January 10, 2014

NYT: "Ethnic Segregation at a U.N. Camp in South Sudan"

@alunmacdonald: "Most depressing photo of the day – a sign at UN camp in
South Sudan separates Dinka and Nuer as they arrive"
From the New York Times:
Ethnic Segregation at a U.N. Camp in South Sudan 
By SOMINI SENGUPTA and ROBERT MACKEY

Reporting from South Sudan on Friday, the BBC correspondent Alastair Leithead discovered that civilians taking refuge from fighting at a United Nations base outside the town of Bentiu were being segregated along ethnic lines by the peacekeepers. 
One image from the video report filed by the BBC News crew, showing a hand-painted sign directing members of the Dinka and the Nuer tribes to opposite sides of the camp, caught the attention of Alun McDonald, an Oxfam media officer who has worked with refugees in South Sudan.

According to Mr. Leithead, civilians from both tribes have been forced to seek safety as the fighting raged between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir — a member of the country’s largest ethnic group, the Dinka — and followers of his former vice president, Riek Machar, a Nuer. ...
Still, many close observers of the conflict were taken aback by the partition of the camp. In a conversation on Twitter, both Rebecca Hamilton, a human rights lawyer who has written about the impact of citizen advocacy on U.S. policy in the region, and Amir Ahmad Nasr, a Sudanese blogger, criticized the United Nations Mission in South Sudan for dividing the civilians. 
Malvina Hoffman's
"Nuer Warrior"

I don't know. Sounds pretty prudent to me.

First, Dinkas and Nuers speak somewhat different languages. The Wikipedia article on "Dinka Language" says, "The closest non-Dinka language is Nuer, the language of the Dinka's traditional rivals."

Second, they are fighting right now.

Third, the Nuers and the Dinkas fought throughout the 19th Century until the British arrived and saved the Dinka from complete conquest. This is less obscure than it sounds because rivalries between and among the Nuers and Dinkas are the subject of the classic works on "segmentary lineage" among the Nuer by anthropologist E.E. Evans-Pritchard (the father of colorful Daily Telegraph reporter Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, by the way). See for example, Marshall D. Sahlins' 1961 article "The Segmentary Lineage: An Organization of Predatory Expansion." The Nuer are a canonical example in the anthropological literature of me against my brother, my brother and I against my cousin, my cousins, brother, and I against the world.

The Nuer are pretty good though at coming together with distant cousins for the purposes of kicking around the poor Dinkas. Nuer tribes were traditionally organized on a larger scale that allowed Nuers to put larger armies in the field and defeat the Dinkas. Both sides take the cattle of each other, but the dominant Nuer do it by battle and the poor Dinka fight back by theft.

The ruling mindset of white people writing about Africa is that Africans have no agency: Africans are merely robotic vehicles for the malign influence of white people. Thus, if white people pay for a refugee camp for Dinkas and Nuers, this pair of signs can then be held responsible for all future conflicts between the tribes. The alternative is to assume that Africans have some responsibility for the state of Africa, but, considering the state of Africa, that would be racist.

In truth, the Nuer were always been proud of their ability to push around the Dinka and take his cattle. They would consider the conventional wisdom of themselves as pitiful victims being manipulated by white stereotypes into fighting the Dinka as an insult.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

"By SOMINI SENGUPTA and ROBERT MACKEY"

It's hilarious to see East Indians contributing to articles decrying ethnic segregation.

"President Salva Kiir "

Think of all the people in the West who like to wear "tribal" clothing. The president of South Sudan never appears without a cowboy hat. It's his signature.

Anonymous said...

Diversity makes us stronger. There is no race, ethnicity, or religion that shouldn't be allowed into America in any numbers - thousands, millions, tens of millions - that desire to come. There is no group with lifestyles or customs incompatible with Western ideals.

But that's just for the West. Meanwhile, the reason Africa is such a mess is because the colonialists put INCOMPATIBLE TRIBES in the same country.

Dennis Dale said...

Reminds me of the Supreme Court's resident moron Ruth Ginsburg ordering the desegregation of Ca prisons.

Silver said...

"Most depressing photo of the day – a sign at UN camp in
South Sudan separates Dinka and Nuer as they arrive"


I'm just glad that photo didn't include a water fountain. Phew. I think I would have died on the spot.

