Home | Comment & Analysis    Wednesday 25 February 2004

The Enslaved Purity of Joseph


By Mahgoub El-Tigani*

Feb 24, 2004 — While reading over conflicting views in the Sudanese MSU List on the scourge of slavery in the Sudan, the story of Joseph the enslaved Prophet suddenly jumped into my mind.

As the Holy Qur’an taught, "The (Brethren) sold him for a miserable price, - for a few dirhams counted out; in such low estimation did they hold him!" (Yousif: 20).

The story of Joseph in the Holy Qur’an has always fascinated readers; a parable with magnificent meanings not least of them is that, as far as our Sudanese realities are concerned, enslavement does degrade humans down to a few dirhams, which is the cheapest price ever. The enslaved ones, the parable goes, continue high and above the evil of enslavement pure humans (including Prophets) in the eyes of the Benevolent and the Most Merciful with brilliant future too when liberation comes and change is inescapably enforced. Hence, Joseph the Enslaved becomes the non-enslaving Ruler, the liberator of his evil brethren. What a Story!

Abdon Agaw, a refined Sudanese leader and human rights activist who in the mid 1990s saw it all with his own eyes (criminal traders, receiving Chiefs, liberated victims, and a market location in the middle of a remote area in Bahr al-Ghazal), wrote in the Sudanese Human Rights Quarterly (Issue 12: January 2002, pages 20-21):

"The Sudanese Human Rights Quarterly of June 1997 published the names of children from the Bor Dinka of Bahr Al-Ghazal enslaved by slave-traders with different forms and new styles. A larger number of children and women have already been unlawfully kidnapped and wrongfully ill-treated as slaves, a direct consequence of the NIF-escalated civil war in the South and Western Sudan." In this statement, Agaw clearly mentioned enslavement occurrence as well in Western Sudan.

Agaw further documented the names of our innocent children from the villages of Abang, Angakuei, Atet, Chir, Palek, Adol, Koch, Col, Adumwor, Ayual, Aduodit, Deer, Biong, among several others.

The full of life, able-bodied, youthful, and beautiful Sudanese children Gok, Malith, Alier, Atem, Barach, Garang, Awuou, Mayom, Deng, Dol, Kut, Wel, Majur, Jok, Ajak, Goi, Atem, Majok, Gawer, Madit, Ajith, Lual, Murial, Mawei, Agany, Chol, Kur, Gai, Achiek, Mnyok, Majok, Mayuei, Bol, Makuol, Deng, MAtiop, Deng, Alier, GArang, Mading, Mayen, Deng, Guguei, Atet, Majok and Majok were all enslaved.

What difference would a "contextual depiction" mean instead of a flat right wording of the scourge matters when the Sudan Government and Arab supporters claim the enslavement of these Sudanese precious children is only "kidnapping" or, worst of all, negate the whole existence of the scourge saying: we will not believe it until we see it with our own eyes! Think a moment of a murder witness saying in court I will not say the murder occurred until I would have seen the killing with my own eyes! How unpolished, dehumanizing, and miserably liar this regime is!

What difference does it make for the suffering of these angels when the Sudan Government’s "human rights agency" insists in calling the act of enslavement mere "abductions"? True, the hollow-hearts of a false pride are surely senseless about real agonies.

What difference does it make to the aborted future of these kids and the tranquility of their families and communities that the slavery-encouraging war-mongering Brotherhood theological State feverishly say "it is not slavery! Where are these slaves in the North? It is merely a product of armed conflicts between Bedouin Dinka and Bedouin Arabs!" Then stop this conflict wherever it exists with regular democracy, the rule of law, and the just peace instead of waging new wars all over the nation.

Despite the government’s faltering arguments, the victimized Josephs are there, innocent as the Prophet was in the bottom of the well, kidnapped and exposed to enslavement by his own Brethren, waiting for liberation and a brilliant future deserved in a free land with advanced public and personal life.

Until then, however, our enslaved children are there; somewhere with unknown whereabouts, dead or alive - but tortured for sure beginning with the act of pulling them away by the wickedest actors ever from their own parents, villages, and innocent communities under the bad governance of the Brotherhood regime that is only good in doing evil and negating it!.

How could a Sudanese awakening conscience sleep with a restful mind when our children are openly enslaved by fellow Sudanese?!

The Sudan Government has been continuously advised by international human rights norms that the State powers government is using and consistently abusing to batter her own citizens should be utilized in full scale to free the enslaved girls and boys now from government-supported militias. This is how the shame of the scourge would cease to exist with all victims restored, all culprits put to trial, and the stringent laws of prohibition strictly and fully applied.

A Government Genociding its Own People, however, is just opening a new chapter of enslavement in DarFur, kidnapping children and women, displacing whole populations, and extra-judicially killing thousands.

What Shame!

* Member of Sudanese Writers’ Union (in exile) and the president of Sudan Human Rights Organization Cairo-Branch.

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