Monthly Archives: May 2012

A Jihad for Love

Islam, as one of the Abrahamic religions, along with Judaism and Christianity, has sometimes been perceived to reject homosexuality. According to mainstream Islamic beliefs, God sent the prophet Lot to the people of Sodom to preach against their wicked practices and urge them to worship God. Among these practices (as mentioned in the Quran) engaged in by the people of Sodom were sexual acts performed out in the open. Hence, the word sodomite. The exact meaning of this passage has been taken as reference to varying activities. The Quran (Surah Al-‘Ankabut> Verse 29) recounts what was preached to the Sodomites. “Do ye indeed approach men, and cut off the highway? And practise wickedness (even) in your councils?” and the Quran also states “If two among you (men) commit it (fornication) punish them both.If they repent and mend their ways leave them both”.(4:16)

 Diverse perspectives on homosexuality exist amongst new liberated Muslims, ranging from condemnation through to the Muslim Canadian Congress‘s welcome for legislation redefining marriage to include same-sex partners. In the documentary, a number of Islamic scholars assert that the Qur’anic verse, “we created you as partners”, need not be limited to male-female couples. The documentary shows Muslim gay marriages (nikah) in the United States, Canada and India. It states that this diversity may lie at the heart of traditional Islamic practice. In the formation of the different Islamic schools of thought, which have now become different denominations, such as Maliki and Shafi, scholars accepted there could be different interpretations of Qur’anic Arabic and people could align themselves to whichever they felt represented them most. The documentary asserts that the modern-day call of the politico-religious right for a homogeneous Islam is a new invention, and not at all fundamental.

 

A Jihad for Love

 

A Jihad for Love (2007) is the world’s first documentary film on the coexistence of Islam and homosexuality.[2] The film is directed by Parvez Sharma, and produced by Sharma and Trembling Before G-d director Sandi DuBowski.

in a time, when Islam is under tremendous attack-from within and without-‘A Jihadfor Love’ is a daring documentary-filmed in twelve countries and nine languages. Muslim gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma has gone where the silence is strongest, filming with great risk in nations where government permission to make this film was not an option. A Jihad for Love is the first-ever feature-length documentary to explore the complex global intersections of Islam and homosexuality. With unprecedented access and depth, Sharma brings to light the hidden lives of gay and lesbian Muslims from countries like Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, France, India, and South Africa. The majority of gay and lesbian Muslims must travel a lonely and often dangerous road. In many nations with a Muslim majority, laws based on Quranic interpretations are enforced by authorities to monitor, entrap, imprison, torture and even execute homosexuals. Even for those who migrate to Europe or North America and adopt Western personae of “gay,” the relative freedoms of new homelands are mitigated by persistent racial profiling and intensified state surveillance after the terrorist attacks in New York, London and Madrid. As a result, many gay and lesbian Muslims end up renouncing their religion. But the real-life characters of A Jihad for Love aren’t willing to abandon a faith they cherish despite its flaws. Instead, they struggle to reconcile their ardent belief with the innate reality of their being. The international chorus of gay and lesbian Muslims brought together by A Jihad for Love doesn’t seek to vilify or reject Islam, but rather negotiate a new relationship to it. In doing so, the film’s extraordinary characters point the way for all Muslims to move beyond the hostile, war-torn present, toward a more hopeful future. As one can imagine, it was a difficult decision for the subjects to participate in the film due to the violence they could face. However, those who have come forward to tell their stories feel this film is too important for 1.4 billion Muslims and non-Muslims around the world for them to say no. They are willing to take the risk in their quest to lay equal claim to their profoundly held faith. “A Jihad for Love’ is produced by Sandi DuBowski (Director of Trembling Before G-d) in association with ZZDF-Arte Channel 4, and LOGO. Written by

Production

A Jihad for Love is produced by Halal Films, in association with the Sundance Documentary Fund, Channel 4 Television (UK), ZDF (Germany), Arte (France-Germany), Logo (US) and SBS (Australia).

The documentary was filmed in 12 different countries and in nine languages.[1][3] Sharma conducted interviews throughout North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Countries included Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, Bangladesh, Turkey, France, India, South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom.[3] He found many of his interviewees online, and received thousands of emails.[4]

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2007, and has been screened to great acclaim at several film festivals around the world. It was the Opening film for the prestigious Panorama Dokumente section of the Berlin Film Festival in February, 2008. The U.S. theatrical release was May 21, 2008 at the IFC Center in New York City. The film screened at the Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco on June 28, 2008, and the Tokyo International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival on July 13, 2008.

Significance of the title

The title A Jihad for Love refers to the Islamic concept of jihad, as a religious struggle. The film seeks to reclaim this concept of personal struggle, as it is used in the media almost exclusively to mean “holy war” and to refer to violent acts perpetrated by extremist Muslims.

The film has gone by several titles, beginning with the official working title, In the Name of Allah.[5]

Among Muslims, the phrase (bismillah in Arabic) may be used before beginning actions, speech, or writing. Its most notable use in Al-Fatiha, the opening passage of the Qur’an, which begins Bismillahi r-Rahmāni r-Rahīm. All surahs of the Qur’an begin with “Bismillahi r-Rahmāni r-Rahīm,” with the exception of the ninth.

Producer DuBowski’s previous film, Trembling Before G-d, on Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, also included the name of God, written with a hyphen as in Jewish tradition. Allah is the name of God in Islam and Arabic, and it is often used among Muslims residing in Muslim countries and monotheists in Arabic speaking countries.

Controversy and problems

Sharma’s making of the film has not been without criticism.

bout every two weeks I get an e-mail that berates me, condemns me to hell and, if they are nice, asks me to still seek forgiveness while there is still time

Sharma refuses to associate homosexuality with shame, but recognizes the need to protect the safety and privacy of his sources, by filming them in silhouette or with their faces blurred. In one case, the family of an Afghan woman he interviewed “would undoubtedly kill her” if they found out she was lesbian. In another example, one of the associate producers, an Egyptian gay man, chose not to be listed in the credits for fear of possible consequences.

The film was banned from screening at the 2008 Singapore International Film Festival “in view of the sensitive nature of the subject that features Muslim homosexuals in various countries and their struggle to reconcile religion and their lifestyle,” Amy Chua, Singapore Board of Film Censors chairwoman was quoted as saying by The Straits Times.

Critical reception

As of May 25, 2008, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 90 percent of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 10 reviews. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 55 out of 100, based on six reviews — indicating mixed or average reviews.

In the end this to give you a good idea of how hard it was to make a movie like that If five percent of all Muslims are gay, that means there are 60 million around the world, and it’s chilling to think that many of them wake up each day either painfully closeted or wondering if their lives are in danger. Sharma shines a bright light on this tough topic. He was brave to undertake it, and his subjects were brave to cooperate with him.

East Sudan: The Untold Story By Salih Amaar

SudaneseOnline-Through this extensive article, I will highlight on key issues of importance related to the condition of East Sudan, which are considered to be essential knowledge to fully grasp and understand of what is happening in the region.

 

It must be noted that issues are not covered comprehensively in this article, a task that requires proper teamwork. Moreover, themes in this article require further detailed and thorough research.

 

Given that I am from this region, I frequently travel around most of its cities and villages, communicate with its people, and up to date on its current events, I have witnessed suffering and misery of indigenous people that is rarely seen around the world. The question that jumps to mind is: Why are other Sudanese and those in the international community unaware of such conditions?

 

It certainly is a puzzling question, particularly if proximity of East Sudan to the Center’s cities and main roads are taken into account, as opposed to other geographically marginal regions such as Darfur or the Nuba Mountains.

 

What can be speculated in an attempt to answer this question is that near-complete lack of media coverage and documentation, high illiteracy rates in rural areas, and lack of skills among newer generations due to low levels of education, are all factors contributing to this obscurity and lack of information.

 

Furthermore, the rapid expansion and development of the larger and central cities of the East reflect a false impression about the actual situation in the region. Port Sudan is an ideal example of the blatant contradiction between the city and the huge surrounding tin towns the margins, and the rural areas of the Red Sea in general.

 

Thus, the goal of this article is to draw attention to what many are oblivious to in East Sudan, and to provide a database that will serve to direct research efforts towards these issues, with the main target being civil society as well as media, both inside and outside Sudan.