Anonymous said...

Then in other words, the Dinka owe the British a great, great deal for having saved them from extinction thus far.

Wonder if ancient old men Dinka have cherished their alliances with the British? Or have they forgotten and consider the west as imperialist racists?

And considering the fact that appointed humanitarian George Clooney has made a few visits to the Sudan region, what must he think of this Fuer vs Dinka rivalry?

Anonymous said...

But Mr. Sailer, I thought diversity was the, er, "our" greatest strength. You mean we have been lied to?

Anonymous said...

They really really really hate us.

And no, this time I'm not talking about The Frankfurt School.

I'm talking about Bill Buckley and his pseudo-intellectual heirs.

THEY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY HATE US.

ogunsiron said...

Can those journalists be that stupid ? Are they for real ? They really can't see why the UN workers right in the middle of things are acting prudently by separating the belligerents ? I understand that ethnicity makes no sense to those people (except when it comes to bashing White gentiles). Are they so clueless that they can't even imagine people caring enough about ethnicity that mingling them together in that camp might be dangerous ?
I know that the press is generally this stupid but for some reason this is leaving me aghast, more than usual.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I spoke with my Nuer friend Ajang about our mutual Dinka friend Gatluk at work today. Gatluk has gone back to Sudan at present, and will be living in Juba, where his family hopes he will get a job, and his mother especially hopes he will get a wife. He was overnight in Addis Ababa, likely leaving there shortly. Ajang dismisses the current conflict as lasting between the tribes. His view is that they intermarry and always go along in low-level conflict. It seldom escalates to this level, and he attributes this to the political competition, in which the ambitious people in the cities try and manipulate the villages into fighting proxy battles for their factions. He agrees that this is generally successful, and has been for decades, but only moderately so.

He has little hope that the conflict between the Dinka and Nuer will go away anytime soon - too many people have a direct connection to death and seek revenge. But he also believes the current intensity is not sustainable - reasoning that it never has been in the past. I had a similar conversation with Gatluk two years ago.

I don't know that they are right in their assessment, of course. Insiders make errors in judgement as well as outsiders. But they tend to make different mistakes, so I thought the information useful to the group.

Anonymous said...

"Reminds me of the Supreme Court's resident moron Ruth Ginsburg ordering the desegregation of Ca prisons."

That was Stevens I think.

Silver said...

Peace-keeping ethnic segregation: rinky dinka or nuer age?

Reg Cæsar said...

The Nuer posed nuede not only for Malvina Hoffman, but for Leni Riefenstahl as well. As for the Dinka, they invented the grand pastime of "rimming".

These people are more progressive than we give them credit for!

Grover Prosling said...

Sailer seys:
The ruling mindset of white people writing about Africa is that Africans have no agency: Africans are merely robotic vehicles for the malign influence of white people. Thus, if white people pay for a refugee camp for Dinkas and Nuers, this pair of signs can then be held responsible for all future conflicts between the tribes. The alternative is to assume that Africans have some responsibility for the state of Africa, but, considering the state of Africa, that would be racist.

THe alleged "ruling mindset" you mention does not exist in any meaningful modern sense as to UN admin. A strand of white opinion in the 18th or 19th century may have held this view but no one with any knowledge at that time doubted that Africans had agency. Few on the ground like white missionaries, soldiers, or even bureaucrats did as their writings and policies attest. The "no African agency" mindset though nay find a hospitable home among white right wingers, as the comments below attest.

And to try the work the Dinka-Nuer situation into yet another "unfair to blame the white man" complaint is a stretch. Its like trying to work white Irish Catholic versus Protestant conflict into something to do with French versus English speaking conflict in Quebec.


Anon says:
Meanwhile, the reason Africa is such a mess is because the colonialists put INCOMPATIBLE TRIBES in the same country.

Actually African tribes have ranged widely long before colonialists showed up. You actually confirm Sailer's point about it being assumed Africans have no agency, only the assumption is one typically the province of white right wing types.


ANon sez:
Wonder if ancient old men Dinka have cherished their alliances with the British? Or have they forgotten and consider the west as imperialist racists?

