27 March 2009
• We Will Islamize America and Arabize Africa – Dr Hassan Abdallah Turabi from Darfur, Sudan
The whittling away of the remains of settler colonialism is proceeding with the increased development of Southern Africa. There is no parallel process of decolonisation in the Afro-Arab Borderlands, rather an internationally co-ordinated aggressive action is underway, to coral the Sudan liberation movements in places such as Darfur and in eastern Sudan, into a peace ‘laager’, with the generous dispensation of petro-dollars.
Given that the area of ‘ambiguous relations’(i.e. the Afro-Arab Borderlands) has been pushed southwards into the Sudan as a result of hundreds of years of interaction, it would be illogical to expect such a process of encroachment to stop from one moment to the other.
The push southwards by the same forces in the West African region, explains the tensions in the Ivory Coast, and the generalised fighting which took place in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Charles Taylor and Foday Sankor were trained in warfare and met in Libya.
It was Turabi, who exercised power in the first half of current Sudan President Bashir’s rule, who pursued a deliberate policy of implanting Islam in north America, whilst Arabization was spearheaded in Africa.
It was Turabi who sent some two thousand post-graduate northern Sudanese students to the US with instructions to form friendships with African Americans. Many of these graduates are now in the public service of Sudan.
As it happens, the Nation of Islam, led by Louis Farrakan in the USA, grouping Black Muslims in north America, has pursued a policy of support for the Khartoum regime, having taken material assistance from Khartoum.
Farrakan has gone so far as to say there is no slavery in Sudan, opposing the Writ issue against Bashir. This has affected African-American understanding and concerns about matters in Sudan. So that those demonstrating in the US against genocide in Darfur have been noticeably white.
In Africa, Arabization proceeds apace and now endangers African overall security. This we see in Somalia, where Sharia Law is being introduced.
Whereas Somalia has long been Islamic, it always was a united entity, before the collapse brought on by its last military ruler Siad Barre. It had one language and an African culture. This is now being changed. It will not stop in Somalia. Arabization will be pushed further south deep into Black Africa.
Arabia has used the so called ‘peace pact’ to its advantage, as a strategy to relentlessly push its influence southwards. It was used effectively by the Lord Resistance Army (LRA).
Like with the UNITA movement of Jonas Savimbi in Angola, the tactical use of the temporary cessation of hostilities, to lull the opposition into a non-combative posture, creating a breathing space, whilst restocking and preparing for the next offensive, is as old as time itself. Such ceasefires do not last.
The attempts by certain quarters to withhold the Writ to be issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Joseph Kony of the LRA, defeated the ends of justice and permitted him to relocate from south Sudan to the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the bloody costs of the Congolese and the people of the Central African Republic.
This relocation needs further investigation. There was a time before 2005 and the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), between the Khartoum government and south Sudan, when Kony lived in Juba, which was then a garrison town controlled by Khartoum, under the protection of the Bashir government in Khartoum. Who is to say that Kony is still not financed by Khartoum?
The relentless push southwards by Arabia has never abated – indeed some westerners would say that the major new pre-occupation in international relations at the turn of the century was the global Jihad, which emerged as a counterpoint to the existence of Israel, spreading outside of the Middle East and African theatres, to terrorise the world.
In Africa, current developments in Somalia are cause for sober reflection. Whereas the Somalis in their majority are Muslims, Somalia was known, before the current difficulties, as an integrated society, with one culture and one language, Somali.
What is unfolding, under the noses of the African Union (AU) Peacekeepers, is the annexation of Somalia into the Arab League, Arabia and the Arabian zone of influence – that is the Arabization of Somalia.
Such annexation is precisely what the south of Sudan fought against for some 39 years.
The question is, will Africa south of the Sahara, on this occasion, yet again, be compliant, watching this process without registering protest?
The current Libyan ‘King of Kings’ of the AU, can hardly be expected to intervene in such an issue, going on his past record of intervention in places such as Tchad and Sudan. The supreme dilemma of Chairman Ping of the AU must be, what to tell the peacekeepers in Somalia, is their mission.
Apart from maintaining the peace, why are the belligerents fighting, why are they (peacekeepers) being attacked? What is the root cause of the conflict in the country? History teaches us that soldiers, at the cost of their lives, always return home to inform what were the stakes in the fighting. Usually this has a radicalising impact on the home population.
The era of denial about the truths of the Borderlands is over. If the lessons were not learnt through the history, the contemporary period is littered with case studies in southern Sudan and Darfur, not to mention northern Tchad (Tibesti), northern Niger, northern Mali, Mauritania and now Somalia. The lid can no longer be kept on. The truth is out.
The inquiries of the ICC into mass murder in the Borderlands creates the precedent, which changes the equation in the area. The attempted elimination of the Fur, the Masalit and the Zaghawa ethnic groups of Darfur is an exercise in ethnic cleansing, in the pursuit of demographic change, in order to Arabize Darfur. A similar project was run in south Sudan for some 39 years and is also now underway, which has received scant attention, in Nubia, northern Sudan, where millions are affected.
In Nubia, the intent of Khartoum is to move the Black Nubians off their lands and to resettle them elsewhere, whilst bringing in millions of Egyptian peasants, for settlement.
The purpose of all these operations is to ultimately make Sudan an Arab country, in terms of its majority population. This initiative has been on, in surges, for a millennium. Having failed to conquer south Sudan, the Arabist/Islamist global force, the same operating in Afghanistan, is moving to annex Somalia.
After Somalia they will move further southwards. Some are saying they will thereafter target central Africa.
