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Beats of the Antonov (2014) — SudanBeats of the Antonov (2014) — Sudan

In 2011, Sudan fragmented into the (Christian) Republic of South Sudan and the (Muslim) Republic of Sudan in the north.  Stranded on the borderlands between the two were the many indigenous peoples of the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile.  Some of these people are Christians, others are Muslims, but above all they are considered "blacks" who are decidedly "African" and therefore non-Arabic by the Khartoum government that has bombed them in an effort, doomed to fail, to nationalize over 50 major ethnic groups into a single Muslim-Arabic cultural identity.  Indigenous music and dance feature prominently in this film as powerful ways and means that people reaffirm their unique identities.  "My identity can be read through the notes," says one refugee.  In a bitter irony, one refugee observes that instead of nationalizing the many ethnic groups, the bombings actually reinforce the cultural distinctives of the tribes.  The title of the film comes from the regular bombings by the northern government in their Soviet-made Antonov planes.  The Sudanese film maker Hajooj Kuka lived among these peoples for two years to film their struggles in this civil war.  I watched this film for free on the PBS website and its "Point of View" series.

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