Sheikh Anwar McKeen on the Struggle in Sudan
from the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade
In an historically prescient interview, Sudanese exile Sheikh Anwar McKeen, claimant to the throne of Nubia, and Dede Obombasa of the Coalition Against Slavery in Africa (CASIA), spoke over the airwaves of WBAI-New York on Jan. 9, 1996. Interviewed by Peter Lamborn Wilson and Bill Weinberg, co-hosts of the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade, the two discussed the survival of slavery in Sudan and the Sahel, and Black African struggles for liberation and local autonomy.
Since 1996, the situations they discussed have changed in significant ways. The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) laid down arms under a 2005 peace accord, and now has its own autonomous zone in the south of the country—hopefully putting an end to the slave trade there. However, nearly as a function of the peace accord in south, the west of country—Darfur—exploded. The Black African indigenous peoples there—the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa—perceived that there were no provisions in the accord for their autonomy, and took up arms. The government, through its proxies—the so-called Janjaweed militia—unleashed a campaign that many believe has constituted genocide, with perhaps two million displaced and 200,000 dead. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has now been officially charged with genocide by the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
In 1996, ten years before the world had heard of Darfur, Sheikh Anwar McKeen warned that the Fur—as well as his own people, the Nubians—were being deported as slaves, anticipating the current crisis. And slavery persists even now elsewhere in the Sahel, especially Mauritania.
The program opened with a musical selection brought by the Sheikh…
Bill Weinberg: We are in the studio tonight with Sheikh Anwar McKeen, king of Nubia, and an exiled activist from the land of Sudan; and Dede Obombasa of the Coalition Against Slavery in Africa (CASIA). They are here to speak about the terrifying re-emergence of the slave trade in this troubled part of the world. Sheikh McKeen, perhaps you can start by telling us something about the music we were just listening to.
Sheikh Anwar McKeen: Well, this is typical Sudanese music. Mohammed el Amin, who is singing, is one of what we call the Arabized Nubians…
Peter Lamborn Wilson: What does that mean, Arabic-speaking?
SAM: The Arabized people in Sudan are the indigenous people who have been indoctrinated for a very long time—since 1317 when the Arabs invaded the country. They began a process of Arabizing the indigenous people, they took their languages away from them, their culture. So now these Arabized peoples identify themselves with the Arabs.
BW: The civil war in Sudan appears to be along these very lines—between the Arabized peoples of the north and the more indigenous peoples of the south. So, you are of royal blood, you are a descendant of the kings of Nubia…
SAM: Yes, that’s right.
BW: And the last time Nubia was an independent kingdom was several centuries ago…
SAM: Yes, that was 1317, when the Arabs were expelled from Egypt under the Mamluk army, after it took over… So the Mamluks told the Arabs—who had been in Egypt about 700 years, since Amir ibn al-As opened Egypt in the early expansion of Islam—we don’t want you here. Because “Mamluk” means “slave soldiers”…
BW: Yes, they were the Turkish military slave caste that usurped power in Egypt.
SAM: Yes, the Arabs when they go to war, they recruit the war captives into the army to fight for them. That has been the mentality of the Arabs, to use their slaves to fight their wars.
So, when the Arabs tried to go back to the Arabian peninsula, they were told, You have spend 700 years integrating yourselves with the non-Arabs. So you don’t have the purity of Arab blood, so we don’t want you back. So find your way out. So they had no choice but to move southwards and invade Nubia. And they fought with our kings. They killed my forefather King Daoud.
So from that time, the royal line was kept secret. In fact, Daoud had four children, who escaped the land. One of the four children was Fazugli who went to the north and to Libya. The Fazani of Libya are the descendants of Fazugli. Another was Dulib, who went into the Sahara and found some mountains, and he went up there and hid himself. The elder brother was Kulib, and his sister Asah—they went to the west and followed the savanna until they reached Ghana.