 

The article is divided into a prelude followed by nine points which are as follows:

1.    Threats to stability in the East

2.    The implementation of the East Peace Agreement

3.    Human rights in the East

4.    The main active powers in the region and their influences

5.    The tribal system

6.    The Egyptian and Ethiopian invasion of Halaib and Al Fashqa

7.    The case of East Sudan in the context of Sudan’s other crises

8.    The relationship with neighboring Eritrea

9.    Recommendations for the national and international civil society, and  media in dealing with East Sudan’s Crisis.

 

Prelude:

 

East Sudan is comprised of three out of the 17 Sudanese states, The Red Sea, Kassala, and Gedaref states. The three states span across an area of about 326,703 square kilometers; that is equal to the area of Ireland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Qatar, Lebanon, Israel, Rwanda, Kuwait, Jamaica or Palestine. It makes up approximately 18 percent of the total area of Sudan, about 1,882,000 km square.With the most northern points being Halaib and Garora, all the way to alkhiari in Gedarif state.

The region borders three countries: Egypt, Eritrea, and Ethiopia. The Sudanese coast, with an estimated length of 820 kilometers, lies within the region’s borders.Therefore, all the Sudanese states’ sea ports are located within it. The coast is of great importance due to its proximity to the Strait of Bab el Mandeb, in addition to overlooking a number of Gulf oil ports.

The estimated population in the East is six million. The results are those of the last census in April 2008, which was widely disapproved and deemed inaccurate by many in the East and the rest of the country.

Historically, Beja tribes were the overwhelming majority of the population, with ownership of the land. Historians’ views on their origins vary, with the most accepted and probable view being a mixture of tribes, with origins from India and the Arabian Peninsula as they were in close contact with Nubian and Aksum people. The Beja group is subdivided into a number of tribes; best known tribes are Al Amrar, Al Bani Amer, Al Hadandawa, Al Basharien, Al Habab, and Al Halnaga. Languages spoken are Bedawit and Tagri.

With the rise of the modern state at the hands of the Turkish and English colonial rules, resistance movements by indigenous groups ensued, attracting many groups of other Sudanese provinces to head East.

Since the mid-sixties of the past century, there were huge migrations to the East, due to droughts,  and diminishing resources in other areas of Sudan in addition to the appeal of the East with its thriving agricultural and industrial projects. This migration movement towards the East shifted the composition of the population greatly, with now approximately half being non-Beja and with greater power over the economy. This shift has led to frustration amongst the Beja group, who lived at lower standards; this in turn led to the belief that the Central State systemically marginalized the Bejas, consequently resulting in their impoverishment, despite the region being one of the wealthiest and most generated wealth.

 

1. Threats to Stability in the East

 

For many decades, East Sudan was considered a model of stability, attracting people from within and outside Sudan. There were virtually no incidents or factors that threatened peace or social stability, with the exception of a few isolated incidents related to the Eritrean-Ethiopian conflict and Eritrean faction clashes.

 

Among the key peace and stability indicators that prevailed in the East was its development and expansion. Some studies suggest that the cities of Gedaref, Kassala and Port Sudan are the most developed in Sudan and the most appealing to people from different regions within and outside Sudan.

 

Despite development and expansion of the East’s cities and towns, there is a near complete absence of the state and its civil institutions; therefore, leading to further underdevelopment of rural areas, mostly inhabited by the Beja, and continuously declining population.

 

Although the East faced a number of post-independence challenges —  such as extensions of the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict as mentioned, and the drought and famine of 1984 —  the bloody conflict that took place between the National Rally Forces and the Salvation Regime in the mid-nineties is considered to be the major turning point of unrest. The war took place in an area of more than 500 kilometers along the Ethiopian and Eritrean borders. It led to the displacement of large numbers of residents, as well as economic and social destruction.

 

Following the Naivasha, Cairo, and Asmara Agreements (2005,2006), the war ceased in the region and calmness prevailed.  Though many consider ending the war in the region as the only tangible achievement by the East Peace Agreement, this achievement is  threatened failure to achieve its purpose.

The current main challenges to stability in the region are:
1- Rising rates of extreme poverty, with existing famine in some areas.
2- Political and cultural absence of the people of the East at decision-making levels nationally or regionally, creating great frustration and bitterness among intellectuals and leaders.

3- The rising unemployment rates among young people and graduates.
4- Lack of accountability  in dealing with human rights violations, borderline wars’ aftermath (1995, 2005), and the incidents of January 29th, 2005, in Port Sudan (which claimed the lives of 28 people).
5- Trading arms with Palestinians and other nationalities through the region. Subsequently, the region has been targeted by air attacks in the past three years, claiming the lives of many. This sort of activity renders the area as a hub of terrorism, with dire security consequences and negative international attention.
6- Escalation of human trafficking, organ trade, and kidnappings, with record high numbers were reported during the past few months. Initially, victims were mainly Eritreans living in Sudan; however, it is spreading to claim people of the East as well. The Sudanese government has recognized the trend, and Kassala State addressed it with legislation; however, human trafficking is on the rise. With rooted tribalism, especially in rural areas, war in the region is probable, particularly given that kidnappers are most likely to be of one tribe. This issue is directly linked to prevalence of the arms trade, as well as ease of mobility, specifically in Al Rashaida tribe’s region in West Kassala.
7- The presence of militias Al Fashga and the strategic region of Hamadaiet. This delta links borders of both Ethiopia and Eritrea, considered to be another crucial region in the Eritrean-Ethiopian conflict. This issue is associated with cows, belonging to Sudanese shepherds, being taken by Ethiopian armed thugs.
8- Anti-smuggling police violations in a number of areas, notably rural Kassala, that led to the deaths of many citizens. This has resulted in friction between the police and locals on several occasions.
9- The Egyptian occupation of Halaib in the north; the continued Ethiopian occupation and incursion of farmlands in the provinces of Gedaref and Sennar; and,  the expulsion of the indigenous population.
10- Expected displacement of Wad Al Helew inhabitants in the upcoming months due to the Setit Dam construction. Residents refuse to leave their region without proper compensation amidst agricultural land distributions to investors and foreighners.

2. Implementation of the East Peace Agreement

The East Peace Agreement was signed between the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), and the armed Eastern Front, with mediation from Eritrea in its capital Asmara on October 14, 2006. Its aim is to put an end to a decade of conflict in the region.

Following the course of the Naivasha Agreement, the East Peace Agreement consists of three protocols: power, wealth, and security arrangements.

Articles on allocating 60 positions in executive and legislative levels to the Eastern Front, the establishment of a fund for the development and reconstruction of the East, and the integration of a number of Eastern Front members in military and security institutions were all implemented; however, many other fundamental articles did not go through, and many terms were not executed.

Of the most essential unimplemented articles:

 

1- The Consultative Conference for East Sudan (Chapter 4), scheduled to take place 30 days following the signing of the agreement.

 

2- Council for Coordinating Eastern States (Article 5, Chapter 1), comprised of 15 members, three from the Eastern Front, governors from the three Eastern states, heads of the legislative councils, and representatives of political parties and civil society. The Council was meant to be an introductory platform of unity to the region; a purpose strongly opposed by NCP, as has been prior to 1989 as well.

 

3- National Conference for Evaluating the Administrative Structure of the State (Article 5, Chapter 1), with the purpose of evaluating and assessing the administrative structure of The State, this article had the rare potential of national benefit.

 

4- Representation in commissions and in civil service (Articles 10, 11, Chapter 1), in many details, to include people of the East and members of the Eastern Front to participate as deputy ministers, ambassadors, members and heads of councils, and in the Constitutional Court, the National Supreme Court, and other national courts, and membership of local councils. Additionally, an expert group was scheduled to present a report, no later than April 14, 2007, to address the disparity in  representation of people from the East in the national civil service.

5- Fund for Developing and Reconstructing the East, with the end of 2012 being the final deadline for completion of the 5-year fund period. As mentioned in the Agreement, $600 million were scheduled to be paid from the treasury of the Central Government; however, what was paid, with the acknowledgment of the government did not exceed $125 million, a number considered to be unrealistic. The Fund was criticized harshly for its project priorities, and the geographical distribution of resources.

6- Security Arrangements: The estimated number of armed members of the Eastern Front is about 3000, with only 500integrated into military and civilian institutions. The number of those laid off or not reintegrated is about 2000 fighters across the cities and villages of the East. Indicators point to violence or another potential war by those who were not reintegrated, as they are believed to be in a valid state of frustration. More than four months ago, when realizing possible threat, Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha announced a committee that is to deal with this particular issue and the laid-off fighters. However, no further decisions were made regarding the matter.

