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DEBATING A SOUTHERNER (8): Dr. Francis Deng
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Jan 1, 2011 - 9:09:52 AM

DEBATING A SOUTHERNER (8): Dr. Francis Deng
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PAST DEBATES:

1. Akol Liai Mager: SPLM, Queensland, Australia.

2. Ezekiel Gatkuoth: Head, South Sudan Mission, Washington, DC.

3. Dr. Jok Madut Jok: Professor, Loyola Marymount University, USA.

4. Luk Kuth Dak: Journalist, was in Sudan, now in USA.

5. Dr. Lual Deng: Minister of Petroleum.

6. Steve Paterno: Author: The Rev. Fr. Saturnino Lohure: A Roman Catholic Priest Turned Rebel.

7. Pagan Amum, Secretary-General, Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM).

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DEGATING A NORTHERNER ON THE SOUTH:

PAST DEBATES:

1. Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Karti.

2. Minister of Fianance Ali Mahoumd.

3. Opposition Leader Ali Mahmoud Hassanein.

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DEBATING A SOUTHENER (8):

Dr. Francis Deng, UN Under-Secretary and Special Adviser to UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide.

 

Washington: Mohammad Ali Salih

 

Since 2007, Dr. Francis M. Deng has been Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General for the Prevention of Genocide and Under-Secretary General. 

Before that and for more than 30 years in the US, he worked with the US Institute of Peace, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, the Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson International Center, the Brookings Institution, Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Before the US, he was ambassador of the Sudan to Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the United States. Under President Nimeiri, he was Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

He had Bachelor of Laws from Khartoum University and a Master of Laws and a Doctor of the Science of Law from Yale University.

He has authored and edited about 40 books; his last book, 鉄udan on the Brink was published very recently.

He was born in 1938 in Abyei; his father was Dinka chief, Deng Majok, who had a close and friendly relation with Babo Nimir, chief of the neighboring Arab Misseriya tribe; Francis wrote a book about each of the two chiefs.

In 2001, he co-authored a report by the Center of Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington on the future of the Sudan. The US government used the report in its efforts to end the war and to sign the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005.

Therefore, the report could be seen as the source -- and Dr. Deng as the philosopher -- of the CPA.  As the CPA seems now leading to the partition of Sudan, some Northerners are saying that Dr. Deng bears a historical responsibility.

Because of his position at the UN, he apologized for not being able to be interviewed. These points are from his recent book, 鉄udan on the Brink and emails he sent me:

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JOHN GARANG AND UNITY:

溺y belief in unity, as is also the case with Dr. John Garang, is premised on the right basis. Without that clarification, the impression given is that I am advocating for a unity vote in the referendum. This is not the case.

This is especially the case when you put Dr. Lual Deng's (Minister of Petroleum) views with mine, when, as I understood him, he was advocating for unity in the referendum.

This is of great importance, given how Southerners feel about the issue, and I don't want to be misunderstood

I heard Garang say to the Southerners, 選t will be for you to decide whether you will be independent or remain second class citizens.

Garang's commitment to unity, like mine, is conditional to full equality.

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PROSEPCTIVE ON UNITY: 
典o me the unity of Sudan is not only is not simply a question for personal reflection or decision based on some information I have gathered in the course of my education and interaction with other Sudanese.  

It is a deep-rooted conviction, an act of faith that goes back to my background.  

I come from the North-South border area of Abyei and from a family which for generations has led the cause of positive peaceful interaction between different people of Sudan, north and south, Arabs and Dinkas

The late Nazir Deng Majok, my father, who together with his friend and neighbor, the late Nazir Babo Nimir of the Missiriya Arabs, maintained peace and stability in an area of immense sensitivity and volatility

Some of this is in tow of my books: 迭ecollections of Babo Nimir and 典he Man Called Deng Majok.
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CONDITIONS FOR UNITY:
套 I have been a strong supporter of unity, but on the basis of full equality and a shred sense of belonging to the nations, with the pride and dignity for all citizens. I have also supported the right of self-determination for the South.

Not because I wanted the South to secede, but in order to motivate the national leadership, specifically in the North, to intensify efforts to create appropriate conditions that would make unity appeal to Southerners in a self-determination referendum.
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ISLAM:
鄭s long as we make one religion the basis of defining our identity and the identity of the nation, and for determining who occupied what position in the hierarchy of power and the sharing of resources, there can be no question that full equality of religion and of individuals and groups belong to different religions cannot be achieved

I have had occasion to talk to someone who takes that position.  

