Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sudan Elections

Want to read party profiles and know  more about the elections in Sudan? Interested in reading about the Debated issues?

Follow the elections @

Thanks to the Peace Research Institute @ the University of Khartoum (U of K) , Media in Cooperation and  FES sudan, you have a unique website with a lot of resources. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The art of job-hunting

Wholeheartedly Sudaniya is a graduate! 
After 3.5 years of writing papers, pretending to study, taking notes, interning, volunteering and attending lectures given by Jimmy Carter, the Queen of Swaziland (no I don't mean Switzerland) and Jerry Leach (he is such a sweetheart!), she is done. No more papers and waking up at 5 in the morning to register for classes and no more student discounts (I just realized how useful being a student is a month ago when I finally decided to get fit and join the gym!). 
After a summer of pretending to be working and doing important things...wait:- why do people ask you about your plans a week after you graduate? are you expected to get a job the day you graduate?
I wanted to chill the whole summer,but I did end up working as a research assistant twice and doing some volunteering ( I was a lazy volunteer!) , but I did think about getting an actual full-time job. Not the 9-5 crap because once you start doing it, you are sucked in. You are in it "till death do you part".

Finally, after Ramadan...
I started job-hunting.  I looked at the usual :- relief-web, alert-net, Irin news etc... Anything to do with communications in an NGO or other humanitarian vacancies. Then I had to write cover letters, now this is the difficult part, I hate writing cover letters...why? I lack the qualifications to "bull-shit". I can't convince you of something to save my life....

So after a number of cover letters..... I got lucky. 

 I never got any full-time job, but I did get lucky. A freelance opportunity here, an editing stint there, I managed to keep myself busy and satisifed. The hard part is when people ask me what I do. I mean, come on, working from home or in your pj's is not considered "real work" in the minds of older people ( the emphasis is mine!). I'm expected to find something proper, wear trousers , a shirt and carry a formal (black or brown) bag , wake up at 7:30, drink my cup of coffee and rush out the door. 

For now, I'm gonna continue doing random things, sleeping in and reading my favorite magazines and books.

Maybe I will get a "normal" job someday, but for now, I feel very blessed:)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pretty in Uggs!:)

Who said you need to live in a cold country where it snows a lot to wear uggs:)
It was in  the cold( warm compared to other countries) winter of 2006 in Cairo that I was first introduced to the wonderful Ugg boots  by my best friend Sarah. We used to work with refugee children an hour away from where we lived, waking up at 7 o'clock in the  coldest winter ever was not my favorite experience!
Sarah is so in-love with the Chest-nut Uggs (see picture)

For a great ugg-boot brand, check out Ugg boots. They offer very warm and comfortable ugg boots at great prices!
PS:- If you decide to buy whooga ugg boots, mention my blog and get a $20 discount!:)

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I'm loving Kenyan poet and artist, Shailja Patel.

Check her out @

Monday, September 7, 2009

Since when is wearing trousers against the law?

Most of you don't know me in person, but anyways, I love Jeans...a lot. I wear jeans all the time, everywhere, even in Sudan. So when Lubna and a bunch of other women were arrested for wearing pants, I was shocked.
This is how I see it, Lubna is a journalist (so she is targeted by the government) and not only that, she writes a controversial column and being the brave woman she is, she is not afraid to write about anything an anyone. So the whole thing was probably targeted at her.

she was arrested with other women at a cafe in Khartoum for "indecent dress" (sounds vague?). This doesn't really happen in Sudan, you just don't get arrested for wearing pants!
A Sudanese official said she was actually arrested for smoking shisha. Again, you don't get arrested for smoking shisha.
So why was Lubna arrested?

Someone is not telling us the truth.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Amnesty International and Domestic Violence


Amnesty International doesn't only expose atrocities worldwide, they also have a new unique interactive billboard. Looking at it, you see a happy couple, when you look away, the image changes to one of domestic violence. 

This is what happens all over the world, domestic violence happens behind closed doors, we don't see it. so we don't always acknowledge it's existence.