 

Aside from the controversial implementation, or rather non-implementation, of the East’s Agreement, observers believe that the main point both parties are trying to evade is the Agreement’s duration, which expired in April 2010, the date of the last elections, except for the Development Fund

 

The deadline of April 2010, coinciding with the national elections, is considered to be a clear term of the Agreement by observers. Evaluation on implementation of the Agreement was set to take place following the elections, to either draft another agreement or permanently terminate the current partnership. However, this assessment did not go through yet; therefore a number of negotiations took place, leading to shifting leaders of the Eastern Front to executive NCP positions. This puts Eastern leaders in vulnerable positions as they may now be dismissed by The President and governors, as they were not elected but merely appointed by the NCP.

 

This conniving approach avoids dealing with the process of assessment of the Agreement’s implementation, and to simply avoid what the evaluation reports might and will reveal. These reports not likely to be in favour of the NCP, exposing intentions of hindering the Agreement, shutting doors of possibilities to radical groups and voices of the East. Moreover, abovementioned reports are also not likely to favour the leadership of the Eastern Front, uncovering divisions within the Party, with the eventual removal of their positions.

 

3. Human Rights in the East

According to economic and social standards of the people of the East as defined by international covenants, it can be said that the region in general, and its rural areas in particular, are considered the worst of Sudan’s regions. Development reports, issued by international organizations, local communities, and even the government, document details of the situation.

As for civil and political rights, the region exhibits irregularities and flagrant violations, mostly caused by the state. While some of these violations have been exposed, the majority is unpublicized due to imposed blockade over large areas, and preventing media coverage, in addition to lack of awareness among people and their fear of authorities.  Despite lifting of the state of emergency following signing the East Peace Agreement in 2006, it still remains in effect on the borderlines of Eritrea and Ethiopia, in both urban and rural regions.

South Tokar, located in the south of Red Sea state, serves as a prime example of this situation where mobility of people is limited and constrained with security permits. Organizations and media are prevented from providing humanitarian aid, and covering what is happening in the area.

Moreover, and accompanied by deliberate media blackout, evidence suggests human rights violations continue in the region, after their start in the mid-nineties, in the form of detentions, mobility restriction, and blocking aid to the region (where famine conditions have been described).

From time to time, it is demonstrated that authorities deal with citizens in rural areas with a strict and violent security mentality. Over the past few months, for example in September 2011, police opened fire at shepherds in Gedaref City’s center for refusing to abide to a local deportation order. In this incident two men were killed, and others were wounded. In October 2011, another incident occurded in Gedaref State’s Abo Rakham, where six girls drowned to their death after being chased by the police for unlawfully cutting trees.

 

In the State of Kassala, shooting incidents are common, where authorities fire at those deemed and described as smugglers. As a result, victims fall, both needlessly and frequently; the last of whom was a three-years-old child. An official, who wishes not to disclose his name, testifies to having shot and killed 61 individuals over the past two years. Frustration amid the population is result of such incidents, who believe they are targeted economically through border trade closure, the major source of income for many years, and the main reason for price stability, and goods availability.

 

Additionally, peaceful gatherings and demonstrations are also banned by authorities. In recent months, a large number of activists have been arrested, and many demonstrations in Port Sudan and Kassala were dispersed.

Authorities arrested 15 activists (of both sexes) in Port Sudan, early February 2012. The activists were demanding announcing the investigation results of the massacre of January 29th, 2005. Charges were filed against the detained, with convictions punishable by execution. However, due to pressure from angry families of the convicted, charges were dropped.

 

In Kassala, the authorities used excessive violence on students who protested several times in October 2011 against poverty, high unemployment rates, and some calls to overthrow the regime. Many students were injured, and the university suspended lectures and closed down.

 

4. The Main Active Powers in the Region and Their Influences

Historically, the active and influential powers in the region were the tribes, and later the Khatmiyya Order when the Unionist Party took over. Lacking connection to the Eastern roots, the Unionist Party keeps losing supporters in the regions. The Party is strongly tied with the Khatmiyya Order, also losing support as more are getting educated and migrating to the cities.

In 1958, the Beja Conference was established as an anti-Khatmiyya power, but it did not last long, continuously asbent from the political scene. Since 2003, the organization gained more support, and the party reached the height of it power following the events of Port Sudan and the Eastern Front, which the party helped established, signing the peace agreement. The Party, however, suffered from the poor results of the Agreement, and the divisions that tore it. The weakened Party, mainly the branch led by The President’s Advisor Al-Bashir Musa Mohammed Ahmed, has no power or effect on the people of the East it once represented.

 

As for the National Congress Party,  like in other regions, it depends on the system of the State, without which it may not even exist. In the East, it is characterized by intense feuds and conflicts that often result in divisions.

 

The three parties and their affiliates, their branches or subsidiaries, suffer from weakness and paralysis, and all data indicates that they are not in touch with the daily lives of citizens of the region with no real popularity now.

 

In the past few years and recent months, groups and movements began to form in different parts of the East, where young graduates and students represent their main base. These groups are driven and motivated by shared beliefs and causes, the systemic marginalization and injustice of the East by the Central Government, and the high unemployment rates and low income among the East’s graduates and youth.

 

When coordination between these groups is strengthened, it becomes within reach for the East to establish a new body; one that rises against a regime pursuing violent tactics against the opposition parties, one that can set higher demands.

 

 

The future belongs to youth groups rejecting and rising against the existing conditions of the East and Sudan. It is believed that these youth groups need attention and support to help them to the right direction, so they are able to benefit from the experiences of other youth and revolutions in their region and in Sudan. Leaders of the Center and the margins should get involved with these groups and engage in discussions with them to develop their sense of democracy, and empower them to advocate for a new Sudan, where people of all races and ethnicities can come together.

 

5. The Tribal System

 

The tribal system and divisions in East Sudan has historical roots that deepened during the Turkish and British Colonial rule, when the system of tribal chiefs was used in administering the area.

Since the turn of the previous century, the civil administration system was formed to divide tribes and clans. Accordingly, the five major tribes, based on land ownership, are Bashreien, Amrar, Hadandwa, Beni-Amer, Halanja and later on, the Habab tribe. Moreover, there are a number of clans, including Artega, Al-Kemelab, Al-Ashraf and Al-Melhtknab.

The tribal system and its leadership had preserved peace in the region for centuries. It also set traditions and norms that have kept social peace before the government began pushing their agendas, which do not necessarily project the best interests of the groups.

Currently, the regime mainly depends on the support of chiefs and elders, providing them with many funds and bribes, directly interfering in their work, and even appointing and isolating them depending on their ‘loyalty’.

Despite their former influence and power, the rising levels of education along with growing migration to urban areas are deeming the chiefdom system invalid. Additionally, such leaders have become authority figures rejected by youth and declining in popularity.

The ruling regime of Sudan is using a dangerous tactic to cause a rift in the region, by using tribes against each other, a technique that was used and worked previously in Darfur.

Although there are differences between East Sudan and Darfur, and  relative harmony between Eastern tribes in comparison with Darfur’s tribes, however, the high levels of poverty and frustration prevailing in East Sudan can be supporting factors in any attempt to ignite tribal conflicts supported by the regime.

While it is not of the regime’s best interest to create tension among the tribes of the East, it supports policies of division. Certain tribes in a number of areas have been armed, as well as distinguishing them based on power and wealth, and creating new tribal entities to serve their agendas.

These factors constitute a real danger, impeding stability and success in the region’s future, and are an obstacle to groups calling for positive change. If the government loses control of power in the East, it is likely to be pulled into a state of chaos, and civil war might ensue.

 

6. Ethiopian and Egyptian Occupation of Fashga and Halayeb

 

The total area of Smaller Fashga is 1.5 million acres, considered to be one of the most fertile agricultural lands. Armed Ethiopian farmers have taken it over in mid-nineties, kicking out the Sudanese farmers. The total occupied area is 500,000 acres. Unlike the situation in Halayeb, the Ethiopian government does not claim that Fashga is part of Ethiopia, and acknowledges that it is Sudanese.

The Sudanese government officially acknowledges the problem; however, no significant measures have been taken to regain control of the land, and to terminate unlawful Ethiopian presence. Moreover, the Government announced that dialogue is the way to settle this matter.

The Halayeb delta, situated on the Egyptian-Sudanese border, has a total area of 20,580 kilometers stretched on the Red Sea coast; it is divided into Halayeb, Abo-Ramad and Shalateen. Shalteen, the largest area, has 100,000 residents, mostly from the Beja tribe.

