*By James Okuk
As the idea for writing this article lingered in my mind, a young friend and a grand father of mine told me to stop writing on sensitive issues. The young friend told me that I have to be quiet and timid until I become a well off person. He quoted the Arabic Sudanese saying: ‘Maskin hata tatamakin.’
The old grand father advised me to consider the Sudanese saying: The timid brings up his children without a problem. He said in a broken Arabic ‘maskiin birabi eyalu.’ What they said lowered my spirit but I got the courage when I meditated on their concern: How many young men fail to become well off even when they intimidated themselves? How many old men failed to bring up their children successfully even when they decided to be cowards? How much wealth can a timid person accumulate? What kind of children can a coward man brings up? I told myself: Forget it! Just go ahead and express your opinion on any issue or anybody even if you become hated or victimized. There is no different between a silent and a dead man. It is better to die when you have talked transparently than live when you are quiet opaquely. If silence is gold when there are pending issues of equitable development to be addressed, then I don;t want to wear that gold. If expressing one’s ideas freely and sincerely is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.
Until Mujahid (Holy Warrior) and Islamic fanatic, Dr. Khalil ran away from Omdurman with his tail tacked between his legs after he regrettably lost his best lawyer and other Darfurians to the graves, and handed his own brother and other comrades to treason prison in Khartoum, I was hesitant about the illusion of the Revolutionary Ideology of the ‘New Sudan’ and of the ‘Black Book’. I thought the uprisings and war of the marginalized against the centralized was real. What a fool of me as I blindly worshiped my own shadow and conjectures! ‘War-of-all-against-all’ was not seen anywhere with a violence struggle of marching to the Gordon Pasha Memorial Palace on the Nile , and to Radio Omdurman for announcement of the new guard. Where were the ‘six millions’ jubilant people who welcomed Dr. Garang in the Green Square ? Where were the Darfurians who were carrying placards and shouting – with sweat all over their clothes – “ DARFUR ! DARFUR ! YA DOCTOR!”? I kept staring at the sky in that Square, worried about the fate of my dear Dr. Garang after the cut Sound System denied him to say a single phrase to the crowd: I am a man of peace and I love you all!. After the Omdurman ’s failed attempted insurgence, Khalil and his cronies immersed the Black Book into water and drank it. At least the Arab Socialististic ‘Green Book’ of Al-Gadhafi was a bit realistic in its thesis that “the socio-economic and political world is revolving but it is not changing.” Taking a lesson from Dr. Khalil’s shame, I am just waiting to see in the coming 2009 elections how much the SPLM will drink from the water of the soaked New Sudan ideology.
Right from day one, when the CPA mandated the NCP to be in control of Northern Sudan for additional years, its cadres has been working hard (day and night) to give a touchable hope to the Arabs in the North. They have made a maximum use of the ‘Black Gold’ from the Blacks’ South to generate’ Green Gold’ in the ‘Brown Desert’ and along the Arabs-invaded Basins of the Two Niles (Blue and White), Atbara river and other small tributaries within the vicinity of Northern Sudan. So far, the NIF Regime managed to realize their motto of ‘We eat from what we produce and dress from what we manufacture’ – in Arabic; ‘Nakul minma nazra wa nalbas minma nasna.’ This revolutionary regime has also managed to continue with their ‘Islamic Civilization Project’ – in Arabic, ‘Mashru el hadhari’ – in the North after the CPA denied them access to the South. They have continued to build mosques and politicize the ‘Imams’ and ‘Sheikhs’ to indoctrinate the converts and monitor them whether they pray five times a day, whether they go to mosques on Fridays to listen to Quranic and dogmatic sermons, whether they give Zakhat (alms), whether they fast for the Ramadan, whether they go to Mecca for Pilgrimage, and whether they support the call for Jihad (Holy War) when Islam is at threat. Not only this, but the NIF regime borrowed the idea of the late charismatic leader, Dr. John Garang where he interpreted the CPA as an opportunity to ‘take towns to villages.’ Indeed the NIF/NCP has built towns in the villages that were affected by the grand projects of Marwe Dam and Hamadab Agricultural and Irrigational Schemes. Also this regime built a big International Airport there, in addition to tarmac high ways and bridges across the river to connect the ‘city towns’ to the ‘village towns.’ I admire the good work being done by the Arab Northerners to their kin, deep in the Northern villages. When will something of my own come out from the GoNU’s Presidency so that I admire its goodness, deep in Southern villages too?
What pains me is that these Presidential Grand Projects are done with the money from oil of the South and also with loans from abroad which remains as debts to be paid by both the South and the North in future. Where is the 1st Vice President in these biased projects? Why is the South not benefitting from these debts burdens? For how long will he keep himself surrounded by so many body guards and away from the Presidency when good things are rightly being done for the North in expense of the South? Where are the good things and similar Projects for the South from the Presidency? Who will push for the interests of the South in the Presidency when its representative (H.E. Salva Kiir) is regarding that Highest Office as a jobless zone to sit in? Has he secretly decreed himself a letter of ‘Permanent Suspension’ from the Presidential Palace as he neglects its duties most of the time?
