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The Sudanese-Egyptian destiny at the sidelines of the 55th International Book Fair’s 2024 edition

D. Ibrahim Mohammed Adam

Professor Ibrahim Mohamed Adam reflects on the Sudanese-Egyptian destiny at the sidelines of the 55th International Book Fair’s 2024 edition. The common theme discussed by university professors at the invitation of Dar Al Arabiya for Publishing was the historical, present, and future relations between Sudan and Egypt. The recent crisis revealed the depth of these ties, going beyond rhetoric to a lived reality.

Since the early days of war, people naturally gravitated towards Egypt, creating a sense of migration from one Sudanese city to another. Even those who initially sought other neighboring countries eventually found their way to Egypt. This mutual connection is deeply rooted in shared cultural, economic, political, and social values, with ruling families exchanging power without overtly labeling it as occupation.

Historical tensions, at times, trace back to colonial interventions, notably during the rule of Muhammad Ali Pasha, the Turkish governor of Egypt. His harsh campaigns in Sudan, associated with revengeful practices, affected Sudanese across various regions. Despite the cruelty inflicted by Egyptian officials, the average Sudanese citizen perceives the Egyptian as a compatriot, avoiding a sense of estrangement in Egypt.

The dual governance era, as per the 1899 agreement, included loose wording designating the General Governor as an Egyptian citizen appointed by the British government. The initial nationalist movements against English rule witnessed a consensus on the unity of destiny, seen in the Sudanese Union Society and the White Flag Association. The aftermath of the 1924 Sudanese revolution tightened the constraints on unity advocates but did not extinguish the aspirations for unity, leading to the formation and eventual unification of federal parties before independence.

Discussions during the book fair emphasized that the roots of the crisis and conflicts trace back to the colonial era, pitting Egyptians against Sudanese in daily administrative affairs. The distant colonial authority intervening to solve problems left a positive image in the minds of ordinary Sudanese, even when governments changed, often invoking a nostalgic sentiment for the English era, reflecting the complex historical intertwining of the two nations.

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