A month has passed since I came back to Sudan. I’ve kept mostly silent through out social media during this time. Partly due to immediately being submerged into family duties & formalities but mostly from shock. My last visit was only six months ago & the change from that short amount of time frankly left me disturbed. Exterior wise, Khartoum is somewhat the same, except for some newly fixed and newly formed potholes & the atrocious plastic lights shaped as trees hanging from the light poles through Africa St. Prices have more than quadrupled, each time my wad of cash becoming thicker & spent almost entirely for a single trip of simple groceries. It is no longer street children & women clutching to sleeping babies begging with their new competition of Syrian refugees, but giddus in their 3immas & 7aboobat leaning tiredly on walking sticks from morning to late nights.
I could stop there and leave it at that. Recycled grumblings over the state of Khartoum & Sudan. Because it is too easy to be within that bubble. To stay in that bubble observing from my relatively safe home, in a safe neighborhood, driving with a full tank being able to buy whatever I need, drinking bottled water, knowing full well should I ever get sick I’d get whatever treatment that was needed & at any sign of trouble I know I can leave the country easily.
I have the privilege of certainty.
I dine out, paying a bill that I know the average Sudanese does not make in a month, I attend parties & weddings that I know the cost of could easily finance the school education of a dozen kids, I cook food & use ingredients that are seen as a luxury, I have at my disposal a cabinet of medicines families simply can no longer find or even afford. That does not mean we should stop celebrating or living, but it does not stop the sick feeling in my stomach. The widening gap between the classes is alarming, and even more the level of indifference.This could simply be labeled the guilty conscience of a visiting expat, but it is because of this I have kept silent, unable to write, photograph or give insight into what is happening.
To say that I identify, or can even remotely relate to the daily struggles of Sudanese citizens is not only hypocritical but insulting. I carry an immunity that (rightfully) bars me from certain dialogue. It is not in my place to invoke or demand or shame anyone to partake in civil disobedience. Some stand to lose a far great deal more than others. The price for change can be an expensive & even deadly one. Yet I understand that even silence can be harmful & futile. I understand that I have a responsibility & duty. I could swathe in my self-guilt/shame or choose to use whatever power I have to shed light & take note of these momentous times.
Sudan is at a major cusp, & the current regime is in great denial, refusing to realize the gravity of the situation. Many labeled the three day civil disobedience of November as a fluke & the upcoming one of December 19 as nonsense but it did not stop Bashir from not so subtly hinting at violence. For any great form of change to occur, it takes time, & it is a process. Tomorrow will most probably not bring the regime to its knees, but will certainty send a much louder, & stronger message that the citizens of Sudan are more than capable, & will slowly but surely unite in disobedience.
A reminder to those struggling like myself;
Because she needs our devotion. And how you show your devotion, whether being out in the streets, spreading word or just giving thought to the injustice to what is happening to Her, is a sign of a humane heart finally beating to the call…
Sudan needs our devotion.