Kulib left his sister there and went back to Sudan to see what happened to the Nubians. And he joined with the other Nubians who had fled the country and went to the west and hid themselves in the Nuba Mountains. So he stayed there with them. And he left his sister behind in Ghana, who founded the Ashante tribe of Ghana. They are the Ashante because they are the “people of Asah.” Even now in out language we say inte, which means “of.” So the Asah-nte means the people of Asah.
BW: So the Nubian nation was instrumental in the development of many subsequent empires in the African continent…
SAM: Yes, in fact the origins of all the Africans is from Nubia. In 8000 BC when the Nubian civilization spread all over the world, they also spread into the interior of Africa, establishing kingdoms and chieftains all over Africa until they covered the whole continent.
BW: But for the past several centuries before Sudanese independence, Nubia had been dominated by Egypt, which was in league with the Turks and then later with the British. And today it is ruled from Khartoum, Sudan’s capital…
PLW: What is the actual geographical relationship between Nubia and Sudan?
SAM: Well, it is one. You see, it used to be called the land of Kush.
PLW: From the Bible…
SAM: Yes. This was the land of Kush. Later it was known by other names. First it became Nubia, the land of gold. Nu means “gold.” It had that name for centuries until the Greeks came, and they called it Aithiopia, which means “black.” And then the Arabs when they came, they just translated the word aithiopia into Arabic, which is soudan. Sudan means “black.”
BW: And in fact Sudan was the first Black African country to achieve independence in the post-colonial era, in 1956. But today it is under the dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir, who came to power in a coup d’etat in 1989…
SAM: Yes, that’s right.
BW: Were you there at the time?
SAM: Yes, I was there.
BW: You were born and grew up in Sudan?
SAM: Yes, in Nubia. Then later, when the coup came, I was in Khartoum. I was the leader of a party, the Zinjarab National Cooperative Party.
BW: What does Zinjarab mean?
SAM: In our concept, we don’t identify all those who say that they are Arabs as Arabs. We say “Arabized.” The “Arab” exists only in their minds.
BW: Well, they are culturally Arabs, even if they are of African roots…
SAM: Well, partly. But the Sudanese folklore survives, and it has no relationship with the Arab folklore. Those who call themselves Arab—they cannot even get along with the Arabs when they go there [to Arabia]! They tell them they are not Arabs!
BW: So what does the Zinjarab National Cooperative Party stand for? What are its principles?
SAM: We believe people should co-exist peacefully and harmoniously. All the people who are in Sudan—it is their fate to live on that land. In our party we have Christians, we have Muslims, we have traditional believers. We believe that religion is a personal matter, it should not be involved in political life. Because every citizen in the country—being he or she a Muslim or a Christian or non-religious, or following the traditions of their ancestors—they all have the right to live!
BW: But the government of Omar Bashir reigns in the name of the National Salvation Revolutionary Council, which has resurrected Islamic law…
PLW: “Fundamentalism” is perhaps not an accurate word, but we can use it loosely to describe the regime, I think…
SAM: I don’t use the word fundamentalism. Because “fundamental” means going to the roots. If these people were fundamentalists, they would go to the roots of Islam. These are fanatic people, who are using religion to dominate and suppress other people. What they call the “jihad”—well, I am a scholar in Islam, and to me what this Omar Bashir and his Hazana tribe are doing in Sudan has nothing to do with Islam. It is not promoting Islam, but is destroying Islam. Because you can only declare jihad against somebody who fights you. If they agress on you, you declare jihad. And jihad can only be declared against a non-Muslim. But now, my people in the Nubia are Muslims. The Fur, in the far west, are Muslims. There is not even a single church in those regions—where they are declaring jihad on those people, on Muslims!
BW: So Sheikh McKeen, how did you come to leave your homeland?
