Sunday, 20 June 2010

The rump republic

On all accounts nationalist sentiment is flooding the South, and a sensation of fresh hard won liberation is overwhelming a Southern elite gearing up for independent rule, and a Southern population awash with expectations of a new world beyond the CPA finish line. Self-determination of Southern Sudan, in this form or the other, has been the loud call of Southern nationalists since the early 1950’s, intercepted for some time by two linked projects of largely leftist extract, Joseph Garang’s unity of the ‘proletariat’ on both sides of the 1956 border, and John Garang’s unity of the ‘marginalised’ from Halfa to Nimule. Both projects however did not bite into sufficient Southern ground, although attractive to stretches of the communist left and the trade union movement in the 1950 and 1960s in the case of Joseph, and the populations of the three areas plus intellectual associates in the North in the case of John. Today however these unionist notions do not compete with the drive for a new country, a drive grounded in the ugly history of the South-North encounter.

Despite concerns and anxieties nationalist sentiment, the promise of a new beginning and immediate ownership will probably drive the SPLM in the South a considerable stretch. The new state will supposedly be well received in the East African Community, and shall, for a honeymoon period, receive relatively generous nourishment from a host of enthusiastic donors and sympathetic assistants. Northern Sudan, on the other hand, the remaining rump of the colonial state construct and stark evidence its ‘failure to thrive’, is faced with questions of self re-discovery in multiple spheres. Apart from the dominant concern with economic calculations a considerable political and ideological dilemma faces the remaining ‘Sudanese’. Granted that the South goes its independent path forces in Darfur, the Nuba Hills and the Southern Blue Nile may well heighten the tone of demand for some form of self-determination, a concept that has already been tabled, and shall probably consume political discourse on the fate of these areas post-2011. The Hamdi triangle, as it were, devoid of the peripheries that support its notion of self, and legitimise the authority of its rulers, is ripe for further flourishing of the current siege mentality. Singled out as the oppressors and surrounded by hostile forces the Northern Sudanese may well succumb further to the racespeak of the NCP cabal, perceived as the protector and guardian of an endangered species. The NCP is likely to nourish such visceral fears in an attempt to maintain legitimacy. I suspect the remaining rump of Northern Sudan may be driven to yet greater illusions of grandeur i.e. xenophobia.  

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