Friday, October 12, 2012

yes, i'm still here..

Many times i've opened my blog and said to my self 'wow, I haven't blogged in 2 months, I really should.' Then I close it. However I feel it is time to do a quick update. It is that time of year again, not only are my exams around the corner but i still have tests and assignments due. And since this semester I have been committing myself so much more to my work it has left little time for my other activities, nonetheless i will still try to blog as much as i can and especially since my holiday will start soon.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

If you don't believe..

I'm not going to go into the turmoil and troubles of my country, Sudan for they are so many and so much, it would complete this article before my trying to reach my point.

We find ourselves at a point in time where there is potential and a chance for change. A time to make things better. A time where we can make life easier, more bearable. We face brutal opposition, a regime that refuses to give up its power. We fall, we wake to try again. However, this is not the worst of it. The worst part is when our fellow Sudanese put down the whole notion of revolution in our country. As if they do not need it. Cowards.

They spread their negativity, pessimism and skepticism, when people are being arrested, tear gassed and injured. They talk about how the next government could be worse, and how an evil you know is better than one you do not. They talk about how a full pocket is better than a new government with empty pockets. Meaning they'll most probably be more corrupt. About the loss we'll suffer if it fails, and how it is not worth it. And so they go along their normal lives, turning a blind eye to the next street.

How in the world can they think that when people are dying in Darfur and Nuba mountains. Is there really a government worse than one that kills its own people? Do they not see the bigger picture of how we can change our whole constitution? That everyone is given their rights so that they can have their dreams. That we can implement measures that monitor our new government and hold them accountable. Do they not realize how our country has not only been stagnant but also regressing? And how it has tremendous potential to improve.

I'm not for a single moment denying that all this takes time, but that it also starts with a single step. The first being out with the old. To start a fresh we need a new slate. So believe. Have hope for a better future. And if you can't do that then just keep quiet. Don't put down the attempts of a whole nation when they are ready to give up so much. After all, they don't only do this for themselves, or their families. They do it for everyone.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A revolution in Sudan?

It has been an eventful week for Sudan, a week that reignited hope for the future of our country, a week that proved Sudanese are not cowards waiting for someone to save them.

For as long as I can remember my country, Sudan has only had negative media attention and terrible  things associated with it such as war, famine, human rights violations, ethnic cleansing  etc naturally we blame the government and for good reason. 23 years ago the NCP came into power through a coup meaning no one VOTED for them to lead us. And unfortunately they turned out to be a lousy government full of corrupt, greedy, self righteous, lazy buffoons who had no one to answer to. It has been almost a year since the South seceded, they couldn't take living like second class citizens in their own country. Our government gave the South zero attention with regards to any type of development even though the South was their main source of income since most oil reserves are located in that vicinity, 75% of oil revenue was lost. So here we are now, the government is broke. Last week austerity measures were put in place in an attempt to increase government budget. Fuel subsidies were removed, meaning fuel prices increases by almost 60% naturally causing the price of EVERYTHING else to sharply increase. Import taxes were increased, the exchange rate to the dollar depreciated, and basically Khartoum is the most expensive city to live in for no damn good reason. After 23 years and the austerity measures being simply the tipping point the people have had enough, they are fed up, 'girifna'

So the reason this past week has been so eventful is that protests have been taking place all over Sudan calling for the government to step down. What started of as student protests at the university of Khartoum became full blown demonstrations of people of all ages.  Basically the Arab spring has finally reached Sudan and better late than never. Albeit the protests have been small to medium gatherings of people in different areas of Sudan, the government definitely feels threatens. Protestors have been hard hit with tear gas, rubber bullets and physical assault by police and national security NISS, and there are allegations of live ammunition being used. Many people have been injured and are in dire need of blood donations, which there is a huge shortage of.  June 30th will be the day to remember, it is the NCP's anniversary but will hopefully soon be remembered for the day that the NCP lost its power.

On the 30th of June the whole of Sudan will be protesting against their rule, we hope that millions will take to the street in a united and peaceful demonstration. So far media attention has not been extensive but as time passes and as the revolution increases that will change. Sudanese know that the NCP resigning or being overthrown is only the first step in the long journey to democracy and development. The destination we all want to reach where people have good chances and opportunities to make good lives for themselves. Where they can live free and happy, with jobs, high quality education systems and proper health care. Where we have a strong constitution with a monitoring body for government. Our hopes are not ridiculous they are merely the want of our rights, that we should have anyway, simply because we are human.

