In late 2001, I was waiting right outside Khartoum International airport with at least 50 family members for a man who was forced to leave Sudan 11 years earlier because he had opinions and he refused to conform. I was waiting for my father.
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?