Friday, April 27, 2012

When is it worth it?

I was summoned by the journalism police this week because of an article on Awadia Ajabna, a girl shot by the public order police forces right in front of her door step. ( I also published it here -) I was surprised when the editor-in-chief sent me a text message informing me that I have to go to the police on Wednesday , why now? I kept asking myself.

 I wrote this column almost 50 days ago, why are they summoning me now? I ended up going to the interrogation at 2 p.m the next day with a lawyer who is also a friend (who I don't blame for not wanting anything to do with me anymore because of all the drama we bring to him) and a good friend of mine. I'm not going to go into a lot of details here.

In fact I really didn't want to talk about it because I didn't want to escalate the case and to be honest, I shut off from anyone who is not close to me.

But the next day, everything changed and a lot of issues came undone and I felt like ركبته الماسورة.

 Some friends visited me at home and I became certain of just how much her family does not care about her case and are in fact using the case to make money and improve their lives.

I was furious.

My mother was nagging on me telling me that I could serve time if this case goes to court while her family, her own blood, are selling the case. My friends left my house at 11:00 pm on Wednesday night and I was so frustrated. I couldn't go to bed and kept thinking all night- is it even worth it?

 -------Why I was summoned------

 When Ajabna was shot, her murder inspired so many protests in her neighborhood , the Sudanese public was furious and it was not in the interest of the police to take me or any author to court for writing about the case.

 So, we wrote.

 We all wrote about it, expressed our outrage and frustration at the human rights abuses.

We felt empowered by her family's initial reaction, they wanted justice for their murdered sister and we wanted to help them.

 It all happened at Awadia's memorial, it was on 14 April. I spent nearly a month working day and night to collect donations to make this event work out.

We faced a number of challenges and the fact that the event took place is nothing short of a miracle.

 After a speech by Sudanese journalist and feminist, Rasha Awad, who is actually banned from writing in Sudanese newspapers. Hell broke loose, a fight ensued between activists who began chanting " the people want to overthrow the regime" and regime-apologists who accused activists of using this memorial for their own agenda. The thing is, they did not. It just kinda happened.

Awad's speech was so powerful and highlighted the ongoing human rights abuses and all of a sudden, people couldn't contain their anger. The family stepped in and stood against the organizers and the activists, there was a lot of disappointment as the organizers found themselves in the middle of a family struggle. Some family members received money to stop escalating the case, that was obvious to us.

  -------Yes, It is worth it-----

When I went to the police on Wednesday morning, a part of me still felt empowered by the family. At least, two of her brothers could testify if this case goes to court. In fact, when the interrogator asked me if I have a witness from the family. I answereded yes. I felt so sure about that. The next day, I left the house with a friend not sure where I was going.

We ended up in a cafeteria somewhere with three other people talking about my case and Ajabna's family. I expressed my frustration at the family's stance.

 One of my friends, a journalist and activist told me a very touching story.

She has a police case against her dating back to 2009 for an article she wrote on the trial of a fellow journalist. That journalist was granted asylum abroad while the police comes to my friend's house with an arrest warrant every time she angers them with her activism.

 She told me how her mother pressures her and tells her that she ruined her career and life while the journalist enjoys living the high life abroad. After my friend told me this story, I felt horrible for wanting to do the same thing as her family- I decided to not sell the Ajabna case cheap and continue advocating for her.

 When I set out to write my column, the first column I've ever written and published, it wasn't only about Awadia Ajabna, it was about the video girl who was screaming and crying as she was lashed by the police and also about Nadia Saboon, the tea lady who died by accident because she was running away from the public order police.

 Ajabna to me represents an entire cause- the ongoing abuses by the public order police and how as civilians , we are not receiving the protection we deserve.

 I really owe it to Ajabna and Saboon, both martyrs in my opinion, to continue writing about their cases and fighting for their justice even if it comes at a great personal cost. Even if no one else is making noise.


Mimz said...

Dear Kizzie,

I am so glad that you are keeping positive. Sudan really needs people like you.

Awadiya is one martyr out of thousands whose cases receive no coverage. When I think about all the women living in less privileged states who die by the hands of the Sudanese police or the NISS my heart aches for them and I feel that our community has reduced the value of their lives to nothing.

I consider Awadiya's case as symbolic and referential to cases of other Sudanese women who suffer day to day from oppression, abuse and violence by the police. This is why Awadiya's case was and always will be a public opinion case.

The fact that Awadiya's own family sold her case to improve their lives and exploited her death for their own personal gains is very sad. However, it is all the more reason for us to keep advocating for her and keep her memory alive (as is the case with Saboon). The public order police cannot and will not get away with its crimes.

Stay strong and keep inspiring us.

Anonymous said...

the rightest way is always the longest ,keep fighting we are 100% behind you