Great job Amnesty International. 

Monday, June 29, 2009

I miss I have no tribe, I'm Sudanese!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have been gone for a long time. I can summarize my reasons in one word " senior year"! I was a senior and exactly 10 days ago, I received my undergraduate degree. I'm a graduate. I was busy with studies for a year. I've been horrible to this blog. I don't even think about that much anymore. I stopped bringing up my involvement in my blogosphere. Now, I want to come back and start blogging, wholeheartedly. I've grown a lot in the past year and I want to communicate that. This blog contributed to my personal growth. I've meet great people, read great posts and opened up to a whole new world.

Armed with my diploma , nothing can stop me;)

The first thing I want to do now is:- introduce myself. This blog was written by Kizzie. Kizzie was actually the name of the cat I wanted to get. I ended up not getting it, but I was attached to it, it was the first thing that came to mind when I wanted to start a blog. Kizzie became me and I became Kizzie. When I was an intern at a refugee council last January, I used to make phone calls to schedule appointments with guest-speakers for our weekly  or bi-monthly events, I used to forget and say, hey I'm Kizzie. 

A small introduction:-
My name is Reem. I just graduated from the American University in Cairo with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications and a minor in Sociology. I live in Cairo for now, moving back home in September or October. I'm a research assistant this summer. I'm always doing things all over Cairo. A typical day for me is spent going to at least 3 different places. I love eating out, if you are in Cairo, go to Maison Thomas (they have amazing pizza and their cheesecake is soo amazing!). I have great friends here, my best friend Sarah just left to the Netherlands and I'm trying to adjust to life without her! So, we are going separate ways, but looking at the bright side, there is skype  ,g-chat and the good old way of communicating - writing letters (Yes, I'm old-fashioned sometimes) I'm a city girl! I don't like the country -side that much. I can live there for a bit, but I love chaos and night-life!

Favorite Drink:- Irish-cream latte from Starbucks/ green-tea latte from Second Cup
Favorite Food:- Cake ( Carrot cake and strawberry cheese cake) 
Obsessions:- watching sit-coms/ coffee/volunteering

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Death of Nimery

It's funny how the Sudanese people hated him, but now we have good memories of the Nimery days.

Rest in Peace.

We will never understand you.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Graduate

I finished my last exam yesterday. I'm leaving 3.5 great undergraduate years behind me!

I can finally return to this blog:)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cairo on $2 a day

Elaine @ Expat Egypt wrote an excellent account of trying to live like the average Egyptian of a day

Shobra is a neighborhood of faded glory. Stately building facades, covered by centuries of Sahara sands, cast shadows on the crowded working class streets below. This is the neighborhood of taxi drivers, policemen and waiters.

Al Ahram, Egypt’s leading newspaper, estimates that 50 percent of Egyptians live on $2 a day or less. So when I decided to investigate what living on $2 daily entailed, it made sense to head to Shobra, the “shaabi” heart of Cairo.

I took all the money out of my wallet, save for 11 Egyptian pounds, which is equivalent to $2. I wanted to see if I could get by for a day spending no more than your average Egyptian.

Leaving my apartment in the leafy upscale neighborhood of Zamalek, I waved off a handful of taxi drivers and headed to the metro. The walk was long and inconvenient but I couldn’t afford to take one form of public transportation to get to another.

I paid my 1 pound near Cairo’s impressive opera house and headed out on an overcrowded train, choked with the smell of sweat and cigarette smoke. I considered the Metro fee to be the cost of a commute to work.

I asked the man standing next to me at which stop I should get off. He raised his eyebrows in alarm.

“I haven’t heard of a foreigner going to Shobra before,” he said in Arabic.

At the man’s suggestion, I got off at Ramses Square on the outskirts of Shobra and began to wind my way through the packed streets.

My first order of business was to find lunch. I had skipped breakfast, worried I wouldn’t have enough cash to last me the day, so I looked for a corner sandwich shop — the kind that the working class frequents.

