Posted by Kuku on 3:33 PM

A great essay written on Alex de Waal's SSRC blog by Munzoul Assal, an anthropologist from Khartoum University, details the current situation with regards to Khartoum's urbanization.

Assal's analysis of the situation is spot on. The tens of thousands of IDPs in and around Khartoum have been almost literally ignored by the regime. Mostly southerners and Darfurians, these people literally live on the less than $1 / day everyone talks about. These large IDP camps, some of which I have visited during my work last summer with SUDO, were the most devastated areas during the rainy season.

Khartoum’s urbanization is pathological. It is the aggregation of people without their integration into a social and political system that enfranchises them and provides for democratic transformation.

The regime has been completely unwilling to provide the most basic amenities to the residents of these camps. Only when it comes time for elections, it starts to give lip service to their plight, and in some cases even allotting some people plots of land so they can remember which box to fill on the ballot. These people are so marginalized that they feel as though they have no future. It is only a matter of time before a serious violent outbreak to occur on a bigger scale, than that after Garang's death.

The failure of integration in Khartoum was brutally manifested in the events that followed the announcement of Garang’s death at the end of July 2005. While many analysts and local media commentators tried to link the rampage in Khartoum to angry southerners, it was found later that those who engaged in burning, killing and looting were not only southerners, but also marginalized people from different parts of the country.

The lack of reintegration on the part of the government will end up hurting it the most. It is imperative to find a way to provide for these people, and most importantly to give these people a reason to return to their homes all around the country. This will not happen until the focus of the government on modernizing Khartoum ends, while all the regions of Sudan (including some of the north) continue to lay in anguish.

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