In the face of ‘free will’, Citizens of Northern Sudan drink the inconvenient truth


Over 5000 Ethiopians emigrating to Sudan every week

By De Birhan Blogspot’s Staffer 07/1/11

Happy Genna Guys!!!

The Southern Sudan will possibly decide on its own fate just after two days, on 9th,January 2011.This landmark event in the history of the contemporary world will be highly watched the world over. Issues of secession, separation and independence or such countries have not been a common scene since the second world war except Eritrea and few others.

Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2010 revision defines “Free Will” as a philosophical term of art for a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from among various alternatives. Most philosophers suppose that the concept of free will is very closely connected to the concept of moral responsibility. Acting with free will, on such views, is just to satisfy the metaphysical requirement on being responsible for one’s action.


While another definition puts it as “Free will is the putative ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. Historically, the constraint of dominant concern has been the metaphysical constraint of determinism. The opposing positions within that debate are metaphysical libertarianism, the claim that determinism is false and thus that free will exists (or is at least possible); and hard determinism, the claim that determinism is true and thus that free will does not exist.”


Philosopher and esotericist Rudolf Steiner in his historic book, The Philosophy of Freedom, 1893, centring on the concept of free will, divides the problem of free will into freedom of thought and freedom of action. He argues that inner freedom is achieved when we bridge the gap between our perception, which reflect the outer appearance of the world, and our cognition, which give us access to the inner structure of the world; and that outer freedom arises when we bridge the gap between our ideals and the constraints of external reality, letting our deeds be inspired by what he terms moral imagination. Steiner considers inner and outer freedom as integral to one another, and that true freedom is only achieved when they are united.


Steiner concludes by pointing out that to achieve this level of freedom, we must lift ourselves out of our group-existence: out of the prejudices we receive from our family, nation, ethnic group and religion, and all that we inherit from the past that limits our creative and imaginative capacity to meet the world directly. Only when we realize our potential to be a unique individual are we free. Thus, it lies in our freedom to achieve freedom; put another way, only when we actively strive towards freedom do we have some chance of attaining it.


Opposite to the conception of ‘free will’ the theory of “determinism’’ exists. “Determinism” is the name of a broader philosophical view that conjectures that every type of event, including human cognition (behaviour, decision, and action) is causally determined by previous events. In philosophical arguments, the concept of determinism in the domain of human action is often contrasted with free will. The argument called indeterminism (otherwise “nondeterminism“) negates causality as a factor and contradicts deterministic argument. Determinists believe the universe is fully governed by causal laws resulting in only one possible state at any point in time. With numerous historical debates, many varieties and philosophical positions on the subject of determinism exist, most prominently the free will debates involving compatibilism and incompatibilism. Predeterminism proposes there is an unbroken chain of prior occurrences back to the origin of the universe. Refer Wikipedia and the web for details.

Today I was chatting here with my Sudanese pal on the Referendum issue. This lad comes from the Northern part of Sudan. He said “i am totally against the idea of separation. South Sudan shouldn’t separate from us. The historical, cultural, economic and blood relationship we formed between us compels us to live together. I heard that this past week Southern and Northern Sudanese singers have been singing about unity in concerts held in the Sudanese Capital.’’

As to him, although there has been an adverse relationship between the two Sudan’s and the South has been marginalised and abused by the North, it was a must that they lived together forever. No Separation. This is the unanimous utterance that you hear from almost all Sudanese in the North and the Capital. The opposite echoes from the South.

“I never expected to see the day when my country would be split in two,” Bashir Makkawi, a Sudanese resident in the United Arab Emirates told Gulf News recently. “They feel like second class citizens in Sudan, and believe that they will get their full rights in an independent state… but I don’t think the south will be able to cope on its own,” he said.

I will, in short try to see the above comments against the two theories. I sect the Southern Sudanese with the ‘free will’ concept and the Northern’s with the ‘determinism’ one.

The Southerners who have been marginalised, abused, let down and enslaved within their own country had to fight for their freedom and self determination. On the 9th January,2011 among various alternatives , they will choose a course of action rationally: freedom, session and independence. This choice can’t be interceded by any factor.This is what is called ‘free will’.

Put by Steiner beautifully and adapted by me ”unhindered by determinism, they lifted themselves out of the group-existence: out of the prejudices they receive from our family, nation, ethnic group and religion, and all that they inherited from the past that limited their creative and imaginative capacity to meet the world directly.”

On the other hand, the Northern ‘Determinists’ conceive that the Southerners are bound to live together with the North determined by prior states and history. As to my credible interviewees although Al Bashier and few of his Cabinet members publically appear to support the ‘free will ‘of the Southerners, they rather tacitly are against to it. Some members of the constitutional council, politicians and the majority of the citizens of the North are ‘unhappy’ about Sunday’s referendum. However, in spite of this, Northern Sudan is being compelled to drink the inconvenient truth simply by the power of ‘free will’.


Regional Impact of the Referendum: emigration


Security and peace experts of the Horn of Africa are predicting political and military tensions and ‘ a probable war ’ as a result of the Referendum. Whatever, the outcome may be, the Referendum will have a huge socio-political and economic impact in the Horn and in international relationships.


One of the effects that is more visible prior to the Referendum is emigration. Workers from Ethiopia and Eritrea are emigrating in droves to Khartoum and Juba in anticipation of finding jobs. To Khartoum : to grab the jobs that over 1.5 Southerners are vacating as they return to their new homeland and to Juba hoping to start business utilising the opportunities and resources that would be created as a result of the separation.


According to sources from Addis Abeba, over 5000 Ethiopian workers, mostly females are heading to Sudan to work as house maids and in industries. Approximately 5000 to 8000 Ethiopians block the road to Sar Bet every Monday when they assemble to make visa applications to travel to Sudan.In addition to this, there are an undocumented number of Ethiopians that are going to Sudan via the Metema border.


Once a poor and civil war hit Sudan, is now in need of cheap labour as a result of wealth that has sprung due to oil discovery and budding factories i.e. sugar factories. The price of commodity like in Addis Abeba, has gone over the roof in Khartoum.There is also a political tension as most of the opposition groups,National Consensus Forces (NCF) are coming together to form a coalition and overthrow Al Bashier for once.

I don’t know what our political strategists wish or are currently strategizing to make use of the Referendum to overthrow , the Meles Zenawi Government , I wish that the Referendum may conclude in peace.


  1. Hi there,
    It was nice reading this splendid story from your part of the country,which i know little about.
    Nice meeting you and hope to read a more from you in the future.

  2. Well that was a joke. But did you see the issue from all angles.For example, i was thinking that the issue of Southern Sudan’s division shouldn’t just be seen as a matter of ‘free will’ it should rather be taken as an external power’s interest. The country or the continent should nomore be told or allowed to seccede,brake up and disintegrate like a branch of an oak tree.External powers who are against a united continet should’t guide the internal politics of Africans. Look what is going on in the eastern and south western parts of our country.see what had occured with Eriteria.Until when will this continent continue as such.
    Your ‘ free will’ comes when the people start to crtically and neutrally start to ponder about their relationship and decide to liberate themselves.Not in this case ok. You need to read more about ‘ free will’ and the real reasonings and the causes behind sudan’s division into 2.

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