In response to several years of protests and demonstrations by the Nubians, the Egyptian government finally announced last Friday that it will grant them 5,320 acres of land around the shores of Lake Nasser. Many Nubian villages, in both southern Egypt and northern Sudan, were flooded when the High Dam at Aswan was built in the 1960s. The refugees from Old Nubia, their homes destroyed by the reservoir, Lake Nasser, were inadequately compensated—or resettled on infertile, non-agricultural properties at a distance from the Nile River.
Al-Ahram, an official news organ of the government, reported that the 5,320 acres will include lands suitable for agriculture adjacent to the lake. Previous plans to give the discontented Nubians land without any agricultural potential were rejected by the Nubian community. At least some of them have a dream of farming along the Nile once again, as their ancestors did for millennia.
Evicted from their villages, the Nubians have been demanding justice for decades. The sit-ins, plus the occupation and torching of the Aswan Governate building in the city of Aswan in September 2011, appear to have caught the attention of government officials.
Or, perhaps, the new administration of President Morsi is concerned about fair treatment for the Nubian people. The newly-announced government plan also includes the right to Nubian ownership of homes that they have occupied for at least 100 years.
The announcement included a commitment by the government to improve the capacity and performance of three different wells in Nubian places called Adandan and Al Qastal. The government will pursue that project with the assistance of the World Food Program. The English-language story in Al-Ahram did not report the reactions by the Nubians to the announcement.