In March of this year, one of Sudan’s tribal leaders opened a charity polyclinic in Dongola, in honor of his late father who has served Sudan and Sudanese people in so many ways until passing away in 1987. In the first day of its opening, 3,000 people in Dongola were seen and treated free of charge by top Sudanese doctors and consultants who flew in especially for the opening. Then this tribal leader continued on with his daily life, doing great tribal leader thangs. Until one day, he was invited by the Sudanese Government (oh, snap) to go to Washington DC to represent his tribe. He dandily accepts, arrives in DC– cane, shawl and all, and strolls towards the White House like the badass tribal leader that he is, along with a number of other honorable tribal leaders from all over Sudan. (namely, Zaghawa tribe, Al Fur, Al Rashaiyda, AlShukria, Rufa3a, and many more)
Except that there was one pesky problem…he and the elders of other Sudanese tribes were harassed by a rally of Sudanese people in DC, who all but threw rocks at them. No really, Sudanese people were harassing their own tribal leaders who belong to ALL sorts of political parties, including being declared opposition.
Now here’s the thing, I’m going to ask you my dear reader to withhold your angry political breath for one second, and remember that Sudan isn’t the government, unless of course you just want to mix the two and basically hand over our culture to the government on a silver platter/sainiyya. That’s your prerogative. Except, if you’re going to use your simpleton George Bushian motto “If you ain’t with us, you’re with the terrorists” mentality just at least remember that these tribal leaders have helped and will continue to help Sudanese people, of their own tribe and other tribes, more than you will in a lifetime with or without Al Bashir.
I’m deeply saddened and embarrassed by what our tribal leaders were subjected to in DC, but I’m affected on a deeper level to see that the lines between Al Watan, our Sudan, and Al hukooma, have been so blurred that this has occurred. No you cannot demand that tribal leaders cannot cooperate with the government. Why? It is the current government. We are ALL cooperating with it. It’s the government because we as a people failed to remove them time and time and time again. Yes, we’re all immensely angry about this, but don’t take out your anger on the wrong people. Especially our own tribal elders, who went to DC to humanize our nation that receives little to no coverage on anything other than negativity. People who are now escorted by American security teams, and had to change their hotels in DC just because they are being harassed and threatened by their own people. What have we become? The question is, what has this rally achieved? What was the point? Other than depressing people who continuously try to help their tribes in the best way they can?
We may have missed a rare opportunity to humanize our Sudan and let our cultural heritage shine in lieu of the constant focus on politics. But we also missed the point- let’s not rise up against each other if we have failed to rise up against our government. And you know why it is important to humanize our Sudan in the US? Because, sanctions. Because that very tribal leader who is trying to treat people via his free clinic in Dongola, desperately needs the US to cease or ease the sanctions that are affecting access to medical equipment needed and generally affecting the lives of the tribe he looks after. At this point, I’ll support any and all efforts to humanize our country and end sanctions, and so should you. So if you’re in DC and like to rally, please use your power to ask the US government to stop sanctioning the innocent. Or at the very least, make some fine shay bil legaimat* and go sit down with your tribal leaders while they’re there, you might catch up on a thing or two about Al Watan rather than being so focused on Al Hukooma.
*actually maybe take them out for some Starbucks, they’ve probably never had it, because, sanctions.