Apparently, the police in Dubai can't understand that men can actually rape men. Yes, it happens guys! Get over yourselves. Let's stop being in denial and admit there is HIV in Dubai! By denying the existence of the problem, chances are it's not going to go away!
Friday, December 14, 2007
Apparently, the police in Dubai can't understand that men can actually rape men. Yes, it happens guys! Get over yourselves. Let's stop being in denial and admit there is HIV in Dubai! By denying the existence of the problem, chances are it's not going to go away!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Out of curiousity , I googled it. I mean if one day I lived in that crazy confusing country, I want my kids to have a Western or international education. Apparently, the staff of KICS are "westerns" and it's really hard to get a job there if you are Sudanese ( is it a rumour?).
I did manage to find their website and again ..out of curiousity.. I glanced at the tuition sheet only once. I told my mum the huge number and we sat there mentally converting it to US dollars.
Nursery School - about 8,000 US dollars
High School- 15- 17,000 US dollars.
No wonder most of the students are ehm ehm white.
what da hell ?! The overwhelming majority can't afford to pay 17,000 US dollars for high school education!!!!
Mrs Gibbons said the incident had "all come as a huge shock to me" and that going to prison was "terrifying" although she never actually spent any time in the Omdurman women's jail.
She said: "I never imagined this would happen. I am just an ordinary primary school teacher.
"I am very sorry to leave Sudan. I had a fabulous time. It is a beautiful place and I had a chance to see some of the countryside.
"The Sudanese people I found to be extremely kind and generous and until this happened I only had a good experience."
"I wouldn't like to put anyone off going to Sudan.
"I would like to thank Lord Ahmed and Baroness Warsi and I would like to thank all the people who have worked so hard to secure my release and make my time more bearable."
Mrs Gibbons said she was treated the same as other Sudanese prisoners and that the Ministry of Interior sent her a bed, which was "the best present".
She is a great woman. I would love to send her a present!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
A British schoolteacher has been arrested in Sudan accused of insulting Islam's Prophet, after she allowed her pupils to name a teddy bear Muhammad.
The police force doesn't have anything to go except arresting 54 year-old kind Gibbons!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
She inspired me to write this!(Thanks Norah and Mona!
Don't we Muslims love talking about the racist west and how the west discriminates against Muslims and look down on veiled women? I'm not denying the fact that some Westerns stereotype or even dislike Muslims but if I told you that some of us discriminate against Muslims too, are you going to agree with me?Are you trying to convince me that you never said something like " oh my god, how can she say that? She is veiled!The fact that the woman is veiled doesn't make her any less human and she is still a woman like the rest of us. What do we expect of veiled women?Muslims in the west are labeled "terrorists", "oppressed" "wife-beaters" or "backward-minded" barbarians by some non-Muslims. This is because there are ignorant people everywhere however, when the ignorance and discrimination comes from within, there is no excuse for it.
A lot of my veiled friends told me stories about discrimination against them by fellow Muslims. They are often considered dumb, uneducated, oppressed and to some extent, prudes. So, you must always watch what you are saying in front of them. I was once told by a friend in high school that she doesn't feel comfortable talking to veiled girls because she feels uncomfortable "swearing" in front of them and talking about the relationships she had.The outspoken "veiled" woman at the lecture said something like “traditional Egyptians are against us and secular ones are trying to "save us". They can't fully integrate in the liberal/more secular Egyptian society because some view the veil as an impediment to the development and modernization of Egypt. The traditional society doesn't exactly accept their presence too. Veiled women in Egypt are truly stuck in the grey area!
Why do we discriminate against them?
I'm Muslim. I'm not veiled but I think it's a personal choice and I respect the decision of women who choose to veil. I treat them as equals because they are and I don't censor myself while talking to them because I don't think that the veil suppresses their personality in anyway.
I went to the Marriot hotel on a school trip about three years ago and for some reason, my friends and I started a conversation with one of employees there. We sat down and talked as she kept pulling down her skirt. One of the guys asked her why she keeps doing that and her reply was simple yet shocking: I have to wear this short skirt to be able to work here, however, I feel very uncomfortable wearing a short skirts.So, hotels and "high-class" places require you to take off the veil and wear it in your "private" life. Of course, what would the western tourists say if they say a veiled woman working at the Marriot where they are staying for a week?
I'm sorry; I just understood why we discriminate against veiled woman. We are trying to be more democratic! Yes, the Muslim world is trying to be all democratic by making veiled women uncomfortable so they can take it off. I don't think that the veil hinders development. On the contrary, the veil is a choice and it should always be one. If a woman chooses to wear it, it's her right. Isn't it democratic to consider the veil an act stemming from freedom of choice and freedom of expression?
By looking down at "veiled" women, we are violating a basic human rights rule, freedom of religion.Finally, I don't believe that the veil is a backward thing. We can be modern and develop our societies without abandoning any cultural or religious values. Our religion and culture makes us unique and shapes our identity. We should uphold our values but at the same time, tolerate and accept other values. Isn't tolerance one of the teachings of the prophet?
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
About Travelling with Djinna ( I would love to read it!)
Yasin is driving through Europe in a dilapidated Peugeot 504 with his seven-year-old son Leo. He's not sure where they're going. He just knows he's thirty-seven years old, his wife is about to divorce him and this is his last chance to explain to his son who he is and where he comes from. The problem is that Yasin isn't sure of the answer to these questions himself. Born in the Sudan to an English mother and an Arab father, he has two passports but no national identity. As he and Leo drift through Germany to Paris in search of Europe's history, and onwards through Provence to Spain to find Yasin's ex-lover and his lost brother, Yasin reflects on the tragic-comic ironies of his displaced life and the kind of mixed-up world his son will inhabit.
Navigation of a Rainmaker
Wings of Dust
In the Hour of the Signs
The Drift Latitudes
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
"The Darfur peace talks should go ahead in Libya this weekend in spite of rebel boycotts" Sudan's representative to the United Nations has told the BBC.
ofcourse, let's solve the conflict without them:)
Just like the rebels keep pointing out that the govt doesn't want peace, do they want peace?
Saturday, October 20, 2007
I'm sure American children feel disadvantaged and left out because African children are in the spotlight when it comes to "adoption" :)
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Do you really think dictatorshipsare gonna go away?
Yes, I understand your concern about my surprising title but allow me to explain.
You have the right to agree or disagree but for now, let me explain my theory.
What does Iraq, Darfur,Burma,Afghanistan have in common? I know you are going to say suffering or people died. but for now, let's stick to "PEOPLE ARE AWARE OF THEM'.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are now in the digital age. We have internet, digital cameras,phones with inbuilt cameras and wireless internet, tape recorders,video-cams,e-mail and cellphones.
