Nubians have lived in Egypt for thousands of years and they have played a huge part in shaping its history and culture. Nubian Egypt, which stretches about 200 miles from the Sudanese border north to the city of Aswan, still carries with it distinct customs and a language that is close to becoming extinct. Most Nubians say that political leaders have failed them, never properly offering compensation for their lost land, let alone recognition of their existence in Egypt. Many complain of systemic discrimination at the hands of Arabs who’ve denied them jobs and government posts in the region, relegating them to a mere servant class. They’ve been continuously ignored, discriminated against and neglected. When will we stop overlooking the great contributions that Nubians have made and still make in Egypt? When will we begin to recognise and indeed, accept them as an integral and valuable part of Egyptian society? When will they be compensated?
Photo: Partly submerged palms above Nile dam. The first Aswan dam completed in 1902 submerged parts of Egyptian Nubia. The Aswan High Dam, completed in 1971, flooded Nubian land along 500 kilometres of the Nile. Groves of date palms and 45 Nubian villages disappeared underwater. (Stereo-Travel Co., date 1908/Brooklyn Museum Archives.)