A Tale of Three Cities: Cairo

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: Cairo

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The rise and fall of Omdurman was intertwined with Cairo's destiny for two centuries. Between 1821 and 1956, Cairo took center stage in Sudanese life. Within its multi-layered political, cultural, and ideological character and content, which influenced the state of affairs in the Sudan, these events' developments substantially transformed Cairo itself. By invading the Sudan in 1821, Muḥammad 'Ali and his heirs turned Cairo into the seat of an extended “empire that was half the size of Europe,” controlling almost all the major waterways of the region, including the entire Nile Valley from Alexandria to the Great Lakes, and the Red Sea from the Gulf of Suez to Bab al-Mandab. Muḥammad 'Ali's invasion was a point of departure, involving more than a mere event in history. It was the very essence of that event, its functions, and its constitutions, which turned Cairo into an instrument of the nature and ambitions of the prevailing power of Muhammad Ali's state. The target of that power contested the policies and practices of the centrifugal machine for simulating and portraying the Sudanese “as no more than an empire of domestics.” This vicious circle produced a prevalence of violence and promoted conditions of social, civic, and hegemonic discourses.

Keywords: Muḥammed Ali; slavery; Khartoumers; Jallaba; Southern Sudanese; Mahdiyya; Mohammed Naguib

Chapter.  10267 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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