Before I could find one, I passed a Koshari stand. Koshari, a dish made up of macaroni, rice and lentils, is informally referred to as the national dish of Cairo. But at 2 pounds a dish, it was out of my reach.

A few doors down, I found what I was looking for and went in. The men behind the counter gave me the rundown of prices. Liver sandwiches, a local favorite, cost 2 pounds. Cheaper, at 75 piasters (100 piastres = 1 pound) were foul, falafel and French fry sandwiches.

I knew foul, a bean dish akin to refried beans, to be a working class favorite, so I chose it over the falafel balls crackling in a nearby pot of oil. The sandwich guy took a scoop of the foul, stuffed it in a pita, topped it off with a little bit of lettuce and tomato, and handed it to me.

As I walked down the street munching on my lunch, I figured I ought to top the meal off with a bit of fruit. A few blocks down, a man selling tangerines offered me one for 25 piastres. So I began digging through the crate looking for one that wasn’t too soft or full of holes. It wasn’t easy, but I found one that looked palatable enough.

From there I headed to a shisha cafe for a smoke. Shisha is a water pipe used for smoking tobacco, known commonly in the United States as a hookah. Here, shisha is less of a luxury than it is a social obligation. Men from the top to the bottom of the economic food chain gather in cafes daily to smoke and talk.

I found a small spot just off a main road. Some men sat on chairs outside, while others played backgammon inside. I sat down near the counter and ordered a tobacco flavored shisha (this, as opposed to the fruit-flavored tobacco preferred by most foreigners) and a tea.

“Do you want bongo with the shisha,” asked the waiter. Bongo is the popular term here for marijuana.

Never having been asked that before and not sure whether he was kidding, I waved him off with a laugh. But then I heard him engage in a fierce conversation with the other waiter. The only words I picked up were “bongo” and “foreigner.”

Alarmed, I repeated to him that I didn’t want marijuana, which is common among the working classes, and he assured me I’d only be smoking tobacco.

The men next to me were eating lunch, and they promptly asked me to join them. It is a cultural obligation here to offer food to others. In a taxi, the driver might offer his passenger the last bite of a sandwich. Anybody eating on the street will offer what they’re eating to just about anyone who passes by.

It’s courtesy, but it’s also the basis of a social safety net that insures everyone eats and survives despite low wages and high unemployment.

The men ate a salad with tomatoes, cucumbers and a cheese called Old Cheese, which looks (and smells) as the name implies. They had bread and green beans on the side.

Finishing up my smoke, I paid 2 pounds and headed off down the street until I ran into an older man who approached me speaking perfect English.

“Don’t go this way anymore,” he said. “The people here are all right. The ones past the tunnel that way are stupid.”

After thanking him profusely for his advice, I bee-lined in the direction he’d warned me against. After a few blocks, I found myself in a poorer section of Shobra. With the grand, if faded, architecture behind me, I saw only poor concrete structures. Donkey carts ruled there, and many of the smaller side streets were unpaved.

With 7 pounds in my pocket, and one of those dedicated to the return metro ride, I went to find dinner. Inspired by the men sitting next to me at the cafe, I stopped off at a produce market. Two tomatoes and two cucumbers cost me 2 pounds. I found an Old Cheese vendor a few blocks later and paid 2 pounds for half a kilo.

That would be good enough for an evening salad. I rode the metro home with 2 pounds to my name. I was discouraged that my 11 pounds was really only enough to buy the food and drink.

Yet many Egyptians support a family on the same amount

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sudan's new envoy

His name is Scott Gration and he is America's new envoy to Sudan. They said he is the perfect man for the job since he grew up in the Congo and he speaks Swahili.....

Is Sudan the Congo and do we speak Swahili?:S

Monday, March 30, 2009

Lost my phone

Grrr. Ok I admit it was my fault.
I left my phone next to my bag and left it there for 3 minutes
to go to the loo. I came back and it wasn't there:(
I know I should've known better, I usually take my phone with me. I forgot to do that today:(

This is so frustrating because I've a lot of numbers and really nice messages and I feel so alienated and lost without it. I also hate wearing watches and now, I can't tell what time it is. I can't look at my phone during class to tell when this class is going to end (only some classes:)!!!)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Is it possible to respect one of the "Pope's" statements?

