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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Nationalism by telegrams: political writings and anti-colonial resistance in Sudan, 1920-1924
Author:Vezzadini, ElenaISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies (ISSN 0361-7882)
Geographic term:Sudan
Abstract:In May 1924, a telegram sent to the Governor-General of the Sudan by the founders of the nationalist association The White Flag League marked the beginnings of the first anti-colonial political movement in Sudan to take open action against British colonial rule. The nationalist movement claimed that the Sudanese people had the right to choose the most appropriate government to rule their 'national community', and that any limitation on that was illegal. The telegram inaugurated a strategy of political action that would be a hallmark of one of the most important events in Sudanese colonial history, the 1924 Revolution. As the only surviving documents to have been produced by the political activists themselves at the time the events were taking place, the telegrams and circulars are a key source for discovering the political ideas of the nationalist movement. The first part of this article ties the discussion of nationalism in Sudan into a broader historical framework and analyses the categories employed by classical historiography to describe this event. The second part focusses on the medium, the telegraph, and links the 1924 Revolution to Britisch imperial history. The third part discusses the contents of the telegrams, identifying recurring topics as well as striking silences. It shows that the nationalist discourse at the time focused on an ideal of modernity, universal justice and the equality of all citizens, rather than on ancestry, origin, and religion. The author argues that these ideas were not an exclusively elite phenomenon, but also reached social groups well beyond the limited urban, educated intelligentsia. Finally, the author brings the issue of Egypt to the forefront, discussing how the Sudanese nationalists understood the question of 'Unity of the Nile Valley', and reinterpreted its symbolism for their own ends. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]