If Darfur, the war in Iraq happened decades ago, I'm not sure we were all going to know about them and even if we were aware of their existence, very little devices and technology means very little information.
Does the Sudanese government really think people are not going to see pictures of the plight of Darfurians? No way. I can travel to Darfur and take a picture with my cellphone and send it via bluetooth to my friend who can plug in his cellphone usb to his laptop and email it to his friends abroad or even post it to an online discussion board, blog or website.
It's not only communication, even getting there is relatively easy now.
Planes are available to take you to Bora Bora if you want. Cellphones are available so you can make international phone calls to your friends , editors and family in different parts of the world and reveal the situation you are dealing with.
You can have a conversation with a rebel or leader and record it so that the whole world can listen to them.
You can take pictures or make documentaries to spread awareness about security problems, sufferings or even hopeful situations.
You can, you can because it's the 21st century and we've come a long way baby!
How is this related to dictatorships kizzie?
In case you haven't noticed, many if not all dictatorships isolate and alienate their people from the rest of the world. They don't want them to know whats going on in other countries and they don't want the world to know whats going on in their countries!
I remember in the 1990's, during one of the most oppressive years of the dictatorial regime of the national "salvation" government, you weren't allowed to watch any another channel except Sudan TV(yes no dishes allowed!), some people had other channels because they smuggled receivers into the country but you had to keep it quite.
It was very important to avoid being exposed because dictators know their regimes are oppressive, hated and that the international community might take some serious action. That's why they sweet-talk the world, they don't allow any leakage of information or any foreign journalists inside their country. They impose severe censorship, block Internet sites and spread ignorance (ignorance makes you submissive and helpless, education enlightens and makes your voice heard, it truly frees the mind).
Since new technology was introduced , it was getting harder and harder for dictators to keep a secret.
Did Mugabe think the situation in Zimbabwe will not be exposed to the world?
There are blogs, pictures and stories all over the Internet and newspapers.
ok, back to the real world. Technology is not going to end dictatorships but alt east the world will know how people ruled by oppressive dictatorships live and survive. It helps spread awareness and ma bye..just ma bye someone somewhere is going to decide to take action.
As I'm writing this Nicholas Kristoff (NY times journalist who did alot to spread awareness about Darfur) and Samantha power( who convinced Obama to visit Darfur) and Riverbend(courageous Iraqi blogger) come to mind.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
If the problem is "integration" then do they really think refugees from Iraq and Burma will automatically integrate into the Australian society. Isn't it smarter to start to start effective integration programs?
For example, it's important for refugees to learn Australia's official language and acquire basic knowledge of Australian values and history.
"One community leader said they were making an immense contribution to the economy by taking jobs which many Australians simply did not want to do."
The same can be said about mm Turks in Germany, North Africans in France, Latino's in America- They usually do the work the locaks don't want to do .
Monday, October 1, 2007
It's actually a letter written to Bono and the boys who want to "Save Africa" and " Make poverty history"
No point in whining about a thing if you’re not prepared to take some action. So I’ve written a letter to Bono, my mate Matt and all the boys who Make Poverty History. I doubt anybody will write back; I’ll let you know if they do:
It is difficult to know how to begin this letter. How to start in order that I can grasp your attention before you bin it? You’re busy, I know, and I’m sure you receive sack loads of mail every day.
If I were to begin by revealing that I am the descendent of East Africa’s earliest white colonizers, you’d dismiss me as being inherently un PC.
If I were to tell you that I am a housewife and mother of three, you’d sigh heavily and say ‘oh gawd, some silly woman who thinks she knows what she’s talking about’.
If I were to tell you that I never went to university, you’d presuppose I didn’t have the education and couldn’t possibly offer anything in the way of value to an operation that posts jobs for policy managers, research analysts and advocacy specialists.
But I am working on the assumption that – because you are of charitable disposition – you will read a little further to understand what it is I might have to say.
As the spawn of settlers I have no other home. My family has been here since my grandfather – a man of modest means from Scotland – arrived in 1904 - over 100 years ago. That means two things: that I have a fundamental and intimate knowledge of my part of Africa (her language, her geography, her problems, her people, her soul, her vulnerabilities, her cunning). And – because it’s home – I really do give a damn. It probably also makes me a little cynical of many aid efforts. But a little cynicism gives an edge of reality. And that’s always a useful thing to have when addressing a problem.
As a woman, I empathize with African woman and I have observed them: they are Africa’s spine. As a mother, I understand what children need in terms of care and education. As a housewife, I understand about budgets and monitoring what I spend; I know how to worry about money.
As for the fact I didn’t go to University, one ought not to overestimate the value of higher education: it’s not what knowledge a person has that counts, it’s how they use that knowledge.
So, in the hope you’ve got this far down the page and haven’t dismissed what I might have to offer before I’ve even started simply because I lack the conventional credentials, let me assume for a moment that I am the decision maker in your organization.
This is what I would do: I’d stop considering Africa in such patronizing light for a start. Africa has resources and manpower. It might seem a hopeless case, but there is hope. Little shards of it glinting amongst the chaff. Like needles in a haystack, not easy to find and careful you don’t prick your fingers whilst trying. I’d put those resources to work – nothing is so rewarding – so morale boosting – as a little bit of successful commerce. Why must Africa always be regarded in terms of handouts? What about a leg up instead? I’d offer loans – or inputs – with attractive conditions to farmers and small producers. That’s what my husband does: provides the inputs to 50,000 smallholders who grow tobacco. Once the crop is in and the farmers have been paid, they are in a position to pay their loans back and possibly extend the reach of their land in order to increase their earnings next year. Yes, yes, I know growing tobacco isn’t terribly PC anymore, but it’s a great deal more PC than adding another 50,000 families to Africa’s list of hungry and impoverished. And anyhow, it doesn’t have to be tobacco: it could be any number of things. Africans are amongst the best traders in the world – look at their markets for God’s sake – realize that potential; embrace them in commercial ventures. It’s much less demoralizing than throwing money at a problem. And much more sustainable.
I’d concentrate my efforts on women. I’d certainly employ them to monitor my projects in Africa – in the end they are responsible for the welfare of their children (single parenting and domestic violence are the reality for many African women – and they don’t have access to the support their similarly suffering peers in the West do). Should you question my applause for the African women, assuming I’m a wicked old man-hater (I’m not, I’m happily married, thanks), let me put to you a challenge: the next time you’re on the continent and being driven from one charitable effort to another in a nice new air-conditioned 4×4, take a look out of the window: who’s selling tomatoes on the roadside? Who’s carrying water? Or firewood? Who’s roasting maize cobs or brewing tea in the hope of tickling the taste buds of passers by and enticing a little trade? Who’s weeding that field? Now look again: who’s under a tree smoking and gossiping with his mates?
