18 January 2018

Let’s dream, for a better Sudan

Smiley happy faces in Sudan , Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
This travel blog photo’s source is TravelPod page: Tour d’Afrique: Where the hell is Addis Ababa?


One night in Khartoum I grabbed a camera and roamed the Nile Street, by far, the most popular public recreation spot. The moderately lit and long street parallel to the river is decorated by a countless number of plastic chairs guarded by tea ladies in colourful Sudanese Toabs, on the sidewalks. It was a breezy night and the weather was cold. The mood in the air was mildly happy.

Clearing pieces of dust in the air I took a number of shots that made me happy.

It made me feel good because the people I took the shots for were very excited. The idea that they could see their faces in a little display screen and be able to reflect on their own beauty, brought them joy. I felt like a white tourist.

I approached a tea lady and her little son. They were like the others excited with the camera, even though the kid was a little shy. I asked him eager for an answer “What are your dreams and what do you truly wish for?”- His facial expression made me consider rephrasing and doubt that I spoke to him in Arabic. He didn’t recognize what I mean. The concept of dreaming sounded foreign to him.

His mother answered on his behalf and said “there is no time for dreams, what do we need dreams for. I just wish I could earn enough so he could go to school and get a proper education” – He stared at me, still a little puzzled.

For me that was the epiphany. The majority of the Sudanese people see dreams as a luxury they can’t afford, something unnecessary and rather, unrealistic.

If that’s true, then what is realistic? – Dreams my friends, drive emotions and I do not know of a better fuel for anyone to be motivated. The power of emotions drove humanity throughout history, and to dream simply means directing these emotions into good use. Without dreams we get sucked into a reality subconsciously created by our fears and struggles. It becomes who we are and it becomes our own loathed identity.

Not only every child has the right and – in fact must – dream, but even adults should never give up their silly dreams. The tea lady’s son will grow like many other kids not familiar with what it means to aim and have a goal in life. He will grow up in loss and constant fear of hunger and his day to day most fulfilling purpose would be a good stomach-filling meal, which I have no doubt he will procure in the end, because the emotions associated with our stomach are of life or death. It is because he doesn’t imagine and dream beyond that limit that Sudan is the way it is today.

In general the people need to reconsider the collective mindset, in regard to the so called reality. Unconscious racism, at a deeper level of the collective mindset was the real reason behind the separation of the south.

I say let us have a purpose, a destination that is beyond our self made limitations. Let’s just think brighter. Forget the old beliefs of being fighters and survivors. There is nothing to fight for, there are just dreams, waiting for us to live for.

2 Comments on this post.

Leave a Reply to Reem Gaafar Cancel reply

  • Reem Gaafar
    7 June 2012 at 11:55 am - Reply

    I remember my dad talking about a young man who worked as a labouror in the market in Karima, Alshimaliya. His father was a labouror and his grandfather before them. That was all he ever knew of life and probably all he planned on doing. And I’m pretty sure that’s what his own son will end up doing too. In Sudan, the reality of things sort of force people to try and not look beyond their immediate needs: food for the children, stronger walls and roofs for the rainy season, money for the tax man and the tuition fees, etc. Even if one were to dream about the world beyond bread and sugar, what would they see? Arabs Got Talent and Desperate Housewives. There’s not much these days that inspires people to dream about a more colourful world.
    But there’s always hope that this will change. Inshallah.

  • Tasneem
    11 June 2012 at 11:05 am - Reply

    Impressive ya Thabit !

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