Sudan and Clooney

Posted: 20/03/2012 by zandtao in Struggle

My understanding of Sudan is very limited. I remember a good Sudanese guy I met in Oman in 2000. He explained to me what was happening there, describing it as an Arab incursion. Now the southern part of Sudan is black African – Kush. At the time, 2000, there were not two countries, and the black African Christian South were oppressed by the Arab government in Khartoum. Since 2000 there have been developments that I have not followed closely, eventually leading to the vote which led to the formation of South Sudan.

At the time of its formation I felt good, but I read that the borderlands were arbitrary, and that there was potential for violence. This Amnesty action alert, together with the actions of George Clooney and others reminded me of my recollection of this guy in Oman, no small recollection.

So here are three Al Jazeera clips which present an analysis of Sudan:-

Sudan History of a Broken Land
Sudan Fight for the Soul of the North
Sudan Fight for the Heart of the South

When I was watching I was very conscious that Al Jazeera is an Islamic TV company, and that the oppressors in Sudan are Islamic. They talked of Arab slavers, and yet blamed the British for promoting Christianity. Now I will never defend British colonial involvement but that could well be an excuse to reduce the blame on Islam, although Christianity was a tried and tested colonial vehicle in Africa and elsewhere. Next, in the first part – Broken Land – they blamed one man, Hassan-al-Jarubi, for harsh Sharia Law applied to Christians, this is a standard systemic excuse – blame an individual when the system is at fault. But overall the presentation came across as reasonable to me, presenting the people of South Sudan in continued struggle against an Islamic dictator.

Now I am not discussing the kind of Islamaphobia that has been created since 9/11. Arab expansionism and incursions in the Black continent, Arab colonialism using the banner of Islam, has been occurring since the first millenia. The whole of North Africa has Arab rulers and peoples yet it is originally a black continent, in North Africa black people have been displaced. In other areas of Africa black people have accepted Islam, for example in Nigeria the struggle between Christian and Muslim, often violent, has no contemporaneous Arab element (at least from where I was in Lagos), although Islam was originally spread to Nigeria from the Middle East. But throughout Africa there are many Christians yet Christianity was not originally an African religion even though now there are many devout African Christians. Despite this devotion I have no doubts that Christianity was used by the colonialists to help their expropriation, I suspect although I don’t have sufficient knowledge that Islam was used in the same way.

But bearing all of this in mind I found the Al Jazeera presentation acceptable but as always would welcome comments – and would be prepared to remove the blog.

I am writing this blog because of the Amnesty alert over the arrest of George Clooney. Here is what Clooney says about South Sudan:-

He is against the current leadership who was responsible for Darfur and who he is now concerned will create further devestation in South Sudan.

John Garang was a revolutionary my friend supported, here is his vision of a “New Sudan” – again from Al Jazeera!!

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