By: Reem G.
Apparently, the country is going through a revolution. I’m not sure exactly what the definition of ‘revolution’ is, because what I see going on these days sure isn’t what it’s supposed to be. Yes, there are scattered demonstrations that get squashed in 10 minutes flat by the riot police with the least possible effort. And there are burnt tires and traffic lights on 1 or 2 streets. There’s a Twitter marathon of news about people ‘breaking through the band of fear’ and taking to the streets, much of which is either not big enough to be seen by the naked eye, or simply not true.
However, I am not here to discredit the revolution, because regardless of the fact that it’s such a tiny thing, it’s still a start. And the fact that hundreds of people are being detained in known and unknown locations alike means that they’re making enough noise to make someone uncomfortable about something that isn’t right. My problem is this: why ISN’T there a revolution going on?!
I mean, what are all these people roaming the streets to and from their jobs and homes and whatever doing? Why aren’t they protesting? Maybe where they come from 1kg of sugar still costs 3.5 pounds, or even less. Maybe they have running water and electricity all day and all week. Maybe their kids study for free in clean and cool schools, taught by teachers who know what they’re talking about, and eat enough food during their lunch breaks to keep them satisfied. Maybe health care where they are is also free and the equivalent of a 5-star hotel service. And they all drive cars to work which they fill with 8 pounds per gallon, or less. And they have dreams and aspirations to pursue studies and careers that will take them places; not places abroad, because they don’t need to go abroad. Nope, right here in Sudan. Because apparently, Sudan is the place to be these days.
Every day I am on the streets looking at the sights of this country around me. There are beggars EVERYWHERE. And walking alongside the beggars are children, CHILDREN selling tissue boxes and chewing gum. And standing alongside those children are aging men selling pre-paid phone cards and cigarettes. And standing alongside those aging men are traffic officers whose clothes are so choked with exhaust smoke that they’re all sorts of colours except white, and whose faces are tanned black from standing in the sun hours on end. And standing alongside those traffic officers are the bulk of the nation trying to get on a bus to work, who have to push and shove and get knocked over just to get on, whose shoes are scuffed and dirty and whose clothes get caught in the doorways and windows and get torn, and who sometimes stand for hours in the heat waiting for a bus that, if it does show up, is almost always full of people who look just like them. And standing alongside those people are the bus drivers and conductors who work from daybreak to midnight, who have to pay for petrol and for fines and for taxes and for repairs of their aging vehicles, and who have children to feed and houses to support and illness to pay for. And standing alongside those bus drivers and conductors are every member of this nation: teachers who don’t get paid for months; doctors who are forced to treat patients with nothing more than their hands and wits; homeless men, women and children walking the streets barefoot and bare chested, sleeping in doorways and under pieces of cardboard, rifling through trash for whatever crap they can find to fill their growling bellies; school children who are learning nothing but that discipline is enforced by whipping; veterans who have burned their lives for this country and ended up with nothing; people returning from the Diaspora fleeing the unjustness and suppression of those nations that treat them like slaves, only to come back to a country they thought was their own, but realized they are slaves here of a different kind.
And worst of all: people who are listless and dead on the inside, who have grown skins too thick to feel the hunger and cruelty, who have lost the ability to feel what they should be feeling: humiliation, dissatisfaction, exhaustion, anger, and that realisation that this needs to STOP once and for all!
These people are not protesting against anything. They go on with their daily lives, grumbling about ‘the government’ and ‘the current times’ and wishing the glory of the golden days could somehow return. They turn up their noses to news of college students shouting slogans about how their nation is hungry but cowardly, and scoff at their immaturity and naive optimism. And they ask the question that never grows old: if not them, then who? If not HIM, then who? Since there’s no ready answer to that question, then why bother? Let them crush the life out of us, bury our children in this despair, blast our country to pieces as they sleep on their silken beds and drive their custom made German cars. Cars they bought with OUR sweat and blood, OUR freedom. We don’t mind. We just want to live to see tomorrow.
حسبي الله و نعم الوكيل على كل ظالم، إن الله يمهل و لا يهمل و هو شديد العقاب
This post was originally posted in Reem’s Perspective, read it here.