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This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published
by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action
from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived
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Sudan: Resource Guide (part 1)
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Sudan: Resource Guide (part 1)
Date Distributed (ymd): 950926
Sudan, the largest country in Africa, has had only brief
intervals without war over the four decades since its
independence in 1956. Only sporadically in the international
spotlight, it has proved one of the continent's most
persistent humanitarian crises. Currently ruled by a military
regime which has suppressed opposition in the north as well as
carried on a brutal counterinsurgency campaign in the south,
the country is still engaged in what one of its most
distinguished exiles, Francis Deng, has termed a "war of
A wide range of critics have documented systematic human
rights abuses in both north and south by the current regime,
which is inspired and directed by the hard-line National
Islamic Front. Human rights reports have also documented
systematic abuses against civilians by all parties in the war
in the south.
While the future of Sudan will and should be determined
primarily by Sudanese, the international community, including
Sudan's neighbors, the United Nations and other governmental
and non-governmental organizations, are involved not only in
relief work but also in attention to the issues of human
rights and conflict resolution. The level and the quality of
that involvement will depend, in large part, on the extent to
which there is informed public opinion about the issues.
Opposition inside the country currently has almost totally
suppressed, despite a history of previous popular revolts
which have overturned authoritarian regimes and led to
election of new governments. Even in exile, Sudanese
opponents of the regime must be cautious, and are divided.
Many keep a low profile, and few of the organizations maintain
public offices. Nevertheless, there are many sources of good
information available, from Sudanese and non-Sudanese human
rights, religious and relief groups, as well as from
knowledgeable academics. For the non-specialist, the question
is where to start.
The purpose of this resource guide is to help answer that
question. It is intended to be selective rather than
comprehensive. The highest priority is given to material that
is at the same time recent, policy-relevant, concise and
accessible to non-specialists. But it also includes a number
of other items that are particularly useful, despite being
older, longer or difficult to understand without previous
background. The reader wishing to dig more deeply should find
many leads to follow in the sources cited, or by contacting
the organizations listed. The beginner might want to
concentrate on the items marked with + to indicate that they
are quickly read and/or particularly accessible to the non-
BOOKS, REPORTS AND ARTICLES
Daly, M.W. and Ahmad Alawad Sikainga, eds. Civil War in the
Sudan. London: British Academic Press, 1993. 220pp. ISBN 1-
85043-515-4 (cloth). $69.50.
A collection of nine background essays of consistently
high quality, highlighted by editor Daly's introductory
overview on "the political and economic background of the
Sudanese civil war." Has little, however, on period
after the coup of 1989. Authors include the editors, as
well as E. N. Wakoson, A. A. An-Na'im, Doug Johnson,
Gerard Prunier, Alex de Waal and F. M. Deng.
de Waal, Alex. "Sudan: Searching for the Origins of
Absolutism and Decay," pp. 177-202 in Development and Change
(Sage Publications), v. 24 (1993).
This review essay covering nine recent books is a
challenging overview of the issues facing anyone trying
to understand the Sudanese crisis in the 1980s and 1990s.
Although de Waal, a Sudan scholar now with African Rights
in London, does not answer his own summary question ("why
things went so disastrously wrong"), he points to
numerous new factors needing to be considered, such as
the political economy of emigrant remittances and of the
+Deng, Francis M. War of Visions: Conflict of Identities in
the Sudan. Washington: The Brookings Institution, 1995.
577pp. ISBN 0-8157-1793-8 (paper). $24.95.
A sustained reflection on the roots of the crisis and
options for solutions, and a fundamental source for
anyone concerned about the Sudan. "The starting point to
any promising initiative for peace," Deng concludes, "is
to recognize that two parallel visions have emerged in
the North and the South as a result of historical
evolution." "After decades of a debilitating civil war,
the Sudanese are ready and eager for a solution." The
author calls for immediate interim measures to address
the humanitarian needs of the people. A long-term
solution, he says, would require either "redefining the
national identity so as to be genuinely uniting" or,
reluctantly, recognizing that "obstacles to national
unity are perhaps insurmountable" and accepting the taboo
option of partition.
Fluehr-Lobban, Carolyn, Richard A. Lobban, and John O. Voll.
