On a tremendously hot afternoon in Khartoum, I am soaking up the freshness of one of the only air-conditioned rooms in my Sudanese family’s compound when my mother-in-law’s mobile phone suddenly jolts to life. Even before she answers the phone we instinctively start to dance and sing to the Sudanese pop song that is her ringtone. This scene resembles the way mobile phones have brought joy and happiness as well as possibilities for increased global connectivity into daily family life in Sudan.
Le Soudan est actuellement à un moment clé de son histoire.
Quand ce dernier était encore le plus grand pays d’Afrique,
l’économie était essentiellement basée sur le pétrole. Suite au
référendum d’autodétermination qui s’est soldé par la déclaration
d’indépendance du Sud-Soudan le 9 juillet 2011, Khartoum a
perdu 10 millions d’habitants, un quart de sa surface et
pratiquement la totalité de ses revenus pétroliers, les gisements
étant principalement situés au sud du pays. Le pays est donc à
l’heure des choix. Le Soudan doit trouver d’autres sources de
revenus. Le tourisme peut-il contribuer de manière significative à
l’apport de devises et à la création d’emplois dans ce pays?
Afin de répondre à cette question, nous commencerons par une
présentation rapide du contexte économique actuel du Soudan.
Puis nous aborderons successivement les atouts du pays en matière de tourisme, la performance touristique de ce pays, les stratégies mises en œuvre pour optimiser le secteur du tourisme et les défis à relever pour accroître son poids économique. Cette étude s’achève par une synthèse qui récapitule les forces et les faiblesses du secteur du tourisme au Soudan en 2013, sans oublier les opportunités et les menaces.
Call for contribution
The Sudan, five years after the independence of South Sudan: which reconfigurations, transformations, and evolutions in the “North”?
South Sudan officially gained independence on the 9th July 2011. This was the outcome of the peace agreement signed in January 2005 and in accordance with the national referendum of January 2011. This historic event, which should have put an end on the historical conflict between the Northern and Southern regions and communities, constituted a real challenge in term of adaptation, resilience and innovation for the whole of the society.
In this unprecedented context of the birth of a new national territory, and the remodelling of existing spatial and political configurations, South Sudan has logically been at the centre of attention – whether this be from political actors, researchers or humanitarian donors. However, the North has been profoundly affected by this rupture as well.
As part of a joint research program “Ritual animal death: circulations of norms and of representations. Comparative approach between France, Bulgaria (Balkans) and Sudan”, we formed a team…
Alice Franck, Geographer and Coordinator of CEDEJ Khartoum
Jean Gardin, Geographer and Assistant professor in Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne University, and
Olivier Givre, Anthropologist and Assistant professor in Lyon 2 University
…and conducted fieldwork in Khartoum, from 20th of August to the 3rd of September, related to the topic of ritual animal death.
During the course of this fieldwork, we were privileged to meet with a wide range of Sudanese actors: livestock traders, butchers, slaughterers, exporters, organizations in charge of the setting up of standards/norms (health or religious), Islamic NGOs, as well as veterinary services.
CEDEJ Khartoum supported our fieldwork in Sudan which was the third and final terrain complementing our comprehensive programme of comparative research characterized by a special focus on Aïd el Adha
Initially, we contrasted the concept “ritual death” to a hypothetical death devoid of metaphysical sense”. While binary, this dichotomy makes sense in view of the current debates on ritual animal death specifically in France. However comparative work in Bulgaria, France and Sudan demonstrates, through the diversity of practices and discourses, that the “ritual” and the “profane” exist on a continuum.
From this perspective, we consider other variations deserve to be studied in order to better analyze the circulation of norms that surround animal death such as the distinction between industrial and domestic slaughter. The fact that animal slaughter has become an increasingly technical process raises a lot of concerns for our interlocutors in France, Bulgaria and Sudan. We think that the dichotomy “industrial VS domestic slaughter” should not be too acute because the term “domestic” itself needs to be interrogate since its exact definition remains ambiguous.
Due to a focus on normative framework, we were interested in familiarizing ourselves with the role of the professional bodies that adopt, design and perpetuate norms and standards. We observed that this “space of norms and standards” is very hierarchical and well structured at the international level, (with the World Organization for Animal Health), at the national level (for example, in Sudan, with the Halal Council, the office in charge of halal norms), and at the municipal level (municipal veterinary).
We equally focus on exploring the differences in perception related to notions of “animal welfare”, which have been defined by veterinaries and various international organizations. Contrary to France – where the concern with “animal welfare” is not exclusive to pet but also pertains to livestock -, in Bulgaria it remains confined to the former. Significantly the issue in Sudan does not reach a level of public concern.
