate repenting his apostasy. But it remains to say that, in practical reality, the Agreement of 1972 is a sparkling manifestation of the regime pragmatic policies that were able to forecast and arrive at deductions, based upon the military policies of the previous political regimes regarding the "Southern question leading to the conclusion that: the continuity and political stability of Northern governments depends, exclusively, upon having relative political and cultural stability, if not self-rule in the South. Deductively, the politics of National Reconciliation is a blueprint that orchestrated the dramas of the post-1983 political scene.

    It is noteworthy to argue that neither the 1985-86 interim government nor the 1986-89 multi-pary system incurred notable departures from the age-old policies of the dominant Arabic-Islamic discourse, as was aforementioned. Nor do the unscholarly and under-read academic and theoretical writings crafted out by some writers would lead the argument to differentiate between politics of the dominant Arabic-Islamic political discourse in a way symmetrical to the periodisation of post-independent state according to whether it is military or " democratic".

    In fact, one of the greatest misachievements of the 1985-89 "democratic" regime is the consolidation and endorsement of tribal militia in the country. Confronted by the army about the existence of tribal militia in 1989, the Prime Minister Sadique El-Mhadi, told the army that those para-military forces were only to defend democracy 17 . Paraphrasing the Prime Minister's statement would read that : those para-military forces were articulated in defense of the Arabic-Islamic political discourse in power. The celebrated " democracy" is nothing, at one manifestation, other than reinforcing the already existing military policies and means regarding the second civil war in Sudan since 1983. The notorious massacre of 1987, carried out by the armed Baggara militia who killed and burned to death hundreds of Dinka and too many into captivity, is a case in point 18 .

    Clearly , what is novel in this policy is that the stage was set for articulating the dominance of Arabic_Islamic political discourse upon ethnic dimensions threatening the national integration of the country. Consequently, the present Islamic regime could not be, strictly speaking, blamed in its policy of elevating and giving legal status to those militia by the Popular Defence Act of 1989. It is a mere step forward that would have been adopted by Sadique's regime, had it sill been in power. Furthermore, subjected, as they wee, to military mobilization and emotional enchantment to fight the " pagan" Southern " mutineers", those militia were, more or less, late realization and echoes of Sadique El-Mahadi"s interventions in Sudan Constitution Assembly of October 1966, as was aforementioned. Though through different means and policies, both military and " democratic" regimes in Sudan were not, consistently enough, ready to forgo the realization of Arabic-Islamic cultural dominance.

    The political vigor, on the part of politicians, regarding the dominance of Arabic-Islamic political discourse, is paralleled, if not reinforce, by theoretical and conceptual formulations of some writers and researchers dealing with politico- cultural issues in Sudan. Among the dominant Sudanese scholarly spectrum it is unanimously agreed that a distinction should be devised out, if it does not exist already as a matter-of-fact, between " popular " Islam and "orthodox Islam". Popular Islam is taken to be the corollary of sectarian political parties( Umma and DUP) that dominate the political scene since independence, while , on the other hand " orthodox Islam" is, by the same token, taken to be the corollary of Muslim Brothers , later National Islamic Front (NIF) that hold power since 1989 military takeover. The former i.e. " popular Islam" and its political scaffolds ( Umma and DUP" is perceived to be tolerant, while the later i.e. " orthodox Islam" and its political bearer (NIF) is perceived to be fanatic and intolerant. Further attributes were devised out, the political adherents of " popular Islam" were taken to be representatives, to greater extent, of national capitalism associated with national productive capital, while those adherents of " orthodox Islam" , on the other hand, were taken to be , exclusively, representative of parasitic capitalism associated with non-productive capital. Equally, as well, we have this dual schema: " popular Islam" is associated with " traditional sector" while " orthodox Islam" is associated with " modern sector".

    Entrapped in everyday notions, texts and theories, would not be in a position to arrive at analytical fabrics and findings other than descriptive formulas echoing the surface bubbles of the subject dealt with. As well, it could be argued that, being mortgaged to such notions, such texts and theoretical formulations will be, eventually, set on a track that arrive, on a backward journey, to the very point of the outset or departure. In other words, theoretical conceptualizations were mere identification and reproduction of he subject put to scrutiny, for everyday " notions are so tenacious that all the techniques of objectification have to applied tin order to achieve a break that is more often proclaimed than performed" 19 . Embodied, as they were, everyday notions wee the day-to- day representations of the dominant ideological discourse. Deductively, texts and theories unable to disentangle themselves from ordinary utilization, were, in event, reproducing the very dominant ideological discourse that they set out to negate, challenge, or refute. Rather than placing the discourse within an economy of power relations, this view opted to place it within a simplistic epistemological frame that emphasizes fidelity of representations or expressions of a deeper reality, for, as Foucault neatly put it " to analyze a discourse formation is to weigh the " value" of statements, a value that is not determined by their truth, that is not gauged by a secret content but which characterizes their place, their capacity or articulation and exchange, their possibility of transformation, not only in the economy of discourse, but more generally in the administration of scarce resources"20 .

