This article, published recently by Sudan Mirror, is reposted here for the Gurtong readers who have not had the chance to read it.
By the Editor
Whenever President George W. Bush ends one of his short speeches these days with “God Bless America,” eyebrows are raised as if to say it would be tantamount to a travesty of justice if God blessed America at all!
It is also implied that the Good Lord shouldn’t waste any saliva on both Bush Junior and the man some Brits charitably call “Bush’s lackey,” a term which is mild and kind by comparison to the current vitriol being doled out by Tony Blair’s critics through the media and boozing clubs.
And what’s Blair’s response? “Oh I love my job!” or something like that anyway. With a disjointed opposition against him, his inner gut tells him the Brits will vote for him in a year’s time anyway as long as he keeps the tax low on the booze and avoid any public row with his critics.
Having experienced the evils of dictatorship and devastating wars, people of European origin in general hate being dictated to any more and enjoy having a laugh at their leaders and see it as incentive to productivity and good living. They elect their leaders periodically just to remind them as to who is the boss.
“Other people’s dictators,” they argue, are just that: “other people’s dictators - as long as they leave us alone.”
Unfortunately no country is an island any more as other people’s dictators can easily become the source of terrorism across the borders.
“Other people’s dictators” should really become the concern of all peace-loving people if we want a more peaceful world. This point is what I think Bush and Blair are not successfully selling at home.
Critics of Bush and Blair push aside as insignificant the fact that not so long ago that mild criticism like the one above would have put the noose around the neck of any number of Afghans or Iraqis daring to say such things against their rulers, for one could not laugh at the expense of the likes of the Talaban and Saddam Hussein.
Honest criticism of the “President and Head of State” or humour at his expense could still be treasonable today in Mohammed Omer Bashir’s Sudan, while many still believe that such critics could still be “disappeared” in Chairman Garang’s domain, even with the Americans and the Europeans looking over their shoulders.
Don’t get me wrong: I am far from being a devoted convert to the American ability to liberate Sudan, leave alone the world. They were in Khartoum in the 70s and early 80s when we the underdogs - meaning Southerners and Sudanese women - walked tall in the streets of the capital feeling good for the first time just being Sudanese.
But it was also the time when top dogs like Sadiq al Mahadi and Hassen al Turabi were feeling rotten to the core walking the same streets on an almost equal basis with the underdogs and they blamed the Americans for it.
“The Americans are here for their own interest, you know!” they would whisper as if it were not obvious. “They are here to undermine Islam!” they would say as if it were a given. “Americans are anti Arabs!”
“But who wouldn’t be,” an underdog would wonder, “if the Sudanese Arabs are the prime example as they claim of Arab goodness, civilization, fairness and justice?”
We the underdogs wallowed in the glorious presence of our Western liberators though we would not admit it openly then. We were oblivious to the tragic schemes being hatched.
There was, for example, no indication of evil thoughts - such as putting us back in our cages - on the face of the mercurial Turabi the day we met at a reception at the American Embassy in Khartoum at the beginning of the 80s.