El-Ahram, Cairo’s English-language weekly, last week described the growing support from one of the principal opposition parties in Egypt for the cause of the Nubian people. The daily newspaper of the Wafd Party, Al-Wafd, according to El-Ahram, recently carried a story decrying the systematic destruction of the Nubian culture.
Al-Wafd indicated that Nubian history is being ignored in Egypt as the people are being rapidly Arabised. They are being overrun by mainstream Egyptian culture. According to the paper, a ranking member of the Wafd Party, Abbas El-Tarabili, urged that the Nubian cultural heritage should be preserved. “The educational syllabuses ignores [sic] Nubian history, literature and culture,” he evidently warned.
El-Ahram points out that El-Tarabili, who used to be the editor of the Wafd newspaper, is himself from northern Egypt, while the Nubians are from the southern part of the country. In addition, El-Ahram indicates that the Wafd party organized a seminar last week in Alexandria, which concluded that Nubian culture was threatened by mainstream Arab Egyptians.
There has been a long-term connection between Al-Wafd and the Nubian cause. Haggag Hassan Oddoul, famed Nubian author and proponent of their rights, has been publishing articles in the paper since 1995 about the discrimination suffered by the Nubians at the hands of the Egyptian government. A resident of Alexandria, Oddoul’s advocacy for the Nubians provoked an outcry and an attempt at censure from the Alexandria Writers Union last year. Oddoul was a prominent speaker at a conference in Cairo this past April that focused on the Nubians.
It is not clear from the report in Al-Ahram last week what political factors may now be at work that are prompting the Wafd Party to further champion the Nubian cause.