And I’d educate the children. But in a less conventional way than we do our own privileged children: remember an African child has probably never had access to a jigsaw puzzle or a book. I’d teach them to learn first. For then my education programs would be much more meaningful.
I would understand the media that Africans rely on for information: the radio, their own language newspapers. And I’d understand the enormous part cell phones play in their lives and see if I couldn’t manipulate that to good use. (Did you know, for example, that brewery profits have slumped since the mobile phone arrived here: the blokes would rather the kudos of owing and using a cell phone than forking out for a beer)?
So, that’s what I’d do. And I’d do it by surrounding myself with people who could help me implement my plans because they know Africa as well as I do. Because they understand her machinations, her strengths, her limitations. Because they have lived with her. Because they love her.
But as I said, if you’ve even got this far, now’s the time to diss what I think: after all, I’m just a mum: what would I know? But even if I have made you consider Africa’s difficulties from a new perspective for the briefest moment, I’m glad I took the time to write.
And now I’ll get off the soapbox I’ve been teetering on all week. Not content with relocating the family to splendid Outpost isolation, husband has organised that we go camping this weekend. To get away from it all, he says.
Get away from what exactly, I wanted to ask.
I wonder what Darfurians have to say about this " here we go again....the selfish idiots want to stop the peace at any cost.."
Thursday, September 27, 2007
1- They give the impression that the Sudanese living in Sudan and most specifically Khartoum don't give a damn about Darfur and the plight of Darfurians while the whole world is campaigning, protesting and generously donating thousands of dollars.
2- The US-sponsored international sanctions on Sudan are not doing much so (the international community might as well increase the sanctions or ban all companies from doing business in Sudan).
Why the sanctions are not cool
First of all, increasing the sanctions on Sudan are not going to make the Sudanese government "surrender" and stop killing innocent civilians. In the 1990's, when Sudan didn't export any oil, they still managed to fund the holy war on the "kuffar". There are many generous donors who supported our government for many years. Currently, things are different. We export oil. Our economy grows about 10% every year making it one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa. Sudan is a popular investment destination. New hotels are being built every day( The manager of Rotana hotel said that another one is being built).
The development ,economic improvement and investments are benefiting the people more than the government because they are creating new employment opportunities( we desperately needed that!)
Isn't it a good thing?
Three years ago, we only had a couple of small boring channels and of course the disappointing Sudan tv. Now there are at least 3 new channels promoting investment in Sudan and creating a very attractive image of the " New Sudan" or at least this is what they call it.
Not to mention the availability of all kinds of goods in supermarkets, cafes and even international brands such as Espirit.
Oil and self-interest
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that in the next 50 years, oil will be very precious.
John Ghazvinian(author of untapped: the scramble for Africa's oil) pointed out that oil will make Africa the new Middle East, the new Saudi Arabia.
If you read Untapped: The scramble for Africa's oil, you are going to know that the US, other western powers and China are very very interested in oil-producing African countries. The US is serious about stabilizing the gulf of guinea region to guarantee a steady oil supply. The Middle East is on fire now while Africa is cooling down.
Although the civil societies in Japan (just an example) are concerned about the innocent civilians dying in Darfur , the Japanese government wants more oil from Sudan now (they just signed an agreement).
If the government of Equatorial guinea is a dictatorship then why is America its number one costumer when it comes to oil exports?
Self-interest is important however, oil is more important. Countries are willing to pay alot of money to get oil, secure and stabilize the region they get their oil from and most importantly, overlook brutal governments and human rights abuses for it.
Why are Sudanese living in Khartoum portrayed in this negative way?
The title of Gettleman's article really irritated me. His article starts with a picture and this is written below it "As one of the world’s worst atrocities unfolds in Darfur, some 600 miles to the west, young women enjoy the good life at the Ozone Café in Khartoum, including ice cream and outdoor air-conditioning".
A couple of young girls are having a nice time at the Ozone cafe...so? Did you even ask them how they feel about Darfur?
Last time I checked, many Sudanese people wanted Darfur to stop and wanted the displaced people to go home. My neighbours back home rented their house to an organization aiming at helping Darfurians in Khartoum etc..
I really don't think people in Khartoum should stay home and be depressed. Speaking of depression, I really think we spent most of the 1990's being depressed.
I'm glad people in different parts of this world are concerned about Darfur (although I find it funny how many people always say we were silent when Rwanda happened ,let's stop Darfur..feeling guilty are we now?)
It's funny how a year after Gettleman's article was published, another journalist called Rob Crilly travelled to Khartoum to write about the same issue!
Seriously, both journalists failed to point out something very important..actually, this is my own personal observation:S
China can give Sudan all the money in the world and Sudan can become one of the largest oil-exporters in the world but this doesn't make China or any other country buying oil from Sudan or engaging in a mutually-beneficial relationship with Sudan a "bad" country. Why do people care about the money China gives to Sudan for its oil? Why do they keep calling china's Olympics "genocide Olympics"? Why are other western and eastern countries banned when they try to invest in Sudan?
PEOPLE SHOULDN'T CARE ABOUT WHO GIVES SUDAN MONEY, THEY SHOULD CARE ABOUT HOW THE SUDANESE GOVERNMENT USES THIS MONEY!
I said it! Yes! loud and clear.
It's really not China's problem that Beshbesh's government is using it's money to buy arms and train its soldiers.
I'm glad Khartoum is booming or whatever.... however, I'm hating the democracy of hypocrisy in this world.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Next year, A24, a pan -african news channel will start broadcasting from Kenya, East Africa.
It's like Al-Jazeera, a pan-arab channel however, A 24 is for Africans, by Africans.
Finally, we Africans will start voicing out our thoughts about what's happening in our continent.
Here is a quote from the Kenyan journalist and founder, Salem Amin:
Salim Amin wrote in an article: "We are different in each corner of Africa; we have different histories, cultures and many different languages. But we need to talk to each other, we need to understand all these differences, we need to share our successes, and jointly fight our problems and failures - many of which are similar - HIV, malaria, corruption, poverty, human rights and education."
Monday, September 17, 2007
"If you run an NGO, or know someone who does, you’ll be excited to hear about nGOmobile. It’s a new initiative from Ken Banks of Kiwanja.net to help NGOs leapfrog the barriers to getting started using text messaging. You need to be operating a small to medium sized NGO in a developing nation to enter the competition.
How it worksFirst, take a look at the website. Next, you submit a short project description. The top 4 will be awarded everything you need to set up and manage your very own text-messaging project:
A brand new HP Pavilion laptop computer - To help you run your messaging campaign from anywhere you choose
A GSM modem - Send messages through the mobile network without the need for the Internet
Office software - Word processing, spreadsheets, email - everything to help you run your project more efficiently
A top-of-the-range Nokia mobile phone (or two) - A couple of cool Nokia phones to help you take photos and videos (and talk!)
