Title: Identitarian practices in post-colonial Sudan: exclusivity vs inclusivity (1.1) by Mujtaba Arman
Author: مجتبى سعيد عرمان
Date: 05-15-2015, 03:26 AM
03:26 AM May, 15 2015
مجتبى سعيد عرمان -
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It is a well- known fact that Sudan is socio –cultural, ethnic, religious and linguistic mosaic as a result of the influx of different social groups. Paradoxically, like any post- colonial state in Africa, the state apparatuses were not welcoming enough in celebrating and accommodating various ethnic groups, particularly the aboriginal ones, in the public space(s) such as the school curricular, ( national) T.V and all state-sponsored celebration and festivals. Instead, the dominating ruling-class as represented by the Islamo -Arab trend and the rising power of Political Islam viewed those cultures as ' not civilized' and should be replaced by the main stream culture incarnated in Arabic Language and Islam as a means to worldly gains emptied from its spiritual energy.
Clearly, the post-colonial state and its ruling-class had been working extensively to ' Arabaize' and ' Islamize' the polity and the society at the expense of the diversified nature of the country. For example, the school curricular only reflected the ' Arab' dimension of the Sudan and disregarding the other ' nationalities' ' contributions in building the country. Remorselessly, the riverian- class in the Centre of Sudan had has viewed the peripheries indigenous cultures and linguistic component as ' paganism' and therefore should be replaced by the most ' civilized' form of human civilization, not only replacing it with this new ' civilized' form of human expression but sadly enough, the peripheries were viewed as ' empty- space' that needed to be filled with this new form, but these big claims are an expression of narrow- interests of the post- colonial ruling- class and chauvinistic ' patriotism' that led to marginalization and exclusion of ' other' cultures and narratives.
At the end of the day, the unilateral, one- sided ' national' project led to the split of the country into new separate entities as a result of the self- determination that took place in 2011. Even though the country, the biggest in Africa in terms of the area size, became two separate states is still can be described as the richest in terms of languages, ethnic composition, ' religions' and its diversified social fabric. Boastingly, in a televised speech, in the state of Al-Gadarif – Eastern Sudan , the President of the Sudan denied the diversity of the country after the session of the country by saying that ' from now onwards there will be no ' gamasa' meaning that Sudan is a pure ' Islamic' country irrespective of the country's diversified nature. Shamelessly, the ' Wali ' governor of the Sennar state once ascribed the low performance of the pupils in Arabic language in basic school certificate was due to non- Arabic speakers influence on the pupils, the area is known of the existence of Fulani ' nationality', which can simply be described as chauvinistic, unhuman speech towards ' other' cultures and indeed cultures do enrich each other in an educational context particularly.
In brief, for the dominating ruling-class in post-colonial Sudan maintaining their socio-economic privileges is only executed by assimilating and clearly oppressing other ' nationalities' cultures, histories, narratives and languages. Most importantly, no sane person could speak about cultural ' purity' in today's world, all cultures do enrich each and are heterogeneous and unmonolithic.
Arabaize and Islamize
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