Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Reinvention of Sudanese coordinates

One poignant characteristic of the current situation in Sudan is the damning static framework of possibilities politics moves in. At a certain level there are no politics, only a variety of attempts, more or less within the same ideological coordinates, at administering a situation that is cracking, sliding from the grip of the state. If you read political Sudanese literature from the 60's you get, may be, a (false) impression of diversity in a more promising sense of the word, not the dreary superficial current "human rights" version, a bureaucratic term of reporting, popular in the Western gaze on Sudan and its adherents in the Sudanese scene. I dare say a colonial gaze, not even a neo-colonial one, a gaze that transmits through its apparent excited innocence the obscene"will to civilize" that has fed the conscience of the scramblers for Africa. This obscenity becomes even more apparent if you indulge with a critical Fanonian mind in the anthropologised discourse on ethno-cultural diversity in Sudan.

Not to lose the point I wish to make briefly, if you flash through the current political discourse of political parties and movements in the country, rulers and opponents, irrespective of concrete political tactics, a startling similarity even consensus emerges: a formal recognition of the conditions of marginalisation and its consequences on the various populations of the country, a universal recognition of the facts of diversity, religious, ethnic and so on, a demand for liberal democracy with varying shades depending on the particular party or movement. However, it is also (not) surprising to miss any serious attempt at remaking the socio-economic structure that breeds marginalisation and injustice, that is apart from the claim of cultural divide as a ground for resolution.

Of course, with the Naivasha model this administrative rationale has become the guiding principle of the political game, thinking outside the Naivasha box is already blasphemy, from the perspective of predominant political actors and, more importantly no doubt, from the perspective of global guardians, the powerful politicians, and the nomadic NGO and media population, who keep flying in and out of the country. Naivasha, a geometric solution that ends with one, unity proved, or two, unity denied, was envisaged as a political process, at least in the mind of the late John Garang, judging optimistically by his promises, has degraded in essence to a state exercise, and the politics emanating from it to a formal procedure that has the notion of constitution/law as its paradigm. The fate of Abyei in this context is exemplary, a complex problem harboring a complex socio-political and historical reality submitted after much dodging to a court of law to decide upon. After the Abyei ruling the NCP was quick to declare that further points of disagreement between the two partners of the CPA should also be resolved in a similar fashion. My suggestion is, the PCA should open a local branch in Khartoum or Juba, that would at least allow for interesting watching, and may be reduce the costs, or on a second thought in Abyei, it is a North/South interface.

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