Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Egyptian Interest in South Sudanese referendum: A patriarchy or national interest?

It has emerged from the media recently that Egyptian government and prominent newspaper, Al-Ahram newspaper, had made disapprobation to the Sudanese government for wryly setting the country on the course of separation through a grant adoption of Islamic sharia'a laws, and for further maintaining a divisive crater between the citizens of the north and the south in the same country. 

The editor in chief, Osama Saraya, said that the government of Sudan alone bears the largest part of the tragedy that was lurking in the Sudan. Maintaining doubtfulness on the nature of the mistakes the Sudanese government made in the past which presently appear to warrant the desire for independence among South Sudanese; he believed there were series of blunders committed by the government since it assumed power through coup d'etat in 1989. It should be understood that the National Islamic Front snatched power militarily in 1989 to block the peace deal that was being negotiated by the government of Sadiq al-Mahdi and the Sudan People's Liberation Army. Saraya held strongly to his conscience by asserting that it was the government that emphasized more on the concept of self-determination than southerners.

His preferred modus operandi was for the government to have insisted on integration and included that concept in Northern ideological policies so as to achieve unity and coexistence in the end. Government's failure to pursue such a unionist plane of thinking had - in his thoughts - made the coexistence between the North and the South very difficult and impossible. He called this a sin committed by the government of Sudan. Saraya blamed Sudan too, for the blinding focus and failure to realize that the international powers were ready and lurking behind the Sudanese problem with a view to dismembering the country.

The Sudanese society is aware that Egypt had hopes to have closer relations with the Sudan since Nimeiri's administration. The fantasy behind it all, is to possibly unite with the Sudan under Egyptian hegemony. Earlier visit of president Mubarak to Juba, the first ever visit of an Arab head of state to Southern Sudan, confirmed Egyptian agony over the Sudan, and further highlighting why Egypt would not like to see a divided Sudan. Many scholars and regional strategists see the Sudanese circumstance as a matter of national interest to Egypt.  Egypt, therefore, sees her sphere of influence under threat if countries along the Nile go down the paths of instability and fragmentation. Also, a new country on the Nile means a new geostrategic wrangling over the waters of the Nile as well as a bugging threat to dominant influence bequeathed upon her by the British colonial agreement. The British granted Egypt the role of a shepherd on the Nile for her survival and as part of appreciation in helping Britain administered Sudan, thereby, opening the way to explore the source of the Nile into the interior of Africa.

It was clear that Saraya was right in his doubt because Mubarak's visit to Juba should have come in the wake of Omar Bashir, the country's president. President Bashir's reluctance to visit Juba even when the political atmosphere in the South was ominously laden with separation was an indication that he saw no solution to the situation. Saraya hinted that Egypt had offered advice to the Sudanese government before the 2002 Machakos Protocols and urged that it abandon sharia law for the sake of  maintaining the unity of the country. Even if that advice was heeded, international pressure on Khartoum in which Washington believes Khartoum was among the states responsible for sponsoring terrorism, and Southerners' zeal to wade over to the shore of freedom, would have made no radical change in the realities that were to follow.

Earlier comments in the UAE-based Al-Bayan newspaper by Abdel Rahman Shalgam, Libya’s permanent representative to the United Nation, coincided with the Egyptian fears over the breakup of the country.  Shalgam blamed Khartoum for the damaging Shari’a law embraced by the state. He particularly castigated Hasan al-Turabi for his civilization project which ushered in intensification of fighting in the country through ruthless declaration of Jihad on the southerners.

Southerners, at this historical breaking point, would simply wonder where these voices of reasons were during the two decades of war in which they suffered immensely. To many Southerners, voices emerging at the stage are voices of doom that are blaming themselves for the actions they have not completed right. Nobody will know what Southerners are thinking at this crucial moment. But as the referendum date looms, they will say it loud and clear to Sudan, Egypt and the world what they have been thinking.

Egyptian fears and concerns, more or less, seemed to form a wish of goodwill for a future of peacefulness, good neighborliness and regional stability. But the reality in the Egyptian concern is in the waters of the Nile.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Juba must make Oil Concessions with Khartoum to get Abyei out of the Quagmire

 Martin Garang Aher

It is imperative that southern Sudan will overwhelmingly vote for secession in January 2011 referendum as predicted by many keen observers of the Sudanese conflict.  This vote is particularly loathsome to NCP and the entire northern Sudanese population- the economically oppressed, the politically disenfranchised groups and the Muslim/Islamic theocratic leadership.  This makes 2010 and 2011 the years of determination of nationhood and survivability. Only one area has become a silver bullet which would, nonetheless, bring about lasting peace in the country, but a threshold for doom to the entire nation. This area is Abyei. Abyei had become the footstool where decision makers rest their feet while debating the future of the country particularly on wrong and deceitful terms.

