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The consequence is always the same, the desaggregation of the state throw people on the road. Darfurians escaping, people from the countryside tempting their chance in the cities. I always loved hours on the roads, I cannot sleep on the road, I need to see. What can you see in those arid, desert landscapes? In the way to Port Sudan, the economic lung of Sudan, the sea gate to China, you meet all kind of migrants. On the way back, you overcross endless lines of trucks carrying everything the country needs: cars, machines, spare parts, pipes and pipelines, food, etc. trucks overcharged with things of all kind… that will increase the volume of the Khartoum’s souks.

 

But the inner of the country is emptying of its population. The phenomenon started with the slave trade some centuries ago, definitively changing the face of the continent: as the hinterland was no more cultivated, the agricultural production remained poor and grew poorer. It began the hopeless movement of rural exodus, agricultural production grew even poorer. During the dramatic droughts of the 70’s and 80’s, people who could escaped to the cities. And the non cultivated soils got even more barren. And we said the Sahara was increasing.

 

Therefore, the desertification is not just an environmental issue. It is a question of interaction of environment, population and politics. But not just Bush and the ratification of Kyoto Agreements, it is a matter of equilibrium of North-South economics. Overproduction for the one is damaging the planet. Underproduction for the others is devastating societies. When will we be aware that the quest of economic power is a problem of political ecology? Ecology as a a new global political economy?

 

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Taken on March 22, 2007