    This mode of thought, or Day-to Day Thought as was dubbed by Mahadi Amel, to greater or lesser extent, uncritically, confer upon " popular or folkculture" high esteem and , consequently, tend to endorse the prevailing ideological structures by helping to reproduce the beliefs an allegiances necessary for their uncontested functioning. Without going into debates and geological assessments regarding definitions, structures and opeationalties of the concept " popular culture ", suffice it to say that it is an area and space where the operation of power is being continuously disguised and naturalized by the dominant political discourse. As succinctly phrased by Brumnschrig, ordinary notions and language were a " a legacy of words, a legacy of ideas, passes unnoticed, because it is so ordinary, but it carries in its vocabulary and syntax a petrified philosophy of the social, always ready to spring out of the common words, or complex expressions made up of common words, that the sociologist inevitably uses"21 .

    Descriptive and conceptually poor as it is, this vulgar mode of thought get stuck regarding differences between the trees and the jungle. Rather than structurally approaching and analyzing Sudan a s a socio-economic structure historically determined and, consequently, non-static, it is caught by the politico-cultural and ideological ensembles of the superficial manifestations of the structure, thus losing sight of both the trees and the jungle. " Modern" versus " traditional " thesis and its theoretical correlates and deductions emanated from this marred vision; the point of view, says Saussure, creates object.

    The " modern sector" is gauged by the level of advanced technology used in the production process which, in turn, entails a parallel level of specific political and ideological setup. Being as such," modern sector" could not be perceived or "created" without the " traditional sector" which, as well, is gauged by the non- advanced technology used in the production process, which, in turn, entails a "popular or folk ideology" i.e. the non-sophistication of he sector, due to the easiness of its addressability, is by no means in need of sophisticated conceptual structures and " ideologies" . Symmetrical as it is, this conceptual apparatus conceived of the "orthodox Islam", now known as the " political Islam", to be the ideological counterpart of the " modern sector", while, on the other hand, "popular Islam", derivative of Sufi orders, to be the ideological counterpart of the " traditional sector". Differently read, the "modern sector" is nothing but capitalist sector i.e. the capitalist mode of production, while the " traditional sector" represents the pre-capitalist mode of production. In other words, and by deductions, the Sudan, as a socio-eonomic structures comprises and manifests a co-existence of both pre-capitalist and capitalist relations of productions.

    The tolerance of "popular Islam" articulated with the pre-capitalist structures, according to this school of thought is, by necessity, relational antagonistic to the intolerance of " political Islam" articulated with the capitalist structures. If adopted as an analytical conceptual tools, the above mentioned conceptual apparatus, would, concerning the them of the paper, twist the argument to endorse an approach arguing that, according to the distinction made above, the age-old pursued policies regarding he dominance of Arabic-Islamic political discourse were, conceptually and practically, split between two Arabic-Islamic ideologies. To the contrary, of course, we argue. We will start by underlining the misleading theoretical underpinnings of that school of thought.

    Among political economy scholars, it is now a commonplace to argue that colonialism had led to drastic uprooting of the previously existing socio-economic structures in the colonized peripheries. Equally important, is the fact that in nowhere did the colonialization replaced the pre-capitalist structures with capitalist ones. In actual terms, it is a historical impossibility for the simple reason that colonized peripheries should be kept as secured sources for pumping natural and mineral resources to the industrialized capitalist metropolis. As such, the colonized peripheries should be kept in a state of arrested development, not to be viable competitors of the industrialized capitalist centers. It is a truism to argue that this was the basic mission of the colonial centers when confronted with the continuous rate of profit deterioration, a tendency structurally inherent in the capitalist economies. However, the peripheries were endowed with a mid-way mode of production, belonging neither to the encroaching capitalist relations of production nor the formerly exiting relations of production.