The justifiable token for not accepting all the deliberations on Abyei by the NCP Government is not that Abyei holds any significance in the people that live in it. The matter in holding on to Abyei at this crucial time is a matter of survival. It is not true to suggest that the transhumance Messeriya herders who seasonally maraud while grazing and watering their livestock in Abyei will be permanently deprived of the use of the promised resources by southerners - grazing land and water. No supportive historical evidence is present today which can pinpoint any occasions when the Messeriya had unduly been denied grazing and temporary sojourning by the Ngok Dinka of Abyei.

There is something deeper that is being demanded in a manner particularly so incognito by the Sudanese government and the ruling party, the NCP. Many writers and analysts have highlighted this several times and have come to the conclusion that Sudan’s precious commodity in southern Sudan is oil. About 80% of the Sudan revenue is known to come from oil, and much of this lies in southern Sudan, a region presently threatening to go away as an independent sovereignty. What will happen to Northern Sudan economy should southern Sudan leave with all the oil? What are the guarantees that southerners will in the near future decide to reunite with northerners to form a much-desired united New Sudan? And what is the point of holding on to Abyei when all the Sudanese citizens in the north know that the Nine Ngok Dinka are indeed Dinka People and therefore Southerners?

Somebody doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to discern the demand of the Sudanese government that has been hidden behind the status of Abyei. But this demand can be asked politely and southerners would consider a brotherly option for it. Clamoring and displaying of higgledy-piggledy demeanours will not solve it. If anything, manners as such can destroy the country. Abyei has always been a Southern territory and its administrative sway in the twentieth century does not make it a Northern area of jurisdiction. The point is clear to all Sudanese. It is therefore incumbent upon the two parties, the SPLM and NCP to do something about the heavy anchor in Abyei's matter. Something has to be done before unconditional return to war. No further tricks or clandestine hypotheses of togetherness will normalize this stalemate but oil. Juba must agree to share oil with Khartoum even if it means a long-term basis allocation. After all, Sudan has always been one country. This gesture will be honourable to all Sudanese.

This is hard to fathom, but it is evident that before the end of the year and without a concrete breakthrough, Sudan will go to war based on the premise of protecting the right of Messeriya  nomads and on salvaging the land of the Ngok Dinka and the oil fields.  Should this happens both NCP and SPLM will carry the burden of the blame. The variance of the war to be waged by either side cannot be conclusively attributed to one party, but the probability that NCP will wheedle the Baggara/Messeriya to jump start the war is one. This affirms the normative argument put forward by NCP that Messeriya, who are the majority in the area and native to nearby Muglad, are to be considered inhabitants of Abyei and therefore, have inalienable right to vote in the deciding referendum for Abyei. Professor Mading Deng disputed the concocted right of the Messeriya to vote in Abyei's referendum on the United Nation TV a few days ago in a response to Sudanese ambassador in USA. The ambassador reiterated his government’s call to allow the Messeriya herders to vote. Mading quipped and said, “There is no need for a referendum in Abyei then if the Messeriya are allowed to vote. Messeriya  are the majority in the area and giving them the option on the future of Abyei automatically means they will want to keep Abyei under Northern administration.” He went on to say that what is needed the most is the capacity to build the trust between the Messeriya and Ngok Dinka. Some harmonious platform that will allow them to remain a better natural coexistence with each other as well as to coexist as peaceful neighbors irrespective of the future of Abyei.

So where is the logic with which Khartoum is forcing the Messeriya  to take up such a radical position on Abyei? Messeriya were part of the peace delegation five years ago. They knew that CPA granted Ngok Dinka a suffrage in a referendum to decide their future. Their main complaints were their animals and how they would survive if Abyei went to South Sudan administratively. This complaint was addressed adequately in the CPA.  Existing cordial relationships between the two communities were held in high regards during peace negotiations. The undeniable right to graze and water animals on the part of the Messeriya was part of the agreements. What then makes Messeriya think that the CPA was wrong and the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling was also a bluff? The answer could be found in oil.

To break the deadlock on Abyei, freeze war, inculcate a mutual understanding among the Sudanese citizenry and solicit a mutually assured development between the two sides of the Sudan, the South should, by virtue and wisdom, allow the North to share oil with her.  This natural bounty is the last thing that keeps the Sudans together.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

General Arabisation Quandary in South Sudan Could also be a Pan Africa Problem.

By Martin Garang Aher

Northern Sudan had experienced tumultuous time in its history and is now grappling with the most austere political test it had never dreamt of - the break of the nation into two possible independent countries. This sincere and difficult development will come about as an achieved status quo resulting from political gerrymandering by many governments in the Sudan. The Sudanese government had often adopted covert policies to neglect people within their country and devised extreme measures of mistreatment to silence them. This pressure of injustice and maladministration had been applied to the people for approximately half a century. 

