Sudan: History of a Broken Land

2011 ,    » 37 Comments
Ratings: 7.80/10 from 10 users.

Sudan: History of a Broken LandFrom the author: It was the giant of Africa: a nation which once represented the greatest hope for peaceful coexistence between Arab and African, Muslim and Christian. That hope is all but gone. The promise of Sudan was just an illusion.

It is already a fractured country and, in the longer term, this is unlikely to be an isolated matter of north and south breaking apart following the referendum on southern secession.

Separatist movements in regions such as Darfur and the Nuba Mountains are watching with more than curiosity. And it is not just Sudan: in other African and Arab countries independence factions are eying developments with a view to making their move either through the ballot box or the gun.

In the run-up to the referendum, I traveled to Sudan to make the film. I have been fortunate enough in my life to have visited most of the world's countries and yet, this would be the first time I had set foot in Africa's largest.

To say that the northern Sudanese people are enormously friendly may be clich├ęd, but it is also very true. Soon after our arrival, the car we had hired in Khartoum broke down and we quickly found ourselves surrounded by young men, all of them trying to help discover and rectify the fault. No-one was looking for money; it simply came naturally to them to help out and was just one example of many we would discover in the following weeks.

Unfortunately though, I also discovered self-delusion: in the coffee shops, restaurants and streets, the vast majority of people I spoke with wanted desperately to believe that it was not too late and that, surely, the South will never leave the union. It will.

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37 Comments / User Reviews

    panthera f
  1. panthera f

    Oh yes: GREAT those "mighty tribes" :-(
    Dont they know we live in the 21th century by now ?
    What a Godforsaken country.

  2. Ana Maria
  3. Ana Maria

    typical answer of ignorance..

  4. aldoinmiami
  5. aldoinmiami

    as long as prominent people like The Pope stand against the CONDOM.. this will keep happening.

  6. brenda karnes
  7. brenda karnes

    To have viewed this film and not understood HOW and WHY these poor people have not advanced into the 21st century is truly unfortunate. Perhaps you would benefit from another viewing. What is it about opression and violence that is visited on a nation that you don't get?

  8. brenda karnes
  9. brenda karnes

    In many ways you demonstrate the same type of ignorance that oppressed people suffer from. However, you probably were offered and education that you didn't value whereas they are not offered any education at all. They are victims of cultural deprivation and modern medicines. You are understanding at all!

  10. Sertsis
  11. Sertsis

    @ panthera f too
    I don't think the 21st century is all you guys make it out to be. I watched somewhere how there are places on this screwed up earth where people live happy lives in the poorer regions, with not much technology or wealth. If they're well fed, and nobody is shooting at them, then life is just fine without the modern conveniences, that bring other daily worries like debt, environment, government, so on and so forth.

  12. BeardHero420
  13. BeardHero420

    TDF keep the African docs coming...let's fully open up this can of worms

  14. blondewithtools
  15. blondewithtools

    It seems to me by watching these docs that the general global population wants to live in harmony with each otherand just get about the business of appeciating living. So, why are the hand full (in comparison) of massacre them into submission seem to be continuously causing upheaval?

  16. Ahmed Ali Altayeb
  17. Ahmed Ali Altayeb

    who send to who ur lovly us dont borrow an one cause u real broke it just invade and stell money from africa and ather country that what us real do and belive me now one want an help from us we just want to take care of its own problems so stop pretend that us is world safer cause the true its the world thief

  18. His Forever
  19. His Forever

    I hate to see people suffer, but you have a valid point about Muslims helping Muslims! When Indonesia was hit by the tsunami, the U.S.A. and even Isreal sent I think it was 60+ doctors to help with body identification, etc. The Muslims, as far as I've read and heard, didn't. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation. Perhaps they did, but it sure didn't cross my scanners. They have so much oil money, they can afford to make fake islands with hotels on it, so why don't we hear more about the Red Cresent helping out in situations such as this? Do we just not hear about it?

  20. Guest
  21. Guest

    Being French i make a lot of efforts to be readable, i even edit most of my comments when i spot a mistake (and still sometimes i come out unclear). I would suggest that you try to complete your words, it is already hard enough to understand what you are trying to say....and a little comma or period here and there helps too.
    Just a friendly suggestion!
    Now what are you saying?

  22. His Forever
  23. His Forever

    Ya can't blame the south for not wanting to be Muslimized! It's a reasonable desire to want to be free.

  24. Guest
  25. Guest

    In Third World countries, the more children a family has, the more help they have to work the fields, build their homes, collect fire wood...ect. Not so long ago it was the same in rural Canada.
    Hit the road Jack....and widen your understanding.

