Sudan split was ‘over-simplified’ by media


Division of Africa’s largest country may be result of a ”Sudanese identity crisis” sparked by Khartoum-led power grab.

For many directly affected by the world’s longest-running civil war, the Sudanese conflict has been over-simplified in the Western press as inter-religious or inter-ethnic strife.

”The media tried to make us look like Jafar in Aladdin,” says Khalid Albaih, a Sudanese political cartoonist. ”Everyone looks alike [in Sudan], the Arabs and the Africans,” he adds.

John Prendergast, human rights activist and co-founder of the Enough project, told Al Jazeera: ”One should not overplay this idea of north versus south or Christian versus Muslim.” While Moez Ali, a Sudanese blogger and political commentator, said the conflict was an issue of disenfranchisement of a people ”who were never given an agenda in the government” throughout the nation’s 55-year history.

Since independence in 1956, ”a small group of people in power in Khartoum used race and religion to divide and conquer,” says Prendergast. This conflict was further exacerbated in 2004 when the Khartoum government, headed by Omar al-Bashir, made a bid to control the oil and water resources of the south, he adds.

These divisions created by leaders ”who have failed to understand the multi-ethnicity and multi-culturalism of the nation since independence,” resulted in the division of what was Africa’s largest country, says Khartoum-based web developer Usamah Ali.

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