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The Cultural Dimension in South Sudan Conflict: Edited and translated by: Ahmed Elamin Ahmed

12/14/2005 4:05 pm

Edited and translated by: Ahmed Elamin Ahmed

The nightmare of the South Sudan conflict and the necessity and its resolution remain chronicle wound in the mind and sense of Sudanese intelligentsia who usually attribute the failure to the negligence of the cultural dimension in this conflict…..Dr.Ali A.Abass of English Dep. In University of Khartoum and a notable human rights activist sees the matter as one of the most crucial aspects for peace in Sudan.
It is obvious that all the previous conferences for peace in Sudan such as the Round Table 1965,or Addis Ababa despite its complexity and interference with the other political and economic factors in Sudan a matter that guided to their failure despite their recommendations and decisions. Although Addis Ababa Accord approved the freedom of the different ethnic-groups to develop their culture and considered the language question but it treated them within the general principles without considering the details though it was possible to include them in a supplement annexed to the main accord thus it is necessary for the participant in the never held Constitutional Conference to deal with this problem carefully in order to abort the outcome of their effort.
There is misunderstanding for the relation between the modernization and the ethnic conflict, some believe that modernization is able to reduce the ethnic conflicts through providing more opportunities for working in the modern sector of economy and moving within the country ,dominance of one language but the experience had proved the illusion of this views shown in the case Serilanka, India, N Ireland ,Belgium and many other African lands despite the differences in the reasons of the ethnic –conflicts in these countries ,therefore assuming time as a crucial factor in vanishing our cultural problem is futile thus it is necessary to establish special policies for the cultural aspect by giving equal opportunities to the different cultures in Sudan through the national mass media and the cultural planning programs and traditional political parties should admit the cultural diversity in Sudan as an inherited fact.
The third point in this problem is related with the traditional political parties admission of the cultural diversity in Sudan as inherited fact but the political discourse does not go beyond that in relation to the related results of this admission that may be due to the cultural problem always debated within the context of the north\south duality conflict this may mean that some of the traditional parties in Sudan whose policies may inspire the complete cultural assimilation for the non-Arab group within the Islamic Arabic Culture believe in one area in the cultural aspect which is the southern one but the cultural map of Sudan doesn’t reflect that the condition in Darfur and South Kordfan "West of Sudan" is a good witness for it is the first time in Sudan modern history that Nuba Mountains people join an armed movement against the central government.
There are objectives facts such as the competing for limited natural resources which enriched by the late natural disaster in the country, thus competition to be shown in different forms such as an armed fighting between some of the ethnic group not only within the geographical touch areas but within one region as between Dinka\Mondri in the south and the Arab\Fur in the west a matter that requires admission the reality and dealing with it.
And another reason for the increase of the ethnic conflicts the rapidness and impact of the class discrimination –a discrimination that has general dimension on the ethnic –level and the labour division level in Sudan mainly in the urban areas and the demographic structure on what we call " poverty belt" around some big cities is a clear indicator.
The increasement of the ethnic conflicts is related clearly with the failure of the big parties in presenting national policies which can attract individuals from the different ethnic groups in all parts of Sudan.
The assumption of some of the Sudanese big parties as " nationals" is without any foundations ,they have only sectarian power guided them to their failure to develop objective national policies in dealing with Sudan problems thus many regional parties ,pictorials and organizations were born a matter that enrich the regional and ethnic disparities.
The regional alliances between the so called big parties and some powers enabled them to interfere openly in to the Sudanese home affairs –mainly in Darfur region a matter that caused violence phenomenon in the ethnic groups dispute which widened their disparities and led to disasters .
Basing on the mentioned points we conclude that the present ethnic conflict in Sudan is very complicated and danger mainly in its cultural dimensions thus it is necessary to consider the cultural question carefully in any futuristic attempt to solve the conflict of South Sudan.
It is important to reconsider the notion of some individuals and groups who define culture as a phenomenon related only with valuable and spiritual aspect of life as portrayed in the cultural production in its written form or other forms of arts a matter that neglect the unwritten culture of others. this inadequate definition of culture is out of date ….culture means all aspects of life, every human group has its own comprehensive way of life that adopts the natural environment to serve its purpose to adapt the historical changes in its life thus describing the minorities culture in Sudan by Sadiq el Mahdi former culture and information minister"1987-1988" A.Mohamad Ahmed " he is now living in U.K as a political refugee" as small and primitives an insult shows a conspiracy to melt them in the dominant Arab-Islamic culture a matter which proves our failure to comprehend our experience since independence.
The continuous of such hypotheses that the members of the ethnic groups described by that minister as small will accept forcing cultural reality upon them without paving for creative dialogue about culture and its role in our life.
Another problem concerned with the understanding of some traditional political forces for the minority \majority concept on the cultural aspect that lead to ignore the cultural rights of other as shown in the educational and informative policies. It is also necessary to admit that the cultures of non Arab ethnic groups belong to bigger cultural set which is African as well as admission the privacy of relation between the members of these groups and some neighboring countries as the need to accept the special relation between the culture of the Arab groups in Sudan and the Arab World.
One of the problems in the cultural dimension of the south is in defining Sudan on the political discourse on the base of Arab\Islam instead of the base of the Land which preceded the entry of Arabs and Islam to Sudan a matter that give the religion " we admit its central role as a main component for identity" central place in our definition which was resulted due to the usage of religion by some bad politicians as a main tool in the social conflict in Sudan to cheat people.
Finally we should conclude the following:
* Necessity of dealing with the cultural diversity in Sudan as a feature of complicated cultural reality both in south and north of Sudan.
* translating the admission from the cultural and political levels to the political discourse.
* Determent of clear and particular policies .
* Detaching the country during this timid period from any regional unionist schemes.
* The mutual admission for the privacy of friendship between non Arab ethnic and some nearby countries as well as that between the north of Sudan with the Arab World and accepting that the components of identity is not only religion and language but others like the land and the African component.
* Framing the cultural diversity in Sudan on the information and educational levels through reflecting the cultural diversity on the state national media by including the contributions of the different cultural groups culturally and politically in the educational text –books.
History and culture of Sudan is one unique group made by a product of interaction of different cultural groups and struggle of the ethnic groups. Notice:
Dr. Ali A.Abass contribution was written mainly in Arabic and published on EL –A yam daily news in late 1989 few months before the coup d,etat carried by El torabi and his pupils .

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