During British colonization, Halayeb was defined within Sudanese borders. The dispute over it began on 18 February 1958, when the Egyptian President at the time, Gamal Abdel-Naser, sent forces to occupy it, retreated after Sudan’s furious reaction.

The conflict arose again in 1992, when Egypt rejected giving Sudan permission to drill for oil in the water opposite to the Halayeb delta to a Canadian company. Following this, the company pulled out until an agreement could be reached on the land’s ownership.

The two nations withdrew their troops from the area in the 1990s. Since 2000, Halayeb has been considered to be Egyptian soil, with Egyptian administration, governance and investments.

The silence and less-than-impressive policies in dealing with Halayeb’s profile by the Sudanese government are disgracefully noticeable. It is widely believed by observers that the Egyptian government pressures Sudanese officials, while Sudanese officials uses Halayeb’s profile, via the Beja Congress, to pressure Egypt’s government on other matters.

It has been noted by visitors to Halayeb in recent years the dramatic ‘Egyptianization’ that took place. Egyptian authorities have made significant identity and infrastructural changes to the region, carrying out services to residents, and offering them Egyptian citizenship. Such actions demonstrate that the Egyptian authorities deem Halayeb as their land, without indications of settling the matter.

A state of frustration overshadows Halayeb, Fashga, and the whole East, as its natives feel severely marginalized by the Central power. Coming off as passive and apathetic, it becomes obvious that the government lacks long-term perspective, and does not consider Sudan as a whole and united entity, willing to do whatever it takes to stay in power.

 

7. The Case of East Sudan in the Context of Sudan’s Other Crises

 

Although it is geographically and socially distinct, the issues of East Sudan are those of other marginalized Sudanese regions.

 

Such regional conflicts develop in the lack of local presentation at decision-making levels, nationally and regionally, unable to participate in governance, legislation or resource management. Hurdled by extreme poverty, illiteracy, and diseases, the unique culture of the East is fading away and replaced by the Arab-Islamic culture promoted by the government.

 

In order to settle problems of the East, the central government must first recognize and acknowledge the diversity within the nation. Partial and regional solutions, as evidenced by the experience of the East Front, are ineffective. Conflicts of the East, and efforts towards economic development, are not separate from those of Sudan, and failing to see the bigger picture further complicates the situation.

 

Despite recent calls for secession, unity remains the favorable and likely option among residents of the region. This is partly due to the diversity of residents, with many having non-East Sudanese origins. Such diversity, and historical linkage of the East’s natives with others, have created economic and social entwinement, rendering the East very much integrated within the Sudanese fabric.

Nonetheless, oppression and marginalization, worsening economy, and the recent example of South Sudan’s experience, are all alarming factors needing immediate attention and lasting solutions.

The regional isolation, in which the East of Sudan exists, renders the area vulnerable to ideologies of extremists and separatists. The responsibility of de-marginalizing and reintegrating the East falls on democratic organizations and activists; as without core changes in the government, it will continue to fail in its governance.

 

8. The Relationship with Neighboring Eritrea

Eritrea shares a 605 km-long border with Sudan that lacks natural barriers. The people and tribes of East Sudan are socially and culturally connected to their Eritrean counterparts.

During the 30 year Eritrean revolution (1961-1991), Sudan sheltered half a million Eritrean refugees. Many Sudanese nationals, directly and indirectly, became a part of the Eritrean resistance; the Eritrean revolution can therefore be considered a common history between the two people.

After Eritrea decalred independence, Sudan had a very strong role in its agenda, contributing and supporting it in the 1990s. Later on, East Sudan Peace Agreement was signed in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, on the 14th of October, 2006.

 

Due to its geographic location, Eritrea is an important security asset to Sudan, not only to its East, but also to its center and the capital, Khartoum. Khartoum, contrary to popular belief, is geographically situated in eastern Sudan, with the geographical center being 600 km west, around Al-Obeid; Khartoum lies 300 km away from the Eritrean border, easily reached within a few hours.

Eritrea is an influential player in the matter of the East. Having good relations with the Sudanese opposition, as well as decent ties with the Sudanese government, Eritrea is poised to play a role in attracting East Sudanese opposition activists and impact security of the region, as well as serve as a platform for both the government and opposition, depending on its relation with the government, as was done before during the East Sudan Peace Agreement.

 

9. Recommendations for National and International Civil Society, and the Media

 

1 – Organize a conference to tackle the humanitarian situation, and focus the media’s attention on the deteriorating conditions in the region, especially the rural areas. As well as invite local and international aid organizations to the region.

2 – Demand intervention from the United Nations and international organizations; security embargo must be lifted off South Toker and Kassala’s countryside, allowing aid to reach the people, as well as securing freedom of mobility.

3 – Evaluate the East Sudan Peace Agreement, and its effect five years on, through workshops, in which concerned individuals and institutions participate.

4 – Mainstream issues of the East with others of Sudan, through media, workshops, and training programs, to combat government-sponsored tribalism and separatism.

5 – Empower youth leaders, with ideologies of democracy and unity, to develop and better their societies, and to foster leadership.

6 – Empower East Sudanese women, and get them involved in all aspects of life.

7 – Support university students, unions, and associations in taking a leading role in the process of change; these groups should be empowered to realize and execute their roles.

* Journalist and activist in democracy and issues of East Sudan

Fudeili Gama’a says : Sudan is racial country due its tribal and ethnic structure

Fudeili Gama'a

 

SudaneseOnline-The writer and human rights activist Fudeili Gama’a said that Sudan is racial country due its tribal and ethnic structure, adding that the country didn’t  reach the nationalism stage.  In a radio interview will be broadcast today at Dabanga radio, Gama’a stated that the state-owned media  ignores the Sudanese different ethnic groups  and does not allow them to spread their cultures, languages and heritage, noting that the state-owned media is exploited to serve very small sector in the Sudanese society which called  Sudanese culture and Sudanese signing. He added that the center controls the media, and therefore imposes its culture and does not allow other regions to express their cultures, pointing out that the elite in the center has launched criticism against Ali Abdullatif in the past and one of them said that Sudan will get into trouble if it governed by person like Ali Abdullatif.

Gama’a said that the Sudanese army historically just fights its people as happened in South Sudan, Blue Nile, East Sudan, Nuba Mountains and Darfur, indicating that the central elite still controls the country and participation of the rest of the regions in the power is merely decoration. He said that Islamists were  divided on ethnic basis, explaining that the matter needs to establishing of new building based on the citizenship and respect of the Sudanese different cultures in order to create new culture and nationalism.

He indicated that despite he is against the war, but he wishes removing the current regime by any means and he excuses those who carried weapons after the failure of all solutions, noting that there is new

awareness move which represents in participation of the central people with Nuba Mountains and Darfur to fight the regime together.

He said to eradicate the culture of racism and its practice in Sudan ” the solution is establishing of civil democratic state and removing the current regime by any means”.

from this you now that the history of racial relations in Sudan is a fundamental aspect of modern Sudanese history, but it is a distressing, painful, and very political saga. It is very difficult for Northern Sudanese society to acknowledge that racial relations are a primary source of conflict, social suffering, and injustice. Yet to ignore them means not only to forget an important part of the past, to invalidate the experience of millions of Sudanese who have experienced and continue to experience forms of structural racism, but also to create all the conditions necessary for this saga to repeat itself constantly

Homosexuality in African history

The topic of homosexuality has often excited extreme reactions in many African countries. Homophobic rhetoric claims that same-sex relations are new to the continent, while homosexuals are being stigmatised as “un-African”. However, the history of colonialism in Africa reveals that it was anti-homosexual legislation, rather than homosexuality, which was introduced by external forces.

The “Africaness” of homosexuality is an increasingly engaged in and consistently controversial topic. While it is continually claimed that homosexuality is un-African, studies by historians and anthropologists have found same-sex relationships to have been in existence in pre-colonial Africa. What has also become apparent in research is that the social meaning of same-sex relationships has changed since the 1800s, with the onset of colonialism transforming it along rigid Western ideas of sexuality and gender, and formulating the idea of same-sex relationships as foreign to Africa.

“A threat to just anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

The wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King

Though often ignored or suppressed by European explorers and colonialists, homosexual expression in native Africa was also present and took a variety of forms. Anthropologists Stephen Murray and Will Roscoe reported that women in Lesotho engaged in socially sanctioned “long term, erotic relationships” called motsoalle.[48] E. E. Evans-Pritchard also recorded that male Azande warriors in the northern Congo routinely took on young male lovers between the ages of twelve and twenty, who helped with household tasks and participated in intercrural sex with their older husbands. The practice had died out by the early 20th century, after Europeans had gained control of African countries, but was recounted to Evans-Pritchard by the elders to whom he spoke.

