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Abid (Template:Lang-ar, plural Abeed عبيد or El Abeed العبيد) is a derogatory term meaning "slave" used mainly in Arab countries and is usually applied as an insult to Black people to invoke stereotypes.

The name has been explained as being an allusion to the submission that Muslims owe to Allah. Meyer dismisses this as "efforts by propagandists" to "explain the term away" that are "at the least, disingenuous".[1]

It is commonly used by the Northern Sudanese to refer to Southern Sudanese, and the Southern Sudanese in their turn, stereotype the Northerners as Mundukuru and Minga.[2][3] According to Professor Mahmood Mamdani however, conflicts in Sudan are not compatible with western pre-conceptions of "race".[4]

Francis Deng described the north-south division imposed by the British on Anglo-Egyptian Sudan as the British saying to the Northerners: "You Northerners are slave traders and you treat the Southerners like Abeed. Don't call them Abeed! They are slaves no longer.".[5]

Jok Madut Jok argues that the Sudanese slave trade still persists in the 21st century, and that Southern Sudanese in cities in the North who take marginal and petty jobs, because they lack the political influence that rural Northerners have in the cities and because they lack the necessary skills for city life, are regarded as Abeed because of the social standing that is concomitant with such occupations. Dinka labourers earning just enough to cover their food costs have no social standing in the eyes of Northerners, and are treated as the property of landowners and merchants. "Displaced Southerners", Jok states, "are at the bottom of the racial hierarchy in Northern Sudan.". He explains that they have no resources of their own and are thus highly dependent upon patronage and exploitative relationships with power brokers, with relations ranging from servitude through bonded work to being a means for attracting resources from foreign aid agencies. "The lines dividing slavery and cleap labour", he states, "are blurred.".[6]

Related articles


  1. Gabriel Meyer (2005). War And Faith In Sudan. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 131. ISBN 0802829333.
  2. Bixler, Mark (2005). The Lost Boys of Sudan: An American Story of the Refugee Experience. University of Georgia Press. pp. 52. ISBN 082032499X.
  3. Peter Russell and Storrrs McCall (1973). "Can Secession Be Justified?". In Dunstan M. Wai. The Southern Sudan: The Problem of National Integration. Routledge. pp. 105. ISBN 0714629855.
  4. Analyzing Darfur's Conflict of Definitions: Interview With Professor Mahmood Mamdani
  5. John Obert Voll (1991). Sudan: State and Society in Crisis. Indiana University Press. pp. 78. ISBN 0253206839.
  6. Jok Madut Jok (2001). "The South-North Population Displacement". War and Slavery in Sudan. University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 129. ISBN 0812217624.
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