Fabos - Chapter 01
Muslim Arab Sudanese in Cairo have played a fundamental role in
Egyptian history and society during many centuries of close relations
between Egypt and Sudan. Although the government and official press
describes them as “brothers” in a united Nile Valley, recent political
developments in Egypt have underscored the precarious legal status of
Sudanese in Cairo. Neither citizens nor foreigners, their uncertain
position is created in part through an unusual ethnic discourse which
does not draw principally on obvious characteristics of difference.
This rich ethnographic study shows instead that Sudanese ethnic
identity is created from deeply held social values, especially those
concerning gender and propriety, shared by Sudanese and Egyptian
communities. The resulting ethnic identity is ambiguous and flexible,
allowing Sudanese to voice their frustrations and make claims for their
own uniqueness while simultaneously acknowledging the identity that
they share with the dominant Egyptian community.