Beats of the Antonov

PBS Premiere: Aug. 3, 2015Check the broadcast schedule »

Glossary and Map

Beats of the Antonov Glossary


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    • Al Gadarif A Sudanese state; the place where Omar al-Bashir gave a speech in which he denounced the influence of black populations on Sudanese identity and stated that he plans to transform Sudan into an Islamic state.


    • Antonov: An aircraft used to drop bombs in aerial attacks on civilian villages in the Nuba Mountains region of Southern Kordofan and Southern Blue Nile (and elsewhere).


    • "Black sacks": A racially charged phrase Omar al-Bashir used to describe the black tribes in Sudan, in an attempt to separate the Sudanese identity from an African identity.


    • Blue Nile: A state in the Republic of Sudan; armed conflict between Sudan and SPLA rebels has displaced more than half a million residents of the state and it continues to be a site of armed conflict. Southern Blue Nile is currently inaccessible due to the ongoing war between NCP and SPLA. Jump to map »


    • Darfur: A region in western Sudan; a site of major conflict between the Sudanese regime and rebel groups (including the SPLA rebel groups that fought in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile). Jump to map »


    • "Divide and Rule" policy: The political policy of the NCP of Sudan; relies on putting individuals into racial and ethnic categories and making a distinction between Arabs and blacks, and then between first- and second-class Arabs.


    • Fur: A Sudanese tribe from the Darfur region.


    • "Girls' music": Songs performed and written by young women all over Sudan; the only instrumental accompaniment is a tom-tom, the melodies are light and fast and the lyrics tell simple stories from the lives of women; likely so prevalent because it is easy to perform as a community (everyone is allowed to sing and drum) and gives agency and ownership to the singers above all else.


    • Hadandawa: A Sudanese tribe from eastern Sudan.


    • Hassan the Hero: A figure studied under the current Sudanese curriculum; Hassan is "the son of Arabs," which helps perpetuate the notion that to be a hero, one must be an Arab.


    • Ingazana (Umgazana): A Sudanese tribe.


    • Islamic Arabic culture: A culture that the Bashir regime has tried to make the national culture (Khartoum was chosen to be the UNESCO Arab Capital of Culture in 2005); adhering to Arabic cultural norms (which often denigrate black people) has been conflated with patriotism, and refusing to adopt these cultural tenets is the political equivalent of being a traitor or a rebel.


    • Kambala: Traditional Sudanese dance.


    • Kauda: A town in the Nuba Mountains that has been completely destroyed by bombing under the Bashir regime.



    • Maxi Light (hot/cold cream): A cosmetic product used to give women a redder, lighter skin tone; an expensive product that sometimes makes it painful to be in sun.


    • Mohammed Wardi: A famous Sudanese singer.


    • Al Gadarif: A Sudanese state; the place where Omar Al Bashir gave a speech denouncing the influence of Black populations on the Sudanese identity and stated that he plans to transform Sudan into an Islamic state.


    • Moro: A Sudanese tribe.


    • Myseria (Misseriya): The Arabic tribe of SPLA officer Ibrahim Khatir; he notes that his allegiance to the rebels despite his Arabic heritage undermines the "divide and rule" policy of Bashir's regime.


    • National Congress Party of Sudan (NCP): The official governing party of the Republic of Sudan; the NCP has been the dominant party since Omar al-Bashir led a coup in 1989.


    • Nuba Mountains: A remote region of Sudan rendered increasingly inaccessible by the ongoing war between NCP and SPLA, subject to severe violence from the Bashir regime; the violence stems from border disputes between South Sudan and Sudan, and many consider the violence against civilians in the region to be a genocide. Jump to map »


    • Nubian: A Sudanese tribe from northern Sudan with historical roots in the Nuba Mountains.


    • Omar al-Bashir: Current president of the Republic of Sudan, despite having been accused of human rights violations and war crimes.


    • Rababa: A stringed instrument, often hand-made, used in Sudanese music.


    • Ruma: A mountain peak near Darfur that is a site of dangerous armed conflict.


    • Rutana: A disrespectful term for the local languages of Sudanese tribes; the term has become pervasive, and now even local communities refer to their own languages as "Rutana."


    • Shawiga (Shaigiya): Another Arabic tribe; in the film, Ibrahim Khatir mentions that this is the tribe of SPLA brigadier Habob, another Arab fighting with the rebels despite his ethnic category, which further undermines the "divide and rule" policy.


    • Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA): The SPLA was founded in 1983 as a guerilla movement during the Second Sudanese Civil War and became the national army of the Republic of South Sudan after the nation gained independence from the Republic of Sudan in 2011; in 2010, the SPLA that fought in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile separated from the SPLA in South.


    • Sudanese identity: The issue at the heart of the conflict in Sudan is the Republic of Sudan's identity crisis; until the vision of an Islamic state that celebrates Arabic culture is reconciled with the cultural and racial makeup of the black African Sudanese people, this will be left undefined.


    • Sufi path: Ideological backbone of the Sufi Muslim faith; despite the messaging from the NCP and Bashir's regime, Kuku Issa, a Sudanese Sufi sheikh, explains that the true Sufi path does not elevate Arabic culture or Arab pride above other cultures; instead it respects all Muslims equally.


    • tom-tom: A drum used in Sudanese music.


  • Waza: A genre of traditional Sudanese music, played on woodblocks and monotone trumpets.


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