  26. Guest
  27. Guest

    In 2007 i was walking the streets of Vancouver and came upon a band busking on a street corner. Their name Rider Jones, the CD they were selling had no photo cover so i took a few shots thinking i would send them the photos.
    Looking at your photograph reminded me of that photoshoot, so i search in my photo files and found the photos, one of them truly looks like your avatar. Check it out, it's the third one, i just downloaded them on myspace file under the album Here and There and Me in Them.
    I also just found out the band has a myspace account and sent them a message.
    Just a little story your avatar created!

    you tube....rider jones "short"

  28. Savage Henry
  29. Savage Henry

    Ha ha ha...thanks for that az. You're right, the guitarist looks A LOT like me. Beats the hell out of some of the people I remind people of...Kevin Federline being the most insulting. These guys have some discernible talent at least. Some good music too...original songs?

  30. Guest
  31. Guest

    You mean the singer? At least that what i thought.
    Original songs? I think so. I never got to meet them afterwards, there was a crowd.

  32. Savage Henry
  33. Savage Henry

    lol...well, my buddy thought the guitarist looked like me (though I doubt he cared enough to really look)...his GF thought he just looked like this pic of me. What horrible people we are...carrying on this stupid banter on doc thread about the plight of the Sudanese. Jk...probably the most stimulating exchange I've had on TDF to date. :)

  34. Guest
  35. Guest

    I have never been to Sudan but have been to Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Togo....2 trips 6 months each...changed my life.
    Ihaven't watched this doc yet but will for sure.
    take care and care to take!

  36. over the edge
  37. over the edge

    @ charles
    not to get into it but aren't you spreading your religion in an area that is formally/recently non christian , whats the difference

  38. His Forever
  39. His Forever

    Yes, I am actually. However, converts are voluntary. No one is getting a bullet in the head if they don't want to come to the free medical mission or the street children feeding program. Nor do little kids get their hands copped off for stealing--which happens a lot here. If I really don't want them stealing something, I say, "Hey! Don't do that!" rather than grab my gardening machete. The difference is eteranl life verses Sharia Law bondage.

  40. His Forever
  41. His Forever

    They have the same problem here in the philippines. It seems to be the world-over that the less money you have, the more kids you have--- That and the RCC says that condoms are a sin. Muslims I think are just very purposeful in their overpopulation for reasons to dominate with numbers.

  42. His Forever
  43. His Forever

    My mother's family had 12 kids and my dad's had 9! My mother was born in Texas as they were temporarily there picking cotton. Child labor expecially robbed my dad of a childhood.

  44. jmac800
  45. jmac800

    I still do not get how countries like Sudan can turn arab despite having no arab ancestry but only arab cultural traits because some recent leader in the 1800s went to arabia and decide muhammad was his ancestor. Its all fictious non sense. Sudanese are not arabs, libyans, algerians, moroccans, none of you are arab, your a bunch of mixed races but not arab. Heck not even the UAE, qatar, oman or bahrain are arab, they are formal provinces of persia/iran for over 2500 years. The ruling "arab" dynasty in uae only came there in 1830s by their own admission. Iraq despite having a native population of people descendent from babylonians and mesopotamians some how magically turned arab over night. The northern half is more kurdish than arab, the central is more shia/iranian than arab and the south is another case. Pan arabism where every muslim country decides to go arab is utter non sense. Even those malyasians are now seen as arabs. Yemen a former ethiopian colony, they are far more black than most africans.

    I see no racial cleansing in the sudan they are all a bunch of blacks. Put Omar Bashir in any other country and he would be seen as an average black man. There is a big difference between him and say saudi arabian white skined royalty arab.

  46. jmac800
  47. jmac800

    PS africans, the only reason why white people go in droves to africa to give out condoms and birth control is because they do not like black people or any non white and they fear you willl outnumber them like the chinese or the indians who give them enough problems. If you notice, on the world stage, the countries who cannot be bullied are the big ones. Those with few people have to do what the west says. Even Iran can do whatever they want because they have the numbers to deter an invasion despite being poorly run.

    White women do not care about black or arab or hispanic or asian women's health

  48. Guest
  49. Guest

    My dad's family had 13 kids (farmers in the Gaspe peninsula), 10 are still alive. I have more than 78 cousins just on my dad's side and together we have over 200 kids and our kids have already many kids but don't know the amount.
    We did slow down in the last few

  50. Kyle Worlitz
  51. Kyle Worlitz

    Yeah, because Africans aren't in dire need of such basic services. Especially condoms, considering the horrendous aids epidemic. I'm white, and am a dedicated humanist. Stop making such trollish assertions.

