The year is 1885. It is winter, January 25th. The Mahdi Rebellion against the Egyptians, and really, the British, is over. General Charles Gordon, governor of Sudan, had only arrived a year prior. He died on the steps of his palace, fighting off the Mahdi warriors alongside his assistant, both firing pistols at the encroaching jihadis. His assistant was knocked unconscious.
When he came to, Gordon was dead, and his head had been cut off. When the head was placed at the Mahdi’s feet, he ordered it placed on a tree branch, where people would mock it as they walked by, children would throw stones at it, and hawks would circle it above.
The Mahdi Rebellion was one of the major Muslim jihads of the modern era. The Mahdi was a Sudanese Muslim who declared that he was the “Mahdi” or messianic redeemer of Islam. The Mahdi Army in Iraq is a recent reincarnation.
It was really an anti-Western jihad and an anti-colonial rebellion, as the British were controlling Egypt. The Sudanese Muslims actually defeated the British here, though the assembled army was not the actual British army, but more a collection of laggards, incompetents and mercenaries – 7,000 Egyptian soldiers. “Perhaps the worst army that has ever marched to war,” Churchill called them.
Gordon has several million rounds of ammo, artillery, cannons, thousands of men, but it fared him little well against the surging Mahdi warriors besieging Khartoum. In the winter, the Blue Nile receded, leaving muddy flats exposing the palace. The city was besieged, and food was running out. The civilians and troops were waylaid by cholera and starvation. After nearly a year of siege, Khartoum fell, and Gordon lay dead.
The Mahdi then ruled Sudan for the next 11 years until the British took it back under the fake cover of an Egyptian claim to the Sudan. This time the real British army invaded the Sudan. The Mahdi fought hard, but they were cut down with machine guns. A fake colonial entity called the Anglo-Egyptian administration administered the frank colony of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan until 1956.
Sudan got its independence in 1956, and the South immediately rejected joining the Sudan, a rejection which would culminate in decades of war. I figure that Sudan has so fucked up the business of running of a state that “Sudan” has no right to exist. Break it up into as many pieces as you wish, I say. Hardly anyone but the Arab Muslim ruling class around Khartoum wants to be part of the shithole called Sudan anyway.
There has to be some way away from this inviolability of borders crap, and it collides with the right to self-determination anyway. States are like parents, and the nations within them are like children. If you can’t manage your kids, they are taken away from you and given to someone who can. If you can’t manage the basic tasks of running a state, your right to run the state should be revoked, and the nations within should have the right to decide their destiny.