When injustices outdo their limits, the masses always act on their own accord to demand justice for themselves. South Sudan was the first point of explosion as the pressure to demand justice and freedom mounted on the civil populace in Sudan. South Sudan has now alerted the Arab world that Islamaisation through slavery, sheer neglect of the people and conquest (through employment of divisive measures) has been halted. Throughout the entire Sudanese unity, much of what the people of South Sudan have offered to their united country (since independence from Anglo - Egyptian condominium) was a brotherly coexistence in a free and prosperous country. The first Sudanese civil war that ended in 1972 proved that citizens of South Sudan only demanded unity and togetherness - the rights of the citizenry to all Sudanese people - in the country through meaningful and compromising understanding. Southern Autonomy within a united Sudan was the vehicle through which this could be achieved.

But, Islamists in Sudan gave impression and erratic belief that infidels or non-believers can never lead them, or even share equal Rights with them in a democratic country. It is a woe of a belief which should be generalized to assume that no world government under a non-Muslim is desired by the people of Islamic Faith. Summary application of such a thought in Sudan had not been helpful. It falls short of respect for human dignity and becomes a weapon for not doing right to the people being governed. This fallacy of Divine call for mistreatment will make Sudan oppressive regimes that had ruled the country for decades carry the blame for any eventuality in Sudan. The unity of the country so desired today had been availed as an option for a period of time, but no one saw the repercussions of turning it down. This is why it is painful today to think or hear about south Sudan seceding from the country.

Many successive governments in Sudan, starting from the government of the Prime Minister Ismail al Azari to Omar el Bashir did little to heed the 'Call of Rights' by the oppressed in the country. Sudanese People’s expeditious attempts to keep the nation in harmony via equal treatment and value of the people had been recurrently downplayed. This will of togetherness by southerners has been demonstrated in many peace talks and also through violent arm struggle but to no compromise.

The latest test in which the people of south Sudan love to be in an autonomous state within the united Sudan was accorded to Khartoum in a Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005. Five years have passed since Sudan ushered in the peace but Khartoum is still arrogantly leaning on the traditional belief that it will ensnare the Southerners to vote for unity even though laxity in the implementation of the peace agreement remains a cardinal mischief characterizing its drag on the peace provisions and penultimate demands.

 The ultimate demand of CPA is where the citizens of South Sudan and the adjacent marginalized areas, and who are partners in the peace process that was signed in 2005, are allowed to exercise their democratic rights to choose the Sudan they would like to join. That is, a choice between New Sudan and Old Sudan. National Congress Party has again routinely thwarted this CPA protocol with a view to derailing the peace and tranquillity that had settled into the minds of the people. At the border, NCP is amassing troops; a troubling and a masterminding sign to drive the country back into war anew.

 The question they should ask themselves is whether war with the south will begin in Yei this time or at the border, and whether aerial bombardment of the cities in south Sudan will be exclusive to southern cities and not northern cities this time around? Any war in Sudan in 2011 will be a war that will be very close to everyone’s children. And this should be marked very clearly.

Recently, Egyptian and Libyan Arab brotherhood had been revealed when they all expressed support for a Sudanese unity and pressured Khartoum to do whatever is probable to keep the country united. Gadaffi accentuated Support for one entity of Sudan stressing fears that the whole of Africa will break up. This was an irresponsible statement from African Union leader. Human Life is important and preserving its sanctity is a noble and moral calling than dismantling territorial boundaries. Sinking mountains and drain out rivers do not mark African borders.   Borders can be reshaped but people cannot be procreated once they are lost. The same imaginary phenomenon of borders is right and abounds throughout the rest of the world.  Asia has never ceased to carry its name and will of power after peaceful secessions of India and Pakistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh and Indonesia and East Timor.

If Sudan is keen about territorial boundaries, why is it not talking about The Elemi Triangle with the republic of Kenya and Ethiopia? This is a productive area with unknown reserves of mineral endowments. The other case is the Hala’ib Triangle taken over in a broad day light by Egypt. It has been annexed with all the Sudanese citizens residing in it. Recent population census and democratic elections in the Sudan following the CPA were not carried out in Hala’ib and Elemi Triangles. Is there any reason why the government is soft on foreign aggression and annexation but tough on its citizens' demands for rights?

Sudan should not dwell on the factor of unity for no apparent reasons. It has the moral and state duty to protect the Messeria and the Baggara from endangering themselves through future hostile clash with the southern army by dissuading them not to think of Abyei as their area of jurisdiction. If Messeryia vote wherever they graze their animals, then why don’t they vote in Aweil and Warrap states?

 Baggara are the last tools in the NCP human arsenals. They will not escape the wrath of Riverine Arabs who always discard people after they have served their purpose and continue to pinch them should argumentation ensues. Darfur war is a clear and an unmistakable Sudanese government heedlessness and disrespect for the people who made it possible to keep southerners at bay for twenty years in the war of a new Sudan. Darfuis formed the bulk of government militias that tormented South Sudan during the lengthy period of war. Today all weapons of the Sudan Armed Forces are stored in Nyala ready to be used against the Furs.

