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Nubia at Risk as the Next Sudanese Tragedy

Contact: Loralei Coyle, 202-682-4131, 202-905-6852 cell, lcoyle@TheIRD.org; Radio Interviews: Jeff Walton, jwalton@TheIRD.org; both with The Institute on Religion and Democracy


WASHINGTON, March 6 /Christian Newswire/ -- An ancient civilization that has survived the tumult of history could fall prey to rising floodwaters if the National Islamic Front regime if the Sudan has its way. Construction has been completed on the Chinese-built Merowe dam, scheduled to begin submersion of the region later this year. The newly dammed river will displace hundreds of thousands of Nubians and drown ancient sites, home to unexcavated historical treasures and monuments from the time of the Pharaohs and the ancient Christian and Jewish communities of Kush.

The Nubians have long been oppressed by the Khartoum government, which has banned them from teaching their children in their native language as part of an aggressive Arabization project and now seeks to use the dam as a tool to disperse the ancient community.

In response, the Institute on Religion & Democracy is joining with Rescue Nubia, the Southern Sudanese Voice for Freedom, Prison Fellowship Ministries, Sudanese Marginalized Forces Forum and the Center for Religious Freedom-Hudson Institute to host an exhibit, "Ancient Nubia: The Next Target for Annihilation in Sudan?"

Featuring the photo journalism of Los Angeles Times Photographer Carolyn Cole who recently returned from the region, the exhibit will be open on Monday, March 10th in the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. The exhibit will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., with the reception and cultural discussion from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. with remarks given by U.S. Representatives Trent Franks (R-AZ), Donald Payne (D-NJ) and Michael Capuano (D-MA).

IRD Director of Religious Liberty Programs Faith J.H. McDonnell commented:

"After attacking Christians in Southern Sudan and their fellow Muslims in Darfur, the Khartoum government is continuing its ceaseless campaign of arabization, this time against the Nubians, a people who have lived in this part of the Sudan for thousands of years.

"Completion of these dams is going to wipe out an ancient civilization. The Nubians have a rich cultural tradition as ancestors of both the Black Pharaohs and the ancient Christian church. Their disappearance is a tragedy that we're trying to prevent from happening.

"In the wake of tragedies in Darfur and Southern Sudan, an ancient civilization in Nubia is about to be swept away by dammed rivers."