The first record of possible homosexual couple in history is commonly regarded as Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum, an Egyptian male couple, who lived around the 2400 BCE. The pair are portrayed in a nose-kissing position, the most intimate pose in Egyptian art, surrounded by what appear to be their heirs.

Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum were ancient Egyptian royal servants and are believed by some to be the first recorded same-sex couple in history.

The proposed homosexual nature of Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum has been commented on the popular press, and the idea seems to (partially) stem from the depictions of the two men standing nose to nose and embracing. Niankhkhnum’s wife, depicted in a banquet scene, was almost completely erased in ancient times, and in other pictures Khnumhotep occupies the position usually designated for a wife. Their official titles were “Overseers of the Manicurists of the Palace of the King”.

Critics argue that both men appear with their respective wives and children, suggesting the men were brothers, rather than lovers.

Azande

The Azande (plural of “Zande” in the Zande language) are a ethnic group of north Central Africa. They live primarily in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in South Sudan, and in southeastern Central African Republic. The Congolese Azande live in Orientale Province, specifically along the Uele River; and the Central African Azande live in the districts of Rafaï, Zémio, and Obo.

Azande Boy-Wives and Princelings 

 A now defunct homosexual boy-wife system was practised by unmarried Azande, as described by the Seligmans (1932:p506-7):

 “Part of the male population between the ages of 20 and 35 was organized into vura, called aparanga for the unmarried and abakumba for the married. While the members of the vura were at court they lived in large houses outside the chief’s enclosures, and near them, in smaller isolated huts, lived the chiefs’ sons or near male relatives. The aparanga worked on the chiefs’ cultivation in time of peace, organized under leaders, in units ready for military service when required. Some of these young men brought with them boys. These boys were sometimes spoken of as women, and were even addressed as such: the seniors might in jest call a particular boy diare, “my wife”, and be addressed by him as “husband”. The young men paid spears for their boy “wives”, and the bond between the two was publicly acknowledged. The boys behaved as women in that they ate out of sight of their “husbands” and performed numerous minor duties for them, though they did not cook for them but fetched them cooked food. At night they slept beside them, and with these youths the elders satisfied their sexual desires. The custom was definitely recognized as a substitute for normal heterosexual union. Now that military service has been discontinued the practice is no longer necessary, nor does there exist any desire to continue it; it might be said that homosexuality is no longer fashionable, indeed homosexual practices between men seem non-existent at the present day, though when referring to the subject the Azande generally express no shame or disgust. It should, however, be noted that penetration was never practised”.

 The custom was also described by Evans-Pritchard (1957, 1970, 1971).Evans-Pritchard (1957:p379-80; 1971:p182, 183) also comments on Azande Princelings. “All Zande princes were (and still are) accompanied by a number of these small boys to attend them wherever they went. […] Azande do not regard it as at all improper, indeed as very sensible, for a man to sleep with boys when women are not available or are taboo, and, as we shall see later, in the past this was a regular practice at court. Some princes may even have preferred boys to women, when both were available. This is not a question I can enter into further here beyond saying I was told that some princes sleep with boys before consulting the poison oracle, women being then taboo, and also that they sometimes do so on other occasions, just because they like them”.

 Further, “Many of the young warriors married boys, and a commander might have more than one boy-wife. […] The two slept together at nights, the husband satisfying his desires between the boy’s thighs (p199-200). Evans-Pritchard (1970:p170 [1992:p170]), although too late to observe the practice himself, notes that the word “boy” (kumba gunde) “must, it would appear, be interpreted liberally, for as far as I could judge from what I was told the lads might have been anywhere between about twelve and twenty years of age”.

“that individuals should be allowed to make their own choices and that we should be careful not to draw conclusions, or adopt prejudicial attitudes, towards people for their choices and preferences”. However, the release said, “he recognizes that there is a wide range of opinion on the issue among Member States, with very strong feelings on both sides of the argument, and he does not believe this is something the United Nations should get involved in.”

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan

Lesbians and gay men of African descent, like myself, today struggle to affirm our identity because we have often been expected to deny our sexuality for the sake of surviving in our spiritual communities. Religious tradition has too often emphasised the holiness of heaven over the holiness of the earth.

this only Just some of what was written about homosexuality in Africa a lot of researchers and Gay Africans are entering a long battle to get our experiences and the reality of our lives recognised and accepted within our own cultures.

Powerful organisations like the mosque and church, Has the greatest influence which could make an enormous difference, add fuel to the stigma and undermine all efforts to change attitudes. African gays and lesbians therefore go underground; leading to a lack of self-esteem, increased insecurity, loneliness and sometimes suicide.

 “I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.”

Former President of South Africa Mr.Nelson Mandela

African Centre: Sudan to step back and step up the security apparatus of violations of freedom of expression

(Freedom)

Sudan step back: the national security intensify violations of freedom of expression in 2011

we go back to the  months that preceded and followed, the Southern Sudan referendum on independence, directly, the Sudanese authorities have launched a renewed campaign of systematic repression of freedom of expression, using new methods in the government’s efforts to intimidate and silence independent media in the country.

Historically, the principal approach to the Sudanese government to quell the voice of the media is the use of intelligence and national security to ensure the censorship on the articles that are sensitive. The movements carried out by agents of the government against the press recently to adopt a new strategy focused on the use of control track the role of copyright to prevent distribution of newspapers from the distribution of copies of newspapers printed or confiscation of copies of the presses. Have caused this new strategy in a huge financial outlay on the newspapers and media organizations. The aim of these acts is clearly to put pressure on editors and publishers of newspapers to remove any material that might upset the ruling National Congress Party in order to ensure the financial ability of the newspaper’s survival.

The second part of the new strategy for the government to intimidate and silence independent media in Sudan it is the continuing arrests and trials of journalists, columnists and editors. The exposure of most media professionals who were arrested by national security officials to torture and confiscation of equipment and even to prohibit the dissemination of writings in the future. Have increased the arrests and trials over the past months.

Presents the African Centre for the Study of the Justice and Peace below the relevant legal framework and documents relating to several issues concerning violations of freedom of expression in Sudan, which stands proof of the new strategy of the Government; and make the center the following recommendations:

• the African Centre calls on for a Study of justice and peace the Government of Sudan to end the war being waged on the freedom of expression and the media in Sudan that accommodation to journalists to do their job without fear of harassment, imprisonment, torture, and ending the practice of confiscation and / or closure of newspapers and compliance with all relevant international standards of freedom of expression .

• urges African Centre for the Study of the Justice and Peace of the Special Rapporteur for freedom of expression and the availability of information in Africa, UN special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, the use of delegated their offices to seek more information about the status of freedom of expression in Sudan; by sending fact-finding missions to the country and engage in the process of monitor and closely related to the situation.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
Voltaire (1694-1778) French writer and historian.

1) the legal framework

Article 39 of the Interim National Constitution provides that “every citizen has the right does not restrict freedom of expression and to receive and disseminate information, publications and access to the press without prejudice to order, safety and morals, in accordance with the law. The State shall guarantee freedom of the press and other media, as regulated by law in a democratic society. “

While identifies Press and Publications Law, which was adopted by the National Council in 2009 in a positive permissible restrictions on freedom of expression by stating in Article 5 (2) that “does not impose restrictions on the freedom of the press release except as prescribed by law on the protection of national security and order, public health and not under the press to confiscation or close their headquarters or face the press or publisher of imprisonment with respect to the exercise of his profession except in accordance with the law, “it retained the given two Trajaaan poorly used by security forces of the state.

First, keep wide powers of the National Council for Press and Publications, subject to the dominance of party government, which had the presidency for more than 40% of its members, to stop the press. This provision allows room for intelligence and national security and the National Council for Press and Publications, and other governmental bodies violating the freedom of expression under the pretext of protecting national security.

Second, keep the private law courts have the powers to the press a privilege and a broad financial sanctions on the fabulous figures of the newspapers. And know these kinds of sanctions as a “prison indirect” because the monetary penalty may be too high and lead to a prison in the case of failure to pay. The law also provides the powers of the courts banning of newspapers or prevent the imposition of orders on the role of print publishing, and stop the editors, or publisher, or the journalist who committed the alleged violation, for a period determined by the court. And it can also be canceled or suspended registration paper.

