The protests by Nubians in Aswan three weeks ago evidently produced concrete results. The Egyptian government has granted them some significant concessions, and made promises to develop resettlement villages along Lake Nasser. The decision by the Essam Sharaf government has revived the morale of the Nubian people.

Essam SharafShortly after the end of the protests, which began on Sunday, September 4th, and lasted most of the week, the Prime Minister visited Aswan and met with 15 delegates representing Nubian clans, tribes, and elders. The meeting included the Governor of Aswan, Mustafa El-Sayed, a politician whom many Nubians consider to have been the major impediment to realizing their dream of returning to the banks of the Nile.

Nubians charge that he has granted concessions to non-Nubian businessmen to develop enterprises along the lake. The Nubians feel that the lands along the lake shore should be theirs, not the property of outsiders.

Sharaf announced that he was forming a new Supreme Authority for Nubian Affairs to look into the recommendations promoted by a ministerial committee which had been established to investigate the issues raised by the people. The Nubian representatives apparently were pleased by the Prime Minister’s proposals, for they expressed satisfaction with what they heard and pledged to work with him to provide a better future for their people.

Nubian activist Ibrahim Abdin told Al-Ahram Weekly, “Sharaf was understanding and sympathetic to many of our demands. Nevertheless, there were a number of differences in opinion on several key issues. But, the meeting between Sharaf and the representatives of the Nubian people was generally amicable and fruitful.”

He went on to say that the talks with Sharaf “were frank and candid.” But the Nubians are still somewhat skeptical about the intentions of the government, though it does appear as if the Prime Minister may really try to repair the harm that the Nubian community has suffered over the years.

It seems, at least to Al-Ahram Weekly, as if, finally, the government of the nation has taken seriously the demands of the Nubians that they be allowed—helped—to return to their homeland.