Baggara must learn to know the government they serve well. They must read into the history of Sudanese tactics of starting with the furthest enemy. The Anya Nya war between Khartoum and south Sudan was almost exclusively fought by the Nuba people who were the government’s favorite source of manpower. The war with SPLA/M saw the government targeted the Nuba people harshly while favoring the Fur and the Baggara as the favorite source of manpower against the southerners. Today, Furs are the enemies and Baggara are the immediate darlings. The question is who is next? And what about the united Sudan portrayed as a peaceful matrimony? It may not be a realistic union but an ideal type.

Unions are not always permanent. And this includes the integrity of a country as a united legal entity. In Africa, the then East African Community (comprising of Kenya, Uganda and a united Zanzibar and Tanganyika) which saw the early African renaissance in trade broke up and abandoned many services that were ran jointly by one regional body such as East African Airline and East African Customs and trade. But the same body has been revived after a fairly negotiated settlement in the spirit of a new and mutually benefiting trade bloc.

Ethiopia is another country where dissidence had been the order of relations between the government of Emperor Haile selassie, President menghistu haile Mariam and Eritrean TPLF (Tigray Peoples Libration Front) and OLF (Oromo Liberation Front). Since the 1993 secession of Eritrea, no any of the other warring groups in Ethiopia had demanded an analogous request as Eritrea.

Africa in general has never disintegrated because of Eritrean freedom. Eritreans were justified and this is the similar condition in which marginalized Southern Sudanese and others are held in at present. The Arab world should not be disheartened by what is going to transpire in Sudan following January 9, 2011. It is an experiment that has gone berserk and people are left without any preference but to opt for destiny and life over terrorization and enslavement. And they are geared up to sacrifice everything to get it. 

The recent strong wording from president Obama is quite encouraging to Sudan and Africa in general. The Arabs are the same the world over, bullies, enslaving pundits, terrorists and pretentious killers. Not all Arabs are bad but all Muslims are terrorists to every nation including America. If America stands and watch what is going on in Sudan, they will be surprised by the reemergence of another terrorist wing in Sudan. The results are always felt in New York and other American cities. America must dismantle the Sudanese airpower if it wants to avoid civilian casualties in the events of war between the south and the north following the referendum and popular consultations.  

The continent of Africa must also be vigilant for Arabization is trickling down south faster and menacingly than ever. It is a south Sudanese problem now, but it will be an all Africa problem in future. If Sudanese militias (Zaghawa) could bring down a government in Chad and Ange-Felix Patasse of Central Africa, which country can be safe in Africa? The government in Khartoum is a terrorizing lump to all Africa and the black Africa in Particular. Uganda is the only African country that understands this fully well. The rest of Africa must wake up to the realities of Islamic black side.

Africa should embrace stern measures in dealing with dreadfulness in food, diseases and political oppression. This requires reformation in the AU charter that prevents meddling in the internal affairs of other sovereign nations. With this charter unchanged, Africa will continue to wallow in the mess of wars and neocolonialism economic ideologies. Africa must not be left to free thinkers like Nelson Mandela. Africa of Nelson Mandela is tantamount to Africa of Kwame Nkurumah of Ghana in 1960s and Gadhaffi of Libya in this century. Some of the ideologies by these strong men are somehow impractical.

This is the Africa where states of affairs are allowed to chart their own courses without political pressure applied to oppressing regimes. It is ridiculous and inhumane to watch people die while playing a messianic mission. Even the Messiah gave up his own life for the oppressed. In this regards, it is everyone’s hope that Thabo Mbeki will play a fair-haired game in the Sudanese deceptive politics while wearing a white shirt. He must remain unstained throughout this mission and must not try to act Gandhi and Mandela in due course. Sudanese politics is full of lies and tough stance on any negotiations is necessary.

What we have in Sudan is no different from apartheid in South Africa in the twentieth century. That was the reason why pan Africans, both at home and in the Diasporas, garnered for support and faced the apartheid government unblinkingly. South Africans recently harvested the result of Pan African Movement when they hosted the first world cup in Africa. They knew that without empathies and actions of other African brothers, all would be different. 

Massive threats and propaganda have become the norm in the Sudanese media of late. If the intentions were to force southerners to vote for unity, then the question that remains indelible in the minds of the voters in southern Sudan would be the nature of the credibility in a forced unity rather than by choice and what would happen should someone vote for unity amid threats and curses. Of course Sudanese government traditional threats and killings will not abate even if Sudanese in the south vote for a united Sudan. So, why die in unity and not in separation? Southerners must be left alone.

It is possible the government in Khartoum is squandering referendum and popular consultations time on Abyei. NCP must not waste time on Abyei for Abyei is the ultimate curse for them. If they choose to go to war because of this oil rich state, then they have to know that southern Sudanese know nothing else other than war and they are ready to turn around and fight for self defense.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Struggling to find a safe place to fit

 Published by ABC, Australia, 25 May, 2010.