Law does not explicitly disclose the subject of censorship, but leaves room for the government to justify censorship and other forms of interference with the name of security, order and public health.

The enforcement of Press and Publications Law of 2009 in Sudan as a means to legitimize censorship violates Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights as interpreted by the African Union Commission in its decisions so special, as he also violates Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

2) arrests and trials of journalists and media professionals

A) Journalists arrested for rape of descriptive reports about Isaac

On February 13, officers in the national security in Khartoum to arrest and torture and rape of descriptive Isaac. Descriptive is an artist and member of the movement Girifna – a youth movement was founded shortly before the elections of April 2010 at the Sudan. And focus on the organization of movement Girifna community about the protest against the bad government policies. Safiya was arrested as part of the government policy designed to harass members of the movement Girifna, following protests carried out by the group in Khartoum in January 2011. Has offered a rare courage descriptive video on the sites of the Internet has recounted her testimony where the facts of what has happened in the rape and torture at the hands of the intelligence and national security, putting herself and her family to intimidation and harassment from the security apparatus.

On the eve of the emergence of a video Safia Taleb number of writers, journalists, the Sudanese authorities to investigate the allegations made by descriptive about being raped and tortured by three members of the intelligence and national security in a detention center and torture in Khartoum. The government raised the number of cases against journalists, writers sympathized with the issue of descriptive.

1 – Faisal Mohamed Saleh

March 12, 2011 in the face of intelligence and national security charges of defamation and publishing false against Faisal Mohamed Saleh, a journalist and professor of media at a university in Sudan, under the Sudanese Penal Code of 1991. He claimed intelligence and national security that the publication of his article, Faisal’s case has damaged the reputation of a descriptive device. He was Professor Faisal Mohamed Saleh has published an article calling for an investigation into the rape descriptive. Case has been the device against Mr. Faisal Mohamed Saleh crimes tribunal Posted in Khartoum North. The trial was postponed until October 25, 2011.

2 – Professor Omar Alaqraa

In March 2011 raising the intelligence and national security, a criminal case against Mr. Omar Alaqraa, civil society activist and columnist bells of freedom, and who also wrote an article in which he called for an investigation into what it claimed descriptive. He accused the National Security Service Professor Alaqraa defamation of the security apparatus. The first session of the trial of Mr. Alaqraa was held in September 29, 2011. The next session will be on November 14, 2011. Faces newspaper editor bells of freedom, Sheikh Abdullah, similar charges.

3 – Fatima Ghazali

Judge Mudesir good on behalf of the Court of publishing crimes Khartoum North to Miss Fatima Ghazali, a journalist newspaper Gazette, a fine of 2,000 Sudanese pounds (670 U.S. dollars) of what you wrote about the rape and torture narrative at the hands of the intelligence and national security and its call for further investigation in subject. The journalist Fatima Ghazali tried under Article 66 of the Criminal Code of 1991 “Publish bad” and under Articles 26 and 28 of the Press and Publications Law. And the failure to pay the fine leads to jail sentence of one month. Sentenced Saad Eddin Ibrahim, editor of the Gazette a fine of 5000 Sudanese pounds (1670 dollars) over the publication of an article journalist Fatima Ghazali.

Saad Eddin Ibrahim to pay the fine but refused to pay Fatima Ghazali; and thus she was detained and then sent to Omdurman women’s prison to begin serving his sentence. Fatima has spent two days in prison Ghazali, before you pay the fine.

4 – Amal  Habbani

Amal  Habbani, journalist, exposed to the criminal charges earlier filed by the public order police after publishing an article criticizing the behavior of police public order when made press the Sudanese Lubna Ahmed Hussein on trial for wearing pants and the violation of public decency in 2009, and also faced charges over an article published on the issue of descriptive inviting to further investigation.

On July 25, Judge Mudesir good judgment in the hope of a fine for $ 2000 Sudanese pounds (U.S. $ 670) for libel, and the failure to pay the fine leads to jail sentence for a month. Hope refused to pay the fine and was sent to Omdurman women’s prison to serve her sentence.

B) daily field

On February 2, 2011 surrounded by officials from the intelligence and national security newspaper field of six o’clock pm to half past ten pm, and arrested all the newspaper journalists and other staff and visitors and then left the building at the end of the day and took them to an unknown location. They were believed to have taken to the offices of political security in Khartoum North, where they were detained incommunicado for several days and subjected to torture and cruel inhuman and degrading treatment. May display the following persons were arrested:

Kamal Karrar – deputy editor of the newspaper – was released on February 12.

Ibrahim Mirghani – works in the political section – was released on February 12.

Khaled Tawfik – designer – was released, but the African Centre for the Study of justice and peace can not confirm the date of his release.

Fatima Bashir – working in the printing department – was released on February 3.

Fathia Ibrahim – working in the printing department – was released on February 3.

Solomon Wada’ah – Managing Director of Dar Al-paper is published by the Enlightenment – was released on February 3.

Samir Salah al-Din – trained journalist – was released in March.

• Muhammad Rahma – Responsible Archive – released in March.

• Abdul-Azeem Badawi – visitor to the newspaper – was released in March.

• Ahmed Ali – visitor to the newspaper – was released on February 11.

• Shadia Abdel Moneim – visiting the newspaper – was released on February 3.

• India Tijani – visiting the newspaper – was released on February 3.

• Najat Ahmad – visiting the newspaper – was released on February 3.

• Muawiya Abu Hashem – the paper’s staff – was released in March.

• Mohammed Dirdeiry – trained journalist – was released in March.

C) the center of arrests of journalists and other professionals to target the media

1 – in November 3, 2010, authorities arrested Subki Jaafar, a journalist working for the newspaper press, claiming that it works with Radio Dabanga Radio, a radio broadcast sent to Sudan from the Netherlands. Subki was first arrested for seven months without any charges to him. In January 2011 accused of undermining the constitutional order, a charge carrying a possible death penalty as a punishment. There was a session of his trial on July 12, 2011 in a court in Khartoum headed by Judge Abdel Moneim Mohammed Salim Ali. On August 27, 2011 granting amnesty to Sudanese President Spka. But 6 of his colleagues who work in the media 4 of them are still awaiting trial in the same case. The Tribunal continues to Subki notice to attend meetings of the pretext that they had not received any official notification to pardon him from the President.

2 – in May 2, 2011 stopped the Intelligence and National Security Zeinab Mohamed Saleh (journalist working with the Sudan site Fouts) in a polling station located in the southern Kordofan. The press took Zeinab Mohamed Saleh to the security office in the city where she was detained and questioned for hours about their relationship to the movement Sudan People’s Liberation and the party from whom you work with, and then released without charge to them.

3 – On May 14, stopped by security officials Mohammed the Conqueror, a journalist working with the newspaper field, and Rchan O’Shea, and works with the daily trend, at a checkpoint Mount parents south of Khartoum; has forced journalists to open devices Kmpiotrehma and their organs of personal and their luggage were confiscated Hoatfhma mobile . And subjected to interrogation on the following topics: –

• their relationship to the movement of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the Communist Party;

• any contacts for them with the International Criminal Court;

• motives for writing reports about the election of governors in the South Kordofan.

During questioning by the intelligence and national security has a intelligence officials photographed the piece of paper with a picture of President Bashir and the words “to the Hague”, claiming that he found the paper in the bags journalists; and after questioning a long and humiliating distinction degrading treatment in the offices of the intelligence and national security in Mount parents journalists were transferred to the security offices in Kalakla lap – south of Khartoum for further investigation. It has been two journalists detained for 13 hours; and finally released

4 – May 16, ordered the minister of finance Mr. Sudan | Ali Mahmoud – his bodyguards were arrested Ibrahim Abu al-Qasim, a journalist working in a Sudanese newspaper. Ibrahim was investigating corruption in the ministry and was present in the building of the ministry raises questions related to the subject matter hereof, when the minister ordered his arrest. He was detained Ibrahim Abu al-Qasim for two hours in the ministry.

5 – Isaac Hassan, a journalist with the newspaper columnist, he had been arrested and tortured by the security apparatus in the April 8, 2011 during his coverage of the effectiveness of public organized by the Congress Party of Sudan. The Intelligence and National Security, was arrested both attended the event, including journalists. Hassan was detained in one of Isaac security offices and exposure of the skin, abuse and other forms of cruel treatment at the hands of security officers. And later was converted Hassan Isaac to the police station in Khartoum, where he put in solitary confinement for a day without being allowed to notify his family or the dangers of the newspaper. And then sent him the charge before a criminal court in Khartoum North on June 1, 2011 and still awaiting trial.