  52. AJ98999
  53. AJ98999

    African will be good place one day . there is a lot of think to see there. black pp need to stop blaming shiit on white pp. am black. we need to star building Africa and Build a new future..

  54. daniel
  55. daniel

    i really hate documentaries that are basically reading assignments,

    i like to listen while i work since most doc's are more informational than visual so it'd be nice to have the non english speaking translated.....not to mention blind people like documentaries too!

  56. Hourriya Nura-Eman
  57. Hourriya Nura-Eman

    Ahhhhh....White woman here... and I have to say that your comments are absolutely foolish! I know that the west is a poor example of humanitarian efforts, globally, and that the west is bombing the hell out of every country that happens to be majority non-white, but to say that white women do not care about the health of Black, Arab, Hispanic, or Asian women's health is preposterous! Stop basing your assumptions on the idea that every woman is Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Madonna, etc and realize that there are "white women" out there who are true humanitarians and are fighting for women's rights all over the globe....

  58. Jack1952
  59. Jack1952

    @ Azilda an C_and_N

    My family has the same experience. My grandfather fathered 23 children, 16 by my grandmother. My father and mother had 7 kids. All 7 of us have 13 children combined, 3 of which are adopted. It seems that this is a common theme in the Western countries. It's a good thing because had we kept up the pace that our grandparents had set, there would be no room left anywhere. In Canada, the only reason the population continues to rise is immigration and the boomers haven't started to pass away in significant numbers yet. In 20 years or so our population should start to level off and eventually go down, unless immigration numbers increase by a great deal.

  60. Guest
  61. Guest

    Our Canadian Government needs to open more Crown land for homeowners instead of planning to harvest the next crop of trees in BC.
    It is our land and if there is a need for some cheap land because the economy keeps every one choked, then it is our RIGHT to buy the land needed to establish a new growth of people living "of the land".

  62. Jack1952
  63. Jack1952

    @ Azilda

    The forestry industry in Canada practices clear cutting; an absolute travesty. This leads to soil erosion and habitat lose for wildlife and leaves the land barren and useless. Claims that they reforest is a joke. I know people who have worked in these programs. Planting in the snow (?), trees thrown on the ground instead of being planted, trees trampled after being planted, acres of trees that have been planted that are washed away by heavy rain and not replanted are just a few of the stories I've heard. Industry spokesmen claim that it is the only way they can make money and be competitive.

    Many of the farmers in Southern Ontario have extensive woodlots including my family. Every 10 to 15 years trees are marked and those selected are cut as a cash crop. One year after such a cull one can hardly notice that any cutting was done. The trees remaining grow faster and straighter and there is a diversity of species remaining, unlike tree planting which only plants a few varieties. This could be called tree farming and is a practical and sustainable way to use our forests. If the forestry industry were forced to do the same on crown land, they would compete on a level playing field and in the future Canada would have the only wild trees standing in the world. The type of forestry they practice is what has happened in third world countries and because of erosion this has caused many of the famines so common there today.

  64. Guest
  65. Guest

    Interesting Documentary.What I would love to see is one on the History of the British involvement in Sudan etc...

  66. knowledgeizpower
  67. knowledgeizpower

    "Everyone should have the freedoom to do what their heart desires" one of the old men interviewed said. This was an interesting documentary a good one to watch...Peace

  68. Stanuel
  69. Stanuel

    cowabunga dude

  70. Mikhail Bychkov
  71. Mikhail Bychkov

    I've recently read this book called "Might is Right" the message I got out of it is that we're never completely "free", our culture, our understanding of the world and of right and wrong is predetermined by the rich and powerful that lived before us. We are in a sense "indoctrinated" by the society which enforces these predetermined rules as we grow up.

    There was no concept of North and South Sudan until the 20s when the British Government began controlling movement from the North to the South and vice versa, and began flooding South Sudan with Christian Missionaries, which begs the question are the South Sudanese fighting for genuine freedom? If they (the freedom fighters) have been "indoctrinated" by their parents, and their parents were "indoctrinated" by their parent, who were in turn "indoctrinated" (for the lack of a better word) by the Christian missionaries, is this concept of freedom anything more than a byproduct of the power struggle between the British and Egyptian Government over Sudan?

  72. Cash Cow
  73. Cash Cow

    Islam can burn in HELL!! PERSIAN DEVILS!!!! the hell with Allah... moon GOD!!!!

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