Archive for March 17, 2018

Does the future of South Sudan lie with the Arabs and the Arab League?

Posted: March 17, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

The future of South Sudan lies with the Arabs 

By Abdellatif El-Menawy, Cairo, Egypt
Does the future of South Sudan lie with the Arabs and the Arab League

Does the future of South Sudan lie with the Arabs and the Arab League

When it emerged last week that the Arab League had refused a membership request by South Sudan — followed by a denial of such an application by a South Sudanese official, who said it had only asked to become an “observer” — I recalled an interview I carried out before secession with Salva Kiir Mayardit, who is now the country’s prime minister.
His mastery of Arabic was not any less than any other Sudanese person. It was a long interview, in which he said that he welcomed any Arab or Muslim in South Sudan, but he spoke as well about the sense of injustice and neglect felt among Southerners toward the people of the North. When I moved on to record a TV interview, Kiir asked to do it in English. I asked him to speak in Arabic, which he speaks fluently, because the interview would be broadcast on Egyptian TV to an Arabic-speaking audience, but he insisted on English.
It is another missed opportunity for the Arab League that the Arab foreign ministers did not give due diligence to the request of South Sudan to join. And it is really sad for some to consider the Arabic language as a mere element, rather than part of our culture and language. I remember that, in July 2016, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit announced from Khartoum that he would work hard to convince the Arab states to give South Sudan “special observer” status, to stop Israel’s infiltration of African countries. I considered Aboul-Gheit’s initiative an unconventional and courageous one. Had it succeeded, it would have been a huge breakthrough.

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