The people of southern Sudan, a mixture of Christian and pagan, will vote on January 9 on the issue of secession from the Muslim north. It is expected that they will overwhelmingly reject the Sudanese government based in the northern city of Khartoum and, with it, Shari’a Law. If that happens, South Sudan will become a free and independent nation. Amid this struggle for independence by non-Muslims, Egypt’s top editor characterizes the vote as a “tragedy” that is opposed to Sudan’s “unity.”
Is freedom a “tragedy”? It certainly is for those who would argue for “unity” under Shari’a Law, a system that is wholly incompatible with the basics of human dignity and self-determination inherent to freedom.
As voting day draws near, Osama Saraya, editor of Egypt’s blatantly anti-Semitic state-run newspaper al-Ahram, is critical of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and his Muslim government. Only excerpts from Saraya’s editorial are currently available in English. Republished in an article at the Sudan Tribune are some of Sayara’s troubling claims, including a charge that the Al-Bashir government has “promoted the sin that the adoption of the right to self-determination will make the unity of Sudan a correct choice for the South.”
Of course, anyone who believes “self-determination” is a “sin” would refer to the January 9 vote as a “tragedy”.
Saraya also criticized Al-Bashir‘s decision to go on the record in public to defend the brutal lashing of a woman in Khartoum earlier this month, a punishment that falls under Shari’a Law. Not surprisingly, Sayara fails to condemn the brutality itself. This sends the message that lashings are okay. The only “mistake” as he sees it, is in talking about lashings in the mass media because it scares non-Muslims and makes them less likely to vote for “unity”.