THE 21st ANNIVERSARY OF THE ESTABLISHMENT
SUDAN PEOPLES' LIBERATION MOVEMENT/ARMY (SPLM/A)
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are remembering May 16th,
1983 as the day that changed the history of the Sudan. It
was the day in the idea of a new Sudan was born. A new Sudan
in which all the citizens would live under secular laws, under
which everyone would be treated equally. It was the day that
brought all Sudanese who believe that the way the country
has been run, since independence from the Anglo-Egyptian colonial
powers, was wrong. The post independence governments ignored
the fact that the Sudan was a multi ethnic, racial and religious
nation. Those governments identified the Sudan as an Arab-Muslim
country, in spite of the fact that Arabs are a minority of
about 40% of the Sudan population.
Many young Sudanese joined the
SPLM/A and fought government armies that were deployed against
them. The SPLA achieved many victories against the Sudan government
armies, captured all the rural areas in the Southern and Eastern
Sudan and threatened the Gezira, the bread basket of the Sudan.
The government tried in the early
1990's to break up the leadership of the SPLM/A by disinformation
and bribery so as to neutralize the forces around the oil-rich
areas of Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazal. It succeeded, and
had the divided SPLA forces fighting against each other, while
it exploited the oil wealth. The leaders whom the government
deceived to break away from the SPLM/A realized that they
had been duped after the government reneged on the agreements
it signed with them, They returned to the main stream SPLM/A
with some of their forces to continue the fight against the
The revenues from the southern
oil provided the government with attack airplanes and helicopter
gun ships which were used indiscriminately against the civilians
of the south. Schools and hospitals were bombed from the air.
Even distribution centers were targeted by these war airplanes.
The international community,
under the leadership of the USA, woke up to the genocidal
nature of the war between the government of Sudan and the
SPLM/A. The two were pressured to solve the problem peacefully,
since neither could win militarily. Threats of punishment
or rewards were used on both to bring them to a peaceful settlement
of the conflict. This approach seems to be working because
the government and the SPLM/A are now drafting a comprehensive
peace agreement in the northern city of Naivasha, Kenya.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The people of Darfur and Kordofan
Provinces joined the struggle in 2003 to fight for the rights
denied to them by the government. They formed two organizations
known as the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the
Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), respectively.
To quell these two uprisings,
the government armed the Arab tribes of Darfur and unleashed
them to kill, rape and do all kinds of inhuman things to the
non-Arab Sudanese of Darfur. It was the very same policy the
government used against the people of northern Bahr el Ghazal.
The Arab tribes of El Misiria and Rizeigat were armed by the
government and sent to pillage, kill and take into slavery
women of northern Bahr el Ghazal.
The government's use of Arab
tribesmen to fight uprisings against it, in the south and
west Sudan, has highlighted the government's policy of extermination
or forced expulsion of the African Sudanese, so as to turn
Sudan into an all-Arab country.
Many of the Sudanese who are
attending this commemoration today were victims of the Sudan
government policy of liquidation or forced to leave the country;
(they are among) those who oppose its policies. Many lost
their parents and loved ones. Others were children separated
from their parents and had to fend for themselves in a harsh
environment until they reached the security of refugee camps
in the neighboring countries of Kenya and Uganda.
Emmanuel Bol Kuanyin-Agoth