SAM: Well in fact, I was not forced. It is just a providence of God. My people, we didn’t know what to do when Omar Bashir took over. They banned all the parties, so my people were thinking how to get me out of the country. None of the party leaders were allowed out. Those who were out, they couldn’t get back in; and those who were in couldn’t leave. But it happened that there was an invitation from New York to the Ministry of Religious Affairs to send Muslim scholars to come and attend a 40-day workshop on religious tolerance.
BW: This was when?
SAM: In 1992. They went around to all the Islamic groups, and they all said, we only have this Sheikh McKeen, who is well-versed in all the religions of the world, who can go and represent Sudan there. And then they came and looked for me, until they found me hiding myself somewhere! [Laughter]
And they got me out of there. I didn’t have a passport, but they arranged everything. So I came here with the minister of religious affairs. The government was concerned that I wouldn’t come back, so he was sent to bring me back with him. But before the conference finished, he was called back. So he said, Sheikh McKeen, what can I do now, I am called back. And I said, Brother, you go back to your government—you can lie to them or tell them the truth, or whatever. But me, I’m not going back.
PLW: Dede Obombasa, are you also from Nubia?
Dede Obombasa: I’m not from Nubia, I’m from the Lumbara people of central-east Africa. My people are scattered between three countries because of the partitioning of Africa. My village is in present-day Uganda, but the Lumbara people are also in Zaire and Sudan. I’ve spent some time in the Sudan.
PLW: Can you tell us a little about what brings you together with Sheikh McKeen…
BW: …and tell us a little about the work of the Coalition Against Slavery in Africa?
DO: Yes, of course, and I just want to tell you I’m very grateful to be here, because the main media have not taken interest in this issue. I was introduced to him, and on talking to him I just became instantly aware that I was speaking with a very unique African personality. Just his personality intrigued me and excited me. I am the president of CASIA.
PLW: This is a New York-based NGO?
DO: Yes absolutely, a New York-based nonprofit organization, a newly formed coalitional effort against slavery in Africa, and we are in support of the Sudanese and Mauritanian opposition movements.
PLW: I was just reading that slavery only disappeared from Mauritania in the 1960s, or… you would say it still hasn’t….
DO: Oh, it is very much there. You just speak to Mauritanians—now obviously, if you speak to the ones here in the embassy, they will say it does not exist. But if you speak to the African indigenous Mauritanians, slavery is very much a part of their daily lives. And Mauritanian slavery is actually a lot more sophisticated than the Sudanese one, which is actual chattel slavery, basically the abduction of women and children from African villages in Sudan…
PLW: …while Mauritania is more the traditional family retainer type of slavery.
DO: Yes, you have to go looking for certain characteristics—say, names. There are certain names that will clue you in that that person is either a current slave or is from a slave family. You look for occupations. African people in Mauritania are relegated to certain jobs. So you find these connections. And when you get to talk to these types of people and find out their personal history, you will find that they are in fact slaves. So this is what CASIA is trying to bring to the world’s attention.
PLW: Now do you get much response from the UN on this? Do you find that your message is heard? Do other NGOs take an interest, or are you crying in the wilderness?
DO: Well, as I was saying in the beginning, we feel like we are crying in the wilderness at this point. This is the second interview we have done on WBAI now, but as for the main media—they have not picked up this issue. As for the UN, you have the Sudanese representation that will meet us at the door. So we have not been able to get through our message. So we are crying in the wilderness, definitely.
PLW: I think the UN thinks it solved the problem 20 years ago. They said no slavery—so it’s no slavery…
DO: Yes, and on top of that, they say this is an in-country issue, and we’re not going to go and meddle in someone’s internal affairs. This is the argument that has been thrown at us.
BW: Who is profiting from slavery in Sudan and Mauritania? Slaves are being used in what industries, for what purposes?
DO: Slaves are being used for domestic labor. Slaves are used for agricultural labor. Slaves are used in both of these countries [in the agro-export sector]. African women are exchanged for such goods as camels, and given away as gifts. It is just the same situation that existed in the 16th, 17th century.
