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Articles and Analysies Last Updated: Dec 20, 2009 - 3:34:53 PM

A point of view on the issue of identity in Sudan By: Ahmed Abbaker

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A point of view on the issue of identity in Sudan


By: Ahmed Abbaker *     [email protected]


It should be known that I am necessarily looking at the conflict of identity in Sudan in the framework of a democratic Sudan, as because if we are addressing this problem which involves the absence of the national reconciliation and the prevalence of non-admissibility and selfishness under a totalitarian situation, then our case would be like someone who is looking in vain for the reasons for the inability of a singer who failed to please people, while that singer is lying on a disease bed. The priority is to cure the disease first, which is represented by dictatorship in our case. ………………………………………

The crisis of identity in
Sudan is reflected on two axes: The first axis is located at the level of the position of Sudan as a state within the global system, in the sense of whether Sudan is an African or Arab state? The other axis is at the level of a Sudanese personnel, i.e., whether all Sudanese have equal opportunities to express themselves? ??????????????

To address and tackle the first situation we all must state the fact that the term (Sudanesim) is the best and acceptable description of the definition of the identity of
Sudan , at least in theory, and I say in theory because some of us might say it with hypocrisy or equivocation. That is because this definition does not exist in practice through the classification of Sudan as an Arab. Then after, practically we must re-define the membership of Sudan at the Arab League as a cultural affiliation, just like Senegal being a member of the Francophone Organization. And this is acceptable as the Arabic language is one of the most important components of the identity of Sudan (as a state), but not of all the Sudanese individuals, because there are individuals who do not know a single Arabic word. However, Sudan would not be harmed by being a member of the Arab League, and any other system, if it is feasible and rational, without a chance to manipulate the “sudanesim” of the Sudan .


 As for Sudan being an African country, this is outside the controversy; it is like someone who tells you that Africa is located in the planet Earth. If the intention is to say that Sudan is made of an African culture, then there should be awareness that Africa is not one culture, likewise there is no Asian, European   or       American           culture... ……………………………..

With respect to the freedom of expression of individuals’ identities for the Sudanese, or Sudanese groups, it has not been restricted throughout the entire history of democracy in
Sudan in relation to religion or means of communication or appearance. That is if the expression takes place through private means or platforms. Thus, the contention reduces to in the expression through public forums funded by the State, or at least their products are endorsed and accepted by the State, these forums are represented by the two channels, namely:

1.     Media

2.     The curriculums and syllabus of education at  the non-optional stages

Do you agree, my fellow citizen, that the problem then, is how to achieve justice in the distribution of opportunities for the equal use of these platforms for each component of the social spectrum of Sudan ? ???????????????????   ……………………………………                                                                     
Do you agree that the distribution of such opportunities to the community of great diversity, such as the Sudanese society, is impossible?
Given that a fair division is impossible in such a situation, but is considered a gateway to the injustice and prejudice, do you agree with me that the treatment is by privatizing the Media and re-structuring the curriculums and syllabuses of education, and that is as follows:


1.     For the media, to be fully privatized, so there will be no government-funded radio or TV stations, the same as what happened to the press. This makes the multiple entities to disseminate and promote their cultures of its potential self. And thus all are equal through the removal of government support for the inalienable bias. Necessarily, privatization is inherent to public freedoms so that no one finds itself outside permit or licensing. That is with the remaining of the museums and monuments as public sector, for I mean here the privatization of the publication of living cultures through the media, because this is one of the areas of disagreement.


2.     As for the curriculums and syllabuses of education, the solution, I believe, would be to agree on the minimum mediums of teaching (the adoption of Arabic and English languages as mediums of teaching, exclusively). While the opportunity is available for all other cultures and languages to become optional subjects for specialized studies according to supply and demand.


 Do you think, my fellow citizens, this will work?   Let us debate it.


* Author and Darfuri Activist based in London

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