In this connection it is worth recounting the words of Joseph Lagu, the south Sudanese Anya-nya leader, on page 339 of his book ‘Sudan odyssey through a state – From ruin to hope’, a 2006 publication. Concerning his interaction with Col Muamar Gaddafi during an official Sudanese visit to Libya in 1975, he recounts:
‘He (Col Gaddafi) told us that other Arab leaders and he would like to develop Southern Sudan, but for that to be possible we should allow the South to be Islamised and Arabised. He said that he did not mean that we leaders should change our religion, for he knew we were already Christians. He said he referred to those without religious affiliation that formed the bulk of the population. He told us that for him to get Arab funds for the development of the South, he needed to tell the Arabs that Southern leaders accepted the Islamisation of the South. He made it clear to us that Arabs consider their aid to other people in that perspective’.
In effect what is being posited here is that there can be no peace in the Borderlands, without a structural change in Afro-Arab relations and that such a realignment must incorporate not only the admission of guilt but also atonement.
There cannot be closure without an opening by the wrong-doer, to enable review and judgement. These are prima facie requirements to begin the Afro-Arab civilisation dialogue. Without atonement space is created for Great Power intervention in the Sahel.
Slavery has existed in all the ancient civilizations of Asia, Africa, Europe and pre-Columbian America. It had been recognized and accepted by the Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
With both Arab and European slavery, Africans were not the machines, but the cogs in a process whose outcome was unknown to them. The denial of their languages and cultures in effect denationalised the Africans, turning them into assimilados and Black Arabs.
However, in Arabia Black Muslims are not accorded the same status as pure Arabs. They are referred, even in Mecca during the Haj, as ‘abed’, meaning slave. Whereas in the western world the human rights concept has made possible an Obama, in Arabia such a phenomenon, of a Black president is inconceivable, such is the level of racism.
In Arabia and amongst Arabs, anti-Black racism is a fact of life, be it in Libya or in Egypt. So that Africans, who, by colonial design, are ruled by Arabs, as is the case in south Sudan and Mauritania, for example, are the subjects of an apartheid system which is even more oppressive, due to Arabia’s lack of enlightenment, than the racist system which was in place in southern Africa.
All need to take cognizance of this fact, especially those concerned with human rights issues. It is only today that the moral guardians, in places such as the Hague, have steered themselves to scrutinize what is an historic reality known by all who live in the Borderlands, that over centuries Africans have been the targets of genocide and slavery in the Borderlands, otherwise known as the ‘killing fields’ for Africans, because historically speaking, that is what the Sahel has been.
It was not a melting pot, but an area of agony, sorrow, distress and death as slave convoys walked northwards to their fate. The truths of this area are now exposed in the mass slaughter perpetrated in south Sudan, Darfur and elsewhere.
Northern Sudanese, who pride themselves as being Arabs, more Arab than the Arabs of the Middle East, are considered second class Arabs in Arabia, because of their dark pigmentation. Northern Sudanese such as President Bashir of Sudan would have been classified, in the Southern African context, as ‘coloureds’. They are a mixture of Arab and African.
Indeed, Bashir is a Falata, that is a northern Sudanese of Nigerian Fulani extraction.
It needs to be said that since the time of the establishment of Islam in Mecca in present day Saudi Arabia, pilgrims from west Africa, particularly from Nigeria, have been passing through northern Sudan on their way to Mecca. Many stayed on in the Holy Lands. Many also settled in northern Sudan.
The historical links between northern Sudan and Nigeria are umbilical, such that Nigeria cannot be indifferent to developments in Sudan in general. It goes further than that. There are ties of kinship between the Hausa/Fulani of Nigeria and the people of Darfur traced back over hundreds of years.
Due to Islam/Arabization and Sudan’s strategic location on the Nile, the northern Sudanese have taken on a persona, especially under the leadership of Bashir’s National Islamic Front (NIF)/National Congress Party (NCP), of being the guardians of Arab hegemony in the eastern Sahel and of being more Arab than the Arabs of the Middle East, despite their second class status in Arabia.
Logically, it could be analysed that the northern Sudanese act as the advance guard, to protect and push forward Arab and Islamic interests into east Africa.
In that cause they have and continue to be the guardians of Arab interests in Africa, on which basis they obtain the support of Arab interests and finance worldwide.
One of the principal executioners in the promotion of this policy is Salah Gosh, Head of Sudan’s National Security and Intelligence Service, who recently told an audience celebrating his promotion to Field Marshal:
‘ We (the government) were Islamic extremist then became moderate and civilized believing in peace and life for everyone.
“However we will revert back ( if the Writ of the ICC is issued against President Bashir ) to how we were if necessary.”
‘Anyone who attempts to put his hand to execute (ICC) plans we will cut his hands, head and parts because it is a non-negotiable issue.’
The Sudanese scholar Yusuf Fadl Hassan ‘On the historical roots of Afro-Arab relations’ stated in ‘The Arabs and Africa’ (1985):
‘Slavery is slavery and cannot be beautified by cosmetics. It left an extreme bitterness in the central parts of the [African] continent against the Arab minority which lived on the coast. Because this issue disturbs Afro-Arab relations it should be studied courageously and objectively’.
Arab-led slavery of Africans in the past and in the present goes to the core of the relationship of Africans with Arabs, it is an issue that both Africans and Arabs frequently treat as a matter to be hushed up because of the embarrassing reaction it generates.
It is a historical reality which differentiates the fate and the aspirations of Africans on the one hand, and Arabs on the other, in their different attempts to achieve African unity and Arab unity respectively.
Both Pan-Africanism and Pan-Arabism, if pursued democratically, would assist in the emancipation and development of the two peoples. At the heart of the complex Afro-Arab relationship are the realities of racism and forced Arabization/Islamization.
• B.F. Bankie, former researcher, Kush Institution, Juba, South Sudan.