Martin Garang Aher
The recent killing of Asamah Majur Manyang, in the Perth suburb of Stirling, has left the Sudanese-Australian community filled with fear and foreboding. Majur was killed last week while walking home with his friends. He was 21 years old.Majur and his family came to Australia from Egypt in late 2007. Santino Manyang, Majur's father, said he thought he had found a place of solace and healing for his family after escaping the brutality of Omar Bashir's Islamic regime in Khartoum, Sudan.

"My mind is spinning with confusion right now, looks like we are destined for troubles befalling us," he said.
Major Manyang was buried last week. His family was desperately trying to raise funds (A$7,000) for his burial and funeral. "My son is not yet buried, and I don't have the money for his burial," he said, sobbing.
Although the circumstances of his death are still subject to investigation, Majur's death has brought home to the entire Sudanese Community in Australia how death is equated with guilt - at least when it comes to the death of a Sudanese.

Many people in the community are now fearful, if not traumatised, by the chain of events leading to the deaths of Sudanese youth in Australia.
Just a few days after Majur's death Savir Tutu, a child of less than three years old, was run over and killed by two cars in Beachboro. He was walking home with his brother. The first offender hit, then ran. The second driver, who did stop, said he did not see the child. The child was wearing dark clothes. He fell short of saying the child was dark and couldn't be seen clearly.
What is it about suburban streets that make them so lethal to Sudanese-Australians? And how does it come about that an action involving the death of a Sudanese is often blamed on the victim?
The truth is that many youth of Sudanese background prefer walking to avoid being unnecessarily stopped by police. They see it as harassment.

We Sudanese migrants and refugees arrived in this country thinking we would enjoy new lives in a free land. Now our belief that all would be fine is beginning to prove elusive. There is no acceptance that there exists an ethnic tension surrounding our presence that requires a resolution; instead, the police and the media are keen to suppress the reality of this ethnic tension.

We have been portrayed by the media, politicians and others as a troubled group. Criminologists in this society will agree that there is a high level of unsubstantiated stigma attached to Sudanese and their youth. As in the work of the anthropologist Cesare Lombroso, criminal types are marked by prejudicial characteristics based on their body features.In the case of the Sudanese, they are described as: African, dark-skinned, tall, always in groups, and so on.But are we really criminals or rescued in need of re-rescuing?
Sudanese-Australians don't rob people or banks, break into public facilities, engage in burglary or vandalism, molest children or deface public amenities with graffiti.

Many of us study but never find jobs. The 520 hours of English language training is certainly not sufficient to enable anyone get a job. The conditions and measures necessary for blending in have been overlooked by the government and sceptics alike and the frustration of doing little is turned into a blame game in which Sudanese are told they have difficulty integrating.

Many bloggers, such as Andrew Bolt, echo this and write with bitterness. They write that Sudanese are troubled from a troubled country, therefore criminals. But are they generally troubled? Is there cure for a troubled person or is consistent targeting such as persistent and annoying checks on the road the ultimate solution?Yes, bloggers maybe right. Sudan is a troubled country. Those who came here were troubled. If a policeman stops you in the streets of Khartoum it means you start counting every tick of your watch as a countdown to the moment of your death. Memories still run wild of course. That is why we want to leave the road and walk. But walking has its downsides. What should we do?

These bloggers seemed to have adopted the sentiments expressed by Kevin Andrews, the former immigration minister, when he asserted after the killing of yet another young Sudanese that some groups don't seem to be settling and adjusting into the Australian way of life.
The Sudanese community failed to comprehend the logic of the comment.
Liep Gony was murdered in the most gruesome way on Wednesday 26, 2007. But all that came from the minister was the blame for not integrating. Labeling all Sudanese in Australia as criminals is puzzling and to our community, it is inappropriate and traumatising. Criminals kill; they don't get killed every time. To move around in groups is not a sign of criminality. What makes social groupings seem inherently criminal?

These bloggers are ill-informed. They say Sudanese are troubled people from a troubled country and therefore, require a thorough screening. What sort of screening? Do they mean Sudanese immigrants shoudl not associate altogether?

They want the immigration to screen us properly before allowing anyone into the country yet what they don't know is that Australia's system of offshore screening is already rigorous. Even we migrant refugees know that it is not easy to get through it. The bloggers are oblivious to these facts.

Sudanese-Australians believe that Australia is home for them. Many Australians accepted us as such, but we will reserve the right to respond to comments made by the people wallowing in the miasma of hate.
Let it be known that we are doing our best. All we say is, Australia, give us a go!

Martin Garang Aher is studying for a masters degree in
Communication and Cultural studies at Curtin University.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Peace In Darfur Must Not Be At The Expense Of South Sudan.