We pray God helps the people of the Sudan, and that He has written a bright future for the country, also one that includes south Sudan, in trade and good relations. We pray that the revolution is a success and that no lives are lost. God be with us all.

 The protest in pictures from different locations in Sudan, AlDaim, Omdurman, AlJiref etc and i'll keep adding more.

Women have played a vital role in the protests, initially starting from the female dorms of the university of Khartoum, women continue in the front lines.

 Police and national security (NISS) have been brutal and violent towards protestors, injuring and
                                                                  arresting many.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Business as unusual..

I remember a few years ago when my mum first got the idea to import lakoom aka as Turkish delights, to Sudan, that was just the beginning, a lot of other products came after. It was so exciting. A few weeks into it, hearing about procedures I would get surprised about some trade policies that restricted the ease of commerce in Sudan. besides the high custom duties, cargos would get held up for many days without reason, talking to each official or asking for help meant you needed to dish out money every time. Everything moved slowly. Another issue was the fact that stores would never pay on time, mind you this was before things got as bad as they are now. It wasn't easy.

In more recent times after the secession of the North and South, the government began losing funds generated by the oil industry, and led to the instability of the exchange rate. It is even harder now to do business in or with Sudan, and this is when she decided that it was enough. It was time to pull out of Sudan, it was getting costly, time consuming and hardly any returns were received. I always thought maybe the business could succeed and someday i'll take over, but when you look at the whole picture you realize that the Sudanese economy is not an easy one to breach, or to become established in.

In a country like ours where the government needs to formulate policies that make it easy to trade both in Sudan and with other countries, unfortunately this is not the case. By making it easy, and encouraging entrepreneurship especially amongst the youth they would combat unemployment and eventually increase their own budget. All it takes is a little patience. Again unfortunately this patience is unheard off, so what has happened now to sum it up is a big ball of instability.

Instability, the businessperson's enemy. A businessperson would literally halt all their operations if they don't feel a sense of stability in the economy. Taxation/custom duties now are not only very high, but always increasing. Imagine making a budget with a certain amount set for taxes and the next time you send a cargo realise it has increased by 50%, money which you now don't have, and the product is just sitting there in Port Sudan or the airport. Instability is extremely expensive. Factories should have some sort of subsidies and support from government which i doubt they're receiving, not to mention high transport costs, poor coordination and communication between private and public sectors, all which hinder economic activity and ease of trade. We may not be able to export oil as we once used to, naturally this would mean to focus on other products such as sesame, cotton, gum Arabic, cattle and sugar, all of which are in the primary sector of agricultural produce.

Yes, we need to turn to agriculture, and invest in the sector; with the use of modern farming machinery and techniques. At the same time we need to keep in mind the millions of graduates who now need jobs in the service sector and manufacturing sectors. It's no wonder after slaving for a higher education, that graduates who do not find work prefer to go abroad and settle down elsewhere. It is a loss to the economy and will hit us hard..if it hasn't already.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

ShutterBug Sudan

I have an idea, i don't know if it's a good one but its something i'm passionate about, i know this because usually when i blog it takes me a minute to think of my next sentence but right now i know exactly that i want to say. I'm passionate about culture, i mean always loved the idea of diversity, languages, nationalities, tradition and what not, the idea of being proud of where you come from and the fact that you do things differently and can teach it to people and learn their ways.

I'm passionate about it and mostly about my own, my Sudanese culture. And i always say that it's not perfect, far from it actually, but it's mine and i own it and i shall practice the good and teach it to my kids so that they may teach it to theirs and so on and so forth. Basically to never lose it.

Ok back to the idea. It's called Shutterbug Sudan® it's an organization; right now a virtual one where people, photographers, artists, filmmakers etc join in an attempt to promote good cultural practices, abolish harmful ones and raise awareness in general. In practice groups of people go into the more rural areas in Sudan and document cultural practices that we see, and teach others about them, find out the reasoning behind current cultural practices and also how they started all those years ago. What we learn we teach to others targeting mainly the youth because it seems that we know the least about our culture, both those living in Sudan and abroad.