FrontlineSMS -FrontlineSMS is a great piece of software allowing you to run your very own text-messaging campaign from a laptop or desktop computer.
$1,000 in cash "
I believe this competition is very motivating!
Saturday, September 15, 2007
America donating money to Darfur? Why? Really, why?
Rumour has it that Sudan makes about 9 billion dollars a year from oil exports. Since our government is not investing this money in useful things such as development projects/better health care facilities or even better education systems ...Why don't they fund the UN peacekeeping forces in Darfur? After all, they are in their country trying to protect their own civilians (from them?).
The United States will pull out of Iraq soon and they will need the money to rebuild the country...at least I believe that instead of pouring money into Darfur, they should use this money to restore stability and rebuild Iraq.
Friday, September 14, 2007
The death of 2 girls d as a result of FGM this summer attracted even more international attention to this barbaric act.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Dana Lost in translation
I'm so happy 4 all of us wallahi!
Sunday, September 9, 2007
We were in America and a famous Jewish-American human rights activist/writer/professor invited us for lunch. We talked and talked about the middle east/Islam/immigration/human rights issues and when my professor suggested they ask me something about Africa because I'm from there and I know alot about my beloved continent. This is what she told me " Does anything good ever happen there?". I can't describe how I felt at the time because its too complicated. I'm not sure if I felt angry or sad. I think I felt both. I also felt her Afro-pessimism rub on me. I felt it clinging to my skin and as I tried reminding myself of the good things in my continent .I still couldn't recover to my old-self.
Then, I remembered something my mother told me 2 days before I travelled "always be proud of being African and always be proud of Africa".
Today in my cultures of Africa class, the professor asked us what is Africa?
As an African, I can't answer this question. I can give you an abstract definition but it's never good enough. What is Africa and what does it represent to us?
Is the brutal Africa where people are killed, women are raped, children are abducted and enslaved and societies are torn apart the same Africa I'm in love with?
If you ask yourself this question then you have to think about different African countries. Is it possible to do so? The Sudanese speak atleast 500 languages and they are divided into atleast 600 ethnic groups, can you tell me now what is Sudan? I can't tell you what is Sudan.
What is Sudan to you? Is it Darfur? Is it a brutal Islamic government on a mission to oppress and prosecute christians?
What is Zimbabwe to you? Is it a country so badly mismanaged , it went from being the breadbasket of Southern Africa to one of Africa's most needy countries?
Africa could mean poverty and war to you, some students said that in class. It's true but it's not the whole story. If you think of Africa this way...you must be looking at 40% of the picture my friend!
Africa is not darfur,rwanda, dictatorships,underdevelopment or even AIDS. If I was asked what Africa is, I will not be able to give a clear concrete answer. I will select some of the above,all of the above and other. Please don't ask me what this "other" is.
I always wondered what "expert on Africa" means. Many western newspapers will label a certian journalist or writer as "this man is an expert on Africa".
Can he answer this question" what is africa"? Can he give us all a concrete precise definition of the continent?
How does colonial/post-colonial/pre-colonial africa differ?
I used the encounter I had with the American lady because it meant so much to me. It really showed me how Africa is misunderstood by most people, even the educated ones who have the chance to travel and see the real Africa. I don't know what she meant by "good". The opening of a new hospital in Central Africa might be a good thing for Africans or for people in that region but will it count as a good thing ?
There are alot of overlooked small "good" things in Africa.
When it comes to female representation in parliament, Rwanda ranks number 1. I wonder if this achievement in Rwanda is "good".
Ghana remained one of the most peaceful countries in the world and the most peaceful in Africa although its neighbours are at war. Isn't Ghana a good example of a stable African country?
I don't know what's considered good in the western media or in America or in the world but if you stopped tinking about war/HIV/poverty/underdevelopment in Africa for exaxctly 10 minutes, you might actually give yourself a rare chance to see
something else. something great,something special...
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
I'm a junior now and although I was a freshman a few semesters ago, the first though that came to mind when I saw them today was "kids!". They are! Every semester, they keep getting younger,skinnier and shorter. Not to mention posher! Half of them were wearing designer jeans, skimpy tops and gucci/prada/louis vuitton bags.
Anyways, I was standing there talking to some friend when a noticed a familiar face. She was tall, slim and had the most-beautiful skin ever. I've met her last June during the world refugee day even held at university. Her name is Sandra and she is from South Sudan.
I walked up to her and started talking. She was shy, insecure and I could tell that she felt out of place. Mabye she was intimidated because she didn't know anyone or mabye she was worried she is not going to get the scholarship.
Not only is she extremely beautiful, she is also intelligent and will make all South Sudanese proud.
She is going to be something one day!
I hope she gets the scholarship.
Pray 4 her
Sudan returnee:- eh ra2yak fel 3roos di? she is really cute, I can hook u up!
Monday, September 3, 2007
Our grandparents generation and our parents generation screwed up Africa...big time!
Just because I'm Sudanese doesn't mean that I care less about the sufferring in other African countries.
Recently, I've been asking myself- What is going on in Zimbabwe (Southern Africa's former Bread-Basket)?
when inflation is 400%
When life expectancy drops from 60 to 30 in just 15 years
When about half a million of a population of 13 million is homeless
When 20% of adults are HIV positive
When teachers can't afford the bus fare, they stop going to schools
When a bunch of people are forced to leave their homeland because of the color of their skin
When bread is a luxury
When human rights abuses are so bad, the country is facing severe international isolation
When a leader is immortal
When 25% of primary-school children drop-out of school in just 3 years
When educated women are forced to work as prostituties in neighbouring South Africa
Are we waiting for England to take action? Are Africans really uncapable of solving any problem at all?
Kizzie:- what? This is horrible! I thought we are out of the terrorism thing
Aunt:- no, it makes sense...it's a very logical explanation, he is not the only one 7abebti, many young man dissapeared around the same time.
I left feeling even more confused. It made sense but how could they do that?
I came back from university and my mother is crying.
My first reaction is :- Who died?
Mother:- s's son is gone. He left 3 days ago and they can't find him anywhere
Kizzie:- mother, he is probably at a friends house. He is not gone forever ya3ni!
Mother:- No, just like A's son...they keep dissapearing
A's son left 4 years ago and never came back.
This cousin of mine was actually my mother's 1st cousin(his father and her mother were siblings) but because my grandmother was old and she was married quite young, my mother's cousins are my age, a bit older or even younger.
He was 19, a university sophomore and very reserved.