The Pope is in "Africa" and he is making headlines. It's good that he is here given that at least 1/5th of Africans are Catholics, however, his opposition to condoms is completely unfounded.  
In some AIDS-ravaged African countries, abstinence is not the only solution to combating AIDs. It worked in Uganda, but the shoe doesn't fit all situations here. It's not working in other countries.

Even if using condoms is against Catholicism, if it's a matter of life and death, God is forgiving.
He chose the wrong continent to make such a statement, doesn't he know how religious many Africans are? They are going to respect his words.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Our S.O.B- What comes first, peace or justice?

Michael White put it in a good way @ his Guardian column .
It's not a generalization to say that the overwhelming majority of Sudanese people despise Bashir. They would love to see him ousted, they desperately want a new president. But the ICC's arrest warrant was issued at a tricky time. The international community expresses moral outrage at "some" conflicts and there are obvious double-standards to matters of justice. So, Bashir is going to rally support from his people and the Arab and African worlds.

The scenario is such a common post-colonial one, the south VS. the "hypocritical" north.

Justice is seen to be selective. The scary part is human rights abusers such as Bashir , Mugabe and many others are manipulating this to their own benefit. So until "all" countries are literally forced to ratify the Rome Stature and all human rights abuses go punished, Mugabe is going to call aid agencies a colonial conspiracy and Bashir is going to call the ICC the White Man's Tribunal.

So Michael White got it right, He may be a SOB, but he is our SOB.

I really think that it's absurd to say that Bashir shouldn't be tried because other war criminals are not tried and accused of committing atrocities, it's only fair for Bashir to be tried along with other war criminals. The list is long...
James Tyson from NJ wrote an interesting letter in the NY Times. He said that "Regardless of the local tumult it may temporarily create, or the difficulties involved in actually arresting President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan, the court’s decision to uphold the preservation of human rights over sovereign immunity sets an essential precedent".
Let's revisit the "local tumult" it's going to create for a bit. It seems that the only individuals benefiting from the decision right now are activisits living in faraway places. In Darfur, the effects were definitely felt, many aid organizations were kicked out. People are surprised, they obviously forgot the Government of Sudan's recent warnings. A UN official called it a "worst case scenario". What did people expect? The government is going to hold it's citizens hostage while it buys more time to stay in power and rally support against what they called the "white man's tribunal".

Update:- I found an interesting article in the Economist about trying Bashir in Sudan.
Read it

"It is an intriguing proposal. The idea of mixing national and international procedure has been accepted in Sierra Leone and Cambodia. And Mr Mahdi has huge weight, as head of the Umma party, Sudan’s main opposition. He was the last prime minister to be democratically elected, back in 1986. He is also the spiritual leader of the powerful Ansar sect. Like many others, he says an ICC indictment of Mr Bashir would lead to “chaos” in Sudan; he hopes that his third way would “reconcile stability with accountability”."

As much as this idea seems noble. Sudan's judiciary is a total mess.

I know since we had to bribe someone to give us our own house back.

Sudanese law doesn't exactly include laws against war crimes or crimes against humanity, unless you want to try Gosh and Bashir for murder, it's difficult to try them in Sudan. Even if the trial was to take place in Sudan, we have to abide by international law. Let's not forget that trying a president is merely a "symbolic" act. Even if he went to prison or faced execution, Justice doesn't end there. Militias need to be tried. Torturers need to be charged. Embezzlers need to be located.

Note to the Save Darfur Coalition and George Clooney:- applaud your success for now given that you are not going to be in Sudan with us nursing a disintegrating country when "things fall apart" :)

An Example I thought of :-
I tried to think of something to describe the arrest warrant, this is what came to mind.