By Martin Garang Aher

Abdel Wahid El Nur is a real patriot who have seen and witnessed firsthand the cunning and uppity prone behavior of the Khartoum government.Just as many writers have pointed out, Sudan is at rush and in dire pain to sign peace with all Darfur rebels in order to embark on its Southern Sudan schemes of Jihadism. They know pretty well that no army in Sudan will ever succeed against the SPLM/A without the plethora of power that comes from the Fur people and Eastern Sudan’s Beja people. For this they are looking for fighters. But wounded fighter can better be your enemies. And a wounded friend should not obey his former enemy in a masqueraded face. A Chinese renowned general, Sun Tzu had this testimony in his memoirs, The Art of War:
‘There are roads which must not be followed, armies which must not be attacked, towns which must not be besieged, and positions which must not be contested, commands of the sovereign which must not be obeyed.’

Tzu’s military wits were used by Alexander the Great to conquer the world and spread the Hellenistic culture with unbroken success. The memoir would be superficially interpreted in various ways to meet the need of the vanquished. In this case, the people of Darfur must solve the dilemma they have with Khartoum. There are enemies that you must not enter into agreement with when they so wished. But this is up to the people of Eastern Sudan and Darfur to decide; for how long will they keep fighting for the plunderers and mass murderers of their people; for how long will a people continue to suffer in the struggles in which they are not rewarded? They will have to choose. Any rushed peace with the Fur this time is just a moratorium asking them to stop for a while, and coercing them to turn and fight the South and latter, they will have to be thrashed completely according to the procured tactical order. That will be a justified peace to end in a total extermination of the Fur people.

It will be wise as Nur seems to understand, to hold on until your rights are guaranteed and grievances addressed before signing any illusive peace. The people of Southern Sudan know what is going on in Darfur and that is why Bashir had refused categorically not to allow GOSS to tackle any part in the peace processes in Darfur. The point is clear here; both Darfur and South Sudan are equal enemies of the Islamic government in Khartoum and bringing them together may lead to a formidable alliance. As serendipitous as the case indicates, the people of Darfur must not be dubbed into the peace of ambition by Khartoum which will result in their total miscalculations. It would be wise to maintain the course of struggle and Southerners to bolster a firm grip on CPA. Should anything happen, it will be fine for the two parties to go into the drawing board on equal practicum.
’Darfurians, Southerners, people Blue Nile region, Ingessina and the Nuba Mountains can meet peacefully and in conquest in Khartoum together this time!’

Khartoum must come to terms with the fact that the people of Darfur do not feed on the Quran. They need health facilities across Darfur, not only in Nyala; sustained formal education, not basic Islam which leaves the masses so illiterate to be knowledgeable Muslims; sustainable food provision and sources, not crowding the people at water points with nomad Arabs thereby brooding hot tempers and frequent civil clashes; water, electricity and improved infrastructure. These are some of the basic services that government of Sudan has denied them for half a century. A government that can do this will be a government led by the son of Darfur. No amount of polite promises will suffice the suffering of Darfur people.

 Fallacious propaganda must not waiver the rebel movement, Sudan Liberation Movement, but to ironically take the weaknesses and lies from the Islamic government in Khartoum as the cornerstone to re-establish their strength and unity towards a unified fight for the people of Darfur.

A few days ago, SLA general commander, Abdel Gadir Abdel Rahman Ibrahim, alias, Gadora, was reported to have defected from El Nur’s SLA/M to join another rebel movement. This was the work of the Sudan Government bought Darfuri man, El-Tijani El-Sissi Ateem. El-Tigani had worked tirelessly to please his masters in Khartoum while equivocally undermining the justified struggle of the people of Darfur for their rights.

 The wisdom that came from Gadora in reply can be equated with the position held steadfastly by the Darfuri strong man, El Nur himself. His answer was enough to thwart desperate hopes raised in Khartoum about a possible agreement with the rebels before referenda and popular consultations that will take place across the political spectrum presently known as Southern Sudan.

We are not against peace but opposed to untrue peace and the fabrication of rebel groups." Gadir, Sudan tribune, September, 28, 2010.

El Nur had refused to accept Dr. Garang’s persuasions to be part of the SPLM/A in1990s citing the rationale behind the absorption, and highlighting the circumspect that the SPLA/M maneuver to secure the South at the expense of the whole country would kill the aspirations of his people. He never thought for a second about the reason behind the sheer madness or wisdom which had compelled the people of the Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains to join the SPLA/M as early as its inception in 1980s.

Such was a brilliant thought from Wahid, nevertheless, it lacked insight. And this lack of insight will, for a while, linger around Wahid and his group even though they always appear to be forgetful of this self-afflicted ordeal. The Darfur rebels latter demanded that the CPA be made absolutely conclusive by providing a clause to accommodate both The SPLA/M and The Darfur movements, SLA/M and JEM, something earlier rejected by Wahid. Had the two movements joined the SPLA/M and followed Daud Bolad’s example, Darfur’s clause in the CPA would be the flash point for all marginalized Sudanese in January 9, 2011. Furthermore, SAF and Sudan government would singlehandedly be accountable for the atrocities committed in Darfur. But this tactical vision was not heeded by many Darfur leaders and Abdel Wahid in particular.