Furthermore, we found it particularly relevant to study the relationship between norms and trust. We cursorily noted that the loss of trust in industrial slaughter is strong in France, weak in Bulgaria and negligible in Sudan: respecting the hierarchy of GDP per capita, the duration of urbanization and of the level of industrialization within the meat market. However the multiplicity of contexts is highly relevant since it contributes to mitigating or even contradicting this evolutionary pattern. This makes for a more fluid reading of the heterogeneous manifestations of norms and standards.
Inter-subjective trust stands in opposition to impersonal norms, however multiple interviews expose a variant of trust in relation to the norms (eating organic or eating halal); which may in turn be subverted by the further interrogation of what constitutes “organic” or “halal”? The latter trust is inscribed in a specific label.
The question of trust equally posits itself in our findings related to Eid sacrifices which take place in the country of the South through the interventions of Islamic NGOs. The issue of delegation is highly charged since it bears the onus of sacrificing on behalf of another on a sacred plane. In the western context where the majority of donors is to be found, the issue of how industrial slaughter houses operate, directs the choices of a Muslim clientele in opting for a distant slaughter.
Departing from a study which was essentially dealing with the sacred and non sacred aspects of animal death, we were quikly confronted with the salience of the norms. We do not profess to be offering a novel contribution, however our contribution offers a clearing for further interrogations surrounding the status of the standardization of animal death.
Our next step: A workshop on the topic of animal death – open to the public – will be held on Friday 27th, November 2015 (9 am – 1 pm), at the Institute of Geography, in Paris 1 University.
The following picture was taken during a night slaughter in the mastaba (about 200 bulls and camels and 600 goats and sheeps slaughtered between 11 pm and 7 am on a slab by a hundred butcher boys), in Khartoum. If taken (generally undercover) in a northern-american or european industrial slaughterhouse, this kind of pictures is often used to accuse meat-eaters and meat-producers of cruelty toward animals. But at the same time, we’d like to point that another-wiser-interpretation is possible : even in rude conditions (blood, direct vision…) the animals are partly cooperative in the process. Even if they are afraid and must be dragged by force, they show a confidence in the men’s activity. We’d like to impute that to the intensity of physical and emotional exchanges during the whole life of the animal, with humans, in a semi-industrial and semi-traditionnal process.
CEDEJ Khartoum is pleased to announce the recent publication of “Lost Nationalism. Revolution, Memory and Anti-colonial Resistance in Sudan”, by Elena Vezzadini.
The 1924 Revolution was a watershed in Sudanese history, the first episode of anti-colonial resistance in which a nationalist ideology was explicitly used, and part of a global wave of anti-colonial movements after the First World War that can be seen as the “spring of the colonial nations”.
This detailed account of the uprising, and its eventual failure, explores the cosmopolitan nationalism embraced by the White Flag League, the movement that sparked the revolution, and its ability to attract people from diverse origins, classes and professions. It examines the international genesis of the movement; the strategies put in place to spread it in different areas of Sudan and among different groups; the movement’s inclusive ideology and its definition of the Sudanese nation, as well as the limitations to its inclusiveness; and the way in which this episode reveals deeper questions relating to origins, social hierarchies and power. The book also unravels the complex history of the memory of 1924, the politics of its representation and the underlying power struggles that saw 1924 largely lost from the historical record.
Elena Vezzadini is a historian of modern Sudan affiliated to the Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, University of Bergen, and Institut des Mondes Africains, Paris. She is also associated with CEDEJ Khartoum.
Last April, Sudanese people have been called to the polls for the 2015 general elections. It represented a significant challenge, given the fact that this ballot was the first in Sudan since the secession of South Sudan in 2011.
Despite a call for boycott by the main opposition parties, Omar El Bechir, in power since 1989, has decided to maintain the vote. This choice was all the more surprising at a moment where the government was facing many issues: a major economic crisis, more violent opposition movements in peripheral regions, infightings within the ruling party…
Soliman Chaouche’s fieldwork was carried out during the two-month campaign before the elections. His paper is based on the final electoral results and on the analysis of the Sudanese political system. It argues that these elections have led to the weakening of the main opposition parties and to the consolidation of the current regime. Indeed, far from the path to democracy, this ballot has been, paradoxically a strengthening tool for El Bechir.