300,000 people died in 6 years of fighting in Darfur, we need to bring their killers to justice.

Imagine this for now, there is a house on fire. Some people are dead and some are stuck in a room and you have the means to save them. What do you do? Do you start collecting dead bodies for burial or do you save the individuals stuck in a room?

By choosing justice before peace, we are burying the dead bodies and not taking into consideration the millions of people we need and we could save.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sudan is waiting for Justice

The long awaited arrest  warrant of Bashir is due to be released tomorrow afternoon. Some Sudan "experts" forsee a bigger Sudanese crises, the disintegration of the Sudanese state. Andrew Natsios, former US envoy to Sudan is worried about a Somali-like situation with an Afghanistan-like intervention.

African and Arab leaders are standing together against the ICC's decision. When the arrest warrant is issued, they are going to be very silent. Bashir's party is already divided. Most of his advisors asked him to step down. He wouldn't. 

Let's see what's going to happen

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tayeb Salih, you introduced the world to African literature

RIP Tayeb Salih. You wrote the best Arabic novel of the 20th century and one of the very first novels written in post-colonial Africa.

Obituary written by Sudanese/British author Jamal Mahjoub

Tayeb Salih, who has died aged 80, was Sudan's most illustrious literary figure, a critically acclaimed and popular writer in the Arab world. His later work was largely overshadowed by Mawsim al hijra ila al shimal (Season of Migration to the North, 1966), a slim, idiosyncratic novel that was immediately lauded and has subsequently been translated into more than 30 languages. It has spawned vast amounts of academic analysis.

It tells the story of a man who returns to his village after years of study abroad, only to discover that another man, Mustapha Sa'eed, has taken his place. A strange, elliptical work, Season of Migration to the North reads like a series of theatrical monologues which map out the distance between the rural countryside of northern Sudan and cosmopolitan London of the 1920s. Colonial and sexual conquests compete across the east-west divide in one of the most remarkable encounters of its kind. In a form of revenge for the colonial "taking" of his country, Sa'eed devotes himself to seducing English women by posing as the fulfilment of their Orientalist fantasies.

Unlike most of his contemporaries, Salih refused to settle for a simplistic denouncement of colonialism. In Salih's world, everything remains uncomfortably ambiguous. It is this ability to evade all fixed labels that accounts for the novel's longevity. Salih manages to put his finger on the root of our intertwined fates. The novel is also equally critical of parochialism and the hardships endured by women in traditional society. Edward Saïd described it as being among the six finest novels of modern Arabic literature. In 2001 it was declared the most important Arabic novel of the 20th century by the Arab Literary Academy in Damascus.

Salih was a quiet, courteous man. Respectful of tradition, yet not bound to it, he enjoyed intellectual discussion and always had time for younger writers. He played an active role in the world of letters, presiding over literary prizes and speaking at conferences throughout the region. A popular series of his collected works is widely available in Arabic and reflects a much more diverse range of writing than is obtainable in translation, spanning decades of fiction, literary criticism, travel writing and political commentary.

Born in Karmakol, near Al Debba, Salih moved to Khartoum as a young man to attend Gordon Memorial College (later Khartoum University). In 1952 he travelled to London as part of the first generation of Sudanese educated in Britain in preparation for independence, which came in 1956. Salih's encounter with the west was to mark his fiction and his life, though his depiction of village life in northern Sudan formed the centrepiece of most of his fiction. Through a rendering that is both realistic and absurdist, he transformed that humble setting into a universal stage.

Salih was to remain abroad for most of his life. He joined the BBC Arabic Service, becoming head of drama, followed by a period with the Ministry of Information in Qatar before he joined Unesco in Paris. Britain was to provide a fixed point of reference on his errant course. His life, like his work, reflected the cadences and discords of bridging the gap between east and west. He married a Scottish woman, Julia Maclean, in 1965 and settled in south-west London.

