The dawn of history of South Sudan and the need to write our history

Posted: January 15, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Books, History
Tags: , , , , ,

by Wani Keri ǀ 27.11.2011
Under the Arabs of Northern Sudan it was very difficult if not impossible for South Sudanese to write comprehensive accounts of South Sudan’s history without falling into trouble with the authorities in Khartoum. The book “The Problem of Southern Sudan” by Joseph Oduho and William Deng Nhial fell under the category of classified documents whose discovery in the hands of a southerner by the informers of the Arabs in the North or the South was likely to send someone to his grave. So were the books the “The Nile Turns Red” by Alexis Mbali Yangu, “The Sudan, A Southern Viewpoint” by Oliver Batali Albino.
Possession of all these and other related books could send a southerner to his death because the Arabs of north Sudan did not like any historical account of the slave trade, their political abuse of Southerners and their looting of Southern wealth to be put in black and white as a record for future references. Southern politicians who had witnessed all these upheavals in the hands of the Arabs of the Sudan had died without leaving behind in records any of these historical events as a deliberate Arab design so that the coming generations of the South could not get any history of their past for their knowledge. There was a book about Stanislaus a Paysama written by a southerner and it is titled ‘From Slave to Minister’ and the authorities in Khartoum for years had been looking for the Southern writer of this book to no avail because he had used a pen name.
There are several other books by Southerners which were in the category of those books not to be circulated although they have been published elsewhere other than in Sudan. Such books as “Southern Sudan, From Conflict to Peace” and “Southern Sudan Background to Conflict” written by Mohammed Omer Beshir, a northern academic were allowed in circulation in Sudan because there is much in defence of the northern action  in the government against the South. Otherwise they would not have been allowed to circulate also. The two books were also used by the northerners as propaganda chips to gain recognition as people who were fit as government authorities in the international circle.
At later stage of Sudan’s life as a country the Islamists allowed Southerners to write their autobiographies like Joseph Lagu’s and his “An odyssey of A State”, Abel Alier’s “Many Agreements Dishonoured” books which are more less their autobiographies in order to collect information and data for their own manipulation as without some southern views at a certain angle they found it hard to go forward in their planning and programming in dealing with Southerners. Even some of Bona Malwal’s books fall into that category.
Now that South Sudanese have freed themselves from bondage and chains of Sudan’s Arab slave traders and agents of fear Southern scholars who had been kept in academic desert and drought by not being given money for research and documentation should now try very hard to close the gap and embark on research on different aspects of our history and life and document their findings for our coming generations.
The academics especially the professors of southern universities who were in Khartoum can remember how they were not encouraged in researches and documentation because the Arabs had feared that they might break the taboo of keeping the research area of South Sudan history and other aspects of life outside any documentation for obvious reasons. The Islamic regime of Omer Al Bashir had been dishing oil money to northerners in huge sums for researchers some of whose topics were irrelevant even to themselves in the Zubeir Foundation for Research and Documentation under the cover of religious researches so that Southerners majority of whom were Christians could not benefit from such funds.
Our government should not wait now that South Sudan is independent but to make funds available in our public universities and encourage our scholars to conduct relevant researches and publish their findings as books to benefit our people. Our histories should be written by our scholars without any fear of the past because the Arabs are toothless and can longer stop us from writing our history for our own benefit.

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