Archive | April, 2011

Sudanese Talent Alert!

13 Apr

The first thing you need to know about Khalid Wad Albaih is that he is über cool. The second thing is that he reads the Sudanese Optimist. Correlation? I think yes. Khalid is the genius behind some ingenious cartoons about current events, with many cartoons focused on Sudanese issues. His cartoons, cleverly dubbed “Khartoons” (Khalid+Khartoum+Cartoon) are always on point, powerful, and thought provoking. Some will make you laugh, some will make you tear up (especially if you’re a drama queen) and some will make you think: “How on earth did he think of that?” and admittedly, some will make you think “why didn’t I think of that dammit?”

Khalid’s artwork has been featured on Aljazeera amongst other news outlets such as Channel 4 News England, Brazil daily newspaper, and AlSudani daily news paper.  The well known Egyptian art critic Salah Bisar featured Khalid in articles published in 7awa and Masr Alyoum. His work can be found all over facebook and Twitter profiles, where many people found that his Khartoons were perfect expressions of their opinions and emotions. I have first come across his work when many of my facebook friends put up a catching profile photo shown here. One person had put up a link to the rest of his cartoons and I found myself very intrigued by them. I had the pleasure of randomly meeting Khalid a few weeks ago and promised that I will propel him to super-stardom through this blog of 7 billion readers. (Side-note, when we met, Khalid pulled up The Sudanese Optimist blog on his iphone which caused me to get superexcited and blurt out THAT’S MY BLOG…. Anonymity fail!)

Khalid Wad Al Baih is a noteworthy Sudanese talent that deserves major support and exposure, and I am so proud to see one of our own cover world events in such a unique and interesting way. He is also a member in a Sudanese artists group and just got accepted to the the #1 Internet political cartoons publisher.

Be on the lookout for Khalid’s designs to be on t-shirts soon. To learn more about Khalid’s work visit his website, his flickr page, and make sure to follow him on Twitter.



12 Apr

One of the most exciting events happening in Sudan this year is TEDxKhartoum. Liscenced by TED, TEDx events were “created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading,” the TEDx program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis.”

TEDxKhartoum efforts are being lead by Anwar Dafa-Alla, who has been active in the social media realm for quite a while now. In person, Anwar is an uninhibited ball of energy, and it is quite easy to see how he has spearheaded this massive effort to organize the event in Khartoum, a city where planning even the simplest event might cause ulcers, aneurysms and post-traumatic stress disorder. He has been flown to attend TED conferences in the US as he is a rockstar volunteer translator, translating more than 500 TED talks into Arabic. The man is on a mission to prove that Sudanese are not lazy and boy is he exemplifying it! For example, what should have been a quick business lunch with Anwar, turned into a near-death adventure across the streets of Doha, where pedestrians are a rare species. Ball of energy I tell ya!

The event, held on April 30th, 2011, will feature 17 speakers spread-out from 9AM through 5pm. A social gathering will be held at the Rashid Diab Arts Center.

The Sudanese Optimist will be attending TEDxKhartoum, and live blogging the event through Twitter, and as I promised Anwar, my camera will also be in attendance to take pretty photos of the event.

You can register to attend the event here. If you do not already, please follow me on Twitter here to get live updates throughout the event.

I cannot wait to visit Khartoum, and yes, I will be wearing pants!

Blogging Offline

12 Apr

The Sudanese Optimist, like Al jazeera and natural gas, is now located in Qatar. I realized that I have not been updating my blog, to the extent that I received a frantic email asking why my FAQ states I’m 23 yet still in college? Fear not dear readers, I am not a senior citizen college student. I have graduated back in 2009 and I am now a superstar career girl working for…emmm….okay enough personal information.

The move to Qatar proved to be a fantastic decision–I could not be happier to have left the United States after so many years there. I have been more connected to world events living here than I have ever been back in the US, and even when I was much more active in the social media world. I became even more acutely aware of how disconnected the US is when I spent the month of March there, and felt as if I’m receiving trickles of the news rather than the whole story, and biased trickles at that. Okay, I have to admit, I was vacationing in the US and might have tuned out a lot of information, but still… My hope is, if you’re in the US, please diversify your news sources heavily, and now that the NYT has shown it’s true jewish colors (i kid) and began charging online readers, there’s more reason to seek news concerning issues outside the US, from sources outside the US. Common sense you say? Just look at all the ignorant comments found in unfortunate abundance all over the internet. Also, if you can stomach it, check Twitter’s trending topics and you’ll see that Bieber Fever easily out-trends important world events, because the Biebs and Rebecca Black receive more airtime than current events. Unless you auto-tune the news, then the US is all about the Zenga Zenga guy.

So yes, The Sudanese Optimist is now in Doha, Qatar enjoying the heat, the bad customer service, and the occasional cup of Karak. Most importantly though, I am enjoying “blogging offline” which is discussing issues that I normally would have blogged about, directly with the residents of Qatar. Some of the smartest and most interesting young Sudanese people reside in Doha, and there is a constant influx of some of the most influential people to the city. I’m happy to have been blogging offline, but will definitely be sharing what is worth sharing with the rest of the world through this blog, especially that I feel, as a blogger, that I am lucky to be in the right spot, at the right time.

*Note: The Sudanese Optimist does not drive a Land Cruiser.