Unlike my other cousins, he usually didn't come to our(my other cousin is a singer so we had many parties!) and I didn't see him much to be honest. I think he liked isolating himself!
About a year ago, he became a bit too religious( there is nothing wrong with being religious!) but when he started putting rules and forcing his sisters to abide by them, it started getting out of control.
The rules included:-
2-Arguing with them about the way they dress etc...
The mosque became the place where he spent most of his time and not only that, he also started isolating himself from other people.
What did his family do about it?
You are probably thinking "his dad should've noticed and did something about it". He only hectored him about the way he started treating his sisters and told him to mind his own business but nobody took some serious action.
Why is he spending so much time at some places?
Why did he change?
What's wrong with him?
His mother died of cancer when he was about 12 and his father was getting married a few weeks after he disappeared. Mabye he felt distanced from the rest of his family, mabye he missed his mother because she was the only person who listened to him, mabye he was just frustrated with life and felt that even if he graduated- not only graduates in Sudan find jobs.
I'm a bit uncomfortable using the term disappeared with this cousin because he just walked out completely aware of what he is getting himself into. He was brainwashed ,lectured and prepared for this day, the day he left.
I'm not going to blame him because it's not his fault. He was probably too galluable or just happy he found a bunch of people who supposedly cared about him and listened to his frustrations.
Why couldn't he be close to other cousins or family members?
How come we didn't noticethat he alienated himself before it was too late?
Alot of questions, almost no answers.
I'm just really angry because he had a long life ahead of him, his creativity and his contribution to his country , to his family and to the entire world is lost and his family can'tforget him but they also can't forgive him.
I'm angry because young men like my cousin where easy targets. They were deceived . Their life isn't worth anything to the people who talked them into being martyrs.
Is this what god wanted him to do? - Leave his family and runaway to a world full of hatred and criminal activity.
He is gone and I personally don't believe he is ever going back.
It was shocking in the begining then it was sad, now, he is only a memory.
He could be dead or planning the death of someone.
He could be sitting somewhere in this world regretting his decision or he could be happy because he thinks he is doing the right thing.
I don't know.
I don't think I want to know.
Where are you dear cousins? Afghanistan? Sudan?Iraq?Pakistan?Egypt?
Sunday, September 2, 2007
3 days after my uncle's wedding.
We ae still celebrating and I still didn't wear half of the dresses I purchased for this wedding.
My mother walks in, she looks concerned and exhausted.
Mother:- He is gone, her son just disappeared. They can't find him anywhere.
Kizzie:- Who are you talking about? Who disappeared?
Mother:- you know my mother's cousin called today and she said her son just walked out and didn't come back...it's been 2 days. You know her..Her name is A, she is B's sister.
Kizzie:- ok...calm down..did I ever meet him? god mother! your family is sooo large, I have like 1 trillion cousins.
Mother:- They said they looked for him everywhere, his dad is still looking but they can't find him....dress up, we are going to her place right now
Kizzie:- mother, they just can't look for him everywhere, they should tell the police..I know they are useless but you never know. Did they contact his friends?
Mother:- they did, I have a feeling there is a story behind this....dress up..
We visit his family... his mother looks 60(she was in her early 40's) and his dad is still driving around Khartoum looking for him n everybody is depressed.
Kizzie to her sister:- God, they should stop this crap...the guy is not dead yet!
My aunt:- well if he was dead, it was going to be way better..at least they know he is dead! Now, we don't know if he is dead or alive.
I walked over to his mother and told her *He is going to come back * and asked for his picture. She went inside and came back with a passport picture. He looked my age.
When she asked me how old I am, I found out he is my age.
It's been two years.
God, please make him come back. We could've started university together. We could've been really good friends. I don't' know. I don't know. I just wish I had the chance to get to know him better.
Relative:- so ..did A' Son come back yet?
Kizzie:- No, it's been two years. Everybody looked for him. My cousins drove around Khartoum looking for him. We did everything.
Relative:- I don't think he is still in Sudan...I'm sure they trained him in Sudan but he is abroad now
Kizzie:- what? where did he travel? what training? khalto S. what are you talking about?
To be continued
ps:- Thanks for inspiring me SudanReturnee:)
Friday, August 31, 2007
So janjaweed means devil-on-horseback but it’s usually used to refer to Darfurian Arabs.
Not all Arabs in Darfur are janjaweed. According to an aid worker in Darfur, some Darfurian Arabs are aid workers.(SIS)
Note:- please keep in mind that Musa Hilal doesn't like the term "Janjaweed. He believes it should only be used to refer to thugs and theifs in Chad.
He is one of the leaders of the racist and criminal organization called the Arab gathering and leaders of the Janjaweed. Musa Hilal is from the Um Jalul tribe, a branch of the Rizeigat Arabs.
Hilal is not only the leader of the Janjaweed; he is also the first name on the US state of department’s list of suspected genocidal criminals. A disgrace to the Sudan and to humanity in general.
The mastermind behind Darfur’s atrocities
"In 1997, Hilal was jailed for killing 17 Africans in Darfur, according to the inquiry. Years earlier, he had also been imprisoned for killing a security guard and robbing a bank in Nyala, a city in southern Darfur. " (Wax)
He was set free after that only to be jailed again for other crimes against humanity. After the government he is the perfect man to help them fight the rebels. They let him go(the vice president himself intervened to do so). He was set free to kill more people.
Come fight with me” Musa Hilal to the Arabs
On the 27th of February 2004, the town of Tawila was attacked.
75 murders and 100 women rapped and gang-rapped later, it ended.
Sitting comfortably in his Land Cruiser and keeping himself busy with word games and fun stuff, Hilal witnessed the 3 days long attack and gave instructions to his men to burn the village and leave no infrastructure.
When questioned about this attack, Hilal denied it although there are many witnesses.
The teacher confirmed that Hilal was there and he was in charge but Hilal’s confession was more credible to officials.
Is Musa Hilal the real criminal here?
“I answered my government’s appeal and called my people to arms” Musa Hilal.
If you read my biography to the right-hand side, you will notice that it’s titled “our government thinks we are the enemy”.
Recently, I've started to believe that our government wants us dead. Over a million died in the South and now over 200,00 died in Darfur. Who is next? Me? You? My whole tribe?
I don’t see why we should blame a man like Musa Hilal.
Is he responsible for the security of the civilians in Darfur or the Sudan? It’s debatable.
His only crime is obeying OUR governments order. He is just doing what he is asked to do.
“I have orders from the government. All our orders come from the government. We are here so no one can point a finger at the government” A general in military intelligence.
If our government wants some of us dead then all they have to do is find people who are willing to do so. The janjaweed are like our governments version of a ""Hitman ".
Who should the international court of justice prosecute first? Musa Hilal or Omar Al Bashir?
