Monday, March 16, 2009

Sudan and the fallacy of nationhood - UChannel review

On UChannel Podcast at Princeton University spoke Jok Madut Jok,Associate Professor in the Department of History at Loyola Marymount University about Sudan. We have written before about failed states and the notion of a failed state and even with the very general and little knowledge we tend to have about Sudan, we can assume it is a failed state. Jok Madut Jok goes a step further however to speak about the fallacy of nationhood; the treatment of Sudan as a state, even a failed one at that, is wrong and has terrible consequences.

It needs to be repeated: we know so little about Sudan. Jok is kind enough to fill us in on many details and I advise everybody to listen at least for that: to become a little bit more informed about Sudan. To know of its enormous size, its being straddled on the transition between North Africa and subsaharan Africa, of its numerous ethnicities, languages and religious diversity. It is at this background Jok shows how political Islam has disrupted the country (that was hardly one country to begin with). He also shows that once there is this failed state, assuming nevertheless it is a state, allows for the government to use warlords and wage a brutal war by proxy.

The consequences as always are extremely dear on the ground. Not only is there anarchy, violence and starvation, there is also slavery, child soldiering and terrible cases of rape. The apparent intention is not only to show how the land is ravaged, but also how Sudan failed as a state (cannot be a one state?) and how the notion of nationhood actually works as a detriment rather than as a good ideal to salvage Sudan, if bit by bit.

More UChannel Podcast:
Against intervention,
Lakhdar Brahimi on Afghanistan and Iraq,
Europe versus Islam,
Power of Cities,
Gaza (Tony Blair).

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