Beja Cultural Day Highlights Plight and Resilience of Eastern Sudan Community

From Enough blogs Wed Feb 8 2012, 13:17:25

Sudan Beja dancing.jpg

A diverse group of activists, diaspora, and Congressional staff came together on Capitol Hill last week to draw attention to the marginalization of the Beja people of eastern Sudan by celebrating the group's rich history and culture. The Beja have inhabited the northeastern lands of Sudan bordering the Red Sea for roughly 6,000 years but are now struggling to maintain not only their land, property, and freedoms but also their existence as a cultural group.

The Beja have survived the rise and fall of several imposing empires throughout the centuries but the current regime is threatening the security of this ethnic group, with little outside attention being drawn to Khartoum's marginalization of the East. To publicize the plight of the Beja people, the Beja Congress, Beja Friends, and the Institute on Religion and Democracy hosted a Beja Cultural Day to bring to light the silenced atrocities occurring in eastern Sudan and to encourage lawmakers to actively engage on eastern Sudanese issues as well as provide assistance to the region.

While the afternoon was filled with festive traditional dancing and live music, a panel of representatives from Beja advocacy groups, prominent members of the Beja diaspora, and Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA), a champion for Sudan issues in the House of Representatives, used the event to convey the desperate state of eastern Sudan and commemorate those who died in the January 2005 Port Sudan Massacre.

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