PLW: In Sudan these would be southern Sudanese who would fall into this situation…
SAM: Not necessarily southern Sudanese. Every indigenous person in Sudan is considered by the Arabs as a slave. In their culture, to own a slave is a kind of prestige.
PLW: Would they go so far as to enslave a Muslim?
DO and SAM: Yes!
SAM: Yes, of course they enslave Muslims. For example, we have two big religious houses in Sudan, the Mahadi house and the Margani house…
PLW: They are tarikas? Sufi orders?
SAM: Yes, they are kind of like sufis. The Margani [founder] came to Sudan as a major in the army under the Turks, and the Egyptians made him as a religious leader.
PLW: Well, you certainly couldn’t say that of the Mahdi…
SAM: No, he was made by the British!
PLW: Well, perhaps created, but then destroyed by the British! I mean, its a terrible story…
SAM: Yes, but Abdurahman Mahadi, the grandson, supported the English. Not the Mahdi. The first Mahdi fought the British, and he was killed.
PLW: …Along with 200,000 Sudanese.
SAM: Yes, in 1885.
BW: But he actually secured Sudanese independence from the Anglo-Egyptian empire for about ten years…
SAM: Well, we don’t consider that that was really independence. We have never felt any real independence so far.
PLW: Is there still a Mahadi organization? Does it have any power?
SAM: Yes, they are still there, and they are a powerful organization.
PLW: Well, surely they’re not “fundamentalist,” if I can use that word just for convenience. I mean, most sufis or sufi-influenced people would not be fundamentalist..
SAM: No, they are fundamentalist. And they own slaves. You go to the house of any of the children of Mahadi and you’ll find slaves. You go to the house of any children of Margani, you’ll find slaves.
PLW: Are they pure Arab, these families?
SAM: No, Margani is a Turk. The Mahdi was a Sudanese, a Nubian from the north. Of course, now they make claims. For instance, the last prime minister, Sadiq al-Mahdi, tried to trace himself to the Koreish [Bedouin tribe that controlled Mecca at the time of Mohammed]. Which is impossible. So they try to identify themselves as Arabs. But they never were.
BW: But still, the issue here is Arabized peoples of the north enslaving the more indigenous peoples of Sudan…
DO: Yes, they want to spread Islam to basically cover the whole of the African continent. They have a plan, I believe, to do this. One of the features of this slavery is that an African woman in the south, for example, whose village gets raided—she is abducted and raped, and if she gets pregnant, the child she produces from that rape is an Arab. And if that child grows up, becomes an adult, marries, the offspring of that child is an Arab.
BW: But would the child be born into slavery?
DO and SAM: Yes.
DO: But the child starts to trace his cultural identity now as an Arab. So that child might be used to go and fight the war, be drafted into the army, or that child might be used for menial labor.
BW: So it is continuing the tradition of slaves as a military caste…
DO: Yes! And it is to get rid of the African identity and African peoples in these ways.
SAM: You know, there is a hidden agenda. The Arabs dream of a worldwide empire. They have divided the lands into three [categories]. There is Dar al-Islam, which means where Islam prevails. And then Dar al-Harb, which means the abode of war. So they want to go to war anywhere there is no Islam, and justify their terrorism—although Islam is not a terrorist religion… And then there is Dar al-Aman, the abode of peace. The abode of peace is Africa. So according to their belief, in order to invade the rest of the world, they have to change all Africa…
PLW: Is anybody officially backing the Sudanese at this point?
SAM: Iran and Iraq.
PLW: Oh, both! [Laughter]
SAM: Yes, both of them. And this [Sudanese Islamist leader] Hassan al-Turabi, who claims himself to be the imam of the Muslims all over the world—he said just recently that Sudan has been chosen by God to save the world from atheism, and they will fight anywhere. They will first take Africa. He says Africa has no civilization, so we are going to introduce civilization to the Africans!