Actually in the Sudan the British created a political and economic structure dominated by Arabized northern elites, that frequently exploited the south. The British didn't really care as long as they extracted whatever profits they could under their aegis. The Dinka would have reason to be less than impressed about British "salvation" in a particular decade, since in subsequent decades, the same white colonial regime favored the oppressive Arabized north.

And the British were much involved in suppressing their "children" as the Aliab Dinka (1919-20) uprising against extortionate British cattle taxes and mal-administration attests. (Boahen 1990).

Says one British governor about the uprising in admitting the colonial regime's faults:

"The Government has done nothing for the Aliab. It has not protected them from aggression, has given them no economic benefits ... it has forced them to do a certain amount of labour, to pay taxes and to endure a not negligible amount of extortion by police". However, although he removed the Egyptian ma'mur at Minkammon who had triggered the Aliab revolt through his abuses, Woodland did not appoint a replacement. The Aliab Dinka were left with no administration at all.[7]"
Wikipedia- Aliab Dinka


^^SO much for white "benevolence"..

ziel said...

My recollection is that it was neither Stevens nor Ginzburg who made that ruling but O'Connor. Boy it's hard to keep straight which idiot on the Supreme Court said what.

Michael Deloatch said...

I think Mr. Durante best expressed things: "Inca, Dinka, Do!"

Anonymous said...

Clearly we must choose sides. Invade one tribe, invite the other. And then invite the remnants of the former for good measure. Has the State Department lost its mojo?

What could possibly go wrong?

IHTG said...

That's one hell of an incoherent post, Grover.

White man in america said...

"The Government has done nothing for the Aliab. It has not protected them from aggression, has given them no economic benefits ... it has forced them to do a certain amount of labour, to pay taxes and to endure a not negligible amount of extortion by police".

Hmm... Sounds familiar

Anonymous said...

I met Rebecca Hamilton once - we were graduate students at Harvard at the same time. She's very bright and driven, and good looking to boot. Bright enough that she actually realizes that the separation taking place here is probably a good idea, as her commentary on the topic makes clear: "It is only natural for people to coalesce towards those they already know, which may in practice mean they separate themselves by ethnicity. All of this is understandable and unobjectionable as far as it goes."

http://bechamilton.tumblr.com/post/72878600071/ethnic-segregation-in-un-bentiu-compound

Unfortunately, she concludes with this: "But it still seems to me to be a categorically different thing for the UN to place a signpost that functions to segregate people by ethnicity...At the end of the day, it is the symbolism of it that is so distressing."

She's effectively a secular missionary, and as such, symbolism that contradicts the secular theology that she promotes is very important to her, and to people like her. Understanding them as secular missionaries goes a long way towards understanding their actions and motivations.

Anonymous said...

As Jimmy Durante said, "Inka Dinka Dooo ...."

Anonymous said...

No need to travel that far.

Anonymous said...

"They really really really hate us."

They erase from their history every bad thing they ever did to other people while remembering every bad thing other people ever did to them. I guess that has an effect.

.

"THe alleged "ruling mindset" you mention does not exist in any meaningful modern sense as to UN admin."

The quote in question was

"The ruling mindset of white people writing about Africa is that Africans have no agency"

The ruling mindset mentioned is completely dominant in the media.

Rohan Swee said...

Thus, if white people pay for a refugee camp for Dinkas and Nuers, this pair of signs can then be held responsible for all future conflicts between the tribes.

I once chanced upon a travel video on youtube that managed to blame John Hanning Speke for the recent genocidal unpleasantness in Rwanda.

Menschmaschine said...

"Actually in the Sudan the British created a political and economic structure dominated by Arabized northern elites, that frequently exploited the south. The British didn't really care as long as they extracted whatever profits they could under their aegis. The Dinka would have reason to be less than impressed about British "salvation" in a particular decade, since in subsequent decades, the same white colonial regime favored the oppressive Arabized north."