Historical Dictionary of the Sudan (2nd ed.). Metuchen, NJ:
Scarecrow Press, 1992. cvii+409pp. ISBN 0-8108-2547-3.
A basic reference source including a chronology (from
prehistoric times through 1991), a 37-page
introduction(+), dictionary entries on a wide range of
topics and individuals, and an 150-page bibliography.
+Medani, Khalid, "Sudan's Human and Political Crisis," pp.
203-207 in Current History (May 1993).
A good summary article highlighting northern as well as
southern opposition to the current military regime.
+Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP),
"Sudan: Finding Common Ground," special issue (No. 172,
Sept./Oct. 1991) of Middle East Report. Washington: MERIP,
1500 Massachusetts Ave. NW, 20005; tel: (202) 223-3677. $4.50
for individuals, $6 for libraries plus postage.
Includes a well-done 5-page primer on +"Sudan: Politics
and Society," as well as critical essays and interviews
on the war, famine and the fundamentalist regime,
featuring B. Yongo-Bure, A. Jamal, A. A. Abbas, M.
Duffield, B. Malwal and F. Deng.
"Nubia: An Ancient African Civilization." Special issue of
Expedition: The University Museum Magazine of Archaeology and
Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania (35:2, 1993).
64pp., illustrated. $8. Philadelphia: University of
Pennsylvania University Museum, 33rd and Spruce Sts.,
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6324. Phone: (215) 898-4124.
Collection of articles covering three millennia of the
ancient and medieval history of Nubia, the southern
contemporary and rival of ancient Egyptian civilization.
Historically, Nubian territory extended north of the
current Egypt-Sudan border, but was mainly located in
present-day Sudan. Among several publications related to
the Museum's travelling exhibit, beginning its current
tour with summer 1995 at the Smithsonian's National
Museum of African Art in Washington. A fuller treatment
is available in David O'Connor's Ancient Nubia: Egypt's
Rival in Africa, from the same publisher.
+Salih, Tayeb. Season of Migration to the North. Portsmouth,
NH: Heinemann African Writers Series, 1969 (1976). 169pp.
ISBN 0-435-90066-8. $9.95.
Powerful novel exploring relationship between Sudan and
Western culture by leading Sudanese writer, in an
accessible translation. Literary critic Edward Said says
it is "among the six finest novels in modern Arabic
+Voll, John O., ed. Sudan: State and Society in Crisis.
Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, in association with
the Middle East Institute, 1991. 170pp. ISBN 0-253-20683-9
Short essays on a range of issues, mostly taken from The
Middle East Journal (Autumn 1990), by well-informed
specialists (P. K. Bechtold, F. M. Deng, A.M. Lesch, C.
Fluehr-Lobban, G.R. Warburg, B.A. Affan, M.C. Kilgour, S.
Kontos). Human rights advocates may find most of the
essays bland, and the range of viewpoints relatively
limited. A basic source, but should be read in
conjunction with more critical perspectives such as MERIP
(1991), Amnesty (1995) and others cited below.
Human Rights and Conflict
African Rights. Sudan's Invisible Crimes: The Policy of Abuse
against Displaced People in the North. London: African
Rights, February 1995. 60pp. ISBN 1-899477-01-2. BP5.95 or
Well-documented study of forced removals and other abuses
against the three to four million displaced people
resident in northern Sudan, from both the south and the
west. Argues that their fate at the hands of the
Sudanese government has been neglected both by Southern
politicians and by international organizations.
+Amnesty International. Sudan: 'The Tears of Orphans'-No
Future Without Human Rights. (AI Index: AFR 54/02/95) New
York: AI, January 1995. 132pp. ISBN 0-939994-95-X. $8.
Accessibly written and well-documented summary of human
rights abuses in the North by the government and in the
South by all parties to the conflict. Argues that "the
notion that the international community is doing all it
can to exert pressure on the Sudan Government and both
factions of the SPLA about human rights does not stand up
to close examination." A companion 12-page briefing,
including color photographs (Sudan: What Future for Human
Rights?) , presents a summary version of the same
material, and sells for $5.
+Deng, Francis M. "The Sudan: Stop the Carnage," pp. 7-11 in
The Brookings Review (Winter 1994).
A concise statement of historical background and views on
the current situation by the Southern Sudanese scholar
and former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, an
internationally respected diplomat now a senior fellow at
the Brookings Institution.