It was a long discussion that ended with him emphasizing, with the full respect for my views, that he fully understood the point of view of the non Muslims, that as a Muslim his religious tells him there can be no separation between religion and the state, and of course there was no question in his mind that his religion came first.
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CSIS REPORT: PRO-SOUTH?

典he Sudanese whom I persuaded (the CSIS) to invite were not only Northerners; they were both Northerners and Southerners.

And believe me, I was not part of the decision to exclude them.

Quite the contrary, I argued for their continued participation, but I was overruled on the ground, as you correctly state, that they did not want the forum to be a confrontation between Northerners and Southerners.

And by the way, the Task Force was considered to be mostly pro-Khartoum, which is why it was boycotted by such friends of the South as Roger Winter (a consultant to the Government of Southern Sudan); Ted Dagne (African affairs expert at the Library of Congress);  and John Predergast (head of Enough Project in Washington, DC). 

Indeed, they tried to persuade me against co-chairing it. And the U.S Institute of Peace, which funded the meeting, wanted me there to be a balance to those who were considered to favor Khartoum.

I, however, argued that, as co-chair, I did not want to be seen as favoring either side.

And indeed, the report was widely acclaimed as being very fair, which is why it was influential in the peace process.

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WHAT THE SOUTHERNERS REALLY WANT:
的 cannot speak to our brothers in the south, but I can say that what any citizen wants is to be given the opportunity to b equal, fully identified with his nation, proud to be a citizen, to have a sense of belonging and to participate on equal footing in the affairs of his country.

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NORTH AND SOUTH IDENTITIES:
套The identity factors of one group, the Islamic Arab North, have been used to provide a national identity framework, which inevitably stratifies group on those grounds and discriminates against both non-Arab and non-Muslim Southern Sudanese, and the Muslim, but non-Arab groups in the marginalized regions of the North.

Placed in its historical context, the Islamic-Arab assimilationist process in the North provided opportunities for self-enhancement to a respect status out of the denigrated categories of the non-Muslim blacks
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NORTH ATTITUDE TOWARDS SOUTH:

釘abo Nimir said to me that a leader must side with the person more removed from him rather than side with the person closest to him. That is how you bring people together. If you side with the person closest to you, you push the person more distant from you ever farther away. The idea is that Northern leaders have tended to side with those closest to them, whether by religion, race or culture, instead of standing with the cause of those removed from them. 

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MAKE UNITY ATTRACTIVE:
溺aking unity attractive requires action on both material and moral grounds. Material action would require making peace dividends immediately visible: embarking on massive construction of road and other infrastructural projects Moral areas of action call for sending a clear message that Sudan is embarking on a genuine and sincere search for the common ground, based on what unites rather than on what divides.

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SECESSION AND AFRICA:
擢irst, there was a wide-spread apprehension about the self-determination referendum in the South, which is predicted to result in Southern secession.

The view shared by many in Sudan and in Africa generally is that Southern secession would be disastrous for the South, for the sub-region, and even for Africa.

Second, there are widespread allegations that this awesome prediction is, in significant part, orchestrated by Khartoum in order to promote a self-fulfilling prophecy of a South Sudan that would not be capable of governing itself, is almost certain to be a failed state, and would be a burden to the region and the international community

An issue where the reader may be misled is when you state the views of those who fear that the independence of the South would be disastrous as though I share those views. In fact, I cite them to counter them.

I also say that international opinion has shifted in support of the right of the South to choose and have their choice respected.

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AFTER SEPARATION:
套 Unity should not be seen as an end in itself or as the only option in the pursuit of human fulfillment and dignity.

 A vote for Southern independence, therefore, confronts the nation with challenges that must be addressed constructively in the interest of both North and South.

This should mean making the process of partition a harmonious as possible and laying the foundation for a peaceful and cooperative coexistence and continued interaction.

Practical measures should be taking to ensure continued sharing of such vital resources as oil and water r, encouraging cross-border trade, protecting freedom of movement, residence and employment across the borders, and leaving the door open for periodically revisiting the prospects of unification.

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UNITY IN THE FUTURE:
鄭s I have argued, both the North and the South will continue to face internal challenges in the event of Southern independence.

And if, as I have argued, the prospects of reunification under the right conditions cannot be ruled out, and, further, if aspirations for unity are widely shared, as appears to be the case, then an expedited search for genuinely comprehensive peace and unity becomes urgently compelling.  

Consequently, the referendum and the possible independent vote should not be viewed as the end of the road. 

The search for harmonious and productive relations among Sudan痴 many component parts is surly an ongoing process that will continue to challenge Sudanese on all sides as the nation searches for an inclusive identity and common sense of purpose rooted in their shared destiny.
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