    Mahdi Amal 22 devised out the concept of " colonial mode of production' to coin the sauce-economic structure of the colonized peripheries. According to his theoretical arguments, the colonial mode of production dominant in the peripheries is a form of a capitalist mode of production, that , structurally, impeded to develop into a full-fledged capitalist mode of production. Structurally articulated with the capitalist mode of production, reproduction mechanisms of the colonial mode of production were externally oriented and articulated with those of the capitalist mode of production. Without going into debates regarding such area of theoretical controversy, the "modern" " traditional " sectors thesis, tested upon such theoretical backgrounds, rendered infertile .

    Dichotomization based on the level of technology used in the production process as an indicator and distinction between pre-capitalist and capitalist structures provides no theoretical instruments regarding the internal dynamics and the reproduction theoretical instruments regarding the internal dynamics and the reproduction logic of the dominant socio-economic structure. Allotment of, advanced or not, technologies for the production processes is a technical option decreed by decision-makers and economic planners in pursue of specific goals of the full capitalization, in a way identical to that of the capitalist centers, is, alas, by no means neither of their targets nor pertaining to their capacities. Addressing itself to and reproducing everyday notions rather than going into structural grass-root analysis of the phenomena, that school of thought is crippled to provide theoretical strategies that could hold together that fascinating series of parallels modern\traditional, political Islam\popular Islam.

    Moreover, the theoretical and interminable jargons addressing the parasitic capitalism overpowering the economy of Sudan and, unanimously, associated with political Islam movement presently holding power in Sudan , are also unable to explain the country's economic and political problems. What is interesting, though by no means taken by surprise , is the is the fact that, that school of thought in its theoretical endeavors tend to blur the significant\signifier distinction, that is to say, according to one's identification with either political Islam or popular Islam discourse, the epithet "parasitic" or "productive" is, respectively, labeled. Ideological contentions, rather than the other way round, were clues to the existence capitalist whether "parasitic" or "productive".

    According to our contentions, which by no means inert, the paper proposes the thesis that : the one differences could be sketched out between the political ideologies of the sectarian political parties (Umber and DUP) associated with popular Islam ; and that of the NIF associated with political Islam, as both of them feeding upon Islamic ideology, is procedural rather than a rule. Difference has to be sought for in areas regarding variations and interpretative capabilities of the discourses of both versions of religious political parties. Basing ourselves upon the following of a " discourse" which " is a linguistic practice that puts into play sets of rules and procedures for the formation of objects, speakers, and thematics" 23 . We could assume that this " putting into play" is a viable factor in the difference between the two versions o the religious political parties.

    According to NIF's leader , Al-Turabi's own contentions, the movement in its inaugural phases was limited to students and recent graduates " in order to retain the intellectual quality of the movement" 24 . Figuring out with a unique political discourse within a milieu pigmented by the political discourse of the dominant sectarian parties, both the stage and actors should be warily approached in a way that they perceived it "undesirable to dilute the intellectual content of the movement by a large scale absorption the masses" 25 .

    To this social class of petty bourgeois, rather than the masses, the movement was faithful ever since and appealing. Their incontestable dominance over the Graduates Constituency in 1986 election is a case in point. The fact that the NIF is a non-mass oriented movement put it in a position whereby the intellectual satisfaction of its members, among other things is a relentless prerequisite. Accordingly, it developed into a more "modern" movement in the sense of institutional structuration, i.e. having well-established organizational setup articulated with a centralized political and decision-making center, stable financial resources, hierarchical political bureau, and, most important, stable institution of research and publication centers responsible for providing studies concerning different issues of the country' socio- economic and political problems as well as political rivalries. Well-read and first hand information were always and instantly at hands, if not, a head. The movement is, in a sense, "revolutionary" regarding its tactics and the way they problematise and make us use of the drastic tactical and political defects of both the preceding and contemporary sectarian parties and the communist movement. As such, it is vested with monumental capacities of political and emotional mobilization unprecedented and unmatchable in the political history off the Sudan.

    " Acquiring the confidence of the people y being thoroughly in touch with the better class of native" 26 indicated a well known fact, though consciously or unconsciously oblivious, that the genesis of he sectarian political parties in Sudan were cultivated by British colonialism

    along traditional sectarian dimensions and under the banners of Umma and Khatimiyya turug. The Khatimiyya as " better class of native" were able, under the British patronage " to consolidate its economic powers in the urban areas o the northern and eastern regions, where the control of retail trade was the basis for the formation of local petty traders and a commercial bourgeoisie" . By the same token, the British colonialists went about " reestablishing the Mahadia ( Umma) family's status as the premier landlord, agricultural capitalist class by returning to them previously confiscated agricultural lands and by supplying them with the capital necessary to develop large-scale pump and mechanized agricultural schemes" 27 .

