Conference aims to repatriate Nubians

Ahmed Maged
5 Min Read

CAIRO: The Nubian Club announced it will be organizing a conference March 22 in Aswan to discuss the repatriation of Egyptian Nubians around Lake Nasser.

Titled “Nubian Migration, Present and Future, the conference features the participation of the Nubian clubs and representations around the country. They want to make the most of President Honsi Mubarak’s decree that priority should be given to the Nubians to go back to land around Lake Nasser – part of their original home.

Musaad Herki, head of the Nubian Club in Cairo, is appealing to the concerned authorities to implement the president’s decision as soon as possible before the promises are nelglected once more. The Nubians were displaced in 1963 as Egypt began to build the High Dam.

Nubians say that when the construction of the High Dam began two options were available to late President Gamal Abdel Nasser. One was to shift the indigenous population up to the new stream around Lake Nasser, the other was to relocate them to a desert area west of Kom Ombo. It was rumored that Nasser took the second option reacting to the advice of late Yugoslavian president Tito who warned that, left on its own, the region might demand autonomy. The event will be a forum to discuss the problems of the Nubians who were denied residence in Kom Ombo villages due to their migration to other Egyptian cities when their community was shifted to large desert terrains to the west of Kom Ombo, the press release said. It will also discuss the issue of 10,000 acres in Wadi El Nakra, which is supposed to be distributed among the Nubians.

Also up for discussion at the conference are calls for making Nasr El Nuba, Kom Ombo – the current home of the displaced Nubians – an independent constituency to make up for the absence of Nubian parliamentary representation at both the People’s Assembly and the Shoura Council.

Since the Nubians make up only 10 percent of the inhabitants of the new villages built around Lake Nasser – Kalabsha, Garf Hussein and Tomas-Afia – the conference will also demand the increase of the Nubian population there by 50 percent to create a balance between the Nubians and migrants who mainly hail from Suhag and Kafr El Sheikh.

Herki said that the UNESCO that saved the antiquities of Nubia had failed to look into the plight of the Nubian migrants who had to vacate 43 villages located to the south of the High Dam within less than four years back in the 1960s.

Mohamed Shaaban, the Nubian Club’s public relations officer said the Nubians had always migrated – albeit in small numbers – every time the Nile flooded their villages. “But the major displacement had certainly transpired with the construction of the High Dam, he added.

“According to old statistics, 5,521 Nubian citizens were left out in 1963 because they had to move to Cairo and elsewhere in search of jobs. Now their number must have tripled.

Shaaban pointed out that the new villages in Kom Ombo were built on soft soil surrounded by mountainous terrain. “A lot of money had to be spent on repairing or rebuilding many of these houses that developed cracks or collapsed as a result of being built on that type of soil, he said.

He said the Nubians should be compensated for their “rushed migration.

“As they moved to Kom Ombo, many children died due to environmental factors and lack of familiarity with new surroundings that were entirely different from theirs, he said.

The complaints of the Nubians went unnoticed for four decades, although they had to bear the brunt of building the High Dam, which changed the face of Egyptian life and economy in modern times.

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