Thursday, 18 June 2009

Unity is (im)possible

On the question of the unity of Northern and Southern Sudan the usual arguments tend to concentrate on possible economic gains or geo-strategic concerns, in essence arguments of hegemony which do little to satisfy the cries for justice in a continuing history of conflict. On that note alone the call for an independent Southern Sudan is sure to succeed.
As a corrective the search for unity is a political (im)possibility, and only as such does it constitute politics proper, not an administrative excercise but an exercise in imagination.
Sources for such imagination are available, since the history of Northern and Southern Sudan is, yes, a history of war, but also a history of creative existence, in the sense that it might well serve as the concrete basis for the general quest for citizenship in a post-colonial order such as the Sudanese.
I quote an example from Kamal El Gizouli's article this week in al Akhbar daily: the celebrations at Rufa'a (North) of Sheikh Lutfi's Secondary School, a school that has since its foundation in 1948 welcomed students from Southern Sudan free of charge, particulary those displaced by the civil war. Among the graduates of the school are prominent figures in the SPLM today including the current Minister of Health in the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), the Minister of Education in Jonglei State and the Minister of Local Government at the national level, in addition to nearly 800 professionals of different specialisations. For more than 25 years (1985-2009) the headmaster of the school has been a Southern Sudanese teacher, Garang Aliu Ajang. To this date Sheikh Lutfi's Seconday has graduated 1300 students from Southern Sudan, without making any fuss about it.
In recognition of the man who established the school, Sheikh Mohamed Abdalla Lutfi, and of the people of Rufa'a who have continuously provided rent-free lodging, an old tradition of learning in rural Sudan, for students from the South, GoSS is considering naming one of the streets in its capital Juba after Shiekh Lutfi. Moreover GoSS has pledged to establish a similar school in the South for both Northern and Southern students.

The image is a recent photograph of Sheikh Lutfi's Seconday School in Rufa'a.

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Creative Commons Licence
This work by Magdi El Gizouli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.