Jihad in Darfur
“Drought and destitution embittered the Darfur Arabs…they were ripe for picking by the government” (Alex De Waal)
As rebel movements started forming (SLA), Musa Hilal was busy recruiting men from Chad and arming himself for his “Jihad”.
In October 2002, A Fur village was attacked. Women were rapped. Many were killed and many were abducted.
Similar attacks were launched after that. Villages were burnt and the displacement of the 1.5 million started. Darfur began to unfold at an alarming rate.
Rwanda in 1994 in Darfur in 2004.
“Blacks always support the rebels” Musa Hilal.
This reminds me of radio stations in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. They encouraged the population to become a criminal population.
Hutu teachers were asked to kill their Tutsi students. Hutu men were forced to kill their Tutsi wives and children.
If your neighbours were Tutsi then you better kill them or else, you are a tratitor...a disgrace to the entire Hutu population.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
He is your typical educated ,intellectual and politically-involved Sudanese nationalist who is also one of my favorite authors. At the age of 30, the government decided that he must retire. He went with my mother to England. He wanted to live there temporarily but my mother wanted to stay there and raise her daughters away from political problems and African dictatorships.
He was like Anwar from Leila Aboulela's novel, Minaret. A young figure in the opposition who would've never even considered living in the West but found himself there.
Many of his friends were already there, doing their PHD's and applying for political asylum.
Not long after moving to London, they returned home.
The transitional-government took over and my father was optimistic once again. He went back to work.
Years passed and the national salvation government took over.
New government,New problems.
In Sudan, people always hope this new government is better than the one before it. This government was suppose to end the war with the South , they made it worse. Since the beginning, their "we eat what we grow" ideology caused more poverty and more hunger. They wanted to cripple the civil society but they couldn't get rid of all the opposition groups.
This man spoke up only to lose his job.
Two daughters and an unemployed husband, my mother was even more eager to leave the country. We stayed there for a while and finally, we left.
It was hard but there was no other way out. This man couldn't find a job anywhere but then one of his good friends offered him a job. He travelled there only to be told to leave immediately. They were looking for him and his friend. There is nothing worse than feeling unwanted in your own country.
We started our journey abroad and my father was lucky when it came to jobs. He did well and I was always pivileged.
Most of his friends who left with him did well too. Professors in the United States. Doctors in England and Saudi Arabia. Writers.Scientists.
Although most if not all the Sudanese in the diaspora contribute to the economy
through remittances sent to families or friends, Doesn't Sudan really need their skills more than their money?
I was thinking about the skilled diaspora a few days ago. My father. His friends. The educated individuals who were forced to leave.
Do you think that the university of Khartoum deserves better Sudanese professors?
If professors in the US,Europe or the Gulf came back and taught at U of K, it would be better.
Since the government of Sudan doesn't appreciate any skills, talents or intelligence, people are tempted to leave. Many musicians,painters and writers work abroad because the government doesn't appreciate any form of art.
Why was my father forced to live nearly 20 years of his life abroad? He would've contributed allot to his country.
Why is Rasha, a very talented Sudanese singer forced to live in Spain?
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
In the 1980’s, the Arab gathering, the first organization or group to harbor racist arab ideologies was formed.
They distributed cassettes and pamphlets arguing that the blacks ruled Darfur long enough and now it was time for the Arabs to rule. People ignored them for a while.
Things started happening. People were killed.
"Fight-or lose your land and be destroyed" Musa Hilal-leader of Janjaweed and a member of the Arab Gathering.In 1982, a market near Awal was attacked. People were separated according to their tribe.
The Arabs had the chance to leave unharmed but the non-Arabs were brutalized. Other attacks were carried out as well; the victims were always “Non-Arabs”.
In 1987, the Arab gathering wrote a letter to the president asking him to stop neglecting the Darfur Arabs. They argued that they are the majority and they should rule Darfur.
This is how the letter ended. Threatening?
“Should the neglect of the Arab race continue, and the Arabs be denied their share in government, we are afraid that things may escape the control of wise men and revert to ignorant people and the mob. Then there could be catastrophe, with dire consequences. ” (De Waal)
They were honest.
Note:-I’m guessing the president didn’t; take their letter seriously because a Fur was assigned governor of Darfur after this letter.
The Arab gathering decided to take action. Qoreish 1 (a group with similar ideas)
was born out of the Arab gathering.
They had 2 immediate goals
1- Cripple the new non-Arab governor’s regional government
2- Recruit volunteers to create problems between black tribes.
-This was a battle plan for the Janjaweed.
In the late 1990’s, their plan was expanded and it was published in more detail. The date for completing this plan was 2020.
As some of you know, the name Qoreish is the prophet’s tribe. They chose this name because they believe that they (The Baggara Arabs)are descendants of the prophet’s tribe. This supposedly gives them the right to rule Muslim lands. Their ancestors crossed from Libya to Darfur a long time ago and they should rule from the Nile to Lake Chad.
It’s common knowledge that Darfur has one of the longest histories of human existence in the Sudan. Some time before carnage and inequality became the new law of order; Darfur was peaceful and ruled by sultans who exchanged letters with Napoleon and traded with Egypt.
Like many parts of Sudan, Darfur is home to many ethnic groups.
The Africans are divided into two groups:-
1-settled groups such as the “Fur”, the largest African ethnic group.
2-Non settled ones such as the Zaghawa
Dar means homeland and fur refers to this ethnic groups. Darfur takes its name from this ethnic group. There also other African tribes such as the Zaghawa etc..
Arabs arrived in Darfur between the 14th and 18th century, they are also divided into two groups
1-traders who arrived from the East and the West
2-Juhaynas who arrived from the North-West.
Juhayna Arabs: - a group of people who trace their lineage to the prophet’s tribe (Qoreish)
Juhayna Arabs fall into two groups:-
Baggara (cattle herders/cattle-people) or Abbala or (Camel-men)
The Fur sultans granted land to the Baggara however, the Abbala were not given any land. This is how they believe they are involved in the conflict now. They’ve been looking for land for the past 250 years.
Marginalization of Darfur
Surprisingly, Darfur wasn’t only marginalized by current Sudanese governments, the underdevelopment and marginalization of Darfur started from the colonial times.
Developing Darfur was not considered until 1945.
“The file economic development, Darfur province in the Khartoum national archives, contains just five entries for the entire period 1917-50” (De Waal)
Education was limited to the children of local chiefs.
The governments of Sudan continued neglecting Darfur after independence. There was no investment in Darfur whatsoever. Healthcare facilities and Education didn’t improve much.
Many promises were dishonored.
Water and migration
Water in Darfur is scarce. Lake Chad is drying up at an alarming rate and every season, tribes such as the Baggara migrate south to spend the long summer.
