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31.12.2019 Article

Nubian Civilization; It’s Time To Shine Building Relationship With The Ancestors

By Amb. Mubarak Mahjoub Musa
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Thanks to tireless efforts The Nubian Square Coalition which bore fruits, in the historic renaming of the biggest square, in the majority-black Roxbury neighborhood in the city of Boston, after the ancient African civilization of Nubia. The big event ensued as a result of a years-long campaign, culminating in a decisive referendum. It was by accounts, a historic event that bears witness of the greatness and the paramount symbolism of the Nubian civilization.

the historical renaming came in conjunction with another event of no less importance; the decision of the Boston City Education Council, to include the history of the Nubian civilization, as a material to be taught in schools. A decision that would not only unleash about a concerted awareness but also imbibe in their respective hearts and minds, the appreciation and the understanding of the Sudan’s ancient monuments, as part and parcel of the world human heritage.

On the other hand, it shall help in gradually changing of stereotypical image of a Sudan, as a country that used to conjure and call forth, images of war, instability, drought and poverty, into a country – among others - that ranks first in the world for instance, in terms of the number of pyramids (270 pyramids of various shapes, sizes, and designs).

The history of ancient Sudan is rich with great epics, merit to be narrated to younger generations; How for to sake of example, Sudanese queen Amanishakheto, one of many Afro- Sudanese great warrior queens of the Kushitic Kingdom of Meroë (Nubia) , who reigned from around 10 BC to 1 AD, Queen, is exceptionally famous for having quashed the invading Roman army sent by Augustus, the first Emperor of the Roman empire, who dared to conquer Nubia.

Likewise, both the events should be understood within the framework of an extended ongoing campaign, for the rewriting, restitution and celebration of Nubia; the ancient world's least-known civilization. It should be construed as an integral part of the process of setting right, the historical injustices and prejudices, systematically practiced against this civilization for decades.

Until the construction of permanent pavilion of the Nubian Civilization, MFA’s “Ancient Nubia Now “ inaugurated last October, showcases - for the first time ever - four hundred Nubian archeological artifacts containing; jewelry, pottery, sculpture and metalwork, rightly described as mind-boggling and thought stimulating, in an apparent recognition of the authenticity, greatness and majesty of this ancient African civilization.

To that effect, the launching the Nubian collections for the first time, after being held out of sight for long decades, reflects the magnitude of the injustice inflicted upon the Nubian civilization by contempt, underestimating and negative propaganda. Depriving Sudanese civilization, the long over-due recognition and the very opportunity to shine and show its culture and beauty.

Hence, in an important historical initiative that could possibly shape the contemporary understanding of ancient history of Sudan; the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, has officially regretted its role and participation in the forging Nubian history, and the racism systematically practiced against Nubian possessions.

Such timely and courageous apology shall remain a milestone in discrediting and pulling the carpet under the feet, of all hollow and false claims, the most despicable amongst which, was the claim that the civilization of ancient Egypt, could not have been built by other than the white race from Europe.

The overwhelming aesthetic wealth of the ancient Nubian kingdoms currently displayed by MFA, speak for themselves; Nubian kings and queens controlled vast empires and trade networks, rivaling—sometimes conquering—their more famous neighbors, the Egyptians. The Nubians left behind remains of cities, temples, palaces, and pyramids, but few written records. That was the ambiguity and loophole, viciously exploited by some earlier American and European scholars and archeologists, to mold and garble conclusions with cultural bias and prejudices.

In doing so, they meant to withhold in their respective narrative –to name but a few- how ancient Sudanese and African kingdoms of Kush and Nubia once rivaled Egypt, Greece and Rome. Lost in the narrative as well, the very fact that Sudanese Nubians are presumably the founders of the ancient Egyptian civilization; assumptions which were further reinforced by the recent scientific and archeological discoveries and studies, suggesting that the first human civilization as such, and the first-ever existence of known human fossils, were found in this part of Africa.

Likewise, and premised on some evolving theories, suggesting that black culture in Nubia has actually antedated Egypt, Nubia should have been the primary source of all the wisdom of Egypt. In other words, since there is a consensus that, no civilization whether Greek or Egyptian or other, was an autogenetic wonder, Egypt culture could not have developed without an earlier source, all available overriding clues increasingly point to their immediate neighbors in the south.