    With their economic and political interests, coined as they were, to the British colonizers, and, contrary to the political Islam movement, the sectarian political parties, taking advantage of the dominance of Sufi religiosity in the country, appeal, rather, to masses particularly in rural areas. As well, and contrary to political Islam movement, intellectual satisfaction of the masses is not a prerequisite or burden on the sectarian political parties. Illiteracy, dominance of Sufi religiosity, etc. , were instrumental for the ideological articulation, on patrimonial basis, of the rural masses with the sectarian political parties. Unencumbered as such, by intellectual ideological clarity, the sectarian political parties remained so ever since . The masses were hold as disciples and followers bound by blind faith rather than enlighten political and ideological cadres. Suffice it that the political leaders remain, at the same time, the theoretical and ideological thinkers, if ever exist. Unlike their contemporaneous " modern" "revolutionary " political Islam movement, the sectarian political parties were dwarf. The absence of clear organizational set up, coupled with family-dominated decision-making center, provides no room for the inevitable necessity, as political parties, of having whatever informative institutions regarding socio-economic and political issues of Sudan.

    They lack the process of " mediation"; the country's different historical realities were taken the way they present themselves and were, consequently, represented. Truisms, axioms, incidence, everyday notion, etc. were given ideological and theoretical leverage declothed of the slightest and theoretical abstraction necessary for its comprehension and representation. As such, the sectarian political parties account upon the abilities of " popular culture" and its assumed far-reaching capacities, though in the case of Sudan, and might be because of this, the dominant and highly elevated "popular culture" is that of Arabic-Islamic origins which contains an immense body of literature and predilection that biased against other non-Arabic and non-Islamic cultures. Intellectuality and non-intellectuality of political discourse, though both spoon-fed by ISLAM, is what differentiate the sectarian political parties and the political Islam movement. But, however, whether intellectual or not, holding power or ousted, the dominant political ideologies in Sudan, since pre-colonial times, are of Arabic and Islamic nature that perceive the issues of national integration and national unity as, merely, attainable through full Islamization and Arabicisation. No difference, concerning this, could be perceived between the " Awakening Islam" of Sadique El-Mahadi and "NECESSITY Jurisprudence " of Hassan Al-Turabi".

    Reference Cited:

    1 Mudathier Abd Al-Rahim [1970], Africanism, and Self-identification in Sudan, Journal of Modern African Studies, Bol. 8.1-4, 1970, p.244

    2 Lam Akol: The Present War and its Solution, in F.deng and P.Gifford (eds)3 M.O. Beshir [1979]. Ethnicity, Regionalism and National Cohesion in the Sudan, Sudan notes and Records, Vol.60-61, 1979-80, p.5

    4 M.O.Behsir [1979] , "Ethnicity ,Regionalism and National Cohesion in the Sudan", Sudan Notes and Records, Vol. 60-61, 1979-80, p.5

    5 M.O. Behsir , Educational Development in Sudan, 1988- 1965, Oxford, 1969, p. 12

    6 M.O.Beshir [1979], Diversity, Regionalism and National Unity, Upsala, 1979,40

    7 Khartoum News Service, Jan 8, 1968; and Morning News; Feb 10,1969

    8 Oluwadre Aguda, Arabism and Pan-Arabism in Sudanese Politics, Journal of Modern African Studies, Bol, 11. 1-4, 1973, p.196

    9 Sudan News, 16 June 1969.

    10 Sudan News, Khartoum, 26 May 1969.

    11 Mudathir Abd Al-Rahim , Imperialim and Nationalism in the Sudan, Oxford, 1969, p.243

    12 Abel Alier, Southern Sudan: Too Many Agreements Dishonoured, Ithaca Press, 1992, p. 247

    13 Arnold Toynbee, "Interview", in Playboy, London, April 1969

    14 Proceedings of the Sudan Constitution Assembly, OCT, 1966, cited by Abel Alier īThe Southern Sudan Question", in Dunstan M. Wai 9ed.), TheSouthern Sudan: The Problem of NationalIntegration, London, 1973, P.24.

    15 Samuel Decalo, The Process, Prospects and Constraints of Democratisation in Africa, African Affairs, Vol.91, No. 362, 1992, p. 13

    16 Ibid, P.14-15

    17 M.A.Mohamed Salih and Sharif Harir " Tribal Militia: The Genesis of National Disintegration" in Sharif Harir andTerje Tvedt (eds), Short- Cut to Decay, The Case ofSudan, The Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, 1994, P.187.

    18 Full account of this incidence is found in Baldo and Mahmoud, The Diein Massacre: Slavery in the Sudan, 1987, no publisher.