I wasn't really going to blog about this but after i wrote an article for the sudanese 500 words magazine on culture i thought why not, read it here.

I even made a logo and everything.  The thing is i wouldn't know where to start from, so i thought all due time as i think of all things that i push down to the bottom of my to-do list. As for the name, well basically its a synonym for photography, so Shutterbug Sudan, picture Sudan, imagine Sudan. We want to create that picture from what we know and what we learn.

Tell me what you think, in a comment or e-mail

The logo ®

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Marriage in my Culture I

Marriage is a funny thing in my culture, obvioulsy this is from a women's perspective. I am not in any way undermining the importance of marriage in life, but i just I don't understand why Sudanese people place sooo much importance on marriage, if it doesn't happen it just doesn't..don't waste your life waiting, to the extent that you stop enriching yourself and your life. And don't expect too much to the point that it's unrealistic, know that your significant other is NOT going to be perfect and that's alright. 

Some women also think that until they get married they can't accomplish certain things, well, I know soo many unmarried ladies, doing amazing things & getting paid hugely. I actually tend to believe getting married may tie you down, because usually a man does not want his wife to be more successful than he is, especially in my culture, thats why there is a negative relationship between successful marriages and powerful women. I wonder why. Could that be why some women don't want to accomplish great things, do they feel that if they are too successful it will scare men off? If that's the case, then it's just sad.

I personally want someone who will not be afraid of my success, of my drive, and instead will want me to achieve the things i desire to, in making a difference in my country, to be financially successful or whatever it may be. Someone who will support me, as i would him.

Marriage is also greatly tied to age, as soon as you pass say 23 years your 'options' drop drastically. Younger men want young ladies and so do older men. So, where does that leave those past that age? I know so many 18 and 19 year olds getting married some without perusing higher education and some while studying. I can barely focus on university as it is, let alone having to head home and take care of a man. No, thanks.

To end it off, I want to be independent before i ever get married so i can tell myself, i did it because i wanted to, not because i had to.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Ramblings Of a Scattered Mind V

 Aaah, finally a post. I was having a spell of writer's block, which i hope just broke. So, a quick update on what's going on, exams in 2 weeks, then a 2 months winter holiday marking the end of the first semester. I have big plans for the vacation i hope they don't fall through like always. Plans regarding a 10 day ticketing course, a job and of course with friends, i haven't seen in ages. Something cool happened lately i attended the Strangers Tour and the highlight of it for me was being able to listen to Boonaa Moahmed's poetry and speech. It was beautiful to say the least. He is so talented yet a very simple person. The other 2 speakers were Canadian Navaid Aziz and American-Iranian Islamic comedian and vlogger Baba Ali. You know these ramblings are slightly different from my other posts because they are not in any order, flow, or even paragraphs. They are just a jumble of things that occur to me. Last year i bought a drum, a djembe drum, not only because i like it's African-ness but also because in our cultural music ladies always sing with drums, aka as dalooka :) i love drumming, cant say i'm amazing at it but i enjoy it and as far as i am concerned that is all that matters. I'm like that with a lot of things, i mean if you have an interest (or in my case way too many to focus too much time on) always pursue it. If something makes you happy do it, you don't always have to be very good at it; and if you are all the better, but you'd probably have to give up other things unless its a natural talent, then you're just lucky. So, back to the point, since i got my Djembe dalooka. i have been somewhat obsessed with our Sudanese music, listening to the likes of Gisma and Ensaf Madani with their somewhat girly lyrics that i just love. It brings people together and to think that this music is part of our culturally rich history makes it that much better. I actually enjoy it way more than modern Sudanese music. In general i'm just starting to listen to Sudanese music more and more. It's so cold in here i think i might just get frost bite, (exaggerate much, why yes, yes i do) Anyway, i would have posted links to some YouTube videos except i'm typing this at my campus LAN and it's inaccessible until 3.00pm so i'll update this post at home. If you're reading this Virtual World and have something to say, just leave a comment. I would also like to thank a Twitter friend who suggested just babbling, babbling, babbling and then edit edit edit when being stuck in a blog post, good advice which i have used. Bye. For now.

Djembe Drum (above) a more Sudanese Drum (below)

Thoughts on Sudan..