This is simply nonsense. Quite on the contrary, the British greatly feared that the spread of 'Arab' culture in the South would provide a common base for different tribes to align themselves against their rule. In 1930, a comprehensive campaign to eliminate any Northern influence in the South was started. In particular, this meant preventing any contact by closing the border and sharply restricting travel between the two areas. This included ethnically cleansing the population from large swathes along the provincial borders to create empty buffer zones.
Furthermore, all existing signs of Northern influence were rigorously stamped out. This included even such seemingly innocouos things as men's clothing. Here an order from a British district commissioner in 1935:

I notice that in spite of frequent requests to the contrary, large quantities of ‘Arab’ clothing are still being made and sold. Please note that, in future, it is FORBIDDEN to make or sell such clothes. Shirts should be made short with a collar and opening down the front in the European fashion and NOT an open neck as worn by the Baggara of Darfur. Also tagias [i.e., head cover] as worn by Arabs to wind emmas [i.e., turbans] round are not to be sold in future. No more Arab clothing is to be made as from today; you are given till the end of February to dispose of your present stock. This order applies to all outside agents and owners of sewing machines.

http://www.sudantribune.com/IMG/pdf/RVI_TheKafiaKingiEnclave_PeoplePoliticsandHistoryintheNorthSouthBoundaryZoneofWesternSudan.pdf

In the end, the British were successful in estranging the South and the North and creating a Southern political elite that defined itself by being 'anti-north' and subservience to the British. Which after the decline of the British empire was by default transferred to the USA, powerfully symbolised, as has already been mentioned, by Southern president Salva Kiir proudly wearing a cowboy hat at every opportunity (after given one by George W. Bush in 2006).

Anonymous said...

Poor old Dinka. They get it from all sides.

"I always did like the Dinkas. Happy, idle, contented people, with few wants and no cares, singing to their cattle in the sun. Stark naked and free by the river banks and singing to their cattle in the sun. All they wanted was to he left alone, just like everybody else."

http://ukcommentators.blogspot.com/2006/11/sudan-incident-1909.html

Anonymous said...

"Wonder if ancient old men Dinka have cherished their alliances with the British? Or have they forgotten and consider the west as imperialist racists?"

1950 and the Brits are leaving :

"On my last day the bash shawish asked to see me. I gave him a chair in the office and called for tea - he refused a cigarette and sat very up right staring ahead. I waited, and finally he spoke; 'Mabruk ya, sath el bey - Congratulations, your excellency the Bey,' he said, with the ghost of a smile. 'So you are leaving us.'

I nodded. 'Inshallah, wa lakin ana hazeen giddan - If God wills, but I am sorry to be doing so,' I replied. He remained silent for a long time and the smile left his face, then he spoke again.

'There is talk that all "El Ingliz" will one day leave us.'

'Yes, there is talk - one day you will govern yourselves, it is right that this should happen.'

He shook his head. 'We will not govern ourselves, we will be governed by Northerners from Khartoum. They do not understand us or like us.'

'That is not true,' I said. 'What of our Northern Sudanese officers here in the Equatorial Corps. What of Bimbashi Zein? What of Bimbashi Khalil? What of Sagh Talat? They are every bit as fit to govern or command as we Ingliz and more so, as they are also Sudanese.'

'That is true.' he replied, 'they are officers of the Sudan Defence Force. You Ingliz trained them, but there are many whose hearts are not so good, they call us "abid" (slaves) and despise our nakedness and our customs.'

'Do you not want to rule yourselves?' I asked.

'Yes, one day, but the time is not yet, the young men you have educated are conceited and dishonest and the old chiefs think only of their tribes. They are no match for the Northerners. The time is not yet - my father told me terrible things that happened before the Ingliz came.'

'We are soldiers not politicians,' I said. 'We must obey the orders we receive.'

'I know that, Janabuk, but I tell you this. On the day that the Ingliz leave us there will be bloodshed and more bloodshed. You will hear of it in Ingilterra and be sad, they will never govern us from Khartoum - never.'

He rose, saluted and left, and next day as I flew North over the green maze of the Nile Sudd I brooded sadly on his words 'bloodshed and more bloodshed'. The old man was seldom wrong.

Twelve years later, in the early 1960s, I met him secretly in a hut on the Congo, border. His son had been killed and he was a sad broken old man with a terrible tale to tell. He bore no grudge except against his soldiers who had joined the revolt, but over and over again he said, 'I told you, Sath el Bey, I told you.' "


http://ukcommentators.blogspot.com/2004/11/you-will-hear-of-it-in-ingilterra-and.html

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Grover Prosling, I wonder if you are misunderstanding accidentally or intentionally. I can read the papers, and the theme that Africans have diminished agency because of white actions underlies much of what is written about the continent, including what is written by Africans. Pleading that the idea doesn't seem to be part of official UN positions doesn't seem quite the same thing. The article bemoaning the unfortunate attitudes of the outsiders in running the camps was in the NYT, after all. Sailer hyperbolises on purpose in such lines as "... this pair of signs can then be held responsible for all future conflicts between the tribes."