BW: Well Sheikh McKeen, let me ask you—what would be the place of Arabs in the multicultural Sudan that your Zinjarab National Cooperative Party would like to see.
SAM: Well, in fact there are no Arabs in Sudan. We have only a few Arabs in the east, who we call the Bediyya. We don’t have anything against them; they are not involved in politics. But these Arabized peoples who are backed by the Arabs in the Arab lands—they are the ones who enslaving us, and are Arabizing us. If you tell them you don’t want to become an Arab, they tell you you are against Islam!
PLW: So they’re doing all this in the name of sharia, in the name of pure or as you might say “fundamental” Islam… This is their ideology…
SAM: This is their ideology. They do it in the name of Islam, but it has nothing to do with Islam. This is politics.
BW: Cotton has been the big crop Sudan has been promoting in recent years as its lifeline into the world economy. Are there slaves working on the cotton plantations of Sudan?
SAM: Yes. You see, in the Gazeera bowl, where the greatest cotton plantation was, those who work on the land—all of them are slaves. Brought from the south, from the Nuba mountains, the Fur people from the far west… They are the ones working on the plantations.
PLW: Which people? The Fur…?
DO: Yes, the Fur. They are a Black African people. Most of the Black Africans are in the south, but there are big Black African populations in the Nuba Mountains in the north, and in the west. And they are the ones you will find working on this Gazeera scheme, which was a very ambitious cotton-growing scheme.
BW: Now this was one of those big state-sponsored development schemes…
DO: Yes, and it has not worked out the way it was supposed to. But the people you’ll find there have black skin like me. They will be women and children of African descent, picking cotton.
BW: And they’re being kept there against their will, and they’re not receiving any wage…
DO: They are slaves. They are owned by somebody, and they are there to work, and what the receive for their work are the meals they might manage to get in the evening.
BW: Who would they be owned by, if they’re working in this big, centralized state-supported plantation?
DO: They would be owned by the Arabized Sudanese who leased them out, in exchange for whatever the contract called for with the plantation owners.
One situation you’ll find frequently in the north is an Arabized person holding a couple of African people and then hoping to sell them back to their relatives who come looking for them, at a certain price. It is a big profit thing. It is commerce.
BW: And the plantations are owned by large land-owners who are favored by the state, and got the land under this development project?
DO: Yes, that kind of thing. As I said, the Gazeera scheme has not been functioning the way it was supposed to, and certain pieces of it have fallen apart, because of the civil war and so on. But that would be the type of arrangement.
BW: OK, how do either of you view the civil war? How do you view the SPLA, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, the guerilla group in the south which is fighting against the government?
DO: The thing that is missing from most of these interviews and arguments is the voice of women. And obviously I am not here to pose myself as their representative, but I am speaking as an African woman. The SPLA is obviously trying to fight for the independence of the south. They have come to believe that the marriage of the north and the south has not worked—that lumping together of totally different peoples. How the British thought that alliance would work is a mystery.
PLW: It’s the great African mystery in general…
DO: Absolutely. I’m not a politician, so Im not speaking as an expert on this. But the SPLA believes the best solution now would be to separate from the north, and they are trying to negotiate a political settlement for that, so that African people can have self-determination in the south and be in governance of their own affairs. That’s what they’re trying to do, and I’m definitely in support of that.
PLW: So you’ve given up on the idea of a united Sudan, in other words. Would you say the same thing, Sheikh McKeen?
SAM: No. No, I don’t buy that idea of dividing the Sudan. You see, I am against the separation because once we the Blacks in Sudan say that we want to have our own place, we have given a big part of Sudan to the Arabs.
PLW: To the Khartoum regime…
SAM: To the Khartoum regime. And this is what some in the regime want! Even this Turabi wanted to separate the country because he said they’re giving us headaches! Some think they can organize themselves better without the south to penetrate all over Africa.
