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Articles and Analysies الصفحة العربية Last Updated: Feb 13, 2011 - 7:24:29 AM

New Sudan Vision, Background of the Call (1-2) By: Mahmoud E. Yousif

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New Sudan Vision, Background of the Call (1-2)

The Truth Could heal the wounds

(Towards Human Society)

By: Mahmoud E. Yousif

[email protected]/


In the “The Fifth Element” Movie, there is a scene in which the Alien women saw humanity past history in an advanced system of history previews and she weep ferociousness about past human cruelty. In the same manner the events that took place in Sudan during past century which shaped present situations, gives that sense, when previewed.

When Dr. John Garang addressed “All Nuba Conference” in Kauda on December 5, 2002, he said “I don’t object been called rebel, in fact I don’t imposed rebellion upon people, when you see things that happening in Sudan, it is the one that aggravate feelings, if you didn’t rebel in Sudan, your humanity will be in doubt, I think all of us in Sudan are rebels, the difference only lay in the levels of that rebellion, ours is more than others, maybe for others they didn’t reached that state, but they will reach, because they will be suppressed, and if you are suppressed you will rebel

While, on January 9, 2005 at Nayo Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya, addressing the signing ceremonial of the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA), Dr. John Garang said “This agreement will restore the dignity of all Sudanese people”. He mean the whole Sudanese, from South, North, West and East, Arabs and Africans, because when I congratulate him for the post of the First Vice President of Sudan, on 26 July 2005, three days before his death, saying it is a victory for Sudanese Africans, he replied, “this is a victory for all Sudanese people”, taking this with above background, it imply that “because northern has restored their humanity”.

Someone told me New Sudan died with Garang, I don’t believe in that, because New Sudan vision is a call for humanity and the establishment of human society, that believe among others in the rights of all people to live together and build a common society, this is another interpretation of the right of self determination, as a weapon to force improvements of different aspects of life as could be regulated by a respected constitution for all populations living under the New Sudan.

Our believe in the New Sudan, which Ali Abdu al-Latif and his commerads paid their lives for it, the Dr. John Garand de Mabiour continued in that path and paid prices, and a the dreamed Sudanese, whom we are waiting to finish that journey, that which motivated me to write this article and the others which will followed, aiming to clarifying some of the basics which intellectuals among our generation and the previous failed to clarify to the population, it is an attempt aiming at convincing some about the importance of unity to the whole Sudanese people and Africans in general.

Before the Independence on January 1, 1956, the Sudanese conflicts were well known, but most doesn’t know the nature and background of these problems. The past two generations, for many reasons, were driven to adopt the general mentality in line with specific trends, which had manipulated the Sudanese culture, hence accommodate various contradictions, of natural and enforced growth, to an extent that many start developing double personalities or schizophrenia.

That scenario imply to Africans descends living in Northern Sudan in general, although it also includes those who lives in urban cities of Western Sudan (Kordofan and Darfur), and South Sudan towns.

Many who joined SPLA, grow up while subjected to these behaviors, some scholars tried explaining these trends from different ideologies background, unfortunately it didn’t reached the laymen.

Reviewing these events in relation to emergence of SPLM/A, one can state that, Dr. John Garang was a great leader in the sense that, he knows and managed to grip the essence of Sudanese conflicts as a challenge to Pan Africanism and Humanity, in the sense that, South Sudan conflicts can’t be resolved apart from the Sudanese conflict, or without resolving the Sudanese conflict itself”, because it is part of that conflict, which impaling the process of Unifying Africans.

But how complicated and interwoven the Sudanese conflict is, that had led to and reflected into the New Sudan Vision? The important chapter in the Sudanese history  is what lead to 1924 events, the consequences of which we are still living, and it shape the political, economical and  social structure of present Sudan, leading to the present challenge of unity verse secession! We can realized the nature of 1924 events by the impact it created on those who studied it, among whom are Dr. Sikainga [1], Dr. Yoshiku Korita [2] and Dr. Elena Vezzadini [3], three valuable source for the background of present Sudanese dilemma.

Forced Armey

The relationship within Sudanese society was shaped by the racial division, derived from long period practice of slave trade, started before the Turkiyya (1821-84), and escalated during their time. Where Muhammad Ali Bash, Egypt Ruler main aim behind occupying Sudan was Men Gold and Ostrich feathers, he was aiming at Men to extend his power, which could be financed by the gold.

Muhammad Ali Basha Army of Sudanese origin was called Jihadiyya, they were captured during slave raids in Nuba Mountains, Darfur, South Sudan and Funj, others who were unfit for army were enlisted as water carriers, cookers messengers, to imagine the total number of Sudanese captured by the Turks, for example in 1823, there was six regiments of four thousands men each (total 24,000) [1].

In addition to that, there was irregular troops known as Bashbuzuq, they were recruited from Arabic speaking groups of Northern Sudan like Shaiqiyya and Dongolawi, their task was to collect taxes and raided for slaves, based on this role, these group start imply certain behaviors and impression by the Sudanese.

Thus when Muhammad Ahmad Almahadi started his revolution from 1881-85, he realized the great discipline and efficiency possessed by the  Jihadiyya, thus he used to absorbed them in his army, whenever a military Garson was captured, later they were organized under Hamdan Abu Anja, as they represents a fine well trained army, hence they were given rifles [1].