6 – Fayez Silaik faces a number of cases filed against him in different arms of government for allegedly being accused of publishing malicious and defamatory. He has worked in the newspaper press Silaik bells of freedom and has written many articles on topics considered by the intelligence and national security sensitive. During the period of detention Silaik His family was frequently receive direct threats from security officials. On March 13, postponed the trial court for publishing offenses Silaik because of the absence of the complainant. He left Sudan Silaik now because of this harassment and trials.

7 – on December 12 issued a guilty verdict in a case brought by the intelligence and national security against the daily newspaper under Article 66 of the Sudanese Penal Code, and Articles 25, 26 and 35 of the Media Law and publications. The editor put Saad Eddin Ibrahim, the first defendant and the defendant Altalp journalist Maha Thani. In September 2011 accused the newspaper published false information in an article stating that the Sudanese army will not withdraw from Abyei. The newspaper was ordered to pay a fine of 500 Sudanese pounds also ordered the journalist Maha Altalp to pay a fine of 250 Sudanese pounds. At the same time announced the intelligence and national security that would allow the newspaper, which was his position on the publication since September, to resume publication.

8 – December 25, and while he was a journalist Khaled Ahmed covering the student protests at the University of Khartoum taken to the offices of the intelligence and national security where it was clear all the photos and the protests that had taken his camera. Khalid was released after several hours but was forced to submit his identity and his mobile phone number, address and map of the entire house.

D) the issue of Abu Dhar and the Secretary-Rai al-Shaab

On April 28, 2010 the government closed the newspaper opinion of the people that belong to the opposition Popular Congress Party, and journalists arrested following four:

1 – Abu Dharr, the Secretary

2 – Ashraf Abdul Aziz

3 – Abu Taher Jewel

4 – Ramadan restricted

Ramadan Mahjoub was released immediately. He accused the journalists of the other three crimes against the state and tried to prison. Sentenced to Abu Dhar secretary sentenced to five years, while other journalists sentenced to prison for two years. After Abu Dhar received the appeal to reduce his sentence to three years have also been reduced death other journalists to jail for one year. The three journalists spent hard time in detention before being released as finally subjected to torture and humiliation were not allowed to visit them their families and their lawyers.

On May 3, 2011 was released Abu Dhar secretary. But prison authorities handed him over to the Cooper Prosecutor General of the State Security in Khartoum because of national security may raise issues of a new criminal against him, accusing him of endangering the security of the country at risk in the article he wrote about the internal working methods of the National Congress Party during the 2010 elections. He was detained Abu Dhar Secretary based on these new charges and denied access to lawyers. Abu Dhar has written hundreds of articles about the Secretary-sensitive subjects; and if the government’s intention is to arrest him and try him for every article he wrote, he may remain in detention indefinitely.

Allowed the newspaper to resume publication opinion of the people in November 2011, during the period of the NCP to deal with flexibility in order to attract members of the opposition to join the government. But in January 2012 issued by officials of the intelligence and national security printed copies of the newspaper, and seized the offices of the organization and announced closure of the newspaper across the Sudanese television. Two weeks ago it had been questioned affection Hamad, a journalist working in the newspaper, over three hours because of an article published about the death of a local commander in West Darfur.

3) confiscation of newspapers printed

Recently began to intelligence and national security in the confiscation of copies of newspapers after printing to prevent the distribution was not given any reasons for these confiscations; is known to prevent newspapers from distribution of copies after printing is Taktica following the aim to inflict greater physical damage to the newspapers in order to lead to a weakening of those newspapers economically It can be driven into bankruptcy; a method designed to pay the owners of newspapers not to allow journalists to publish articles on the topics of security officials did not wish to publish

A) The Bells of Freedom Newspaper

Older members of the department of information security device on several occasions for the confiscation of copies of the bells of freedom after the newspaper printed in order to prevent distribution. I have written the editorial board of the newspaper several times to the National Council for Press and publications in the demand for the interpretation of these seizures to no avail. Since the beginning of 2011 to prevent the intelligence and national security, freedom ring from the distribution of the newspaper in nine times: January 20, 2011, 31 January 2011.8 March 2011, April 6, 2011, Apr 7 2011.10 June 2011, June 21, 2011, 26 June 2011.

B) other confiscations of newspapers

Below is a list Balmassadarat of newspapers that have occurred recently at the hands of security forces:

confiscation of daily events on 7 and August 8, 2011.

• the confiscation of the newspaper in the newspaper, August 10, 2011.

• authorities confiscated printed copies of the Gazette newspaper on 20 and 21 and 22 August and September 4, 2011 because the newspaper had allowed journalists from newspaper articles published liberty bells on their pages.

• confiscation of newspaper news today in the September 13, 2011.

• the confiscation of the field after a newspaper printed and without explanation in the days 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12 and September 14, 2011.

“It is not certain whether the effects of totalitarianism upon verse need be so deadly as its effects on prose. There is a whole series of converging reasons why it is somewhat easier for a poet than a prose writer to feel at home in an authoritarian society.[…]what the poet is saying- that is, what his poem “means” if translated into prose- is relatively unimportant, even to himself. The thought contained in a poem is always simple, and is no more the primary purpose of the poem than the anecdote is the primary purpose of the picture. A poem is an arrangement of sounds and associations, as a painting is an arrangement of brushmarks. For short snatches, indeed, as in the refrain of a song, poetry can even dispense with meaning altogether.”
George Orwell, 50 Essays

• confiscation of newspaper print, and after the press without explanation on 8 and September 11, 2011; and confiscated the newspaper again on Oct. 11 by the intelligence and national security in Khartoum without explanation. Observers of the African Centre for the Study of justice and peace that they suspect that the newspaper had been confiscated because of an article published critical of President al-Bashir because he was wearing a shoe from the skin of a lion is not considered a legitimate wear, so when he received President Kiir in Khartoum airport.

• the confiscation of the newspaper the day after the news print, and without explanation on September 13, 2011.

Journalists are also suffering from poor conditions of many professional institutions and the weakness of trade union role, putting many of them under the sword of displacement and arbitrary dismissal from work.

And we appreciate their struggles and their efforts to free press and for the search for truth and to do their responsibility towards the community in the transfer of facts and reversible, and we condemn all forms of infringement on freedom of expression, and call upon the government to fulfilling their constitutional obligations and international and regional press freedom of expression, and to lift all restrictions on newspapers and on the freedom of expression.

Desiring Arabs

 

According   to   historian   and   intellectual   Joseph   Massad,   Arab   cultural   traditions  have always included a measure of tolerance for same-gender sex practices, without  recognising   a   separate   socio-sexual   categorisation   for   those   who   engage   in   such  practices.   Recently,   however,   there   has   been   an   attempt   by   certain   Westerners  and   Westernised   Arabs   to   universalise   arbitrary   and   exclusivist   sexual   identities,  including      heterosexuality      and    (more     problematically)      homosexuality.       This  initiative   has   caused   a  backlash    in  Arab   countries    against   those   who   identify  themselves as homosexual – an identity associated by many Arabs with Western  cultural   imperialism   –   but   also   against   people   who   engage   in   same-gender   sex  without considering themselves homosexual.

Joseph Andoni Massad (Arabic: جوزيف مسعد‎) (born 1963) is Associate Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University, whose academic work has focused on Palestinian, Jordanian, and Israeli nationalism. He is also known for his book Desiring Arabs, about representations of sexual desire in the Arab world.

Joseph Massad teaches and writes about modern Arab politics and intellectual history. He has a particular interest in theories of identity and culture – including theories of nationalism, sexuality, race and religion. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1998. He is the author of Desiring Arabs (2007), which was awarded the Lionel Trilling Book Award; The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinian Question (2006); and Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan (2001).  His book Daymumat al-Mas’alah al-Filastiniyyah was published by Dar Al-Adab in 2009, and La persistence de la question palestinienne was published by La Fabrique in 2009His articles have appeared in Public Culture, Interventions, Middle East Journal, Psychoanalysis and History, Critique, and the Journal of Palestine Studies, and he writes frequently for Al-Ahram Weekly. He teaches courses on modern Arab culture, psychoanalysis in relation to civilization and identity, gender and sexuality in the Arab world, and Palestinian-Israeli politics and society, with seminars on Nationalism in the Middle East as Idea and Practice, and also on Orientalism and Islam.

