Home | Comment & Analysis    Wednesday 12 November 2008

Sudan’s Al-Bashir goes insanely vulgar


By Abdullahi Osman El-Tom

November 11, 2008 — Al- Bashir, the President of Sudan is not known for diplomacy. In a recent speech given by Al-Bashir, he has pushed that dearth of diplomacy to its limit. Addressing a crowd of faithful supporters in Eastern Sudan, November 9th, 08, Al-Bashir roared in a frenzy that bordered on insanity:

“Do not be bothered by what Ocampo (ICC Chief Prosecutor) says. He is too weak for his decision is in the hands of his master: the USA, France and UK. We will never be subdued, we will never kneel and we will never be led. They are never able to extend or shorten human life. Sustenance and kingdom are never in the hands of the USA, France or America. They (USA, UK and France) are all under my shoes.” (Alnnur Ahmed Alnnur, Alhaiat Newspaper, November 9th, 2008).

If Al-Bashir wished to insult the USA, France and UK, he could not have done so in a more calculated manner. He may have been banking on the basic fact that English readers are unlikely to know the exact depth of the insult hailed at these countries. Not surprisingly, therefore, no western embassy in Khartoum demanded a retraction of Al-Bashir’s words. In Arabic language and within the culture in which the words are expressed, shoes are the extreme symbol of debasement. Their filth goes far beyond hygiene and physical dirt. Shoes are so abominably dirty that they defy both mundane and ritual cleansing. This is why they are left at the entrance of sitting rooms and are never brought inside a mosque. The sole of a shoe is never exposed towards a companion and certainly not in full view of a dignitary.

If that is the status of shoes in the Arab Islamic culture entertained by Al-Bashir, then it beggars belief that he would dare to describe international partners in Sudan’s current crisis in that manner. Al-Bashir may have intended to transmit a strong message that he does not need the USA, UK and France any more in the management of his country. The recent history of Sudan and its immediate future strongly contradict Al-Bashir in that assumption. The currently celebrated Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), one of few boastful achievements of Al-Bashir, which has put an end to one of the most brutal wars of the last decade, is a brain child of the USA, the UK, and to some extent France. The continuation of the CPA is inarguably dependent on the very partners whom Al-Bashir places under his shoes in his insane speech.

Despite his arrogant haughtiness, Al-Bashir is dependent on the USA, the UK and France for sustaining hundreds of thousands in the Sudan whose unfortunate history has destined them to remain under his rule. At the moment, these countries are feeding a substantial number of people in central southern Sudan. As for Darfur, the outright majority of its beleaguered inhabitants are surviving on food provided by international partners, mainly the USA, England and France. Much more than that, the USA, the UK and France will be central in any future peace talks in Darfur. Nor can the rehabilitation and development of war destructed Darfur succeed without generous involvement of the USA, the UK and France.

It is perhaps futile to remind Al-Bashir that we live in an era of global connectedness and that Sudan needs to remain positively engaged with all western countries, including the USA, the UK and France. This is a reality that necessitates acknowledgment by Sudan for its own sake, much more so than for the countries with whom it remains enmeshed. As far as regional stability is concerned, Sudan’s interests cannot be maintained without constructive engagement with these countries as well.

There can be no doubt that dictators need to carve some space for cheap political talk, produced for salacious media consumption. That is the work of clowns who are steeped in notoriety and demagoguery. Al-Bashir has cultivated these clowns for years and some of them rose to occupy positions at the highest echelon of his own cabinet. Al-Bashir’s predicament is that he has mistaken his role for that of his clowns.

The author is the Head of JEM Bureau for Training and Strategic Planning of Darfur. He lives in the Republic of Ireland and can be reached at Abdullahi.eltom@nuim.ie

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  • 13 November 2008 10:43, by The Wiseman

    However much you claim non senses there is nothing good in you for you have flown your country in fear of Omar Al-Bashir. Shout but you are non-patriotic.

    First reason!

    The Wiseman of Sudan.

    • 13 November 2008 22:02, by elbushra

      Mr. Wiseman, I am sorry to say you name is wiser than your words. If you consider yourself a patriot then you should be disgusted that your president and representative can humiliate us like this on the world stage. The author of this text is patriotic because, he is not like the others who leave Sudan and do not try to help his country. He is trying to inform the public the latest atrocities so please think before you speak.

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