Human Rights Action
United States
The Baltimore Sun
In Whose Interest?
Defending the Sudan Government


Pragmatists and Hardliners
Khartoum Investigates
Shifting the blame

"The Sudan government tried to distract the world's gaze in a clumsy attempt to shift the blame to America and Britain. In 1993, writing in the official Khartoum newspaper al-Sudan al-Hadith, a Nuba member of the assembly, Ali Cirfa, said he was going to demand recompense from these two countries for their historical maltreatment of the Nuba. He argued that Britain bore ultimate responsibility for the state of the Nuba, as it had treated the region as a "Closed District", thereby condemning it to under-develop- ment. As for the Americans, they were asked to pay $60bn since, according to Mr Girfa, the United States had shipped thousands of slaves across the Atlantic, and hence Nuba labour had helped build the USA.

Nobody doubts that historically many thousands of Nuba were enslaved. In the late 1830s, one observer estimated that 200,000 slaves had been taken from the mountains since the beginning of ']Purco- Egyptian rule in 1821, and that expert of slaves was continuing at over 10,000 a year. Later, the notorious slave trader Zubeir Pasha Rahma enslaved far greater numbers. Top

But why point the finger at Britain and the US? No Sudanese slaves crossed the Atlantic, and the Closed Districts Ordnance was decreed precisely to protect the Nuba from slavers. But in the Sudanese capital there is still a street that bears the name of Zubeir Pasha, as though he were still a national hero and not one of the world's greatest criminals." Nafi r Vo 1. 1 No. 3  Top