On the unity of African people.

Author:Bankie, B.F.

Cheikh Anta Diop the Pan-Africanist from West Africa, in his work entitled 'Black Africa' reminded us that Egypt was the cradle of civilization. In those days, Egypt was peopled by a African nation. It drew on the African hinterland of the Nile River. It was this catchment area that created the Nilotic civilization, the first civilization in the world with a high degree of culture manifested in its science, art and human attributes.

By the sixth century BC, with the eclipse of the Nile civilization, its people fanned southwards, and a few centuries later (around the first century), they founded the first civilization further south in the west part of Africa--in a place they called Ghana, and later civilizations such as Nok-Ife, Zimbabwe, and others came into being. From radio-carbon research methodology it is now known that the earliest sites in Zimbabwe date to the first century of the Christian era.

Exhumation and archeological research on African history from the period of antiquity to the present day has not been undertaken in a systematic way by African people. So you have a people without a detailed modern scientific history. Through traditional methods, such as oral history, one has an outline of what happened; however, what is missing is the detail, which has to come from African people themselves.

According to Diop, a consideration of the pre-colonial African family, state, and its accompanying philosophical and moral concepts and the like, reveals a cultural unity of African people, resulting from similar adaptations by various ethnic groups in the same material and physical conditions of life. However, the period of the European colonization in general has robbed African people of their interest in their own history, a situation aggravated further by the African bourgeoisie, their intellectuals and their wholesale adoption of Eurocentric modernization theory.

According to W.E.B. Dubois the objective of Pan-Africanism would be the uniting of the thought and ideals of all the native peoples of the continent, and the Diaspora in the western hemisphere and eastern hemisphere in north Africa, Arabia, India and elsewhere. Today the aspiration of African people in general is to be united with others of African descent, within an African nation, wherever they are found in Africa and in the global African Diaspora; hence, the overall conceptualization of the African nation.

The first systematic depopulation of Africa had taken place a millennium ago by the Arabs, who entered north east Africa through the Sinai in AD 639-640. These people were described as Indo-Europeans, who dislodged the African original occupants of north Africa. Having done so, they enslaved African people moving southwards, marching their captives, especially women and children, northwards and by sea into Arabia. Many, maybe most, lost their lives in this long trek. Arab expansion southwards continues today as a matter of policy, being led by Sudanese destabilizing militias in places such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR). There is good reason to believe that this drive southwards is aided and abetted by western special forces--a similar situation of a-mixing in the internal affairs of others, as found in Syria today.

Although this history seen from the perspective of the western hemisphere is widely known and understood, it was only in the current century that the experience of those living under Arab hegemony in Africa reached the attention of the African community south of the Sahara as a result of the exposure of the Sudan issues to the glare of public opinion and the increased attention given globally to the use of violence and terror as a means of domestication and colonization, be it in Europe or in Africa south of the Sahara.

It has become known that fighting went on in south Sudan starting in the current phase with the Torrit rebellion one year before Sudan's self-government in 1956, with the mutiny of soldiers from the south against their northern officers. This ignited a war which continued up to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, with a ten year interregnum following on the Addis Ababa Agreement of 27 March 1972. The question to be asked was why was the south prone to fighting? Were there lessons to be drawn for the Afro-Arab borderlands in general from the experience of south Sudan, Darfur and the Nuba Mountains, indeed from the marginalized long suffering people of Sudan? Linked to this is the question of what has been the African experience in Arabized north Africa and what are the aspirations of the marginalized Africans of north Africa, such as the Tawargha and Tebu in Libya?

It would be of interest to know how much Nkrumah's thinking on the Afro-Arab borderlands conformed to the views of his colleagues Sekou Toure of Guinea and Modibo Keita of Mali. Suffice it to conclude that Nkrumah passed on to future generations the ideological approach to African unity of continentalism, being the geographical unity of Africa as a continent, most probably based on principles of socialist solidarity.

Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba in his seminal paper on 'The Afro-Arab conflict in the 21st century' goes to the heart of the Sudan issues. Prior to the self-government of South Sudan on 9 July 2011 the issues of Sudan were not the subject of inquiry by African states. It is said that during the long years of war the south lost some 2.5 million people through war. Despite these casualties the situation in the south did not lead Africa to act. Sudan claimed, as a member of the Arab League, that the affairs of Sudan, such as the south, were a matter for the Arab League not the African Union (AU). However everybody knew of the Khartoum government's expansionist ambitions going south. Why has Africa south of the Sahara chosen to pretend that Sudan is a law abiding member of the international community? Is this a matter of cowardice or a fear of retaliation? Your writer recalls a military officer in Juba complaining bitterly around 2007 that the southerners had been 'sacrificial lambs' on the altar of peaceful coexistence in Africa. When did Africa reward the south for its sacrifice of its sons and daughters?

There are many variants of world religions. As regards Islam, in west Africa generally, it has been integrated into the lives of the peoples. Some of those were enslaved and taken to the Americas from Africa were Muslims. The holy shrines in places such as Timbouktou are a reflection of the harmonious practice of Islam in the African context, which evolved over a long period. Today the International Criminal Court (ICC) has investigated how those shrines were desecrated by the likes of Ahmed Al Mahdi. Islamic fanatics such as Al Mahdi have brought dissention, chaos and divisiveness to the Sahel, such that Mali today is in danger of splitting up into two parts, north and south. If this happens, who's best interest will that split serve? Which external agencies have been supporting elements such as Ahmed in Mali? At his trial before the ICC Al Mahdi promptly pleaded guilty and the world was denied the opportunity of understanding the mind of persons such as Ahmed, who are intent in changing the demography of the Sahel.

We shall see that the events in Mali are not an isolated circumstance. It will be recalled that early in 2016 when the waves of migrants were arriving at the borders of the eastern European Union in the Balkans many of the states in the area complained of Arabization and Islamization and that the Syrians and Iraqis transiting their borders were not innocent and only concerned about their safety. What became clear was the belief in the Balkans that they were the target for long term Arab colonialization by way of Arabization and the propagation of Arab culture.

This came as a latent echo of what southern Sudanese had complained about over many decades. It had resonance with the story of the Darfur genocide around 2002, when marauding bands of Janjaweed slaughtered Darfuri and burn their settlements and yet the Darfuri are Muslims, African Muslims, whose fault was, in the view of Khartoum, that the Darfuri were insufficiently Arabised and consequently were primitives, not worthy of living.

Dr. Nyaba starts his article by stating that 'Islam, as a religion as well as culture, is a major factor in the Sudanese conflict'. Religion has been used as a vehicle for the Arabization of African people in Sudan since the eleventh century. Adwok Nyaba sees the intent as being to re-conquer Africa. Southerners time and time again return to this conclusion, that there is a concerted effort to take control of Africa south of the Sahara. It may surprise many to know that numerous southerners believe that it is inevitable that Arabia will conquer Africa eventually. What is also shocking is that many African people plead ignorance of Arab intentions in Africa. Here too one is reminded that European top leaders seemed unaware of the implications as they welcomed thousands of immigrants from Arabia. It was only after a seizable number had entered the European Union and been connected with acts of terrorism that eyes were opened. Whereas southern Sudanese from the onset of the Arab migration into Europe were able to assess what was afoot.

In his analysis of the root cause of the Afro-Arab conflict in the Sudan going forward into the 21st century Dr. Nyaba, a former Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in South Sudan, goes to the core of the increasingly aggravated situation we find today in the Afro-Arab borderlands. It is therefore worth quoting two of his points:

The National Islamic Front (NIF), a radical wing of Pan-Arab ideology, has elevated itself to the fiduciary of realizing this Arab dream. First, as a minority political force in north Sudan, in order to save a weak Arab government, it had to usurp the state in a military coup on June 30th...

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