Monday, 26 July 2010

Leak Sudan

In an impressive and radical win for ‘the right to information’ the whistleblower published Sunday over 91 000 confidential reports covering the war in Afghanistan in the period 2004 to 2010. The reports, largely military, provide accounts of US military operations as well as intelligence documents and minutes of meetings with political figures. The world press is in furore over the revelations of the reports, most prominently the scale of civilian deaths at the hands of the US military in Afghanistan, and Pakistani support for the Taliban. The White House had more embarrassment than explanation in response to the major documents leak, probably the largest in US military history.

Wikileaks is an open-access on-line organisation that publishes sensitive, classified documents from governments and corporations on an anonymous submission basis, thus protecting individuals who provide the information and exposing power magnates, governmental and private, to the scrutiny of the public eye. The website went public in 2007. Its founder, Julian Assange has a reputation as a hacker, computer programmer, and developer of free software.

Writing in Omdurman I imagined what I would like to see leaked from Sudan government and its adversaries, military and otherwise. The CPA contains a meek clause that calls for a comprehensive process of national reconciliation, one that has been equally ignored by NCP and SPLM lest it wake up ghosts of the past. Political opposition in North and South, so hopelessly devoid of initiative, has also failed in igniting life into this wholesome yet untapped promise. Other than the demand of the Sudanese Communist Party on occasion of its 5th conference January 2009 to initiate a national process of Interim Justice, on the example of the South African ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ and the Moroccan ‘Truth and Justice’ no political force has lent the idea any serious support. In so doing the Sudanese elite, in government and opposition, denies the peoples of the country a major healing gateway to overcome the wounds of the predatory state and imagine unity on new grounds.

The cornerstone of such a process is revelation of the facts of state violence in our history and the opening up of state security and military documents to public examination. Instead of the incessant emotional blackmailing over secession and unity investigation of the conduct of war between North and South over the past 50 years or so, including recruitment and arming of tribal forces along the North-South border, the SPLM/A split in the 90’s and the resulting ‘war of the intellectuals’, the ordeals of civilians in garrison towns under SAF control, and the fate of POWs on both sides, to name but a few issues, may clear the ground for a more serious discussion of the future in one country or in two. The only publicly available document that we have as an example is probably the report of the independent investigation committee into the Torit events of 1955. Since then silence guards the dead and destitute of Sudan’s violence. To regain ownership of our wars from international caretakers, human rights organisations, peace cartels and foreign governments, we need to look into our corpses and wounds ourselves, with our own open eyes. May be then, we can imagine another future. 

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