Khalid Al Baih’s Khartoon “HELP!” (www.facebook.com/KhalidAlbaih)
As someone who makes a living out of writing you’d think coming up with a 500 word piece on Sudan would be a walk in the park. It isn’t. My mind always draws a blank when it comes to Sudan. What is commonly known as writers block, I call a wall.
There are so many things I could write about; the political climate, the economic free fall, the calculated disintegration and dumbing of our society, the failure of political Islam, etc. But no, nothing’s coming out. In journalism, being objective is sacrosanct, unless you’ve become such a celebrated columnist that you can spew your opinion and it becomes a religion regardless of whether what you preach is right or wrong –Nicholas Kristof being a prime example. But when it comes to Sudan my objectivity goes out the window and all I want to do is rage, scream and swear at those am writing about and who’ve had a hand in destroying this wonderful country of ours little by little.
So I chose the best option for my own sanity and well being, I decided I wouldn’t write about Sudan. Nope – unless it inevitably is part of another story I’d be working on.
I love my country, I love my people, and even with all the things we’ve been through in all my years of being in this world I retained high hopes for her to come out of this quagmire we’ve become embroiled in stronger, better and wiser.
But that hope is dying.
Every day, I read a tweet, an article, talk to someone, and it’s never good news. It’s either the fills-you-with-rage type of snippets or the ones that make you want to take several tonnes of smelling salt and force the people to inhale – this mainly occurs when I’m told of the latest weddings, funerals, or social shenanigans. The last bit of feel-good news was of Sudan making it through to the quarter finals in the African Cup of Nations. Trust me you’ll be hard pressed to find any other piece of good news.
But what really gets to me more than anything is the reaction of fellow Sudanese to various news stories, especially ones that involve South Sudan. The age old racist and discriminatory views and reactions of older generations is still rearing its ugly head through a younger generation that is meant to be more open, more aware, more tolerant yet is showing the tell-tale signs of not having learnt anything from our past. In fact what they are doing only cements those views even more.
They claim they’re the future but scrap at the very thin surface and what you’ll find are the ideas and beliefs that have led us to the point we’re currently at. The old adage ‘You can take the boy out of Khartoum, but you can’t take Khartoum out of the boy’ rings very true for our generation, and if they can’t or don’t want to change their narrow minded, stereotypical way of thinking what hope does our country have?
I hope I’m proven wrong, but somehow I don’t think I will be.
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