Slave trade didn’t stop during the Mahdist period, although the Khalifa Abdulahi who took over from Muhammad Ahmads Almahadi six months after capturing Khartoum on June 28, 1885, restricted male slaves for the army.

The society during Khalifa Abdullahe Altaaeshi rules, was structured and built on a base regulated and maintained through the influence of loose Islamic teaching, centered on the personality of the Khalifa, his family, relative and followers [1].

With background mentality of countryside, power was used to serve tribal interests, that society was divided into tribes, composing the fighting force of Mahdist, although Jihadiyya represents an important section of the Army.

When Omdurman falls under the invaded Anglo-Egyptian army on September 2, 1898, the British were moving very fast to control the situations, particularly the Khalifa had fled from Omdurman, and the French led by Jean Baptiste Marchand, (for which the mission was carried out in hurry, was among main reasons), who already had reached Fashoda (Kodok) on July 10, 1898. During the invasion period, many slaves existed in northern Sudan, the situation in the north was nearly to anarchist, where some people took revenges, particularly those who arrived with the British, and they originated from different parts of Sudan, at that period with many slaves in houses, soldiers from African origins, took that chance to free friends and relatives as many as possible, but of course that only took place mostly in Omdurman and Khartoum, or south of these cities, in the northern Sudan slaves status didn’t change, taking into consideration that, in the early nineteenth century there is scarcely a house that doesn’t have one or two or even six slaves (Burckhardt travels [1]), although it shows the trend within these societies during that period, but it never changed during Mahdist or in early nineteenth century, because the Assistant director of intelligence in the Sudan between 1915 to 1926 Mr C. A. Willis commented that “The whole social system of the northern Sudan grew to depend on the possession of salves without whom no property could be developed or family maintained” [1], if such impression was expressed by a British, two decades after arrival of the Liberators and anti-slavery army (the British), that means something wrong was going on in Sudan

In early 1900 a survey for number of slaves was conducted in northern Sudan, in Dongola province alone, slaves were estimated at 15,468, among them 9,908 were women and 5,560 were men, while Sitt Amna in Blue Nile, the wife of Khojali al-Hasan was only stopped by the British in late twenties of twenties centaury [1].

Social Interaction

Within that environment, many issues were started been look upon with great simplicity, the British were so soft in dealing with major issue like slavery, which was abolished in Great Britain a centuries before that, but they were not firmed in implementing it in Sudan, as demonstrated by a letter in March 6, 1925, written by the three religious and traditional leaders, Ali al-Margani, Sharif Yousif al-Hindi and Abd al-Rahman al-Mahadi, the letter was written to the Director of Intelligence in Khartoum, requesting the government to stop issuing freedom certificates to Sudanese, unless they can prove ill treatments! The letter stated that:

“Slavery in Sudan is not what it is supposed to be generally. The Sudanese who work on agricultural land are really partners to the landowners and have many privileges and rights which would really make them a class by themselves, and can’t be termed slaves in the ordinary sense. People of the Sudan who still have Sudanese at the present time do really treat them with more as a members of their families, owing to their great need for their works. If there is any party to complain it would now be the masters who are at the mercy of their servants” [1], worth notice at that period, the term Sudanese referred to black people.

Some of us can remember in 1970, when Jafar Muhamad Nimari entered Gazira Abba, people discovered that the workers who were followers of Ansar sect, were yearly given only two pairs of Zarag (type of cheap blue dye cloth) for women and galabya for men, and a ration of dora (sorghum) and weka (dray okra), that was the partnership claimed, and they continued another forty five years in that misery, till being liberated in 1970, where we heard a lot of stories from our colleges.

Liberated ex-slaves were recruited in different construction works that after occupation, such as government offices, railroads, roads, Senar Dam, bridges, etc.. Others joined the Army, till 1921 when they established great awareness towards themselves and the surrounding societies, starting with the formation of the United Tribes Society in 1921 by Ali Abdu al-Latif, representing the political wing which later participated in the formation of the White Flag League, led by him and Obied Haj Alamin.

During that period, many events that took place, shaped their destiny, fist of that the revolution by Ahmad Orabi in Egypt in 1919, then the killing of the governor general, Sir Lee Stack in Cairo on November 19, 1924, immediately the British ordered Egyptian army out of Sudan, Sudanese battalion led by Abd al-Fadil al-Maz mutinied refusing that order, they fought till al-Maz was killed.

This photo was taken on the day struggle brought to surface 15 May 1924

From right: Hassan Mohammed Sharif- Ali Abdu al-Latif - Salih Abd al-Gadir - Obeid al-Haj al-Amin [3]


Mahmoud E. Yousif

Former SPLM member

[email protected]/



1-      Dr. Ahmad Alawad Sikainga, Slaves Into Workers: Emancipation and Labor in Colonial Sudan, University of Texas Press, Austin,  1996.

2-      Dr. Yoshiku Korita, Ali Abdu al-Latif and 1924 Revolution, Research in Sources of Sudanese Revolution (Arabic version), Sudanese Studies Center, Cairo, 1997. تقرير لجن

3-      Elena Vezzadini, The 1924 Revolution, Hegemony, Resistance, and Nationalism in the Colonial Sudan,

at: https://bora.uib.no/handle/1956/3065 

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