Compounding that by treating Sailer's post as of a piece with his anonymous commenters in order to evidence your point that such attitudes only exist on the right isn't strictly logical.

Anonymous said...

>>"ctually in the Sudan the British created a political and economic structure dominated by Arabized northern elites, that frequently exploited the south. The British didn't really care as long as they extracted whatever profits they could under their aegis. The Dinka would have reason to be less than impressed about British "salvation" in a particular decade, since in subsequent decades, the same white colonial regime favored the oppressive Arabized north. "



You are missing the larger point. It is no better NOW for the Dinka than then, in some ways the British kept a resemblance of a level playing field.

And really, on the world scene, who really cares about the Sudan? Even in Africa at large, does the south really care either way? Answer: NO. Does the west really really care? Answer: NO

African nations have had several millennia to evolve into more first world type economic, social, and political developments and for the most part, they have not. The vast majority of the continent is still third world and third rate.

Nothing to see here, move along.

There's no there there, except for where it is, wherever that may be.

Anonymous said...

You actually confirm Sailer's point about it being assumed Africans have no agency, only the assumption is one typically the province of white right wing types.

You actually confirm Sailer's point via your fixation on the effect of white agency on hapless Africans, like any left wing type.

Gubbler of the Society of Reformed Chechenistics said...

Those signs don't seem to be IMPOSED on the Africans but responsive/sensitive to how THEY want it.

But as the NYT Jewish Liberal mentality is eager to forever push the paradigmatic narrative of segregation/apartheid, even when whites respond to black political reality, it's whites IMPOSING their 'racism' on the blacks.

Btw, no borders and walls in Israel/Palestine, right?

Poles/Italians don't wanna dance with the Puerto Ricans. Whose fault is that? The KKK of course. It must be the one in the white blanket that looks like a dress.

Italians and blacks wanna sit among themselves. Whose fault is that? The American Nazi party.

Anonymous said...

A dumb joke. What do you call a TOKEN black guy used by the lib elites?

A house bro-ken.

Anonymous said...

AS whites are evil and suck, they should give it up and stop trying to be good. Leave it up to the Jews who surely know how to do it right.

David said...

Keep fighting the Bull Connors of the UN, Rebecca and Amir! How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?

The Onion is officially superfluous. Read the NYT instead.

Anonymous said...

<== DINKASHIRE GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB
NUER CITY MUNICIPAL COURSE ==>

Silver said...

Actually African tribes have ranged widely long before colonialists showed up.

So we're to believe, Grover, that a man as familiar with African issues that he cites Boahen (1990) off the top of as his head has never previously heard the excuse proffered by the African uplift brigades that decolonization was screwed up because incompatible groups were forced into the same countries? Come on.

Well, never fear, I have an updated version of the excuse that spares the uplift artists from the embarrassing contradiction that tribal diversity is a terrible affliction for africans but a terrific boon for europeans but still manages to blame the white man for african problems: as a consequence of the decolonizers staid racist mindset they failed to convey with sufficient vigor to the new African countries just what a tremendous strength their tribal diversity was. If only the decolonizers had stressed this aspect long-suffering Africa could have been spared fifty years of heartache and despair. As it is, it could be another fifty years before Africans learn to appreciate living cheek by jowl with the splendid tribal diversity mother nature bestowed upon them. Fifty more years of white-hating and excuse-making, what's not to like about that, eh?

Silver said...

Italians and blacks wanna sit among themselves. Whose fault is that? The American Nazi party.

One of my favorite scenes in that movie. I never got just what the hell the prof's point was with that silly exercise though. Maybe the intent was to surreptitiously demonstrate that "airing our differences" isn't necessarily always effective. From this point of view, the point the films makes is that the groups were happier being apart from one another and happy to leave the differences between them unremarked. The prof's meddling quickly put an end to that copacetic order. The takeaway lesson really ought to be: Build fences, not bridges. Good fences make good neighbors, but when bridges collapse people perish.