I have known the Nuba people for sixty years. I have waved in my support for them throughout these many difficult years, but now, it saddens me that at this crucial time in Nuba history, divisions exist with regard to their future statehood and identity.
It is perfectly understandable that such divisions have arisen in a people who suffered and were scattered in such unprecedented way, after years of warfare. There are those who remained in the mountains with all the suffering involved: those who were driven to take up arms with the southern forces: those who were scattered throughout the world: those who survived among the peoples of the north. It would be surprising if after all these experiences the Nuba shared one common view with regard to their future, but now is a crucial time for them to resolve any differences and to collectively resolve a common strategy.
Other peoples in the Sudan will be content to deal with a divided Nuba people because it will enable them to pursue their own selfish agendas. It is obvious from past history that Nuba rights are readily trampled on. Who, apart from the Nuba themselves, is going to champion them? The divergence of views arising from the agonies of war must be put aside. Every Nuba must ask:
(a) Are we to remain weak and divided, continuing to suffer at the whims of the others? Or
(b) Are we to be united with an agreed view as to the future of our people?
The choice must be obvious because apart from these, there is no other alternative. The world history tells time and again that only when there is unity in a people can their aspirations be achieved! The Nuba people must come together to hammer out, with absolute certainty, where their future lies. No matter what past experience is, no one group should strive to force its will undemocratically on the others.
As I wrote at the beginning, I have a long connection with the Nuba people; I have admired the democratic nature of their ancient culture. Even with the brutalisation of war which inevitably affects many people, I am certain this inherent nature will come to the surface, that the Nuba will come together in unity, so that they become a people to be respected in the councils of the future. Nuba need to take am common stand on the basic issues that concern them. At this crucial turning point in the history of Sudan, the Nuba need to have the right to determine their future.