 I don't know if i am the only one who finds people always connecting patriotism to loyalty to government. I mean i think i'm extremely patriotic, at the same time i have no loyalty nor support for the Sudanese government. To not fulfill your duties as leaders, and caretakers of the country is one thing but to continuously thrust it in turmoil is another level. I love my country and want only the best for it, i want it to move forward in every way possible and i think the 7akooma is only pulling us back.

I don't believe in war, unless you are defending yourself from direct attacks. And so far Sudan has never been attacked that there need be talk of war. Also, i loved Gérard Prunier's article (read it here) but he is an idiot for suggesting giving war a chance where have you been for the past trillion years? For being an 'academic and historian specializing in the Horn of Africa and East Africa' with a PhD in African History, you should know that Sudan has already given war a chance and it failed miserably. Besides anyone knows that war is never restricted to the battlefield, that civilians die, homes, schools, hospitals are destroyed, the economy falls and has a dominoes effect on everything. We need to give Peace a chance, both within Sudan and with our new neighbour South Sudan. We need to allow the youth to share ideas, and the women to be heard and to break barriers of fear, and primitive racist ideologies.

When will we start picking ourselves up, realising that it's about time for change. Can greed really drive people to behave like this for so many years, in our case about 23 years. Can power corrupt to the extent that leaders think it's okay to kill and torture anyone who apposes their having this power? Is it really that hard to give it up. I don't know.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cop17 II

I'm glad to say i ended up working at Cop17, and not so glad to say that it did not end as well as people hoped it would. Not many firm decisions were made and many countries dodged signing agreements that they would reduce climate change.

There was even a protest on the last day, initially started by young delegates that later had almost all the delegates partake in, pictures and video coming soon. Unfortunately this protest did not make much of a difference.

Delegates held meetings until the next morning after the conference had ended. I don't think many countries were willing to make sacrifices to save our planet, and were being stubbornly short sighted. Anyway the next Cop will be in Qatar, hope it will be better.

Also, i got to meet the president of South Africa and Ban Ki Moon :)

Shararah.. i hope.

I swear i'm updating my blog real soon, already have it on my phone, just need to type it all in :)

I think the shararah  of Sudan, the sparks that lead to revolution are lighting up skies. Never before has there been so much chatter online, amongst people of the sudanese community and even news channels like Aljazeera about the wanting of change. News is usually only about the war or famine in the country that hits the global community. People from movements against the government are getting arrested and tortured for information. Government spies are on the increase. Also, most if not all taxes in Sudan are going up, all food prices are rising (greater than compared to other countries). Basically, the people of Sudan are starting to feel it. They feel the pressure, frustration, and anger at the open disregard that their government has for them..

What does this tell me? It tells me the government is scared, and is beginning to worry about a revolt, and their being forced to step down. I think they know they won't last long, so they are doing what we like to call 'kham alramad', collecting of the ashes. Each politician wants to make a 'getaway' when the time comes with the most in their pockets. 

Well, i might not live in Sudan, but someday i'm going back, and when that day comes i don't want the country i call home to have gone to the dogs. 

My name is Dina, i am against the party, against the injustice, against racism, against discrimination of any kind, against the theft of public money, against nepotism, and against corruption. I am against the violence and killings, against the arrests, against the intimidation, against displacement, against lies and hypocrisy. I am against opportunistic oppression of women, against the division of the nation, against the lifting of the Koran, the sword and against the politicization of religion. I am Sudanese.

انا اسمي دينا..
أنا ضد الظلم.. ضد الكبت ضد الحرب ... ضد الفساد ... ضد المحسوبية...ضد مصادرة الحقوق و الحريات ... ضد التشريد .... ضد العنصرية ... ضد التعصب ...ضد الفتن الدينيه... ضد الترهيب .. ضد بيوت الأشباح .. ضد النظام العام ... ضد اذلال الشعب .. ضد اضطهاد المرأة .. ضد نهب ثروات البلد ..ضد سرقة المال العام ...ضد التجهيل..
 .. ضد التجويع..ضد تقسيم الوطن ...ضد رفع المصاحف على اسنة السيوف.....ضد تسييس الدين.
أنا سوداني

Unite against the government, share and post this picture in solidarity with wanting and making a change.