By Justin Ambago Ramba, MD
October 15, 2010 (SSNA) — The second Afro – Arab summit hosted in the Libyan town of Sirte ended in a real disaster when two Arab representatives [host Libya and Saudi Arabia] probably because they considered their countries as the financial sponsors that most of the black African countries look towards for loans and investment, wasted no time in lecturing their African counterparts about the dangers of the possible split in the Sudan, should south Sudan opt for independence in the anticipated self determination scheduled for 9th January 2011. The controversial Libyan leader went on to describe Sudan’s likely breakup as a "contagious fever" that will spread throughout Africa.
"Ethnicities [in Africa] will demand independence, linguists [in Africa] will demand independence, tribes [in Africa] will demand independence, and this is a dangerous matter.
"This is a foregone conclusion that Sudan might become divided but this is not the important thing. It is imperative that we remain vigilant and keep in mind that this is not the end, this is the beginning………. the beginning of the crack in Africa’s map," he told the gathering, which was attended by Sudan’s President Omer Hassan al-Bashir.
"We expect what happens to Sudan will happen to Arabs and Sudan will be looked upon as an Arab state that became two countries…….then what prevents the rest of the Arab League States, that each group decides its fate on religious basis or ethnic basis or on a geographical basis?" Gaddafi posed the question.
The other pro Arab support came from the Saudi foreign minister Saud Al-Faisal, who echoed al Bashir’s assertions on the importance for maintaining the Arab dominance in the Sudan. The Arab kingdom of Saudi Arabia has traditionally financed the Arab expansionism in Africa as well as Al Bashir’s Islamic Holy Wars against South Sudan and continues to be a source of inspiration and support for the genocidal regime of Khartoum.
“Sudan, a member of the Arab League, is facing the threat of division. No Arab League member can justify its neutral stand on the issue. We have to support Sudan to overcome these dangers,” Al-Faisal said.
Prince Saud clearly is opposed to the division of Sudan, saying it would not serve the interests of any party. “In our opinion neither the interest of Sudan nor those of the rival parties can be achieved by the dangerous move of division,” he pointed out.
The Saudi politician was blunt in his words which categorically imply that the other member nations should join hands and block any attempts for independence of South Sudan. This is in contradiction to the international position taken at the UN Security Council’s special summit on Sudan on September 24th 2010, which stressed among other things, the holding of a free and fair referendum to decide the future of south Sudan, the result of which shall be recognised by all the UN member states. The Saudi prince for obvious reasons considers the secession of South Sudan a work against the expansionist interests of his racial organisation, the so-called Arab League.
Furthermore, the final declarations of the summit weren’t anything but the exhausted slogans of Afro Arab solidarity and solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. As if afraid of losing the earmarked Arab Development Funds, no single African voice was tough enough to include any abiding clause for the recognition of the free choice of the people of south Sudan for an independent state which most observers believe could be the overwhelming option once the referendum is held in the 9th of January 2011’s. It was President Omer al Bashir of Sudan who emerged as the spoilt boy of the so-called Afro-Arab cooperation conference when he took the floor and declared that although his government will allow for a free and fair referendum in the south, he [al Bashir] will never accept any outcome less of the unity of Sudan.
It is true that the road to Africa’s economic and political independence is not laid with beautiful roses as such; however the culture of begging wouldn’t make it any better either. Our leaders who have clearly run out of ideas – think that after decades of fruitless begging from the West, it can be any better with the Arabs. No! A beggar only gets more entrenched in the habit regardless of who they beg from. Sadly enough as we speak many of our brothers and sisters are already deep in this degrading habit and are completely unaware that the dignity of a whole race is at stake for generations to come.
African leaders might have found themselves drawn towards the Arabs by some miscalculated politics where it is wrongly assumed that the Arab money could offer the way out of the under development currently brutalising the sub- Saharan Africa. But even if that were theoretical so, given the Arab’s billions of petro dollars, yet would it not be sensible to have a look at some of the stories coming from countries like Sudan, Eretria, Djibouti, Somalia and Chad who though enjoy close proximity to the Arab world, but continue to portray the worst images of poverty in the world? The pictures here aren’t any better, and if the Arabs cannot do it with their next of kin, how could they possibly offer a helping hand to rest of the ‘Zunuj’ – the Negros. There is nothing even worth the current bla, bla, bla about the Afro Arab cooperation.
Was it not only last week, when the Arab leaders after listening to the speech of the Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and the recommendations that followed from the Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, promised to pledge $1 billion to support development in Sudan? Now only a few days later, things have surprisingly taken a different turn. Read below what came out in the Arab media:
“The resolution adopted by the Arab League summit in Sirte, Libya that commits $1 billion to Sudan is now declared as rushed and will unlikely be fulfilled,” diplomatic sources said today.