    19 Beate Krais 9ed.), The Craft of Sociology: Epistemological Preliminaries (Pierre Bourdiew, Jean-Claude Chamboredon, Jean-Claude Chamboredon, Jean-Claude Passeron), Walter de Gruyter, 1991, p.13

    20 Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, trans. A.M. Sheridan Smith, New York, Pantheon, 1972, P.120

    21 Beate Krais, op.cit.p.21

    22 Mahadi Amel, The Impact of Socialist Thought upon the Development of Arab Liberation Movement (in Arabic), Dar El-ADAB, bEURIT, 1984, Second Part.

    23 Michael J. Shapiro, Political Theory as Textual Practice: Reading the Postmodern Polity, 1992, University of Minnesota, P. 108

    24 Peter k. bECHOLD, Politics in Sudan: Pariamentary and Military Rule in an Emerging African Nations, New York, Praeger, 1976, p. 89, quoting Al-Turabi.

    25 Ibid. p.89

    26 Tim Niblock, Class and Power in Sudan, NY, SunyPess, 1987, p. 104

    27 Carole Collins, " Colonialism and Power in the Sudan". Merip 46, 1967, p.6 See also Fatima Babiker Mahmoud, Sudanese Bourgeoisie, p. 135. 3

    Girls songs - A Measure of Freedom ( Part 1)

    Isam Hagmusa

    "Bakir bakir takbar layaa wa tazeed lai alam il bayaa"

    "Tomorrow you will get bigger" " And take the pain off my heart"

    A child is cuddled in her mother's lap, perceptively listening to her tunes which go in harmony with her heart-beats. The mother seems deceptively relaxed. But, however, the sadly emotional content of the

    lullaby the mother is singing, lingers at the door of her search for a flicker of light in the horizon.

    It goes without saying that lullabies are universal. However, they take new dimensions in our oral popular culture which has a great repertoire of distictive features, greatly implying the various lines of the

    Sudanese character. they are likely origins of the women specific pattern of singing which, while retaining the flavour of both Arabic and African elements, has a nature of their own.

    To a large extent, women situation in our culture is similar to that of women's in Africa and the Middle east who are striving to loose their images free from the men's minds. Understandably, they are short of the appropriate channels to freely express their pent-up conflicts channels that will not be doomed to being closed up by the almost repressive censorship of men. Hence, sympolism has become a chastity belt around the fragile wiast of their virgin protest.

    Singing is a safe, spontaneous, stiffed voice, with a too evasive simplicity to immediately be dismissed as trivial, yet its hidden message is always there gasping for freedom since ancient times, women have been singing for the rich values of the Sudanese society bravery, generosity and chivalry, to mention just a few. Their songs tended to be essentially stable in the messages they were trying to convey. Today, on off-shoot of that main stem has emerged, reiterating the historical transformations women have undergone. This off-shoot may conveniently be dubbed "girls singing".

    Now, well, can this trend be taken as reflecting a degree of a generation-gap? Or, putting it differently, should these songs be considered as indicating a continuity of women's songs in their defenite

    sense? Yes and No.

    In fact, the boundaries between the generations are not clear-cut. Social institutions permit a measure of free communication between their members.

    On popular ceremonies, where these songs are usually heard, the censorship on female's behaviour is greatly lax that married women are encouraged to sing their sorrows out, but this does not happen as extensively or intensively as young girls usually to express their latent desires. In addition to that married women are no longer interested in or with younger girls' longings and frustrations. Apparently, they are seemingly satisfied with that they have received from the hands of a thirty fate. Much more supportive is the foregoing argument, I think, of the particularity of girls' singing.

    Historically speaking, these songs bear witness to the successive phases the girls' development along the lines of historical changes. Their former position was that of imploring and passively watching their will being forcefully snatched from their hearts, while they do nothing but cursing the unknown and waiting for a redeemer.

    "The train that has taken you

    May it be broken into peices,"


    "You who is leaving for Paris'

    "Will you bring to me a groom"

    "When you come back?"

    Provided he is a dandified

    "Groom, from the teacher's staff"

    Its worth noting here that these lines were composed at the hayday of

    teacher's glory. They clearly have economic repercussions. Currently, this

    picture has been replaced by the glamour of petro-dollars!.


    In SAD coming edition:

    Critical Thinking and the Crisis of The Sudanese Left......... Elfatih Osman

    Part 1 of Sudan Online List......................................................Elfatih Osman

    Girls Songs - a Measure of Freedom (Part 2)...............................Isam Hagmusa

    Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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