Sudan: History of a Broken Land

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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

  1. 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?

  2. Stanuel

    cowabunga dude

  3. 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

  4. Guest

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

  5. 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!

  6. 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..

  7. 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

    1. 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.

    2. 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....

  8. 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.

  9. His Forever

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

    1. 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

    2. 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.

    3. Cash Cow

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

  10. 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?

  11. BeardHero420

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

  12. panthera f

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

    1. 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?

    2. 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.