Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Sudan and its Four Wives! | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Deputy speaker of Sudan’s National Assembly and member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement [SPLM] Atem Garang made some comments recently regarding the condition of the central authority in Khartoum and what he referred to as the four wives of Khartoum. His comments suggest that the solution to the problems in Sudan is not in the Arab League or the United Nations; rather, the solution lies in the ‘Kalaam Nuwaim’ agony aunt-style television program!

Mr. Garang, a Christian, described regions of Sudan as “Khartoum’s four wives” and said that as a result of the oppression that Darfur is being subjected to, the “southern wife” must demand a divorce because Khartoum is not treating the Western wife equally.

This is an unacceptable analogy, even in the eyes of the reality of polygamy, as we have never heard of wives in a polygamous marriage sharing the same destiny. If we stick to the family analogy here then Khartoum is the mother and nobody should be undutiful towards the mother no matter what.

Garang’s likening of the situation in the south to the situation of Darfur is barefaced deception; in fact it is escalation of the situation in Sudan and exploitation of international differences in the way that the issue of the arrest warrant for the Sudanese President is being dealt with.

We say this not in sympathy with the perpetrators of the crimes committed in Darfur but out of our belief in the unity of Sudan’s lands. It is true that there are many flaws within the Sudanese system, but the unity of the Sudanese territories is above all else and above all leaders. What we need today is to build our states, not attempt to build statelets.

Complicating the already complex situation in Sudan, and associating the solutions with the Darfur crisis will not solve the problems in the south; rather, it will consolidate the belief propagated by the Khartoum government that the main goal of the International Tribunal is not to put a stop to the Darfur crimes but to divide Sudan. This is a dangerous matter; the oppressed people of Darfur are losing the sympathy they deserve and it makes the task difficult for those who want to present practical solutions to Sudan.

This is what the Khartoum regime, and the Arab world, must beware of. The vulnerability of our countries and their collapse, one after another, with the blessing of currents that pretend to fear for the Arab world and its security, is a perplexing matter. Our lands are transforming into a theater for militias and traffickers.

Therefore, the link that SPLM member Aret Garang made between the situation in southern Sudan and secession on the one hand, and what is happening in Darfur and how to solve the crisis there on the other, can be considered a dangerous issue and a form of political blackmail.

The comments made by the Deputy Speaker suggest that the issue is merely about stating the obvious; it is only a matter of time before it is announced that the south has seceded from Sudan, especially as there is information that suggests that the people in the south have begun to prepare the necessary arrangements to announce secession. The process of armament is ongoing and major trade contracts are being signed, which indicates that it is not only normal, business development work that is being carried out in a region that is part of the motherland but that endeavors are being made to form a state. Moreover, telephone lines have been set up in the south belonging to a Ugandan service provider rather than the Sudanese motherland.

Does the Arab world realize the danger of the upcoming days in Sudan? More importantly, is the ruling government in Khartoum aware of this danger or is it waiting for a crisis to happen like the one that has taken place in Darfur?