Sudan Week in Bergen, Day 1: Sudan after the elections

Today’s event had a double significance:

Omar-al-Bashir

First of all, it offered a clear-cut insight into the political situation in Sudan after the elections of April this year, when the National Congress Party renewed its mandate for five years and gained further legitimacy, after the first electoral victory of 2010, and at a time when the international community has stopped bothering the Sudanese state for all problems that exist throughout the country.

The discussion between CMI Senior researcher Gunnar Sørbø and professor Abdel Ghaffar M. Ahmed concentrated on technical issues of the electoral procedure, the dynamics between the fragmented political powers, the interregional and international balance of interests, and the potential arising from the youth of the country who are organizing their resistence for a better future. This last point offered an aura of optimism to conlude the dialogue between the two hosts.

Then, the floor opened for questions and comments by the audience, mostly persons of deep knowledge on Sudan and therefore contributing to the panel with acute remarks. We’d like to commemorate two answers given by professor Abdel Ghaffar:

1. There are very few chances that any big “development” project will take place in the immediate future; the economic problems of Sudan, caused among other things by the loss of the income from oil, will probably not allow the construction of more dams, and the vain pursuit of easy money through gold “mining” will soon leave its place to some other idea arising from the headquarters of the government.

2. But there are good chances that a new unifying force will appear for the future of the Sudanese people: the history of Sudan that teaches lessons of how to advance in the years to come.

These words, coming from the person who was the first Sudanese to complete a PhD at the UiB, a degree taken in the field of social anthropology, the discipline that dominates the academic cooperation between Bergen and Khartoum, is a promising note also for us, who work in the service of history as researchers of the Nubian and Sudanese past.

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And second, today’s meeting had the purpose to honor precisely this very important Sudanese scholar who completed 70 years of a most active, productive and dynamic life! Mashallah professor!!

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