Sudan gained its independence from Great Britain in 1956 and up until 2011, it was Africa’s largest country. Since obtaining its independence, it has been in great turmoil. The first civil war began in 1955. This war was between the Sudanese Government and Southern rebels who were fighting for greater autonomy from the Southern area of Sudan. This war ended in 1972, when both sides signed the Addis Ababa Agreement. This allowed Southern Sudan a great amount of regional autonomy on internal issues. This agreement ended armed conflict in the country for about ten years.
Sudan was essentially a country divided with its political power in the North in the capital Khartoum and natural resources in the South. In addition to this, Sudan was further divided by religion, ethnicity and economics. This division, as well as President Jaafar Nimeiri introducing Sharia Law (the body of Islamic Law), led to a second civil war between the North and the South, that began in 1983. This conflict was between the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) that was prominent in Southern Sudan. Negotiations between the government and the SPLA took place in 1988-1989, but they ended when Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi was ousted from power in a military coup by Omar al-Bashir, who became the President and remains so to this day. The civil war over resources and the role of religion in the state continued after the coup. This civil war ended 22 years after it began, when peace was established by the signing of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Sudanese Government and the SPLA. The results of this civil war were catastrophic and resulted in over two million deaths and four million people being displaced.
Following the end of the second civil war, as part of the peace agreement, a six year interim peace period was established with a series of provisions to be followed. These provisions were implemented in order to test the viability of a unified Sudan and to ensure that peace would continue. Throughout this interim period, Southern Sudan had a great amount of autonomy, in a Sudan which was united. At the end of this interim period, it was decided that Southern Sudan would hold a referendum to decide whether or not it would remain a part of a united Sudan. In January 2011, it was decided that Southern Sudan would separate from Sudan and become independent. At the end of the interim peace period on July 9, 2011, South Sudan became its own country. Even though it gained independence, there are still disputes over borders and resources. South Sudan has dealt with state corruption, political instability and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. In December 2013, tension increased in South Sudan that led to rioting and fighting in the streets. This conflict was between those loyal to South Sudan’s President Slava Kiir and those loyal to his former Vice President Riek Machar, who were associated with different ethnic groups. This marked the return of war in South Sudan.
While the civil war was raging on between North and South Sudan, conflict was also occurring in the Darfur region of the Sudan. In February 2003, two rebel groups began a rebellion against the Sudanese Government. These groups were the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). This rebellion mainly involved Muslim sedentary tribes and began due to continuous economic marginalization and insecurity. The Sudanese Government responded to these rebels by enlisting the help of nomadic tribes that lived in the region of Darfur. In return for their service and allegiance to the government’s military, the government promised these nomadic tribes land. These tribes formed a type of militia and called themselves the Janjaweed. The Janjaweed raided villages, burned them to the ground, killed civilians, stole livestock and abused women. The government used a number of tactics in this conflict, some of which included:
Ø Mass starvation
Ø Forcible displacement
Ø Interfering with the delivery of humanitarian aid
Ø Enslaving women and children by government supported militias
Ø Bombings of hospitals, clinics, schools
This led to genocide in Darfur, which resulted in the death of over 300, 000 people and ended up displacing four million people.
Information Courtesy Of:
Center for American Progress, Enough Project (2015). Sudan and South Sudan. Retrieved
July 20, 2015, from http://www.enoughproject.org/conflicts/sudans/history-of-the-conflict
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut. (2015). An overview of the
conflict in Sudan. Retrieved July 20, 2015, from http://sudan.uconn.edu/sudan
Synopsis: Shot in cinema-vérité style, this feature doc immerses us in the sights and sounds of the world's largest field hospital, the International Committee of the Red Cross in Sudan. The ICRC allowed filmmakers David Christensen and Damien Lewis unprecedented access to the surgical hospital and local medical staff as they care for wounded Sudanese soldiers and women and children, all casualties of the civil war. With no narrator and minimal explanation, War Hospital simply and powerfully captures the joy and sadness of life and death.
