Thursday, November 29, 2012

The deadliest weapon in Nuba?

I am preparing a first draft of a joint paper with Asha Abdel Rahim and Aleksi Ylonen. We analyze data that Asha collected in the Nuba Mountains in 2008, when a short interwar period made possible for international institutions to enter the area.

Given I am not expert in the topic (but Asha and Aleksi are), I am trying to understand the situation from different sources. Nuba Mountains is one of the most isolated places on earth, so there is no so much information. One of the first things you find on the web is the fantastic photographic work of the (in)famous Leni Riefenstahl.

She was prized worldwide from her work in Nuba, and for some it was her redemption after a dark past... but then I found this really amazing documentary made in 1998 by the Slovenian writer, documentary film maker, human rights activist, journalist and worldwide traveler Tomo Kriznar, some of the few that was in the area during the civil war in the 90s. He went back to the village in which Leni did most of her work, and discovered something really disturbing. There were no more naked painted people dancing and wresting. Instead, they were dressed and reading the Koran... what had happened? One of the elders told him: "IT WAS THE BOOK". Which book??? After Khartoum discovered  Riefenstahl's book , decided to increase the Arabization and military control in Kau village and the rest of Nuba... her camera was a deadly weapon, again.

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