Arab Racism Raises its Head in Sudan

by Molefi Kete Asante

Published 2/12/2012

More Africans have been killed in genocidal wars in Sudan than any other country with the exception of Congo. In fact, Arabs who have pursued what is nothing less than a racist war of aggression continue to carry out a massive campaign against Africans in Sudan. On the other hand, in Congo the ethnic warfare sustaining warlords and petty criminals has turned the eastern part of that vast country into a cauldron of hatred and fear. However, the Sudanese example has some blunt lessons to teach about the nature of Arab racism. It also has some fundamental lessons to teach about Western media that has had a heyday reporting on the attacks of Western sponsored demonstrations in Syria where Assad’s government has killed hundreds of people but almost no reporting on the killing of hundreds of thousands by President Bashir in Sudan. There has been some international pressure but surely no one is talking about no-fly zones or calling for international forces to remove the Khartoum regime.

Sudan's leader President Omar Bashir has been designated an interational criminal and could be arrested and sent to the international criminal court for trial for crimes against humanity if the world showed a stronger sense of outrage. The lines of the tragedy in Sudan are clear. Now that the southern part of the original country of Sudan has been made its own separate nation, South Sudan, the rest of the huge country, once Africa's largest, is under increasing assault by the Khartoum gang.

What is clear is the destructive path that the Khartoum government has set for itself is unsustainable in terms of sheer size and scope. Now the Arab government is essentially striking out at all non-Arab people in the rest of the country. They have carried out a prolonged attack on the people of Darfur, massacred Nubians, assaulted the villages and towns of South Kordofan, pillaged and bombed the Nuba, attacked the people of the Blue Nile region, and sought to subdue the ancient Beja by exile and extermination in what must be one of the most blatant racist campaigns in modern history.

Unquestionably Khartoum is out of control. What is also important to understand is that we have been slow to call the trouble in Sudan by its rightful name: Arab racism against Africans.

Without making this proper analysis one is likely to be confused by the various assaults on Africans. I have heard people say that it is a civil war; others say it is a war of Muslims against African traditionalists and Christians; and still others say it is North against the South. In fact, while there may be traces of these dimensions in some respect, none of these answers get at the real point. The Arab government in Khartoum is a minority regime much like the white ruled apartheid regime in South Africa was a minority regime. The majority of the people have not legitimized the Khartoum clan and the clan rules as a hegemonic power over the huge country with a racist disregard for the masses of Sudan’s people.

The Khartoum attacks represent a government seeking to subdue its various people by overwhelming force. The end of this policy is utter defeat for the Sudanese government. This is not merely a religious war where Muslims are attacking Christians and African religions; the Khartoum government has obliterated entire regions of Darfur, regardless of the Darfurians’ Islamic practices. The government massacres them because they are Africans who refuse to become followers of Arabism. This is an entirely different line of thinking about Sudan for most people who see it as a war of Islam against African religions or Christianity. No, the government of Khartoum does not like African culture; furthermore it regards Africans as inferior. Is not this the position we took against white racism when we declared that the white minority in South Africa had no right to dictate to the majority of the people? We were correct then and we are correct now when we condemn every instance of Arab racism against African people regardless of their religion. The issue in Sudan is not religion, though religion complicates the issue; the real problem is straight out Arab racism against Africans. The Arabs believe that they are superior to Africans; this is the source of their crime against the majority of Sudanese who are Africans.

Why are the Nubians of North Sudan being forced nearly a thousand miles away from their home along the Nile River? The general scheme, articulated over many years by various Khartoum leaders, is to make the ancient Nubian lands a new Iberia where they can plant Arab immigrants from Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Arabia.

Thus, a riverine people, the Nubians, are pushed into the desert to become inhabitants of territories a long ways from they own ancestral homes. Furthermore, by virtue of this action the Sudanese government will have effectively removed the evidence of the blackness of ancient Nubia. Africa and Africans must wake up to the call of the masses of Africans in Sudan for international support to prevent the further destruction of Nubia.

Already the Nubian territory with its ancient monuments, tombs, and temples has been flooded once when the Aswan High Dam was built in the l960s; now it is threatened again with new dam projects funded by the Chinese and new removal programs to make way for Arab immigration.

But the Nubians are not alone in their resistance to these diabolical plans; the Bejas, one of Africa’s oldest civilization, have been forced out of their homeland, harassed for not becoming Arabs, pursued into their territories by armed thugs, and made exiles in many foreign countries, including the United States.

We are aware of the plight of the Darfurians, who have lost nearly half a million people to the wars with the government, but another violent genocide is taking place right now against the people of the Blue Nile region, the Nuba mountain region, South Kordofan, and attacks have not ceased in the south where the Khartoum regime wants to establish an ethnically Arab zone in Abyei. A government that is fighting in several areas of its county cannot long sustain its assault on its people without caving in from the inside. Khartoum will fail but we must be a part of its failure, pushing the dogs of war out of their tragic path and forcing them to relent in their massacres and ultimately to relinquish control of the government through free, open, and transparent national elections.

Molefi Kete Asante’s Statement to the National Coalition of Sudan Support Group, January 21, 2012, Philadelphia

African symbol