Is Khartoum too dumb to do the right thing?

Category: Writing aboard the Kenya Airways: A story on coming to Rwanda for the first time
Published on Wednesday, 25 March 2009 05:43
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Manyok Biar is a regular contributor to The New Sudan Vision

(Texas, USA) - The reaction of Sudan government to the International Criminal Court against President Al-Bashir has become crazy. The government has stepped up its campaign against Darfuris to starve them to death under the pretext that non-governmental organizations operating in Sudan are spies that must leave Sudan within a year. French diplomat in Khartoum was summoned by Sudan because French supports arrest warrant for President Bashir.

Supporters of President Bashir are threatening suicide bombing against those who support the arrest warrant, both inside and outside Sudan. The government in Khartoum always chooses hard way over easy way in solving social and political problems. They use threat to silent people. Why does Khartoum government like hard way of solving social and political problems? The answer is simple; they don’t want to lose power.

Why is power so important to elites in Khartoum that they do everything to maintain it, forgetting the other more than eighty percent of the population of Sudan?

The Arabs in Khartoum believe that losing power means they might lose their privileges they get from the system. Being called Arab and Muslim in Sudan is a luxury to those who attach privilege to it, but the same name is resentment to those who do not share in privileges that come with those names.

Africans in northern and western Sudan have been used for a long time as shields for the privilege of those who combine Arab with Islam for survival.

Darfur is one of the poorest areas in Sudan, but its people are Muslims.  

It took Darfuris long time to realize that religion only in Sudan was not the base for privilege.  

Privilege is a combination of Arab and Islam. Now that a distinction is made between what is religion and what is political, religion is becoming less meaningful when it comes to who is really regarded important in Sudan.

Children of Darfuris who know nothing apart from the name of Allah are now forced to sleep on their empty stomachs because there is a threat to power in Khartoum.

The power for Arabs started when Gen. Amr Ibn As caught peaceful Africans unprepared in 641 A.D, when he invaded Egypt with his 4,000 combat Arab strong men crossing from Arabia to Egypt.

Although Gen. Kalydosos managed to repel Gen. Amr Ibn As in 642 A.D in Dongola, Arab succeeded in invading Dongola in 651 A.D. That invasion later resulted in the overthrowing of Nubian Kingdom in 1316 in which Kerembes became the last Christian King in the history of Sudan.

Nubians’ creativity was reduced into nothingness. Nubians were then forced into Islam to act as shields of Arab’s privilege in Sudan. The important people of Nuba who were the cradle of world’s civilization became second class citizens in Sudan even though they were also Muslims.

Arab’s power was reduced by British when Gen. Herbert Oratio Kitchener invaded Sudan and captured Khartoum from Mahadiya in 1898 in retaliation for the killing of Gen. Gordon by the Mahadiya. Arabs fell silent under British rule but they never completely lost power.

When the British left in 1956, they left 50,000 civil service posts to be inherited by the Sudanese.

Eight hundred of those posts were the most senior positions, including district commissioners, among many other positions.

Out of 800 senior positions, only 4 positions went to South Sudan and nothing was given to Kordofan. This means that every educated person, including students who had not yet completed school, in the Arab community was assured of a well-paid job.

Students from other areas of Sudan did not have the privilege of securing a job after graduating from college even if they were among the top students in the nation.

This privilege of job security and easy business for Arab Muslims became a cycle in Sudan. Anyone who attempts to interrupt this cycle of privilege deserves to die in the eyes of the so-called Arabs. Those who benefit from the privilege of being Arab and Muslims stay in theory in Africa but they practically regard themselves Arabs even though real Arabs do not recognize them as Arabs.

What is interesting, though, is that those who jump into the bandwagon of Arabs will never leave Sudan if they were told today that those who are Africans are the only ones to stay in Sudan. This is the time that Northerners who call themselves Arabs would become Africans.

You have now seen the reason why the government in Khartoum always chooses hard way of solving social and political problems over easy way. They fear to lose power because power carries with it a privilege that those who call themselves Arabs and Muslims in Sudan benefit from.

Even though many Northerners know that President Bashir is not popular even in the Arab world, they support him so that they can maintain power. But they are not aware that nobody will stop change in Sudan.

*Zechariah Manyok Biar is a graduate student at Abilene Christian University, Texas, USA. He's a regular contributor to The New Sudan Vision. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.