okello oculi

The death of over twenty asylum seekers who were hozed with
high-speed water jets, beaten and forcibly huddled into buses from a
rich Cairo suburb, has brought to the limelight several padoxes in
Egyptians relations with black Africa. At once a gateway from the
Mediterrenean and Europe into Africa, Egypt has since the glorious
civilization of the Pharaohs also expressed the flourishing of the
geniuses of black peoples from the Great Lakes region, Ethiopia,
Sudan and West Africa who migrated physically downstream as the Nile
river flowed from the highland of central and eastern Africa, and
eastwards from the rivers Niger-senegal complex. With that genius
also came rich soils and human gene pools which continue to travel
daily to feed agriculture and populations in Egypt. With the
political support of the former Soviet Union (and in opposition to
Cold War political interests of the United States, Britain and others
behind the World Bank), the Nile also hosts the Aswan Dam to give
Egypt enormous quantities and reserves of electric power.

There has also been benefits of a counter-geography. Professor Cheik
Anta Diop has traced language and cultural patters which migrated as
the Sahara Desert expanded as far west as Nigeria and Senegal. More
recently, in a hunger for control of the source of the
Nile waters, the Ottoman colonizers of Egypt hired European
mercenaries and Nubians resident north of Omdurman, to fight wars of
territorial conquest towards a lake which British rulers would later
call "Victoria". Despite their subsequent defeat by the Islamic
nationalism of the Mahdists, Egypt allied with British colonisers to
establish a "co-dominion" over Sudan.

In the 1940s and the first two years of 1950, young angry military
coup plotters led by Gamal Nasser would use their military posting in
Sudan to plot the revolution which overthrew a corrupt monarchy under
King Farouk. Moreover, out of its black ancestry, also comes the
darker pigmentation of most Egyptians, just as Napoleon's invasion
and British colonial rule
also brought in more European pigmentation among her elites. Jokes
against former President Anwar Sadat having come out of a Nubian
mother; and Boutrous
Boutrous Ghali's assertion (in a book he wrote after he left
Secretary Generalship of the United Nations), that Egyptian diplomats
see being posted to serve in African capitals as punishment and a dip
in their diplomatic career, go to emphasize the contradictions in the
African soul of Egyptians.

In an interview in his office at Al Haram newspaper in Cairo,
Boutrous Ghali had told me in 1971 of the role he had always played
in conducting shuttle diplomacy for President Nasser. He had also
been loaned to serve
on the committee of experts which drafted the Charter of the
Organisation of African Unity, OAU; a gesture which Nasser saw as his
gift to PanAfricanism. Egypt
has also played a historic role in building up the
major continental agency for promoting sports in
Africa. As a reflection of this legacy, she is due to host the now
glamorous "headhunting" Africa Cup of Nations football fiesta
starting in early 2006.

It is in this light that the murderous violence unleashed by
Egyptian officials against defenceless and non-violent Sudanese
refugees huddled in in a
Cairo upper class surburb on 31 December, 2005, has
come as a great shock to all of Africa. 654 "illegal immigrants" were
deported to Sudan on 5th January, 2006, because they are "violating
conditions". It is symbolic of a shrinking of
political vision all across Africa that (as the late
viscerial Palestinian-American scholar, Eduard Said,
noted), maps, border-posts, immigration police have
come to be rich nutrition for African dictators and
political demagogues to feed their ambitions for power
and political dictatorship. Behind sordid walls of
sovereignty, Egypt rulers kept mute and immobilized as
rulers in northern Sudan perpetrated murderes of over
two million people in Southern Sudan for over three

Egypt under Nasser brutalized, often to death, persons suspected of
carrying "communist" or Islamic fundamentalism", regarded as
politically dangerous viruses. Even nationalists who believed in
independence and national sovereignty were suspect and
vulnerable to arbitrary arrest, torture, deportation
and imprisonment. This culture of repression deepened
after a spectacular assassination of President Anwar
Sadat during a military parade. A generalised and long
culture of violence as a key ingredient of governance
translated itself as easy reflexes at all levels of
governance when the United Nations withdrew its cover
over the hapless Sudanese refugees.

Egypt's leaders may well consider their killing of twenty Sudanese
civilians arithmetically trivial in comparison to the generalised use
of roving gangs of
murderers, arsonists, and looters as tools of
governance by the government of Sudan itself against "its own people"
in Darfur, and for over five decades in Southern Sudan. Yet Africa
must react with utmost
disgust and anger when the length of time Egyptian
rulers have had with governance is considered. In the
early eighteenth Century Mohammed Ali had introduced into Egypt the
notion of governance as a search for a position of dignity in the
community of nations
through pursuing and administering socio-economic development.
Egyptian rulers witnessed convulsions among nations in Europe,
including the link between
the development of human resources through mass high
quality education and the democratization of politics.
She even prided herself as a junior partner in colonial dictatorship
over Sudan. It is surely, not for her, to be measuring her culture of
governance in 2005 with blood tapes once used by Bodel Bokassa, Idi
Amin and the Mamelukes of her past.

Africa demands an apology from Egypt over the barbarism meted at the
Sudanese guests; as well as more effective participation of its
leaders in pushing
along the promised cleansing role of African rulers
either mutually reproaching, or commending each other, over their
records in governance through the "Peer Review Mechanism" of the
African Union. She must go beyond the crude opportunism and cynical
economics of merely hawking the legacy of the Pharaohs to rich
Euro-American and Far-Eastern Asian foreign tourists. It is now
recognized that out of that legacy came what is today known as
"Western Civilisation", as well as
the grand visions of Christianity and Islam which today impinge on
the lives of vast sections of global humanity.

The hosting of international football competitions have in Europe
been marked by barbaric behaviour by fans. Television pictures have
carried this virus far and wide.