Thursday, May 23, 2013


Last week, the Sudanese social networking sites were abuzz with the news that our national carrier (Sudan Airways) is the second worst in the world. This is not our first such honor. We rank prominently in the lists for Most Failed States (3rd place, after Somalia & Democratic Republic of Congo, with an FSI of 109.4) and we fall on the wrong end of the list for Press Freedom (170/179). Our government "accomplishments" include Sexual Abuse in Conflict areas (7th Worst Country, according to Maplecroft) with multiple condemnations for human rights abuses (and I’m not even talking about the ICC).
In addition to the stated shameful showing, the former “Bread Basket of the World” imports everything (according to CIA World Factbook: foodstuffs, manufactured goods, refinery and transport equipment, medicines and chemicals, textiles, wheat). We flirted lightly with oil production but that particular relationship ended badly. Sadly, no children or shared assets to speak of. We were left high and dry. In an aside, I once heard an official say on the radio that the collapse of the economy was due to the government’s surprise that the South had chosen secession and although the signs were obvious, they had been in a state of “self denial”. Told you the breakup wasn’t pretty.
In light of the complete demise, visible to the naked eye, of public health, education, the economy and civil societies, one is only left to wonder why this government remains in power. Why haven't they resigned? Why haven't they left?
As war drums sound from the South, West and East; as we have lost sovereignty in the North, in spite of 90% of the National Budget being spent on "Defense" & government, I wonder how these people can believe they did any good. How they can state that they "saved us". Or how they can try to convince us they are our best option, in fact our only option.
Our people are hungry. Our people are sick. Our people are ignorant. Our professionals have become refugees. You have sold our hospitals, our schools, our land. You have laid waste to our farmlands. The poor man's food of fava beans (fool), onion stew (sakheena) and lentils (3adas) is now beyond the reach of the average family. (Which started a national campaign:“Potato is the Solution”. No comment.)

*Source: BRQ Sudan Network on Facebook

Our bodies lack sustenance and you add to the misery by starving our souls, our minds (shutting down all cultural centers and more recently TedXKhartoum 2013). What do you leave us? How can one government systematically lay waste to one million square miles? Is it because you had enough time? Is it because you were unchallenged? Or is it because you claimed "it" was in the name of religion?
What religion do you speak of? We can read. We learned before you came to power in your "bloodless coup". You have enough blood on your hands now to render that boast meaningless. We have seen the soiled clothes and gaping wounds of our children. The children who said no to injustice. The children who still await justice.
In Islam, the religion of which you speak, the rulers would not eat if their people were hungry. In the story of Yusuf, we are told that wise rulers make plans for lean times. In the West, they call it "reserve" but the concept came from the East.
The Islamic Caliph, Omer Ibn Abdel Aziz, managed to eliminate the budget deficit, and invest the surplus that ensued, paying off the debts of Muslims, Christians and Jews, before marrying off the youth and scattering grain on the mountain tops, so even the birds would not go hungry.
Have you seen people rummaging in the trash for a morsel in today's "Religious State"? I have. Have you seen the obesity levels of our officials? I have.
In the Dawn of Islam, there are no stories of persecuting Christians or Jews; that is your convoluted doing.
Everyone lived together, equal in the eyes of the law. What havoc have you wreaked, turning people against each other in the name of religion? If Christians were evil, would the Prophet PBUH take one as a wife? As for our Islamic country being the only one at war with Jews, why did the Prophet PBUH form a pact with them?
What heresy do you spread in the name of religion? What lies?
We have our differences, deal with it! Do not oppress, abuse and persecute then say you do so in the name of Islam. Shame on you.
You oppress because you are an oppressor. The same reasoning that makes one that kills a murderer. Motive is interesting but facts are facts and a spade is a spade.
We are sick. We are tired. We are frustrated. You are a failure. On every single level. There is not ONE area where this government performed "adequately" or positively contributed to the welfare of its people.
Sudanese newspapers & social networks proudly publish the accomplishments of our citizens abroad. Reflecting the realization that these individuals were only able to excel when they left Sudan and their minds were set free.
Sudan consists of a populace where the poor are crippled by poverty and both professionals and local investors are crippled by taxation without representation.
Our government is full of clowns, one stating Sudan GDP is $1,800 when a school teacher’s salary ranges between $55 and $85 and a doctor in a public hospital makes between $70 and $150 a month. (This is really ironic if they went to The University of Medical Sciences and Technology (UMST) owned by Mamoun Humeida, the Minister of Health that charges $8,200 according to their website. Do the math on that ROI and smoke it).
One confused cleric declared that Um Ruwaba was invaded because girls played soccer. Sudanese women have played soccer since the dawn of time (delve into Old Sudanese Photos on Facebook for a treasure-trove of documented history), invasions only started with your government. Look within. This same cleric/official stated that a girl that had not been genitally mutilated was "foul". No wonder this person doesn’t choose to look within, it seems like a horrible place.
Not a single “cleric” came out to address the horrific phenomenon of child rape, denounce corruption (where did our national wealth go?) or champion the rights of the citizens or highlight the duties & responsibilities of an “Islamic Ruler”. Selective and biased, or corrupt and scared – depending on who you ask. The exact opposite of the role of the clergy and judicial system in the “Islamic State” they continue to declare.  That gig is up. Sudan is not an Islamic State any more than Haiti is. Shut up already.
Another clown is our infamous Minister of Interior who oversaw the collapse of structurally impaired university buildings on his watch but was reinstated soon after, as the government believes we suffer from collective amnesia. The inventor of “Visual Defense” and other impossible theories and statements.
Corruption has reared its ugly head. The line between an official and non official shakedown has been blurred as you will never be asked to pay the amount stated on your receipt in any government transaction.
Satiric writer, Elfatih Gabra called on officials to stop this policy of bleeding the citizen dry, aggravated by the conviction that our hard earned money will NOT land in any government coffers. The irony-cum-tragedy is that the sum that may find its way to a public purse stands the increasing chance of being donated to a neighboring country for a “noble cause”.
A hospital in Djibouti states that it is a gift “from His Excellency President Omar Al-Bashier" (not the "People of Sudan". He must have come into some money). We have also been generous with Egypt, Somalia, Kenya and Palestine. Our esteemed government went so far as to offer Syrian refugees health care and education in Sudan. I wish I could tell you how ironic that is but let me just say that the Syrians are probably better off where they are. May victory be theirs.
Rasd Sudan, Bashir Diaries, Sudanese Online and Al Rakoba, all prominent online resources and the local equivalent of watchdogs, read like a surreal window into our Sudanese Wonderland. The frustration grows. The destitution grows. The desperation grows. We hope for change but cannot realistically expect it. We know that it is coming, because history tells us so. We have been pushed, squeezed and pummeled to our limits. Ravaged, beaten and abused we lie. Hoping for hope. Combing the news for a ray of light, like “Khartoum Rising” (which people either loved or hated) and young artists and writers that evoke our reality and dreams with images that can be seen or heard. Telling us to trust history. Telling us to believe that change is a comin’ and something’s gotta give.
I don’t know why they are still here or how they will leave. I don’t know where we are headed. I don’t know what will come next. I don’t know if it can get any worse. I don’t know if it can get better. I know that we deserve better. I know that voices are rising stemming from a deep love of this land.

*اللهم انها بلغت القلوب الحناجر اللهم عجل بنصرك ياهازم الاحزاب*

God bless Sudan.