Joseph Massad, associate professor of modern Arab politics at Columbia University, is a controversial figure. As a protégé of the late Edward Said who is also of Palestinian-Christian descent, his views on Zionism have made him a target of the Israel lobby, while others have defended him in the name of academic freedom.

In 2002 he plunged into a different controversy with a paper entitled “Re-Orienting Desire: The Gay International and the Arab World” which sought to marshal a case against gay rights from a nationalist and secular standpoint – one that was not based explicitly on a moral judgment of homosexuality itself.

The central thesis of his 25-page polemic was that promotion of gay rights in the Middle East is a conspiracy led by western orientalists and colonialists which “produces homosexuals, as well as gays and lesbians, where they do not exist”. After several years’ gestation he has now produced a book, Desiring Arabs, which elaborates on this.

 

How did this happen? In ‘showing the influence and impact that Orientalism has  had in shaping the Arabs’ own perceptions of themselves’ (p.48), Desiring Arabs  provides much historical background to the current debate. Massad demonstrates  how, since the mid-19th century, many Arab intellectuals have placed the Arabs’  cultural   trajectory   on   a   Darwinian   civilisational   scale   at   whose  teleological   end  lies ‘the West.’ Concurrently, the manipulation of history to make the Arab past  conform to Western morality became standard; history had come to be perceived  as a pedagogical tool to mould contemporary Arabs. When Victorian morality was  ascendant in the West (1837-1901), Arabic poetry’s historical tradition of ribaldry  and   same-gender   sexual   material   began   to   be   suppressed.   And   having   been   set  in motion, the trend continued; Massad shows how early Abbasid-era poet Abu  Nuwas (c.750-c.810) – renowned for his bawdiness and praise of pederasty – was  often explained away or even disowned by 20th century Arab intellectuals.

Yet   this   exercise   in   blind   emulation   of   Western   mores   remains   tricky,   because  the   lodestar   represented   by   ‘the   West’   keeps   changing   course.   Indeed,   ‘while   the  premodern West attacked medieval Islam’s alleged sexual licentiousness, the modern  West attacks its alleged repression of sexual freedoms in the present’ (p. 175). With  this in mind, Massad discusses representations of same-gender sex in modern Arabic  fiction, wherein homosexuality is rarely perceived as mere sexual orientation, but  endowed with moral significance. The author shows that Western influenced Arab.

Massad’s multi-pronged attack on ‘international gay brigades’ (p. 43) is fraught with  conceptual problems, even though the author rarely fails to register a valid criticism  of   Western   gay   rights   activists   before   launching   into   a   dogmatic   tirade   against  their   allegedly   imperialist   agenda.   Similarly,   when   taking   to   task   those   Arabs   –  whatever their ideological orientation – who fail to interrogate the ‘epistemological  underpinnings’   (p.   174)   of   modern   Western   conceptions   of   sexual  identity,   his  opening shot often proves effective even if the subsequent assault fizzles out.

The last decade has brought growing awareness of gay rights in many parts of the world, much of it involving local activists. According to Scott Long, of Human Rights Watch, gay activism is growing in both Latin America and Africa. “It’s still relative, but ten years ago, outside South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe, there were no groups anywhere in Africa,” he said. “Now, most anglophone countries and an increasing number of West African countries have at least small organisations that are trying to do something.

“In Latin America there’s a really vibrant movement that has connected with the left, and particularly in countries like Argentina and Chile there’s a completely different atmosphere now. These issues have become respectable in a lot of places.”

Among the more obvious factors is the growth of international communications – satellite television, foreign travel and the internet. (Massad does mention sex tourism, but only in the context of western men; it seems not to have occurred to him that Arab men might do the same in the opposite direction.) Arab exposure to western culture has increased enormously through satellite television, foreign travel and – more recently – the internet. Western sexual behaviour arouses much curiosity, both among those who see it as decadent and those who are simply intrigued. It is not unreasonable to suggest that widely-circulated stories about the sex lives of international celebrities (such as the arrest of the singer, George Michael), and western debate about gay marriages, have more influence on Arab ideas of sexuality than the supposed missionary efforts of the “Gay International”.

For   example,   Massad   laments   Arab   intellectuals’   adoption   of   a   modern   Western  taxonomy   responsible   for   ‘transforming   sexual   practices   into   identities’   (p.   195)  and considering all who engage in same-gender sex to be homosexual. He points  out   that,   ironically,   this   approach   has   been   especially   prevalent   among   Islamists.  Indeed, ‘Islamists adopted the very same vocabulary and classifications of the Gay  International to disqualify the very same gayness that the Gay International had  been trying to legitimize’ (p. 265).

When it comes to opposing gay rights, socially conservative Muslims and Christians seem happy to bury their theological differences. IslamOnline, one of the most popular Muslim websites, has a series of articles discussing homosexuality in “an Islamic and a scientific light”, but the articles rely, almost entirely, on material from the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, a religious-based fringe psychiatric organisation in the US which promotes “reparative therapy” for gay people.

In various international forums, western evangelicals, Catholics and Mormons have forged alliances with Muslims to defend “the family” (code for opposing abortion, contraception, homosexuality, etc). One such event was the conference held in Doha in 2004 under the auspices of the UN’s Year of the Family. Hosted by the Qatari government and organised by the Mormons, it brought together some of the world’s most reactionary forces, including Cardinal Alfonso Trujillo, who campaigns against condoms on behalf of the Catholic church, and Mahathir Mohamad, the dictatorial former prime minister of Malaysia who sacked and jailed his deputy for alleged homosexuality.

The internet, in particular, is making a huge impact in many parts of the world. In countries where public discussion of homosexuality is still taboo, it is often the most accessible source of information and provides comfort for many whose sexuality has made them feel lonely and isolated. “If it wasn’t for the internet I wouldn’t have come to accept my sexuality,” said one young Egyptian who is now a rights activist.

In places where no openly gay “community” exists, the internet also allows people to make social contacts that were unimaginable just a decade ago. “It has become a way for people to connect who would absolutely never have connected before,” according to Scott Long. “It has happened in the Middle East and the same thing has been happening in Africa.”

Again, these highly significant trends are simply waved aside by Massad in his preoccupation – or perhaps obsession – with the western origins of modern concepts of sexuality (concepts which were new in the west, too, not very long ago). In an age of global communications, exposure to foreign ideas and influences cannot be prevented, but nor should we assume that are Arabs incapable of making critical judgments about them. The real issue is not the source of such concepts as “gay” and “sexual orientation” but whether they serve a useful purpose. For a small but growing number of Arabs who seek to understand their sexual feelings the answer seems to be yes. And far from viewing from these concepts as an imposition they are eagerly grabbing at them.

For Massad, this is not a natural development but something that is being imposed on people – to their detriment. “By inciting discourse about homosexuals where none existed before,” he writes (p188), “the Gay International is in fact heterosexualising a world that is being forced to be fixed by a western binary [i.e. ‘gay’ or ‘straight’].”

However, it is disingenuous to claim that most Arabs who engage in same-sex relations do not express a need for gay politics. Given the local conditions, they could scarcely do otherwise. Gay rights groups cannot operate freely, as Massad ought to know: in most Arab countries non-governmental organisations require approval from the authorities and their activities are closely monitored. The only openly-functioning LGBT organisations in the Middle East are Helem in Beirut (the least restrictive of the Arab capitals) and Aswat, the Palestinian lesbian group which is based across the Green Line in Israel. The result is that much Arab activism (of all kinds) is organised from abroad. Inevitably, in Massad’s eyes, that turns the activists into “native informants”, aiding and abetting the western “missionaries”.

Massad’s   certainty   about   Arab   violence   makes   for   the   most   tragic   aspect   of   his argument   against   gay   rights   activism   in   the   Arab   world.   For   all   his   purported  defence of Arabs who engage in same-gender sex, Massad wants to force them to  choose the lesser of two evils: either accept the current shame-ridden and legally murky   situation,   or   openly   embrace   a   homosexual   identity   and   suffer   mindless  violence and explicit legal restrictions as a result. Compare this to the rotten political  choice presented to Arabs by those opposed to removing authoritarian regimes in  the region: for those of you complaining about iron-fisted and nominally secular  rule in Syria, Egypt and (formerly) Iraq, know that Islamic extremism is your only  alternative.   Apparently,   this   cruel   and   false   dichotomy,   a   variation   of   which   is  continually used to quash efforts at improving the lot of women as well as ethnic  and religious minorities in the Arab world, has now been extended into the realm  of sexual freedom, thereby completing the wilful suffocation of Arabs who look to  the West for help in achieving social and political reform.

 

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