Note: - It is believed that they used to take back slaves and stolen cattle with them back in the days.
In the autumn, the Baggara escape African Sleeping Sickness and heavy rains and go to the North. If they found African tribes there, they sometimes pay them to stay in their land but sometimes fighting is better than paying.
In the next part, I will explain
1- How the Darfur conflict is not entirely restricted to Sudan, it involved and still involves Chad, Libya and other countries
2- The conflict didn’t really start in 2003
How Libya and Chad are involved
After Chad got its independence from France, they were under the leadership of Francis Tombalbaye, a president mostly hated by the Chadian Muslims for his policies and dictatorial rule.
After the civil war started in Chad, the Sudanese and the Libyans supported Hissene Habre to become the next president of Chad. Habre was Muslim and possibly Arab. According to Sudan and Libya, he was the perfect candidate.
The Americans and the Egyptians also provided military and financial support to Habre. The Sudanese provided him with lands in Darfur for training his army which was made up of Chadians and Sudanese. Habre took over the capital and the late Tombalbaye (who was removed in a coup d’état earlier) had nowhere to go but the Sudan. During the years of civil war and insurgency in Chad, unthinkable amounts of arms were smuggled to the Sudan. Most of the arms stayed in Darfur.
Like all the borders in Africa, the Chadian-Sudanese border is porous. Refugees crossed the borders freely and arms crossed even more freely.
Clashes between tribes especially settled (mostly Fur) and unsettled tribes (mostly Arabs) were common. Instead of fighting with knives or even rifles, they now had Kalashnikovs. The Arab tribes armed themselves. The age-old conflicts involving land and water started becoming more intense and bloody.
After supporting Habre, Sudan and Libya decided they don’t like him after all. In 1975, Libya invaded Chad and Libyan troops fought Chadian troops for the next 10 years or so. The military aid given to Chad by the United States and France was used to win the war against Gaddafi’s Libya. The Sudanese government supported Libya’s war against Chad. They didn’t provide military or financial aid but they just gave Libya the permission to use Darfur as a “rear base”.
Many lives were lost in the following years because of this stupid move.
“Thousands of Islamic legion troops and Chadian Arabs crossed the desert to Darfur. Given the increasing local tensions, this sparked a conflagration in Darfur: an Arab-Fur war between 1987 and 1989 in which thousands were killed and hundreds of villages burned” (De Waal)
The civil war started.
Darfur Civil war (1987-1989)
The civil war in Darfur was simply tribal conflicts. Arms were still being smuggled from Chad and it was fought during the second Sudanese civil war.
The government decided to take advantage of the Arabs in Darfur and started arming them. This was primarily to help them fight the wars they waged against the South but it was used for the internal conflicts too.
For example: - In 1987, Arab militia from the Baggara tribe killed and burned over 1,000 dinka’s in “El-Daíen”. They were heavily armed from the government to fight the SPLA and their supporters (the 1,000 innocent people they killed I suppose!).
Note: - about a month before the Islamist regime/National salvation government took over the country, peace talks ended the civil war in Darfur. Not once and not for all.
In 1990, Chad was close to having a new president. Idriss Deby(an ethnic Zaghawa, one of the largest tribes in Darfur).
For the tenth time, Darfur was being used as a training area for training Deby’s men and rearming them. Libya and Sudan armed Deby’s new group, The Patriotic Salvation.
“Khartoum assisted him by remobilizing 1,200 Chadian Arabs militia, and France looked the other way. In December, Deby counterattacked and swiftly occupied N’Djamena”. (De Waal)
Years later, Chad and Deby will be part of the picture again.
Kalashing the famine
“The Kalash brings cash, without a kalash you’re trash”
In 1990, the price of a Kalashnikov in Darfur was 40 dollars.
In the late 80’s, Darfur made headlines when it was hit by a horrible drought resulting in a famine.
There is an untold story about the famine. Darfurians weren’t only starved, they were also robbed. Arms were smuggled from Chad or handed out by Libya. The political instability in Chad leaked through the porous Chadian-Sudanese border in the form of “Armed Robberies”.
Sadly, tribes participated in this (especially settled ones). The arms intensified small tribal conflicts over water (a scarce source in Darfur).
Darfur: A Short History of a long War, Alex De Waal and Julie Flint
Notes from Darfur, my father personal diary from his work in Darfur (I lived 6 months in Darfur)
Covering Darfur (Arabic book) Ibrahim Al-Sadiq Ali attia
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
I must discuss this problem very soon because IDP's shouldn't be as invisible as they are right now.
Evey time I go outside the capital, I notice the small mud houses scattered in desert-like areas. I never got the chance to properly interview any of them but I will include the experience of one of my grandma's maids.
Monday, August 13, 2007
George B.N. Ayyitey gave a great talk at the TED Global. Listen to him and let me know if you are a cheetah or a hippo african. For non-Africans who do you prefer? http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/151
I emailed afrol.com and told them Sudan is , Ghana followed!
Last time I checked we were a black African country and we got our Independence first. 1956! we will turn 52 next January!
Are they on a mission to piss me off?
Friday, August 10, 2007
1- to write a series of Darfur posts called Darfur Diaries where I will introduce readers to one of Africa's most complex conflicts
I wil discuss 1-History of the conflict 2-The Janjaweed 3-The role of everybody in Darfur(governement,Janjaweed and so-called rebels) 4-The rape stories and violence 5-The role of the AU 6-The role of the international community and China 7-Reporting Darfur
i'm not writing a book, my posts will be sweet and short however, I'm doing some research now because I want to present all sides.
2-I'm going through rough times and I need some peace of mind. No biggie, I just have some personal problems but I'm glad I have some great friends.
A very good friend of mine offered to take me with her to a very popular resort here. I'm going to enjoy the beach, great company and staying up till 6 am for a few days.
I hope you like the Darfur posts:)
Thursday, August 9, 2007
She seems like a great person but a Hollywood celebrity taking the place of Jamous is just too much!
ps:- great idea for a Hollywood movie!
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Answer:- " The nature of the crisis is different from Iraq or Palestine, In Darfur, you can walk a long time in the desert to reach the news, but in Palestine it's easy."
Good question. Bad answer.
The Arab coverage of Darfur is pathetic. Only recently did Al-Arabiya started doing some proper reporting on Darfur. Only recently did they add Darfur to the list of Arab countries we should pray for, donate money to. Only recently did people find out about a conflict which started nearly 4 years ago.udan is a member of the Arab league. It is considered an "Arab" country. If a crises happens in an Arab country, the Arab world rushes to help.They donate money to rebuild Lebanon. They send money to help Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. This is not done to Arab countries only. When the massacres happened in Bosnia, they had donation boxes in every supermarket in Qatar. They had to help the Bosnians, they are not Arabs but they are "Muslim". If this is the case, then Sudan should be helped not because it is Arab but because it is a Muslim country. Many western journalists travelled long distances to report in Darfur but where are the Arabs who are suppose to help the so-called Arab country called Sudan?
