CAIRO: A number of Nubians demonstrated Thursday outside the Journalists’ Syndicate Thursday protesting “journalism violations,” holding banners of newspapers with sensational headlines about Nubia.
The banners read “Why do media outlets foment strife and incite hatred of Nubians?”
According to the headline the protesters printed on large banners, al-Mesryoon newspaper said “the division scenario begins … Nubians want to secede from Egypt,” while el-Shaab newspaper said “a U.S. plan to divide Egypt and Sudan … a Nubian state south of Egypt and North of Sudan.”
Al-Ahram Al-Arabi said “secession scheme and internationalization of the issue revealed … Nubia to sue Egypt before the African Court,” according to a banner held by a Nubian protester.
In June 2015, Minister of Transitional Justice Ibrahim el-Heneidy announced in a news conference that a unified draft law on the resettlement of Nubians is being prepared per a Cabinet request. The protesters demanded the issuance of the law to be expedited.
Nubians have long demanded to be resettled in their historic lands and to exert efforts to develop their areas, refuting claims they wish to create an independent state or that they reject Egyptian citizenship.
Ethnic Nubians were displaced from their historic lands several times in the 20th century by the government, which wanted their lands to build the Aswan Reservoir, then the High Dam and Lake Nasser, which flooded their villages behind the dam. The ethnic group has complained that they have not been properly compensated since then, given that the new locations were far from the Nile in desert regions and lacked sources of livelihood.
Some Nubians have also migrated from Aswan to Cairo, Alexandria and other cities in the north to find jobs.
Egypt’s constitution, passed in January 2014, states that the country ensures the development and implementation of a plan for economic and urban development of borders and disadvantaged regions including Upper Egypt, Sinai, Matrouh and the areas of Nubia.
According to the constitution, “the inhabitants of these regions participate in these projects and are prioritized in the ensuing advantages. The cultural and environmental patterns of the local community shall be taken into account.”
Other printouts of newspapers held by the protesters included el-Fagr newspaper with a headline reading “3 bombs threaten to blow up Egypt; Copts, Nubia and Bedouins, al-Mogaz newspaper had a headline reading “Nubians plan to secede from Egypt with foreign intelligence agencies,” and al-Wafd newspaper read “a conspiracy to drive a wedge between the state and Nubia foiled.” The editions were issued in different dates, including 2013, but an edition of al-Shaab newspaper dated back to the 1990s.
Additional reporting by Mohamed Assayed, photos by Ashraf Fawzy