“My country Sudan has failed”

Just a quick post to share this article, a Northern Sudanese prospective on Sudan “losing” the South of the country. Such a rare thing – the media has shared views of aid workers, journalists, and Southern Sudanese, as they should. But it has been difficult to find articles on how ordinary people (i.e. not government officials) in the North feel. To sum it all up:

It is sad but it is not shocking. The failure was always inevitable but you had to be a southerner to know that…But in the end to say that Sudan as it existed made no sense can only be an acknowledgement of the failure not only of a visionless ineffectual political elite but perhaps even, a failure in the most basic human prerequisite: to treat others as human.

I do not know much about the politics of Khartoum and have never visited. Many expats based in Southern Sudan who work for larger NGOs, the UN and for various Governments have visas that allow them to travel to the north and I did not (no office in Khartoum).

Despite the world class scuba diving in the Red Sea, ancient pyramids that rival those in Egypt, and the prospect of learning about a new culture, the North of Sudan is probably the last place 99.99% of people would visit as a holiday destination. You know, the genocide, political instability, violence, terrorism and what not. But if you’re already there, why not see what the region has to offer? My boss in Juba told me several times that even if she did have a visa she would never want to go to the North because it would make her too personally upset to visit the place that committed such crimes against the people of the South for so many generations. I get that, but I can’t say I feel the same way. Holding individuals accountable for the crimes of their government is not something I am prepared to do. How many times did I defend my American-ness that way between the years of 2000-2008? Not that I’m necessarily implying Bush was on the same scale as Bashir and his predecessors. But you see my point. Ahem.

Okay maybe this post was not so quick. In any case, I found this forthright piece illuminating. Go read it if you get a chance.

Happy Tuesday from Basel!


About Petunia

She wore rings on her fingers and bells on her shoes And I knew without asking she was into the blues She wore scarlet begonias tucked into her curls I knew right away she was not like other girls ~The Grateful Dead
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2 Responses to “My country Sudan has failed”

  1. RW says:

    While I agree with the writer of this piece very much, and I do understand that a lack of humanity is at the core of what is, essentially, a caste prejudice; I think the complicity of the colonial powers is not given enough weight in the article. A slight mention, at the end, of Britain’s responsibility is out of proportion to the curse the European-designed borders of Africa left in that continent.

    It is refreshing to hear a voice from the North allowing themselves a degree of self-criticism – that’s not always available to be heard. But for me the article borders almost on apologetic for the living mess Europe’s mapmakers left.

    • Petunia says:

      That is true. Europe’s acts of using a magic marker on a map to create countries is the root of quite a lot (many? most? hard to quantify) of the problems we see in the region. There’s no mention in the article not only of the colonial legacy in Sudan overall but also specifically what Britain’s or Egypt’s role was in shaping how Northern Sudanese view race (a la Belgium in Rwanda). Maybe there are studies into this subject, I have never looked.

      I also think there is something to be said for trying to accept the past for what it is and not only making the best of it but somehow turning things to your advantage. Some of history may be too much to be overcome. I think the author is just saying that it’s a shame Sudan never really gave it a shot.

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