The Fund for Peace, Human Rights/Horn of Africa Program,
Living on the Margin: The Struggle of Women and Minorities
for Human Rights in the Sudan. New York: The Fund for Peace,
July 1995. 62pp.
A series of edited reports by human rights activists inside
Sudan, focusing on the situation in the Nuba Mountains and
on various aspects of the situation of women.
Human Rights Watch/Africa. Civilian Devastation: Abuses by
All Parties in the War in Southern Sudan. New York: Human
Rights Watch, June 1994. 279pp. ISBN 1-56432-129-0. $20.
The most recent book-length study by HRW/Africa,
documenting human rights abuses by both government and
rebel forces. Includes thirty pages of summary and
background (+). Should be supplemented by other
HRW/Africa reports, including two from November 1994:
"'In the Name of God': Repression Continues in Northern
Sudan" (41pp) and "The Lost Boys: Child Soldiers and
Unaccompanied Boys in Southern Sudan" (25pp).
Khalid, Mansour, ed. John Garang Speaks. London and New
York: KPI Ltd., 1987. 147pp. ISBN 0-7103-02681 (paper).
Key statements of position by the leader of the Sudan
People's Liberation Movement (Mainstream), the principal
opposition force in southern Sudan.
+Lesch, Ann Mosely. "External Intervention in the Sudanese
Civil War," and "Negotiations in Sudan," pp. 79-138 in Smock,
David R., ed., Making War and Making Peace: Foreign
Intervention in Africa. Washington: United States Institute
of Peace Press, 1993.
Clearly written and well-informed factual background
essays covering the period through 1991.
+Prendergast, John, Sudanese Rebels at a Crossroads:
Opportunities for Building Peace in a Shattered Land
(Discussion Paper #3). Washington: Center of Concern, May
1994. 51pp. $3.95.
One of a series of discussion papers authored or co-
authored by John Prendergast, raising issues of
international and local responsibility for connecting
relief, peace-making and responsibility for human rights.
Prendergast presents the case that accountability and
strengthening local institutions cannot wait for peace
settlements, but must be built into the humanitarian
involvement in the situation of conflict. Other titles
in the same series deal with the situation in the Nuba
Mountains (October 1994) and Diplomacy, Aid and
Governance in the Sudan (March 1995). Write to the
Center of Concern (address below) for a full list of
publications on the Horn of Africa.
U.S. Institute of Peace. Sudan: Ending the War, Moving Talks
Forward (Report of a USIP Seminar), April, 1994. 8pp.
Report of seminar involving prominent Sudanese and
others, with recommendations for supporting the
Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development
(IGADD) peace process.
Conflict and Famine
African Rights. Great Expectations: The Civil Roles of the
Churches in Southern Sudan (Discussion Paper). London:
African Rights, April 1995. 44pp. BP5.95 or $8.95.
Argues that the involvement of church institutions in
relief aid as well as conflict resolution, and their
complicated relationships with different sectors of
Sudanese society, should lead to caution against
exaggerated hopes for their achievements in conflict
resolution. While church agencies should remain ready to
facilitate negotiations between factions, they also need
to be less reticent in calling attention to human rights
abuses, and more ready to participate in international
Burr, J. Millard and Robert O. Collins. Requiem for the
Sudan: War, Drought and Disaster Relief on the Nile. Boulder:
Westview Press, 1995. 385pp. ISBN 0-8133-2121-2 (paper)
Focuses primarily on the war-related famine in southern
Sudan, with much detail on the involvement of all parties
to the conflict and relief operations. More revealing
than other sources on U.S. government reluctance to
recognize the crisis and the efforts of those inside and
outside the government who worked to overcome the
barriers to action.
Deng, Francis M. and Larry Minear. The Challenges of Famine
Relief: Emergency Operations in the Sudan. Washington: The
Brookings Institution, 1992. 165pp. ISBN 0-8157-1791-1.
A study of the international response to the drought-
induced famine in northern Sudan (1983-86) and to the
conflict-related famine (1987-91) in the south. Based
on wide-ranging interviews by both co-authors. Contains
both overall praise for the level of humanitarian response and
cautiously worded critiques of many of the faults and
perverse impacts of large-scale foreign involvement by
governments, multilateral institutions and NGOs.
