When I left Cairo a few days after the New Year’s Eve blast, rumors were spreading of a possible conspiracy involving the Mossad and other foreign agents. On arriving in Khartoum, I heard the same conspiracy discourse by the Sudanese government about foreign powers seeking to extend their hegemony over Sudan by dividing the country and undermining its Arab and Islamic identity.
In Cairo, many people seem to have been more interested in identifying the perpetrators of the blast, rather than questioning why intolerance and sectarian tensions are mounting or scrutinizing the ideas and skewed policies that led to the attack. Everyone seems preoccupied with stopping the bleeding rather than healing the wound.
In Khartoum, talk about Sudan being the target of a foreign conspiracy is now rampant. People are theorizing about foreign plots to separate off southern Sudan, Darfur and the eastern states, in preparation for the eventual creation a Nubian state consisting of northern Sudan and southern Egypt. None of those who subscribe to the conspiracy theory wonders whose fault it is for creating an environment conducive to secession in the first place.
It may be true that the Alexandria blast and the secession of South Sudan serve the interests of foreign powers, yet both events started with internal factors.
Why would Egyptian Copts claim they suffer from persecution if they actually received equitable treatment? Likewise, why would the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement be so confident about secession if the southern Sudanese had not felt unjustly treated under a unified state?
The spontaneous jubilation of southerners anticipating separation is genuine and reflects deep pains caused by years of war, negligence, racism and cultural arrogance. If there ever was a foreign conspiracy to split Sudan, it was born within Sudanese borders–when its rulers rejected the country’s rich religious, ethnic and cultural diversity.
Sudan’s culture of diversity has faltered as the voices of those who believe in a unified, diverse state have grown fainter. As for those who talk about conspiracy, the plots exist only in their heads.
Only when we purge our minds of such false ideas will we be able to truly liberate our homelands.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.