Experiences that Hollywood star Angeline Jolie is planning to make a film about Sudan’s historical past have sparked a row with Egypt, and BBC Africa’s Mohanad Hashim says it’s about far more than who has the most important pyramids.
The most recent twist in a long-running feud between Egyptians and Sudanese is over controversial claims movie is to be made in Sudan to showcase the nation’s contribution to human civilization.
Numerous media have reported Qatari manufacturing firm would fund the movie, which might apparently function Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie and Leonardo Di Caprio.
It’s meant to advertise historic tourism in Sudan by narrating the nation’s historic Nubian historical past.
The claims have been so widespread that even the British ambassador to Sudan was caught up within the fray, tweeting on the story:
Sudanese tweeters printed memes exhibiting Jolie depicted as a Nubian queen and shared experiences of press conferences confirming the Hollywood star and UN ambassador would go to the nation in Could to scout the movie’s areas.
An Egyptian TV channel even interviewed Sudanese designer Samar Darwish who was reported to be the costume designer for Jolie.
Nevertheless, none of this has been confirmed.
A princess desert tour sparks controversy
The row kicked off in March, when the spouse of the previous Qatari Emir, Princess Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, visited Sudan as a United Nations ambassador.
Images of Shiekha Moza’s go to to the al-Bajrawyah pyramids, a website that homes a number of Meroitic pyramids that date from 320 BC – 50 AD, have been extensively publicised by Qatari-owned Pan-Arab networks. The images have been extensively circulated on social media too.
However throughout Egypt’s TV networks, the go to was ridiculed and criticised.
Qatar’s transfer to speculate $135m (£100m) in initiatives to develop Sudan’s archaeological websites is seen by many in Cairo as an try to undermine the struggling tourism sector in Egypt and a part of ongoing efforts by the Gulf emirate to discredit Egypt and its management.
Pyramid measurement issues?
Reacting to the images of the princess by the Sudanese pyramids, Azmi Mujahid, a talk-show host on Egyptian Al-Assema TV mocked the Sudanese pyramids.
“All of the world’s stars have had their footage taken by the [Giza] Pyramid however Sheikha Moza had an image subsequent to 2 [cheese triangles] in Sudan,” he mentioned.
The barrage of ridicule aimed on the measurement of the Sudanese pyramids made the Sudanese minister of data weigh in.
Ahmed Osman mentioned: “Sudan’s pyramids have been older than Egypt’s by 2,000 years”, a declare disputed by archaeologists.
Different Sudanese have been fast to level out that their nation has a a lot bigger assortment of pyramids – 230 in whole.
Egyptians vexed: Sudan the ‘mom of the world’
Egyptians have all the time prided themselves in claiming that “Egypt is the mom of the world”.
Any customer to Egypt would acknowledge the declare made and perpetuated by the official and standard narrative that Egypt is a “7,000-year-old civilization”.
Because of this a hand-written word written by the Qatari princess that Sudan was the “mom of the world” fell foul of Egyptian commentators and social media customers.
This confrontation between the 2 neighbours reveals growing stress over conflicting positions on points comparable to:
- the Nile waters
- the chaos in Libya, which borders each international locations
- ties with Arab Gulf states
- Sudan’s hyperlinks with Islamists
Lately, President Omar al-Bashir accused Egypt of “stabbing his nation within the again when it occupied” Sudanese territory within the mid-1990s.
He was referring to the disputed Halayib triangle, a coastal space on the Purple Sea between Sudan and Egypt, which each international locations declare.
After the row sparked by Shiekha Moza’s go to, many Fb pages sprang up in Sudan, calling for a boycott of Egyptian merchandise, particularly fruit and greens, claiming they have been contaminated by uncooked sewage.
Since March, the Sudanese ministry of commerce has suspended imports of a number of gadgets, together with ketchup, tomato and fish.
Khartoum’s measures observe related measures taken in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Some in Sudan have referred to as for journey restrictions to be imposed on Egyptians.
Though officers from each international locations have downplayed the row in public and emphasised the historic ties between the 2 peoples, Sudan has imposed visa charges on Egyptian males.
Why is Egypt offended?
Cairo is nervous about Khartoum’s place on numerous points.
First is Sudan’s shut ties with Ethiopia, the place the newly constructed Millennium Dam may cut back Egypt’s share of the Nile waters, which Egypt’s rulers have lengthy thought of its largest existential risk.
The second matter is Sudan’s ties with Egyptian Islamists and their Qatari backers.
Qatar backs Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned by President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi after he deposed the Brotherhood’s Muhammad Mursi as president in 2013.
Why are the Sudanese so sensitive?
Egyptians usually depict Sudan as Egypt’s southern province, with Egyptians usually recounting that each international locations have been one in the course of the British colonial presence within the Nile Valley.
Sudanese have lengthy complained about racist sentiments displayed by Egyptian commentators ridiculing their nation and authorities.
One response to the continuing row has been the launching of the hashtag #KnowSudan and its Arabic translation in an effort by the Sudanese to boost consciousness of their nation and its heritage.