BW: So how do you view the SPLA, Sheikh McKeen?
SAM: I say that if the SPLA really wants to free the Sudan, they should fight in Khartoum and in the north. Because the land that has been taken by the Arabs has to be claimed back. The south belongs to us. The Nuba Mountains belong to us. The far west belongs to us. But we have lost the land in the North. We have to fight there.
PLW: Do you think that in Africa in general, one should fight for boundaries that as you have said yourself were imposed by former colonial regimes? Or do you think there could be a more intelligent rearranging of borders? And would that be possible without going against the ideals that you’ve expressed for solidarity of peoples?
SAM: Yes, I believe that Africans are one people. And these political boundaries which were made somewhere in Berlin—just putting the map of Africa on a table like a cake and giving a piece to everyone who wants it—this has divided the African people. As Dede said, her Lugbara are divided into three countries—Zaire, Sudan and Uganda.
PLW: Or people who don’t like each other are squashed together…
SAM: So I think if the Africans unite, they should rearrange these borders.
PLW: On tribal grounds? On religious grounds? That opens another whole set of problems. I think a federation of small organic states is probably the way to go. At least, I’ll suggest this…
SAM: Yes—after the unity of Africa. But now we don’t want more major divisions in Africa. Because it would cause another generation of war.
PLW: So you would defend existing boundaries simply as a defense against chaos and war.
SAM: Yes, until we organize ourselves.
I want to elaborate a little on the relationship between the master and the slave. The two big houses, the Margani and Mahadi, they divided Sudan into two. The Mahadi claim the West and the Nuba Mountains and the South. The Margani claim to have the rest of the North, and the East. So, the people on their lands—they will work the whole year, and gather the crops. They will either take the whole crop to their masters, or sell it and take the money to their masters. So it has been practiced since a long time ago.
Once I want to the house of someone in the East, in a place called Gadara, and he called it “my master’s house.” I said, “This is your house.” He said, “No, if my master comes he can take it any time.”
The people in the West who are the followers of the Mahadi, we call them the Baggara—they will deny their children any kind of food, clothing, education, medication, and collect all the crop and sell it and take [the proceeds] to their master in Omdurman, in Khartoum. So these two big houses have become very rich.
PLW: Would you say they are the true rulers?
SAM: Sometimes one is in power, sometimes the other, and then there is a military coup d’etat.
PLW: And what is their relationship with the present regime? Do they support it?
SAM: No, they are in opposition. But they compromise to get along. For instance, this Sadiq al-Mahdi, who says he is against this government—Turabi is married to his sister! So you may find them fighting in front of us, but in the evening you’ll find them taking coffee together! [Laughter]
BW: Dede, I wonder if you could elaborate on the point you made earlier about how the voice of African women is left out of the debate. What perspectives are not getting across in terms of these questions of ethnic conflict and boundaries?
DO: There are very few African women who are in the political arena, in the place where decisions are made. This is going to effect people’s lives economically, socially and so on. African women are marginalized at best, or completely left out.
In regard to the particular issue we are discussing tonight—a lot of the men have now joined the liberation movements, including the SPLA. They’ve gone off to fight. So the villages are left with women, children and the elderly. So when these villages get bombarded, when the Arab soldiers come marauding and killing and pillaging and plundering, who do they find in these villages? They find these women. These women don’t have guns to shoot back. So they get abducted and shipped off to the North and sold as domestic servants and so on.
So my stance is that the political decisions that are made have got to start including women’s voices. Because women’s experiences of all these civil wars that are going on is very different. I’m not saying their pain is more intense. They just experience it differently.
You will find that the displacement camps in Sudan are full of women. Sometimes their children have been taken away. Sometimes they are pregnant from these rapes, and they are traumatized emotionally and wanting to kill themselves. Some of them have just gone ahead and committed suicide.
