Every four years…

…various events are repeated, the most renown of which are the leap years. Every leap year is also marked since 1896 with the taking place of the (modern) Olympic Games. The last Olympic Games took place in London in 2012 and the next ones are taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016. But this year already Brazil is hosting another quadrennial sports’ venue, namely the football World Cup of nations.

A side-aspect of these modern traditions is the critic against the commercialization of the international sports’ events that is increasing with every upcoming venue. Perhaps never before have demonstrations against an athletic event been more acute than this year’s struggle of the Brazilian people to make their voice heard against the sirens announcing the fiesta of the most popular sport globally.

Interestingly, another quadrennial event takes place on the same fourth year as the football world cup, and that is no other than the International Conference of Nubian Studies. This blog is old enough to have reported from the previous conference in London in 2010, and in fact Henriette and Alexandros met for the first time at the Nubian conference of Warsaw in 2006. This year we will be traveling to Neuchâtel for the 13th International Conference for Nubian Studies and of course we will be reporting from there too.

But the main issue of today’s entry was not to simply announce the conference of Neuchâtel. What we wanted to underline are the following two things:

1. First, that also in the Nubian conferences there are some voices that are not heard – or are even silenced – and paradoxically (?) these come from the majority group of those interested in things Nubian, namely the Nubians themselves. Either it is the threat of the dams or the anxiety for the future under the shadows of the political agenda of the Khartoum government regarding minorities in Sudan, the problems of the Nubians cannot be ignored by those who claim interest in the past, present, and future of the land they study, work in, and build their careers from. Let’s see how much the International Society for Nubian Studies has matured after so many years of existence and so many challenges and changes in the last years. The program of the conference seems in any case promising!

2. Second, it is one of these changes, the major one for Sudan archaeology ever, we would like to comment upon at the end of this entry. And this is no other than the involvement of Qatar in Sudan archaeology through the renown and soon ubiquitous QSAP. The comment for today concerns the qualities of the investors themselves: A simple Internet search is revealing about the conditions of the workers and the legal problems relating to the organization of the football World Cup of 2022 in Qatar. For example, check out this article combining infos about controversies in both Brazil and Qatar, as the World Cup in the former was opening yesterday at Sao Paulo… Let us then close with a tricky rhetorical question: Will the Qataris also host in 2022 the 15th International Conference on Nubian Studies, by which time also the QSAP is expected to have been largely completed???

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