The Politics of Language, Identity Construction and State-Building That Divided The Sudan Into Two States: A Critical Analysis
This paper explores the politics of language, identity construction and state-building that the pre- and post-colonial regimes adopted in the Sudan to address the debated problems of language, identify and state-building. The paper examines to what extent such policies (since the Turco-Egyptian rule in 1820 until the separation of South Sudan in 2011) were responsible for perpetuating the north-conflict, and ultimately for the separation of South Sudan from the Sudan. To do so, historical processes adopted by the pre- and post-colonial regimes to make Arabic or English the national languages at different intervals, and the policies of constructing an Arab identity and state-building adopted by the latter regimes are reviewed. The findings show that under both regimes two distinct policies had a knock-off effect on the separation of South Sudan from the Sudan: whereas the latter regimes kept the Southerners isolated for colonial divide-and-rule ideologies, the latter regimes adopted, firstly, coercive Arabicisation policies to exterminate the native languages in South Sudan as well as to Arabise the originally African South Sudanese. Secondly, the post-colonial regimes embraced make-or-break policies with the aim of excluding the South Sudanese form playing a genuine role in mutually building the state whereby they could maintain their identity and equally be a part of decision-making. Consequently, the South Sudanese resisted the policies and opted for separation from the Sudan not because the separation was for them an end in itself, but because they felt that the North Sudanese power wielding elites were deliberately pushing them to separate.
Key words- Language Policy, Identity Construction, State-Building, Separation, South Sudan And The Sudan.