A Tale of Three Cities: Omdurman

Abdullahi A. Gallab

in A Civil Society Deferred

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780813036885
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813041827 | DOI:
A Tale of Three Cities: Omdurman

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This chapter addresses the rise, fall, and resurrection of Omdurnan. The triumph of the Mahdist revolution raised serious challenges for the entire colonial scheme. Nowhere were such challenges more serious than in imperial Britain and royal Egypt. While anticolonial liberation movements were visibly developing in both the African and Asian Muslim worlds, the Mahdist revolution in the Sudan had already reached its successful end. As anticolonial activists were apt to admire and sympathize with the Sudanese Mahdist movement, Omdurman became the mecca where anticolonial revolutionary pilgrims arrived from different parts of the Muslim world to examine Mahdiyya with their own eyes. But Omdurman posed a danger to both Egypt and Britain in its ability to aid the emergence of a competing empire, potentially spreading and advocating a civil, Islamic, and ideological war against the competing Ottoman and British empires. The Mahdist state suffered a landmark defeat. Both the triumph of the British and the defeat of the Sudanese set in motion the conditions, the central stakes, and the different modes of struggle for the liberation of the country from that scheme of domination. Omdurman itself, with its population and other Sudanese in the country—described as the national capital—was incorporated into the new Sudanese experience.

Keywords: Omdurman; Qubat al-Mahdi; mosque; conservative evolutionary resistance; revolutionary resistance; Ali Abdel Latif; al-Amin; 1924 revolution; political parties

Chapter.  10514 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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