In the 1990s, in an article entitled, "Where did these people come from?", Salih voiced his disapproval of the Islamist regime in Khartoum, questioning the displacement of Sudanese culture and values in the name of Islam and "national salvation". Season of Migration to the North, which is sexually very frank and depicts the drinking and bawdy language of the villagers, was banned briefly, though it did little harm to a book that was already a classic.

In one of Salih's best-known short stories, A Handful of Dates, a young boy comes to realise that the idyllic world he lives in is ruled by tensions of which he is unaware. For the first time, he sees that life is full of choices and is obliged to face the fact that his beloved grandfather is not so innocent. It is this depiction of complicity and disgust that conscience can evoke that makes Salih a writer of truly universal proportions, and one whose work will continue to resonate through coming generations.

He is survived by his wife, Julia, and three daughters, Zainab, Sara and Samira.

• Tayeb Salih, writer, born 12 July 1928; died 18 February 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Release Nahla Bashir Adam now!

Front Line is deeply concerned following reports that human rights defender, Ms Nahla Bashir Adam, was arbitrarily arrested and detained on 15 December 2008. Nahla Bashir Adam is Deputy Director of the Youth for Children Association (YCA), a non-governmental non-profit organization which was founded in 2003. The YCA works in South Kurdufan to promote the rights of children and awareness on issues such as education and health regarding children, especially those with disabilities and chronic diseases in Sudan.

Read More and take action:

I urge the authorities in Sudan to:

1.Immediately and unconditionally release Nahla Bashir Adam, as I believe that she is being held solely as a result of her legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights;

2.Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the arrest, detention, torture and ill-treatment of Nahla Bashir Adam, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

3.Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological security and integrity of Nahla Bashir Adam;

4.Take measures to end all intimidation of human rights defenders in Sudan so that they are free to continue with their activities in defence of human rights without fear of reprisals

Monday, January 26, 2009

It's good to be home!

My cousin. I'm really proud of her.

Becoming a Refugee (part 1)

Our country receives refugees, it doesn't produce refugees, we believe. We like to think of our country as safe and stable. Stable is the keyword here. We want to leave it and come back only to find it there. To find that nothing has changed. It is still the same.

We want to make future plans and we want to dream . We want to believe that our future is in our country. We want our dreams to become true even if a new government came to power.
We want to live in our country with dignity. We want to make the choice to leave it or not.
We don't want to be forced out of it. Noone wants to live in exile, noone wants to be a refugee. We think of Refugees as second-class citizens . The host countries are like airports. They wait there until they can go back to their homelands. They wait while we take our country for granted.

My parents used to take Sudan for granted. My dad was a doctor. We lived in a nice apartment in Khartoum. My mother loved her career and we even had a good old Eritrean nanny. Her name was Momena and we called her Nana.

Then the coup happened.

On the 30th of June 1989, the army was on the streets. It didn't take long until we heard the coup music on the radio. The familiar music they play everytime a coup happens.

We've had so many coups in Sudan. In some places,people vote to bring a new president to power, in other places, you just wake up one day only to find out you don't even know the name of the current president.

No one expected the government to last long, I mean who would have thought an Islamist government would find any support in Sudan?

20 years on, we were proven wrong. They did find a place in Sudan through terrorism.
My dad was told he is now a retired man. He was in his 30's at the time. Apparently, he was on the government's blacklist because he was in the opposition. All of a sudden, he found himself unemployed with the rest of his friends. They compromised the professional class in the Sudan. If you wanted a job, you had to be with them. You had to support the regime if you wanted food on the table.

He looked everywhere for any kind of job . Finally, he found a job. He became a truck driver.

To be Continued

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In the memory of Emma McCune, support the Emma Academy

About Emma:-

Emma McCune was a British aid worker working in Sudan in the 1980's and early 1990's. She was also the wife of "rebel leader", Riek Machar. She was killed in a car accident in Kenya in 1993 at the age of 29. 

Emma  saved at least 150 war orphans before her death. One of them is world renowned rapper, Emmanual Jal.

In her honour, support the Emma Academy in South Sudan

For more information go to:-