+Duffield, Mark. "Where Famine is Functional: Actual
Adjustment and the Politics of Relief in Sudan," pp. 27-30 in
Middle East Report (September-October 1991). Washington:
Analytical essay developing a critique of the "two-tier
welfare" system of international relief and the use of
large NGOs as "donor" government contractors bypassing
Keen, David. The Benefits of Famine: A Political Economy of
Famine and Relief in Southwestern Sudan, 1983-1989.
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994. 289pp. ISBN 0-
Argues that "the real roots of famine may lie less in a
lack of purchasing power within the market ... than in a
lack of lobbying power within national (and
international) institutions." A strong and reasoned
critique not only of powerholders in the Sudan but also
of bilateral and multilateral donors as well as NGOs.
Attacks international perceptions of 'acceptable' levels
of violence or nutritional deficiencies.
Minear, Larry, in collaboration with T. A. Abuom, E. Chole, K.
Manibe, A. Mohammed, J. Sebstad and T. G. Weiss.
Humanitarianism under Siege: A Critical Review of Operation
Lifeline Sudan. Trenton, NJ: Red Sea Press and Washington:
Bread for the World Institute, 1991. 215pp. ISBN 0-932415-
Review by an international team of NGO-linked researchers
of this major coordinated relief operation, focusing on
the period of its relative success in 1989. Affirms the
humanitarian precedent of protected relief corridors,
while presenting significant critiques of structural
Islam and the State
+An-Na'im, Abdullahi A. and Peter N. Kok. Fundamentalism and
Militarism: A Report on the Root Causes of Human Rights
Violations in the Sudan. New York: The Fund for Peace Horn of
Africa Project, 1991. 39pp. $3.
Clearly stated analysis by two prominent Sudanese lawyers
and human rights activists. Argues that "there are
Sudanese from all parts of the country who are sensitive
to past and present injustices and ... deeply concerned
with gross and massive violations of human rights," that
"the most fundamental fact about the Sudan is its ethnic
and cultural diversity," and that "it is imperative that
the much older traditions of mediation and peaceful
coexistence prevail if the Sudanese are to survive in a
prosperous and stable society with a country of their
own." See also the article by An-Na'im in Daly and
Sikainga, eds. (above).
El-Affendi, Abdelwahab. Turabi's Revolution: Islam and Power
in Sudan. London: Grey Seal, 1991). 207pp. ISBN 1-85640-
A sympathetic history of the Muslim Brothers and the
National Islamic Front (NIF), from the 1950s through the
mid-1980s. The book was completed before the June 1889
coup which brought the current NIF-dominated military
regime to power.
+Fluehr-Lobban, Carolyn. "Islamization in Sudan: A Critical
Assessment," pp. 71-89 in John O. Voll, ed., Sudan: State and
Society in Crisis (Bloomington, 1991).
Brief summary of historical background, written shortly
after the 1989 coup.
Fluehr-Lobban, Carolyn. "Movements for Reform or Restoration
of the Shari'a in the Sudan," Chapter 9 (pp. 238-277) in
Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, Islamic Law and Society in the Sudan.
London: Frank Cass, 1987.
While this book is probably too specialized for most
readers, the chapter cited is of particular interest for
showing the wide range of views and internal reform
possibilities within the Islamic tradition in Sudan, far
broader than the views associated with the Muslim
Brotherhood and the current military regime. It argues
that significant change in the Islamic law (Shari'a) has
in the past been carried out not primarily as a result of
Western pressure but rather on internal Islamic grounds
and in part from the initiative of women in particular.
Simone, T. Abdou Maliqalim. In Whose Image?: Political Islam
and Urban Practices in Sudan. Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1994. 272pp. ISBN 0-226-75870-2 (paper). $13.55.
A unique study by a Muslim social psychologist from the
City University of New York, based on sensitive
participant observation in Khartoum among both Muslim and
non-Muslim, Northern and Southern, communities. Although
academic language at times makes the text more difficult
than necessary, the first-hand observations and concern
for human rights and social reality as well as religious
meaning and identity make this worth the extra effort.
Concludes with a parallel consideration, also from first-
hand involvement, of the role of progressive Muslim
groups in South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle.
(part 2, continued in separate file)
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