It is because of women’s general experience of being left out of the decision-making process that events are happening around them that are impacting their lives in very traumatic ways. And they are not in control of—How did this happen? Why am I at this point? Why is someone shooting at me and I’m unable to defend myself?
Sudanese women are coming to the US now as part of the resettlement, and I’m sure many of the will be speaking about their experience in Sudan—about being separated from their mother, or a mother talking about her two little girls having been taken and she’s never seen them again. I heard one story of a mother who went looking for her two little girls who had been abducted, and managed to find one, and managed to find some way of getting that child back. So it is that kind of experience that I was trying to touch on.
PLW: What is CASIA’s approach to bringing attention to these issues? Political organizing, cultural work, information pure and simple…?
DO: All of those things, because they all go together. Right now, CASIA is supporting the Sudanese and Mauritanian opposition movements, and helping to get the word out. Getting the word out is the most important thing right now, because like I said we are crying in the forest and nobody is listening to us.
PLW: Do you feel the UN is at all open? For example, at the recent women’s meeting in Beijing—do you feel anyone there was representing your voice?
DO: Unfortunately, not. I met a woman who actually was there in Beijing. And she ran into some Sudanese women who had been sent there by the government—southern Sudanese women!
BW: To sort of whitewash the situation…
DO: Absolutely! Of course they would do that! So there were no southern women there representing our view. And it is interesting that there was a similar situation happening with women from Tibet. The Chinese government allowed the Tibetans to put on this big, elaborate show—Tibetan culture, Tibetan art and so on.
BW: But only the Tibetan voices approved by the Chinese state…
DO: Exactly. So no, our voices were not represented in Beijing.
BW: Another issue you don’t hear much about which is extremely vital in this part of the world is that of control of water. Certainly, the Sahara is spreading, and the ecological decline is related to the war and indigenous peoples being pushed from their lands. And I understand that Egypt’s interest in controlling this region is related to securing access to the headwaters of the Nile.
SAM: Yes, the Egyptians control the Nile water. It is a very old agreement with the Sudan from the time of the British. And that agreement has not been changed until today. We have access to only 18% of the Nile’s water, and Egypt has the rest. And that is why the governments [of Sudan] have been unable to divert enough of the water for irrigation. Even now, if you live on the Nile and you want to put in a new pump to water your land, you have to get approval from the Egyptian government.
BW: What about the Aswan Dam? I understand that had a big effect on the Nubian people.
SAM: Yes, it did. It displaced many Nubians from the North. Several villages from the area around Aswan were deported and taken to the East. They were resettled there by force. They didn’t like the East, because they are not used to that climate and that environment.
DO: And the dam has also brought in diseases that weren’t there before. It has caused an ecological imbalance.
SAM: So even though this land is on the Egyptian side of the border, it flooded a lot of land in Sudan as well.
DO: Yes, and actually the politics of control of the Nile extends all the way to Uganda, because the Nile comes out of Uganda. The question of the Nile and who has money and power and technology to control it is a whole other subject! We could spend another hour on it!
PLW: And we only have thirty seconds left… But this has been so interesting, I really think we should have both of you back again.
SAM: Well we are here, available any time. And in fact, we have not said much!
PLW: Yes, an hour is hardly anything. There are so many more topics. I wanted to ask you how you got such a good Scottish name as McKeen! [Laughter]
SAM: Well, in fact I am asking, where did the Scots get this McKeen! [More laughter] Because the Nubians had this Mckeen a long time ago. Mac means “chief” in Nubian.
PLW: Ah, there must be a relation with the Celtic people! [More laughter]
BW: Well this has been really fascinating. Dede Obombasa of CASIA, and Sheikh Anwar McKeen, king of Nubia, thank you so much for joining us. And until next time—Salaam Aleikum!
DO and SAM: Aleikum Salaam!
African Liberation Forces of Mauritania (FLAM)
Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade
From our daily report:
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Reprinting permissible with attribution