Who are Nuer people by identity? by Bol Jok Jek

Nuer Woman with tradition Cultural representation.algettyimages 919016398 612x612 1
We are Nuer people by identity. We are one people; one Nation. We are not South Sudanese by identity, we are Nuer Nation. We like any other Nationals and identities in the world. We are like Germans, Israelis, English and Scottish. For your information, people do not create identities. Race and national identity is something that you cannot change. It is similar to the fact that you cannot choose your race and ethnicity.  Successful people and smartest races in the world do accept who they are. The only way to progress in this world is to work hard to advance who you are and make use of the resources at your disposal. To contribute to humanity as a whole require self confidence and internal strengths of people themselves.  What made other races better than other races in progress and develoment is self-confidence.
Self-confidence always differentiates between superior and inferior races. The Nuer people have to feel proud of who they are and should not listen to negative propaganda planned against them. If Nuer are Nuer by identity, then why should they accept to become South Sudanese by identity? The answer is that we became South Sudanese because we were force to be Sudanese by colonialism.
 *Why we became Sudanese?*
We became Sudanese because of scrambling of Africa. The division of Africa by Europeans started by Berlin Conference. That conference affected several African’s Countries including the Nuer. We were independent state before colonialism. The Berlin conference 1884, enabled the establishment of colonial powers in Africa in which each European state got its own share in Africa.
The name Sudan was first coined by Egyptians in seven century A.D. we never called ourselves Sudanese before colonialism.  Colonial powers promoted that name further in 18th century by emergence of nation-state.
That caused  the first generalization of the name Sudan over all peoples that were existing in that particular colonial territory.
By 1821’sTurko-Egyptian invasion to North Sudan, that was the beginning of first Sudanization.  When Turco-Egyptians rule reached South Sudan, they also used the same name they were using for North Sudan.
The Nuer had resisted incorporation into Sudanization political structure for several of years. Nuer’s struggle took 38 years, from 1902 to 1940. This resistance has led to development of two distinct parts of Sudan, South and the North in 19th century.
They started to call Nuer people Sudanese among others. As a matter of fact, the Nuer were not part of Sudan. The name Sudan was given to Nuba by Arabs who came to Egypt in year seven hundred A.D. Each nationality in the area that was located in the South of the Sudan was unfortunately naive to implicitly accept the description they called Bilad El Sud or Coutry of black or Sudan.
The Country located to the South of Egypt was populated by Nubia people. The word Sudan was an Arabic word used by Egyptians to describe the population of Nuba by their color of skin.
The word was (Bilad El Suud) which means Country of the black.  It was a segregating description used by Egyptians Arabs who migrated to Egypt in Seven century A.D. We are proud to be black but it was not the way we were calling ourselves.
Before seven century A.D the name of the area was known as Cush referring to Biblical Cush. Cush assumed to be ancestor of black people. That was not true, Cush was one of nation. Other name that was used was the name Ethiopia in Greek language meaning people with burned skin probably by the invasion of Egypt by Alexander the great in 3rd century BC. Cush has not been an identity to all black ethnic groups who lived therein. This is the origin of the name Sudan and of Sudanism in which South Sudan’s concept came.
This is how Nuer became Sudanese and later be part of South Sudan. Now, who are we? The answer is that we are Nuer and not South Sudanese originally.
Some arguments holds that since the Nuer are black, thus the name is acceptable. However, we believed that being white do not qualified white British to be Germans. Or Dutch to be French  nor being white makes white French to be white Polish by identity.
The people who had lived in South of Egypt were not Nuer other than Nubians. The name Sudan has got negative meaning for it was actually a description for Nubians who were slaves of Arabs after their Kingdom was destroyed by Islamic conquest in 641 A.D.
The identity Sudan given to Nubians by others as Nuer gives names others in contrary to how those people were calling themselves. For example, we are calling Murle (Jaabe) Dinka (Jaang) and the Anyuak (Baar) in contrary to how they are actually calling themselves.  These names are not the names which the aforementioned nationalities are calling themselves, but names representing the way Nuer look at them.
Nuer had accepted the description “Sudan which was given to them by others.
Article Writer: Bol Jok Jek


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