Daud Bolad was left to the mercy of the Sudan Armed Forces who captured and killed him right in the middle of his people. As historical blunders are not often deemed to extinction, the vision that was turned down resurfaced like a phantom a few years later when the SPLA/M and Sudan Government were in the quest for peace in the country.The first group to refuse the Darfur clause at the CPA negotiations in Kenya was the group led by the Sudan Government. They neither recognized that there was an ongoing conflict in Darfur that required any precaution to be similarly addressed just like the questions of Blue Nile, The Nuba Mts, Ingessina and Southern Sudan, nor did it sound imperative to explain the real facts surrounding the war in Darfur. They convinced everybody, the troika, the IGAD and other international observers that Darfur was not a concern that required greater attention like Southern Sudan. The situation in Darfur was described as a simple clash of the nomads at water points. Today we are talking of genocide.

The Red Army in Ethiopia in 1980s sang a song entitled ‘what happened in the past Anya Nya struggle must not repeat itself.’ They sang this in presence of Dr. Garang, Dr. Riek, Pieng Deng who was also the Red Army patron and other commanders in Fugnido, Ethiopia. That song was imprinted in the minds of Dr. John Garang and his military commanders who were steering the movement that they kept it dear to their hearts. Dr. Garang chanted the shortened version of this song after they successfully negotiated and signed the six protocols in Nairobi, Kenya in 2005. “What happened long ago must not happen again.”

Abdel Wahid and his counterparts in the Darfur struggle must not let what happened to Daud Bolad’s Vision happen again. The souls of the perished Darfurians in the struggle demand that the aspirations of the people be prioritized and outcome of any negotiations be substantial, prudent, bear no malice and flawed free. This is the prism upon which a missed historical opportunity could be rescued for the pride of posterity. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Baha’i Fits as a Religion of the United Nations

By Martin Garang Aher

So far one has read more about most of the world’s top religions, commencing with Christianity, and down to minor ones such as Jainism and further to animism and totemism. The latter two are not believed by many theologians and sceptics on religious studies as religions. Perhaps, these two lean defiantly on Gnosticism and polytheism. They underscore religious worshipping processes seen in many major religions of the world. Even though the path of religiosity has often remained mystifying, attempt by human being to have someone in charge has never abated throughout the centuries.

Mankind’s desire for a complete and everlasting dependence on the dominance of a supreme in their midst is insurmountable. Every challenging situation in history had pushed man to the quest for introspection and meditative surrendering to the Higher Spirit in order to overcome the maladies of the changing time and ever occurring difficulties.

Christians and Jews would recall the action of Israelites in the Sinai Desert during the Exodus. Moses would not return from the mountain quickly and the people felt that they were abandoned by God of Moses and compelled Aaron to make them a god; a god they should pure their prayers to and who would redeliver them from the desert and probably take them back to Egypt where they had endured slavery and suffering but with full stomachs. Food was becoming scarce in the desert. We are told that Aaron was forced to make them a Golden Calf to worship. The presence of God was seen immediately Moses returned. People who were responsible for cajoling Aaron to make Israelites a god were summarily executed and God kept Israelite wandering in the desert for forty years as a consequence. God’s command was that no one from the age of 19 and above would enter the Promised Land except Aaron… (Exodus)

This adamant demand for ‘Superior Energy’ puts man in a situation where religion will always dominate the psyches of humankind.

It is whimsical, though, to note that all religions and beliefs that man embraces on earth have a similar confluence – the direction towards the Supreme Being. But they too miraculously fail to accommodate each other on the path to the ultimate knowledge, The Existence of An All-Powerful Energetic Being. One wonders why they do not harmonise and form a universal path of redemption that would be similar and straight forward for all to follow; and why is the Supreme so desired most of the times becomes illusive in the face of man’s dreadful acts and miseries on earth?

These are questions one intends to leave rhetorical. However, some things are obvious: that God the Supreme has manifested itself to man in so many ways in the past and continues to do so today; that man’s actions according to Christians and Jews led to the Original Sin; and that through each individual’s inner reforms, we may attain blissfulness in The Supreme Being. This is a known guess.

But is there any religion on earth, inching towards a universal re-evaluation of inner self by man for the purpose of tolerance, harmony and eventual peaceful coexistence which is an assumed prerequisite for a life of bliss? Yes. This religion is Baha’i Faith.

Baha’i is a faith that began in Persia, modern Iran, in 1844. Siyyid Ali Muhammad declared himself as the last prophet of God whom all Muslims expected before the end time, much to the astonishment of the Islamic world. His untimely appearance befuddled many believers of Islam, a religion in which many were trying to define themselves with it, and whom many saw as the ultimate guarantor of the Arabs unity. Popular discontent arose immediately after his prophetic self announcement and appointment as the head of the faith of Islam. Like the many unfortunate prophets of old who fell to furies of their flocks, he was executed in 1850 by a firing squad.

Baha’i is a religion that can impress any potential believer. It lacks ambiguity and it stipulates pragmatism in life and in areas of knowledge where human quest is unquenchable. The table below shows the twelve social principles of Baha’i.