-- National Film Board
Synopsis: This short documentary zooms in on the Dinka population of Alek, South Sudan, during a period of famine. The Dinkas are an extremely patient people. With empty stomachs, they await the next harvest. For the last 40 years, an intermittent state of civil war has divided the country in 2. This time, the population has requested aid. Sacks of grain are dropped from planes, but to prevent rioting, distribution is delayed until the arrival of reinforcements. During this week of waiting, we witness the true face of hunger.
-- National Film Board
These movies are located in the library's AV Collection:
Call Number: On Order
Call Number: AV HV 640.4 S73 L67 2004
Call Number: AV DT 159.67 S8 2009
Call Number: AV DT 159.6 D27 D37 2006
Call Number: AV DT 159.6 D27 D483 2007
Sudan's 22 Year War: The Longest Conflict in Africa
Synopsis: This film chronicles Sudan's decades-long civil war, a violent mix of colonial legacies, religious tensions, and new found oil wealth.
Sudan's civil war, which raged from the 1980s until a peace deal was brokered in the early 2000s, marks the longest war ever to take place on the African continent. Dr. Hassan al-Turabi, who served as intellectual mentor of the Sudanese regime for much of the war, states that "We have never known slavery," although many in the south claimed that the north launched regular slave raids into their territory. "There were times when the situation seemed quite hopeless," remarks Nhial Deng, former SPLM Secretary of Foreign Affairs, on the fitful negotiations that finally led to a peace treaty in 2005.
-- Journeyman Pictures
Saving South Sudan
Synopsis: Late last year, South Sudan's president, Salva Kiir, accused his former vice president, Riek Machar, of attempting a coup d'état amid accusations of rampant corruption within the government. Infighting immediately broke out within the presidential guard, sparking what has now become a brutal tribal and civil war that has pitted Machar's ethnic Nuer loyalists against the majority Dinka, who have sided with Kiir. Machar narrowly escaped assassination, fleeing to the deep bush as Kiir's troops razed his home and killed his bodyguards. And now the world's newest sovereign nation is in imminent danger of becoming a failed state.
In February, journalists and filmmakers Robert Young Pelton and Tim Freccia set out on a grueling mission to locate Machar in his secret hideout in Akobo and get his side of the story. Accompanying was Machot Lat Thiep, a former child soldier and Lost Boy who had advised on South Sudan's constitution and now works as a manager of a Costco in Seattle. Machot acted as a guide of sorts, arranging Pelton and Freccia's rendezvous with Machar through a series of endless satellite-phone calls to old contacts and rebel platoons, who would eventually guide the group to the deposed vice president.
After spending a couple days with Machar, he granted Pelton and Freccia unprecedented access to the front lines of a battle in Malakal, where for the first time in history the pair documented the heretofore mythical White Army as they looted, murdered, and pillaged their way to some twisted interpretation of "victory."
Saving South Sudan is a multi-platform exploration of the horrors of the country's newest civil war. We devoted an entire issue of the magazine to Robert Young Pelton and Tim Freccia's sprawling 35,000-plus word epic exploration of the crisis in South Sudan. It's a companion piece of sorts; watch the documentary and read the issue or vice versa. But you won't get a full scope of the situation without doing both.
Sudan: History of a broken land - Sudan: The Break-Up
Synopsis: Sudan once represented the greatest hope for peaceful coexistence between Arab and African, Muslim and Christian.
Sudan was the giant of Africa which once represented the greatest hope for peaceful coexistence between Arab and African, Muslim and Christian. That hope is all but gone.
Sudan: History of a broken land goes straight to the heart of the problem, confronting key characters in Sudan's modern history and also hearing the tragic stories of ordinary men and women.
This powerful film provides an excellent grounding to understand a country fashioned by British colonial power and later traumatised by civil war. It sets out to discover the truth behind the tragedy that was -- and perhaps still is - Sudan.