Nabil Kassem went to Darfur. Great job. Who else?
Samantha Power went to Darfur. She even convinced Barack Obama to go there . Nicholas Kristof went there many times.Paul Salopek of the Chicago tribune went there. There is more Jewish money going to Darfur than Muslim money.
Palestine,Lebanon and Iraq are the priority. I comprehend that, but just don't preach about how Arab countries should "help" Sudan because it is an Arab country because they simply don't care.Only in such a situation is the real status of Sudan within the Arab world noticed.
The Senegalese president once said " the Sudanese could've been the best Africans but they chose to be the worst Arabs". We didn't choose to be the worst Arabs, we chose to be the trash of the Arab world! We don't exactly look Arab but the fact that we speak the Arabic language fluently makes them compelled to accept us.
Nabil Kassem is one of a kind. An Arab journalist who travelled to Darfur and created an eye-opening documentary about the conflict. Too bad the documentary was killed. If you want to watch the documentary named "Jihad on Horseback" you have to watch it online.
The documentary was killed and the cries of Kassem about what the Arabs should do in Darfur were ignored. The situation in Iraq is constantly deteriorating and sometimes, you have to make a choice about what's more important to the audience. The choice was clearly made.
Iraq matters. What is happening in Iraq breaks my heart, I sympathize equally with Palestine but people are dying in Darfur too. Religion or ethnicity doesn't matter when people are dying.
I'm still looking for a good answer to the question why such poor Arab journalism when it comes to Darfur?
Answer proposed:- " The Arabs see the victims are not Arabs, and we don't care" Khaled Ewais, a political producer from Al-Arabbiya- an important news channel in the Arab world.
The victims in Darfur are not Arabs, they are Africans. The Arabs are playing another role in Darfur. Definitely not the "victims".The Darfurians are Muslims but they are not "Arabs". Enough said." Sudan is a marginal country when it comes to the Arab region", Khartoum correspondant of Al-Hayat. Well Said.We shall collect the rest of our dignity( If there is any left!)and join the East African world. I don't think Africans will refuse to embrace Sudan. The problem is Sudan will rather be the trash of the Arab world than be considered African. Most of Darfur and the South/North peace talks (if not all) were in African countries(Only Libya hosted some peace talks). Did Arab countries ever hold peace talks in their country? No, we are non of their business.
This post is not anti-arab or anything but I just couldn't suppress my anger any longer. If the Arab world cares about the Sudan, they should do the minimum to ensure the final peace talks go well and support the peace-keeping forces. I'm not asking for alot.
Currently, Al Jazeera is reporting on the Darfur peace talks . Progress is happening:) or so it seems.
She is a biology major and a psychology and enviromental science minor. Last summer, she worked in Kenya in HIV/AIDS peer education. She is a diver and is very interested in conservation work and coral reefs. Her blog will be very different than mine mainly because our interests are different.
If you want to read a sudanese blog about the enviroment,science etc...., visit her blog
Friday, August 3, 2007
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Less than three years ago ,Najwa Ibrahim- a Sudanese woman in her early forties -was living comfortably in her house located in the peaceful town of "Hasahesa" in central Sudan. Central Sudan is one of the few places not directly affected by Africa's longest-running civil war. Her life was stable. Although her husband taught at a local school ,this didn't stop her from pursuing her own dream of getting a job and contributing to her family's growing needs. she is also the mother of three teenagers who received what she described as "good education" at a local school back home. Although living in her country made her feel comfortable among her family and loved ones, her sense of security was shattered by her husband's constant detentions, harassment's and interrogations by government officials. Her husband is like many Sudanese who are politically involved and are aiming at restoring the crippled Sudanese civil society. Sadly, his political involvement forced his family to leave the country for an undetermined period of time in October 2004. Their destination was Cairo, mainly because of its proximity to the Sudan and the family's fluency in the Arabic language. Accustomed to having a job back home and wanting to provide reasonable living conditions for her family, Najwa started looking for work. She was hoping to work for the UNHCR but she ended up working with a group called the "African Group". The group meets in a classroom at the American University in Cairo where they produce handicrafts and make things then sell them for some money. Najwa attends English classes at All Saints Church in order to improve her chances of getting a better job in the future.
Luckily, her husband was able to find a job too. He is currently working for "CARITAS", an organization that helps refugees.
Shortly after Najwa's family arrived in Cairo, Najwa tried taking her children to an Egyptian school but she had problems with her visa so she was forced to take them to a school based in St. Andrews church .That, Najwa's family are Muslims going to a Church school is a sign of the special relations between Muslims and Christian refugees in Cairo. In Cairo, all religions and tribes stand together as one and support each other unlike in the Sudan.
Najwa considers the many friends she made while working with the African group or attending English classes the main reason for tolerating living in Cairo, but her facial expressions, tone of voice and words express her unhappiness about living here. Najwa doesn't stop herself from telling me that living in Cairo is the worst thing that happened to her.
Najwa gets many harassment's here so she limited her life to work and attending English classes. apparently, her family stopped going out after being mistreated and called names by random people in the streets of Cairo. she recalls an incident last Eid where she went to a park with her family to have a nice time only to come back depressed. They were called several derogatory names, they left and never returned again.
Even though Najwa's story is bittersweet, she is optimistic about her family's future.
Recently, her son started going to Townhouse gallery where he meets other artists like himself and will soon be able to have his own exhibitions. Like many other refugees, Najwa is hoping to be resettled to a third country. Nevertheless, she expressed her willingness to move back to the Sudan if the government was changed.
Recently, she was issued a yellow card but her papers are taking a long time. while she is in Cairo, she is trying to make the best out of her time living here. when it comes to everything else, she helplessly exclaimed " I'm Leaving things to God"
Monday, July 30, 2007
My Blog is blocked in China. Too bad the Chinese can't access my blog. I did say some excellent things about them and their mutually-beneficial relations with Africa.
The crappy thing is:- I was considering China for my graduate studies but hey Berkeley is a great option after all!
I know I'm optimistic all the time but after reading more reports, listening the the rants of aid workers and seeing more pictures of Darfur, tears are long gone. Just like aid workers, I learned to harden my heart and it's not a bad thing if you ask me. It's for my own good, for your own good too. If I got teartful and my heart softened over every thing I saw or heard, I will not have time to breath.
If you want to know more about a place where the humanity of many individuals froze, then keep checking this post.
I will be posting about Darfur in the next few days.