The Twelve Social Principles

1. The Oneness of God
2. The Oneness of Religion
3. The Oneness of mankind
4. Equality of men and women
5. Elimination of all form of prejudice
6. World peace kept by a world body
7. Harmony of religion and science
8. Universal compulsory education
9. Obedience to government and non-involvement in politics
10. Independent investigation of truth
11. The need for a universal auxiliary language
12. Elimination of extreme of wealth and poverty and a spiritual solution to economic problems

Really Useful Map Company (2006)

Careful observers of the UN Charter on human Rights will find some interesting correlations between its contents and the twelve principles of Baha’i. Baha’i ought to be a UN religion.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Southern Sudan Should Just Endure Ill Wishes

Southern Sudan Should Just Endure Ill Wishes

By Martin Garang Aher 

The diplomatic warning of a Russian diplomat in Cairo, Egypt about possible Somalization of the South Sudanese region is by all means healthy.
No one even the South Sudanese want to see Somalization of the region because of insatiable dissidence or other political power wrangling. It is a worry for all! A sympathiser is undoubtedly a passionate peace guard.

However the time, place and interest in disguised during the making of the statement is dubious and seriously ill intentioned. Honesty wasn’t the best policy at the time of the voicing of this diplomatic advice and concern.

There was no better place for a Russian diplomat to make such a bootlicking statement if not in Cairo, Egypt. Egyptian interest in Sudan extends to South Sudan where a major resource pedestal to its survival, The Nile, picks up its alluvial soil for the food farms and its water drives High Aswan Dam turbines for electric power in Egypt. The volumetric flow of the Nile too increases in South Sudan due to frequent seasonal rains. To Egypt, Sudan is the source of the Nile. For South Sudanese to live a decent life on earth, Egypt must inadvertently forgo its major dependence on the Nile openly or clandestinely. Perhaps, this would be due to unavoidable developments that will characterise a great new country to be.

South Sudan, from any amateur developer’s view, can never really prosper with out the Nile being at the centre of developmental mêlée whether directly or indirectly. This is a worry to Egypt. For this reason, anyone who is postulating a pleasant comment of dissuasion in reference to Southern Sudan’s referendum in January 9, 2011, and who for certain wild speculation, is consequently and discretely courting the world to turn a blind eye to South Sudan as a possible state-to-be, is by all means a redeemable ally to Khartoum and NCP. And the Russian Mikhail Margelov fits that job perfectly well.

However, Russia should gather all thoughts and call to mind that many nations that violently or peacefully split with their ruthless masters have been taunted as would-be failures if they pull out from a union. They were warned falsely should they opt out, they would be met with security and economic quagmires. As time and history justifies, these countries have in time surpassed such prophetic stigma. Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, etc are today vivid examples that were threatened with failures and were forced not to leave the Russian federation. Today they are thriving democracies, better than the so-called mother Russia itself. If it is conceivable Russia should view the situation in South Sudan with the same magnifying lens as it did in Chechnya,, then there is a gross marginal error involved.

Russian economic crisis is a reason for such comments from the Russian diplomat. It is a concern that requires internal reforms and outward policy of non-interference. Economic woes in Russia have been highlighted by many academics. 

The country needs soft place and space to swing her idle tentacles of influence for economic gains. Russian arms manufacturing will not be allowed to hold Sudan prisoner like in Eastern Europe and the Middle East where Russian gas sale has become a geopolitical weapon. Russia’s great and marauding quest to find easy partners to prey on is noticeable in Sudan and other vulnerable African countries.

 Sudan had been her partner in trade for arms and a destination of her lame technology of terror for many years. Of course Southerners still evidently retain information on the Russian made Presidential helicopter that killed John Garang, his guards and Ugandan crew. Russian gunships have tormented women and children for many years in Southern Sudan. Other bombers like the Antonov, a feverish high altitude bomber, became the roaring thunders in Southern skies year in and year out for decades.

Nobody tells the world what it already knows; that South Sudanese have never known state development and handouts since the inception of the republic of Sudan. Southerners who often flee to the North in times of crisis do so because of security concerns caused by the Northern regimes, not economic downturns or a crumbling system in the South of the country.

It is presumptuously true that Sudan owes Russia a lot of money in debt for the purchase of arms during the war and training of bomber pilots. This money will not be paid when South Sudan goes away with her bounty natural endowments, which have been the sources of Sudanese undisputed ever-trickling revenue.

 God forbids if the post referendum negotiations currently underway between the Government of South Sudan and the National Congress Party on national debt will involve tricky concessions in which South Sudanese will be bound by agreement to pay for the bombs dropped on their kids during the war!

Ultimately, it seems the best option for Russia, Egypt and NCP to maximise their economic potentials, is to keep the South within their grip as an Assurance of Support by continually concocting and thwarting to its referendum vote; The Vote of Life.
But this reckless manoeuvring too is as dangerous as the Somalization of the South.