SUDAN WATCH: Jan Pronk Weblog: Is there a Plan B? Most victims are Africans, pursued and killed by Arab militia and Arab Janjaweed

Friday, August 04, 2006

Jan Pronk Weblog: Is there a Plan B? Most victims are Africans, pursued and killed by Arab militia and Arab Janjaweed

The last sentence of the following excerpt from Jan Pronk's must-read blog entry Aug 1, 2006 made me Google search the answer to a question I could not answer, namely: "What is an Arab?" Posted below are excerpts from Wikipedia. Not sure of the accuracy of such an outline but it gives an idea, at a glance, of the complexity of Sudan and difference between a Sudanese 'African' and a Sudanese 'Arab'.
The latest information about the talks in Asmara concerning a possible Eastern Peace Agreement is rather promising. Parties have agreed on a number of principles and have committed themselves to end hostilities and to exchange prisoners. So far the Eritrean mediation seems to have functioned rather evenly. [cut]

So, the UN should not promote itself as the only option, neither in peace keeping nor in peace mediation. [cut]

The fear of the Sudanese, often openly expressed, is that the UN has a second agenda. [cut] Many suspect that the objective of the West is to re-colonize Sudan. They simply cannot understand that the aim is to protect people against violence and that the Security Council is motivated by an international outrage about the massacre of tens of thousands of people. They disregard the fact that nearly all victims and all refugees and displaced persons, waiting protection, are Muslims. In their view Western countries use peace keeping as a pretext: their real objective is to wage a war against Islam. They close their eyes for the fact that most victims are Africans, pursued and killed by Arab militia and Arab Janjaweed and are enraged about what they perceive as a conspiracy against Arabs.
Also, note the last line of Mr Pronk's blog entry:
Soon the Security Council will have to take a decision about a UN peace keeping force in Darfur. Will the resolution containing that decision have a better fate than its resolutions concerning Lebanon and the Palestinians? Or is there a Plan B?
Note, in above blog entry Aug 1 2006 Jan Pronk said Sudan's response to UN takeover of AMIS could not be misunderstood: "We are against such a transition. This is our final answer"- Bashir

See Aug 3 2006 Sudan accepts AU troops not under UN umbrella - calls for UN sanctions on NRF terrorists - says UN undermines AU: Sudan said on Aug 3 that its plan to disarm the Janjaweed will not be made public, and allowing UN troops to take over from an AU monitoring mission in Darfur would be a violation of the Darfur Peace Agreement.

Aug 3 2006 Activists, pundits and mainstream media, not Khartoum, are sending mixed messages about UN troops in Darfur

Aug 1 2006 Jan Pronk Weblog: Is there a Plan B? Most victims are Africans, pursued and killed by Arab militia and Arab Janjaweed

Pyramids in the Sudan


The Arabs are an ethnic group mainly found throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Arab, Arabian (a member of a Semitic people originally from the Arabian peninsula and surrounding territories who speaks Arabic and who inhabits much of the Middle East and northern Africa)

On its formation in 1946, the Arab League defined an "Arab" as follows:
"An Arab is a person whose language is Arabic, who lives in an Arabic speaking country, who is in sympathy with the aspirations of the Arabic speaking peoples."
During the 8th and 9th centuries, the Arabs (specifically the Umayyads, and later Abbasids) forged an empire whose borders touched southern France in the west, China in the east, Asia Minor in the north, and the Sudan in the south. This was one of the largest land empires in history. Throughout much of this area, the Arabs spread the religion of Islam and the Arabic language (the language of the Qur'an) through conversion and assimilation. Many groups came to be known as "Arabs" not through descent but through this process of Arabization. Thus, over time, the term Arab came to carry a broader meaning than the original ethnic term: cultural Arab vs. ethnic Arab. People in Sudan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and elsewhere became Arab through Arabization.

Arab nationalism declares that Arabs are united in a shared history, culture and language. Arab nationalists believe that Arab identity encompasses more than outward physical characteristics, race or religion. A related ideology, Pan-Arabism, calls for all Arab lands to be united as one state. Arab nationalism has often competed for existence with regional and ethnic nationalisms in the Middle East, such as Lebanese and Egyptian.

Anti-Arabism is hate or prejudice against Arabs. It is usually also associated with anti-Muslim hatred.

2000 year old temple in N Sudan


Sudanese culture melds the behaviors, practices, and beliefs of about 600 tribes, communicating in 142 different languages, in a region microcosmic of Africa, with geographic extremes varying from sandy desert to tropical forest.

Pyramids in northern Sudan

In 1999, Sudan was one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse countries in the world. It had nearly 600 ethnic groups speaking over 400 languages and dialects.
During the 1980s and 1990s some of Sudan's smaller ethnic and linguistic groups disappeared. Migration played a part, as migrants often forget their native tongue when they move to an area dominated by another language. Some linguistic groups were absorbed by accommodation, others by conflict.
Arabic was the lingua franca despite the use of English by many of the elite. Many Sudanese are multilingual.


As of 1991, the primary religions of Sudan are Islam (approx. 75%), Christianity (between 4% to 10%) and traditional indigenous religions (approx. 33%). Sunni Muslims predominate in the north, while the south contains most of the followers of Christianity and traditional indigenous religions (animists).

Mosque of the two niles

In the early 1990s, the largest single category among the Muslim peoples of Sudan consisted of those speaking some form of Arabic. Excluded were a small number of Arabic speakers originating in Egypt and professing Coptic Christianity. In 1983 the people identified as Arabs constituted nearly 40 percent of the total Sudanese population and nearly 55 percent of the population of the northern provinces. In some of these provinces (Al Khartum, Ash Shamali, Al Awsat), they were overwhelmingly dominant. In others (Kurdufan, Darfur), they were less so but made up a majority. By 1990 Ash Sharqi State was probably largely Arab. It should be emphasized, however, that the acquisition of Arabic as a second language did not necessarily lead to the assumption of Arab identity.

Fisherman in the Sudan

In the early 1990s, the Nubians were the second most significant Muslim group in Sudan, their homeland being the Nile River valley in far northern Sudan and southern Egypt. Other, much smaller groups speaking a related language and claiming a link with the Nile Nubians have been given local names, such as the Birqid and the Meidab in Darfur State. Almost all Nile Nubians speak Arabic as a second language.
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More photos by Vit Hassan


The Rashaida crossed the Red sea from the Arabian Peninsula to the Sudan in the second half of the 19th century, and they still preserved much of the habits and of the material culture of their country of origin. (Caption and photo by Sudanese photographer Vit Hassan) See more of Vit's superb photos at Flickr.


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