Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Preserving the Middle Nile (Sudan)

I've illustrated in a recent post "Locating Early Nilo-Saharan Societies" (link) the proposed geographic origin of early Nilo-Saharan speakers on the Middle Nile near Atbara.  It was from this cradle that Nilo-Saharans spread outward into the green Sahara of the Holocene Climatic Optimum.  The Middle Nile and its undiscovered archaeological sites could soon disappear under the water of proposed dams.  An article in Antiquity, several very current, well written blogs, as well as a petition site are pushing to stop these dams:

Randi Haaland, Peter Mitchell, Henriette Hafsaas-Tsakos, Alexandros Tsakos, Elena Garcea & Hans-Åke Nordström

"The Middle Nile is the 1700km-long stretch of the River Nile between the confluence of the Blue and the White Niles at Khartoum and Aswan. It has already seen the building of two gigantic dams, the Aswan High Dam in Egypt and the Merowe Dam in Sudan, that forced many thousands from their homes, flooded the natural landscape and washed away all traces of the past. Sudan now intends to build six more dams on the Middle Nile."

"The European Committee for Preserving the Middle Nile is a group of Africanist archaeologists deeply concerned that the building of these dams will displace tens of thousands of people, damage the river's fragile ecosystem and destroy a heritage of vast importance — not only for local people, but for humanity as a whole. We believe that allowing the inhabitants of the Middle Nile Valley to remain where they are, leaving the environment undiminished and preserving the antiquities in place, is of great importance. Along with its sister organisation in North America, the Committee seeks to engage governments, international agencies, activist organisations and individuals to oppose constructions that would transform the Middle Nile into a series of reservoirs with immense effects on its landscape, the people who live there and their cultural heritage."

Sign the petition to Stop the Dams in Sudan! (Link)

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