After having effected a quantitative (but not necessarily qualitative) revolution in the expansion of higher education and Universities in the North, the NIF Regime is now campaigning and working very hard to effect a ‘Green Revolution’ by revitalizing the lost glory of the old Agricultural Schemes of El Gezira, and Constructing new ones in other parts of the North, especially to produce enough wheat for the highly demanded bread (but free of deadly potassium) in the civilized cities and village towns. What is SPLM doing – even in its stronghold in the South– to effects its so-called Revolutionary Vision of New Sudan ? What concrete hope has the SPLM offered so far to the ‘marginalized’ of North Sudan so that they can vote for it comes 2009 elections? Even when H.E. Wani Igga visited and addressed them, they couldn’t understand his ‘Juba Arabic’ and what he was talking about. They only understood the Arabic of Mr. Yassir Arman but were wondering how he could talk eloquently in his mother tongue without first reading the Quran and kissing the ground several times for five times a day.
The JEM abortive attack on Omdurman falsified the theory of ‘Unity of the Marginalized.’ It failed to bring a ‘Regime Change’– despite the few hours of engagement for the ‘NIF Regime Test’ inside the twin city when President Al-Bashir was in Mecca praying to his Allah. And since the ‘New Sudan’ ideology is founded on this theory, it became shakeable to stand the test of “Principle of falsifiability.” It became clear that this ideology – under which the invisible virus of Communists operates – has been built on a sandy ground rather than on a rocky foundation. No mobs of marginalized were seen anywhere around Khartoum uprising against the NIF Regime and shouting “DOWN! DOWN! TO BESHIR; UP! UP! TO KHAIL!” What a liberation from my delusion! Thank you, Dr. Khalil for this wake-up bell, otherwise I would have been chasing my own shadow from ‘no-beginning’ to ‘no-end.’ Now my intellect has been freed from the ‘New Sudan ’ Opium and it has started questioning: what is marginalization? Who are the marginalized? Are they brown or black? What does their hair look like? What kind of clothes do they wear? Where are they located? Are they religious or infidels? And where do they live exactly?
A century ago, a German philosopher called Karl Marx became irritated by the inhumanity of capitalism on the Blue Collars employees whom he named the ‘Proletariats’ – the lower class of waged workers in farms and factories. He saw that the industrial machines were taken care of and treated better than the human workers who took good care of these machines by keeping them greased for multiple manufacturing of tradable goods. Marx observed that the proletariats worked hard daily but they were denied any enjoyment and blessings of the “surplus value” of the work of their hands. They were not allowed to own anything except to keep their rough skins on their dry skeletons. The profit of their ever-busy hands was alienated from them by the White Collars employers whom Marx named ‘Bourgeoisie’ – the higher class of owners and managers of farms and factories.
The heart of Marx ran out from his ribs when he experienced the harsh and undignified conditions of the cheap petty-cash labourers who were forced by their poverty situation to become servants of employment for the benefit of ‘arm-chair’ employers: the Kings, the Queens , the Princes, the Counts, and all kinds of the Warlords of poverty. He took courage and became a Knight for the Marginalized. He wrote the ‘Communists Manifesto’ where he told the impoverished workers to unite so that they can rise up as one people in a revolution that will bring them back the lost freedom; the liberty that was stolen by marginalization, alienation, and exploitation in the capitalistic injustice. To prove to them that he is an “infallible prophet” with a mission against the spread of poverty, Marx vowed not to bow to any temptation of capitalism. He refused to enrich himself in the name of the poor until the oppressed workers become liberated from the evils of capitalism. He refused to relax until the marginalized workers could regain their power to progress together in solidarity and communism, where nobody is left behind unattended under the red fangs of the tripartite vices of ignorance, disease and poverty.
Marx believed that it was the working class who can redeem humanity from evils of capitalism. According to him, philosophy will find its material weapons in them as they will find an intellectual weapon in philosophy. But this philosophy should descend from ideological interpretations to practical actions (praxis) for change, where socialistic and communalistic cooperation will replace individualistic and selfish competition for accumulation of wealth for private prosperity. Each citizen will be convinced to contribute to the common good of the people according to his/her ability while he/she gets rewarded according to his/her needs, and without egoistic conflict with others or envy for one another in the process. Though human beings live on what they eat, they should also ascend above what they produce, Marx said.
I love Karl Marx and most of his teachings, but I hate the Communists with their lies to the least privileged and real marginalized citizens. They claim to be the voice of the marginalized, yet they love to be in the centre of the privileges of economy and government. Even Karl Marx hated to be called a Communist because of the tendency of the communists for monopoly of public affairs. History has shown that Communism is not different from Centralism, and so it is a contradiction for Communists to pretend that they are for the marginalized who are decentralized.