In the aftermath of the Sudanese revolution, which stunned the world with its peaceful slogans and the exceptional determination and perseverance of its youths, circumstances are increasingly opportune and favorable for the re-branding of Sudan as a tourist destination.

It’s the time to take the full advantage of current momentum, in rebranding the Sudan on all fronts. Sudanese citizens in Diasporas, particularly in the United States and likewise in Europe, through their different associations and groupings, have a lot to contribute in the coming period.

Efforts should continue to capture the attention of African descents and to enlist the Sudan, in the ongoing campaigns such as “Go back to Africa Campaign “specializes in making black Americans feel more connected to their motherland, through their travel experience. Networking likewise, with local agencies that are already active and making successes, in showcasing the variety of attractions that Africa offers, with the goal of promoting mother Africa to all African-origin communities, and others, encouraging them to share about where they come from and show their pride. Indeed, Sudan should not longer be spared out.

According to the African Development Bank’s most recent tourism report, the industry accounted for 9.3 million direct African jobs in 2017. The burgeoning industry led on the continent by countries including Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania has also been a way to diversify each country’s economy.

Besides the pyramids, which were classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site dating back to 500 BC, Sudan is graced with a number of other attractions, which could easily qualify Sudan, amongst the list of countries with impressive tourist attractions in the world of today; to name just a few;

There exist The Red Sea in eastern Sudan, where more wild, more virgin, totally outside the usual tourist destinations. More and more divers have already started to discover in the Red Sea, an underwater paradise, with its pure water, which accounts for rare and interesting types of fish and more than 100 types of amazing and picturesque coral reefs, making it potentially one of the most exciting tourist attractions for diving and cruise amateurs.

For nature lovers, safari trips and wildlife, there is also the Dinder National Park, teeming with wild animals in addition to various types of birds. It is regarded as one of the largest national parks in the African continent, covering a total of more than 2500 square miles.

Likewise for tourists who want to enjoy breathtaking views of natural formations, such as waterfalls and volcanic lakes, Jebbel Marra Mountains in Western Sudan, is yet another natural captivating attraction, with plenty of sites that allures tourists to enjoy the fascinating beauty of nature, the temperate climate and the clean environment.

Interestingly, elements such as the geographical proximity and connectivity of both Egypt and Sudan, could favorably be utilized, to convince tourists and travelers, that the intriguing experience of learning about the pyramids in Egypt as well as the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, could still be further extended south to Sudan; where they see for themselves and obtain first-hand knowledge, not only on the diversity and originality of the architecture of the Sudanese Pyramids But also, equally interesting relics, glamour and baffling secrets, of yet another great ancient civilization and kingdoms.

On the other hand, and despite the considerable support of extended international archeological missions working today in different archaeological sites in Sudan, the archaeological tourism sector in the Sudan continues to face significant challenges, in restoring, rehabilitation and protection of these valuable ancient monuments. Concerted international efforts, leading to the establishment of infrastructures for the archeological sites, is still lacking today.

It is an invitation to complete the project of the "Sudan National Museum" in order to reach international specifications. There still a need to have an electronic museum, building of more new museums, besides the importance to perhaps in of establishing and stimulating the activities of the service sector in archeology areas. The completion of these projects and the likes, remain the only guarantor of qualifying Sudan to play its promising role in archaeological tourism.

The Sudan National Museum in Khartoum owing to years of neglect, robbery and mismanagement, is still falls short, in terms of form and content, to duly reflect the greatness of different Sudanese civilization.

More pressing challenges include the enigma of aligning and reconciling both, the need to protect both the current and potential archeological sites, in the pressing needs for the construction of various developmental projects.

Another alarming situation, is the multiplication -in both number and size- of the indiscriminate indigenous mining in and about Sudan’s archeological sites; multitude of young Sudanese youths, continue to head towards the desert in pursue and rush for gold, where they do occasionally find artifacts instead, subsequently leading to the rise in illegal trade in these historic relics.

Last but not least, Sudan desperately needs helping hands, in the restoration and the retrieval of Sudanese monuments and artifacts, looted in different times of history. Fortunately enough, a matrix has already been prepared, featuring not only the number and classification of these artifacts, but also the museums and the countries where they are currently displayed.

The retrieval of these artifacts, acquires its importance from the fact that they remain part and parcel of African and Sudanese identity, therefore, the whole world and Africans in particular, need to come together and speak in one voice. Only with solidarity, success can be made in achieving these legitimate goals.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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