Yousef had been lighthearted during his questions, but there was something very serious and sad under his smile, and Alan knew what it was. It was the knowledge that there would be no fighting, and there would be no struggle, no stand taken, and that the two of them, because they were not lacking materially, because despite injustices in their countries they were the recipients of preposterous bounty, would likely do nothing. They were content, they had won. The fighting would be done by others, elsewhere.
the discovery of oil occurred shortly after the Addis Ababa agreement, the pact that ended the first civil war, that first one lasting almost seventeen years. In 1972, the north and south of Sudan met in Ethiopia, and the peace agreement was signed, including, among other things, provisions to share any of the natural resources of the south, fifty-fifty. Khartoum had agreed to this, but at the time, they believed the primary natural resource in the south was uranium. But at Addis Ababa, no one knew about oil, so when the oil was found, Khartoum was concerned. They had signed this agreement, and the agreement insisted that all resources be split evenly…But not with oil! To share oil with blacks? This would not do! It was terrible for them, I think, and that is when much of the hard-liners in Khartoum began thinking about canceling Addis Ababa and keeping the oil for themselves.
My father once related how he and his friend Les had come up with a way, when stalling for time in a meeting or deposition (he and Les were lawyers [Les, alive and well, still is a lawyer]), instead of saying “Um . . .,” or “Uh . . .,” one could say “Now . . .,” a word which accomplishes two things: it serves the same stalling purpose as “Um . . .,” or “Uh . . .,” but instead of being dumb-sounding offputting, it creates suspense for what is coming next, whatever that might be, that which the speaker doesn’t yet know.