I love Marx because he was so faithful to his mission and praxis of leading the oppressed workers and speaking in their voice until their social problem of injustice was resolved. He wanted the poor to be relieved from the ‘OPIATE OF THE PEOPLE’– religion. He wanted the poor to unite and stop increasing the wealth of the wealthy. He wanted the poor to have access to education and technology. He wanted the poor to have rest and recreation like the rich. He wanted the rich to be relieved from luxury obsession. He wanted the rich to stop increasing the poverty of the poor. He wanted the rich to allow the poor to have the opportunities for being involved in government and business. Above all, Marx wanted the ‘Bonum Commune’ where all will be ‘Haves’ and nobody will be ‘Have-not’ in the abundance of the fruits of human work and human mastery of nature.
But this love of mine should not be misinterpreted as a confirmation of the saying that “if you are not Communist in your youth, then you do not have a heart, but if you continue to be a communist in your old age, then you do not have a mind.” I hate this saying because it suggests that the youth are only juvenile emotional beings who do not have matured minds to understand issues and problems wisely. This saying is an insult to the bright lads who have brought so many constructive changes in the pluralistic human societies. It is a senile paranoia on youth! It covers the fact of senile elders who can even fight in the sky in an aeroplane without a shame (this is a true story from South Sudan ), and who live dreamless like old dogs that cannot run even after an old antelope (call it a gazelle) that is suffering from thirst.
However, because of his futile ‘aluta continua for Proletariats O Yee!’, Marx lived and died as a poor man (like Agri Jaden of Equatoria South Sudan ). He was let down by the proletariats themselves. He undermined the possibility that the Proletariats are also potential Bourgeoisie. Though Marx continues to rule in his grave, his life condition was a sign that the marginalized are also potential centralized who could easily turn down the spirit of communalism in favour of continuing the spirit of capitalism.
I also love late President of Tanzania, Mualimu Julius Nyerer, because of his commitment to modernization of the rural farmers from the local resources and through co-operatives and self-reliance projects in ‘ujamaa villages’. Though Nyerere cared less for the pastoralists and fishermen, he stood by his mission as he lived and died as an honourable ordinary farmer who was let down by his own people when they rejected ‘African Socialism’ in favour ‘Euro-American Capitalism’. After the death of Nyerer, Dar es Salaam became a capitalist city of Western Hip Hop (championed by Mr. Nice and his ‘Kuku panda Baskeli’) rather than African Reggae. May ‘Ja’ rest the souls of Bob Marley and Lucky Dube in Eternal Peace.
The Communists appeared in the political arena of the Sudan right after the time of independent of the Sudan from the British Colonialists. Most of them came from El-Gezira, particularly Medani – the known Gomorra and Sodom of the Sudan . However, deep down under the Communists’ populous masks laid the true colours of their destructive ‘bourgeois-ism’. This pretence forces a critical person to ask these tricky questions: Is it possible for a Sudanese to be a bourgeoisie in the margin? Is it possible for a Sudanese to be a proletariat in the centre? Can there be marginalized in the centre Can there be centralized in the margin. These questions are tricky because they raise the following wondering: Can a Sudanese who eat delicious and well balanced food, who drinks expensive alcohol, who live in a well furnished luxurious house, who own a brand new car, who can communicate efficiently with the rest of the world, who have body guards, who has his children in best schools or universities, who is involved in high level of public decision-making forums, who holds shares in a profit-making company, who owns private business, who travels abroad so often with Five Star international flights, who afford to stay in a Five Star hotel, who have enough money in a bank account, and who can afford expensive expenses be, qualified as the mouthpiece of the ‘marginalized’? For example, can Hon. Dr. Monsour Khalid Hon. Yassir Arman, Hon. Ibrahim Nugud, Dr. Khalil, Abdel Wahid, Hon. Wani Igga, H.E. Malik Agar, Hon. Atem Garang, Hon. Edward Lino and etc, be justified to be genuine voice of the ‘marginalized’?
Let me conclude by stating that the margins of the marginalized and the centres of the centralized have just continued to revolve in the Sudan without any change. When the margin arrives at the centre the centre gets expelled to the margin. What next then if the SPLM becomes centralized and the NCP becomes ‘marginalized’? Of course the struggle of the marginalized against the centralized will continue in a circling shift where the beginning leads to the end and the end starts the beginning. If we want to avoid this vicious circle, it is better that we shift the paradigm of the ‘marginalized’ and adopt the paradigms of the CPA , DPA, EPA where the problem of the One Giant Fragile Sudan should be identified as that of South-Centre, West-Centre, and East-Centre in the quest for decentralization. Even if Southern Sudan separate after the results of the referendum, it will need to stick to decentralization and devolution of powers in a democratic spirit. Otherwise the marginalized of South Sudan or whatever Sudan will continue struggling to topple the centralized, while the centralized will react very fast to keep the status quo. I agree with the advice of the CPA mediator, Gen. Lazarus Sumbyeiwo when he said to the peace-lovers in the 2nd Oslo Donors Conference that “Let us deal with each issue separately. Let us deal with the issue of Darfur on a separate level. Let us deal with the CPA on a separate level. We have already an agreement in the South, on the south-north conflict. Let us implement it in good faith as it was signed in its implementation modalities.”
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