Soliman Chaouche’s paper in French: http://www.lam.sciencespobordeaux.fr/sites/lam/files/note10_observatoire.pdf
This paper is the result of a collaboration between the CEDEJ Khartoum, the CFEE, the Multiannual Observatory of Political and Security issues and the Regional Council of Aquitaine.
The Multiannual Observatory of Political and Security Issues is a research program dedicated to the historical perspective of political developments. It is co-financed by the Directorate General for International Relations and Strategy (DGRIS, http : //www.defense.gouv.fr/das/la-dgris ) and by Africas in the World (LAM, UMR-CNRS 5115) at Sciences Po Bordeaux (http://www.sciencespobordeaux.fr/fr/index .html).
Les soudanais se sont récemment rendus aux urnes à l’occasion des élections générales de 2015, conformément au calendrier électoral mais dans un contexte inédit puisqu’il s’agissait des premières élections depuis l’indépendance du Soudan du Sud en 2011. Malgré l’appel de la grande majorité des parts d’opposition à repousser le scrutin, le régime d’Omar El Béchir au pouvoir depuis 1989 a décidé de maintenir le vote. Une décision d’autant plus surprenante qu’elle s’inscrit dans un contexte particulièrement difficile pour le régime en place (crise économique majeure, opposition armée dans les régions périphériques et luttes internes au sein du parti au pouvoir).
Revenant sur les deux mois de campagne ayant précédé le scrutin, les résultats électoraux, mais aussi le fonctionnement du régime politique soudanais, cette Note revient sur les mécanismes par lesquels ces élections ont conduit à l’affaiblissement des principaux partis d’opposition et au renforcement du pouvoir en place. En effet, bien loin d’avoir mis le Soudan sur la voie de la « démocratisation », ce scrutin s’est davantage révélé un formidable outil de renforcement du régime autoritaire en place.
La note de Soliman Chaouche : http://www.lam.sciencespobordeaux.fr/sites/lam/files/note10_observatoire.pdf
Cette note est le fruit d’une collaboration entre le CEDEJ Khartoum, le CFEE, l’Observatoire pluriannuel des enjeux politiques et sécuritaires dans la Corne de l’Afrique et le Conseil régional de l’Aquitaine.
L’Observatoire pluriannuel des enjeux politiques et sécuritaires dans la Corne de l’Afrique est financé par la Direction Générale des Relations Internationales et de la Stratégie (DGRIS) et par le Laboratoire Les Afriques dans le Monde (LAM, UMR CNRS 5115) de Sciences Po Bordeaux (http://www.sciencespobordeaux.fr/fr/index.html).
How and where did returning Nuer refugees make their ‘homes’ in southern Sudan? How were gender relations and identity redefined as a result of war, displacement and return to post-war communities? And how were those displaced able to recreate a sense of home, community and nation?
It is our pleasure to announce the recent publication of Multidimensional Change in Sudan (1989-2011): Reshaping Livelihoods, Conflicts and Identities, edited by Barbara Casciarri, Munzoul A.M. Assal and François Ireton and published by Berghahn. This collective book is in many ways linked with the CEDEJ Khartoum’s work.
Based on fieldwork largely collected during the CPA interim period by Sudanese and European researchers, this volume sheds light on the dynamics of change and the relationship between microscale and macroscale processes which took place in Sudan between the 1980s and the independence of South Sudan in 2011.
Contributors’ various disciplinary approaches—socio-anthropological, geographical, political, historical, linguistic—focus on the general issue of “access to resources.” The book analyzes major transformations which affected Sudan in the framework of globalization, including land and urban issues; water management; “new” actors and “new conflicts”; and language, identity, and ideology.
Barbara Casciarri is Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, University Paris 8. She edited with A. M. Ahmed a special issue of Nomadic Peoples 13, 1 (2009), “Pastoralists under pressure in present-day Sudan” and with M. Van Aken a special issue of Journal des anthropologues 132-133 (2013), “Anthropology and Water(s).”
Munzoul A. M. Assal is Associate Professor of Social Anthropology and Deputy Director of the Peace Research Institute, University of Khartoum. Publications include Diaspora Within and Without Africa: Homogeneity, Heterogeneity, Variation (co-edited with Leif Manger, 2006), and forthcoming Fifty Years of Anthropology in the Sudan: Past, Present and Future (co-edited with Musa Adam Abdul-Jalil).
François Ireton is a Socio-Economist and Researcher at French National Center of Scientific Research, working in the Centre Jacques Berque, Rabat. He has co-edited Dynamiques de la pauvreté en Afrique du Nord et au Moyen Orient (2005) and L’Egypte au présent. Inventaire d’une société avant révolution (2011).