More valuable by far than common customs, posts, and frontiers conforming to strategic ideas is the fact of sharing, in the past, a glorious heritage and regrets, and of having, in the future, a shared programme to put into effect, or the fact of having suffered, enjoyed, and hoped together. These are the kinds of things that can be understood in spite of differences of race and language. I spoke just now of ‘having suffered together’ and, indeed, suffering in common unifies more than joy does. Where national memories are concerned, griefs are of more value than triumphs, for they impose duties, and require a common effort.
-Ernest Renan, “What is a Nation,” 1882
The late Dr. John Garang, founder and former leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement describes his vision for the revolution and the future.
Elsewhere I have argued, following philosophers of history, that ‘telling a story’ is itself what might be called a theoretical construction. It imparts knowledge. Narrative ‘converts congeries of events into storied concatenations—-a task whose object is not so much to isolate social laws as to develop an understanding of contingent connections.’ But if this is so for analysts like anthropologists, it is also true, as Bakhtin argued, for others. The way ordinary people act in the world depends, in part, on their narrative constructions of the conditions around them. In other words, so-called objective reality rarely imposes itself upon human actors in a unilateral way. Therefore, analytic narratives are required to understand complex forms of collective human action. By offering stories of stories, such narratives take on depth, revealing unexpected insights.
-Donald Donham, Violence in a Time of Liberation, pg 194
“Since disarmament has failed, I suggest we try discattlement” as a solution for conflicts in South Sudan, suggests Maketh A’ajak-malmal, in a poem posted in the emminently informative blog, PaanLuel Wel: Sudanese Bloggers.
After extrapolating on the meaning of the scientific saving of the deteriorating Rameses II, which symbolizes a need to believe that power and accumulation can lead to permanence, Baudrillard makes a comparison to contact between Native Americans and Europeans:
We are fascinated by Rameses as Renaissance Christians were by the American Indians: those (human?) beings who had never known the word of Christ. Thus, at the beginning of colonisation, there was a moment of stupor and amazement before the very possibility of escaping the universal law of the Gospel. There were two possible responses: either to admit this law was not universal, or to exterminate the Indians so as to remove the evidence. In general, it was enough to convert them, or even simply to discover them, to ensure their slow extermination.
-Jean Baudrillard, The Precession of Simulacra
Reporting from Africa is a low-risk job: Not only are mistakes expected and tolerated, but often they are not even noticed. When it comes to mainstream media, there are no Africa specialists. As a rule African tragedies happen in isolation and silence, under the cover of night. This was true of the Angolan war, which ended in 2002, and it remains true of the continuing wars in eastern Congo. When corporate media does focus on Africa, it seeks the dramatic, which is why media silence on Africa is often punctuated by high drama and why the reportage on African wars is more superficial than in-depth. The same media that downplays the specificity of each African war is often interested in covering only war, thereby continually misrepresenting the African continent. Without regard to context, war is presented as the camera sees it, as a contest between brutes. No wonder those who rely on the media for their knowledge of Africa come to think of Africans as peculiarly given to fighting over no discernible issue and why the standard remedy for internal conflicts in Africa is not to focus on issues but to get adversaries to ‘reconcile,’ regardless of the issues involved.”
-Mahmood Mamdani, Saviors and Survivors, pg 19
I would add that while the media does not in fact have a liberal bias, reporting on Africa does have a neoliberal one.
One of my friends when I visited Ramciel told me what he expects the new capital will do for his country:
“Since we have achieved our independence, that was the only struggle—the struggle for the independence. So we have to come back; so we have to build the ground of the peace, then we continue. So peace will open us to the people of the world. We let people come and they help us because we are like the children who cannot do anything to ourselves. We have no technology, but if we have a peaceful—if we create this land to be peaceful land, people will come in. They will not be worried of their life. They will come, then they will stay in Ramciel as their home…then we will benefit.”