The Kuwait-based Al-Seyassah newspaper went on to explain that unnamed Arab diplomats have disclosed that the decision did not specify the mechanisms to disburse the funds or shares per state. They further said that this situation led to objections by a number of states which means that it is not possible to honour the $1 billion pledge. The paper read.
In a related issue, the Arab League has also announced that the donor conference for South Sudan known as Juba-2 will be postponed until after the 2011 referendum.
The Arab League Secretariat said in a statement that the rescheduling was made at the request of the host state Bahrain which cited lack of time needed to prepare working papers and studies that were going to be presented to the attending organizations.
The Arab league in its solidarity with the northern Sudanese Arabs is committed to maintain Sudan’s territorial integrity which gives the Arab Islamists dominance over Africa’s largest country. However the people of south Sudan, who have come a long way in their struggle, are determined to walk the walk to the shores of independence and beyond. What logic is it there for us to submit to the Arab domination, for them to run our affairs and manage our resources while we turn around like everybody else to ask them for alms? By walking over the so-called Arab developmental projects money and choosing independence and dignity, south Sudan is thus determined to set an example for those who continue to hang their hopes on the Arab money. Remember, black Africans have a dignity to maintain.
Arabs are not Africans and the fact that there exists countries like Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria on the African soil only reflects the Arab presence in the African continent – but they are not in any way Africans. It is one thing to live on the African continent and it is another to be an African. To those in the Diaspora the story is a straight one – for neither the Arabs nor the Africans who enjoy citizenships in many European countries considers themselves as one people. So why should Arabs in Africa or Africans in the Arabia think otherwise? Go anywhere in the world and you will see how Arab cultural centres are mushrooming. Does this suggest in any way that these people are willing to integrate with their host communities? Obviously not, and the Arabs headed by none other than the Libyan Muamar al Ghadafi are out there to arabize others.
Gaddafi is no different from the rest of the so-called Arabs who continue to suffer from identity crisis. Even if they were to claim an Afro-Arab identity wherever they reside, it would still expose their nasty history in Africa. They remain accountable for all the evils committed by their wondering ancestors who are best remembered for their roles in the Slave Trade – the saddest part of the African history as told by Africans. The so-called apology over slavery by Ghadafi was in fact a cheap show, and a pretext at its best aimed at winning Black Africans’ sympathy – as if apologising for the role of his Arab ancestors in the inhuman slave trade can make the Arabs look any better than the rest of the folks who invaded and humiliated this black continent.
In southernmost Libya alone lives about 2,600 Tebu people, part of a larger grouping of around 215,000 Tebu in northern Chad, Niger, and Sudan. Their ethnic identity and cohesion are defined by language, not social organization or geography, although all Tebu share many cultural traits. Their language, Tebu, is a member of the Nilo-Saharan language family. Another distinct but numerically small group of blacks, the harathin (plowers, cultivators) have been in the Saharan oases for millennia. Their origins are obscure, but they appear to have been subservient to the Tuareg or other Libyan overlords for at least the last millennium. All these indigenous black African communities and their fellows the other blacks traditionally have been assigned to a very low status. In Libya as a whole, dark-skinned people are looked down upon, the degree of discrimination increasing with the darkness of the skin. Ghadafi should better sort out his backyard than showing off values that can’t even be found in Libya.
On the other hand referring to the possible emergence of a black African state in south Sudan, as ‘a contagious fever’, is completely outrageous. The first secession in post colonial Africa was when Eretria broke away from Ethiopian in 1993 after a civil war that took three decades. Ghadafi and the other Arab leaders cannot deny their roles in the Eritrean independence as it continues to enjoy a wider Arab support to date. And again not too long the Libyan superman was reported to have suggested the split of the Nigeria state into a northern Islamic state and a southern Christian state taking the example how Pakistan broke off from India following the sub-continent’s independence from the British. If there is a contagiousness of secession in Africa, then it was first promoted by the Arabs in Eretria, and suggested by Ghadafi for the Nigerians. Hopefully it wouldn’t escape the members of the black world league of nations to see Ghadafi and his other Arab fellows’ for what they represent.
After having understood the Arab mentality in and out, South Sudan will be very glad to have nothing in common with the Arab League. We look forward into the future for a generation of Africans that will establishment the much awaited Pan African Black League of Nations to replace the so called African union which is now being used by the few Arabs to subdue an entire continent.