Development Essay

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CONFLICT IN SUDAN. Root causes of the conflict. Identity That individuals are willing to blow themselves up for (what they perceive as) the greater good of their society shows beyond a doubt that group identity plays a potent role in conflicts. If hatred can drive a person to sacrifice his life, then it can motivate a group to do much worse. If finance trumped all else in decision-making, then conflicts such as this one wouldn’t exist. The Arab government in Khartoum’s perpetual identity crisis provides fuel for the conflict. The North Sudanese are in ‘identity limbo’: not accepted by their Arab cousins as equals, they despise the blacks who ‘tarnish’ Sudan’s reputation as an upright Arab nation. This insecurity fuels hatred and a militaristic outlook, as can be seen in former President Gaafar Nimeiry’s attempts to institute Sharia law across the country. Thus the ethnic/religious dimension is a potent factor in an almost continual civil war lasting from 1955 to 2005 (with an eleven year break from 1972 to 1983). For decades, Sudan has been a (well-deserved) social pariah, completely isolated from regular diplomatic circles. The UN has slapped on several economic sanctions, though China has prevented much of substance from being implemented on an international level. This also contributes to Khartoum’s already substantial insecurity. History Today’s tension has roots reaching back hundreds of years. The Moslem expansion that swept much of North and West Africa stopped short of converting the Christian and Animist blacks of South Sudan. That didn’t stop them from trying though. The Arabs’ attempts at assimilation and religious conversion continued until Sudan became a British colony. Under British supervision, North and South Sudan were ruled separately, furthering the distinction between the two. Upon independence, the Arabs quickly dominated the South’s

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