Open Themes Agenda hosts The General and the Frogs
A group of Sudanese activists has create a reputable forum that is been running for the last 5 years. The forum hosts a series of topic across the cultural/political and philosophical spectra to name a few. The gathering is held every second Saturday of each month in London. The forum is functioning under the name Open Themes Agenda Group.
On Saturday, the 15th of March 2014, the Open Themes group hosted a mini book launch event in London. “The General and the Frog” written by Dr. Mirghani Hassan,
Prior to the book presentation, Dr. Hassan introduced himself to the audience, giving a quick account about his background, childhood, family, and the coming of his book.
The main body of the presentation was about the book subject and the connection between the six friends known as Les Misérables. Their rural backgrounds and experience of hardship were enough to draw them together under the slogan of misery, though their wit and openness were always present in most of the challenges, to maintain their smile at the face of adversity. They were eager to learn new things. Down under, each one of Les Misérables knew the purpose of being in Khartoum and they were fully aware of the weight of expectations from their families.
The extract below is quoted from the book back cover
The General and the Frogs satirizes the life of six, desperately poor and vastly motivated students at a frog-infested African campus. Their country, famously vulnerable to cyclical coup d’etat, is ruled by a dyslexic and tyrannical General. As the nation is chocking under the miasma of despotism, campus endures the theocratic chauvinism of the Islamists-controlled students’ union. In the turbulent chaos of their bubbly existence, the destitute six survive a brutal suppression of an uprising against the General and achieve academic excellence, but a gruesome murder in their social landscape casts an insufferable sense of sorrow at the end of a remarkable odyssey. This is a tale about the power of wit and humour and the triumph of the human spirit at a time lived most dangerously.
The story is a combination of vivid lines from the author’s personal experience, and that of the narrator, Abdulmoneim Ghoriech a fictional character.
Also the depiction of the dyslexic General and the reference to his big feet and shoes size (49), couldn’t be more accurate in connecting the narratives with the infamous gaffs of the Sudan’s Ruler between 1969 and 1985.
An open Q&A session followed the presentation, where the author, the host, Mr. Mohammed Mahmoud, and the audience engaged in discussion about Sudan’s current affair, the prospect of exponential fall of the current regime, what the future hold for Sudan, pessimism versus optimism, comparison between the current generation and the generation of the Les Miserable described in the book. One important point was emphasized by the author and applauded by the audience is that he was ‘against the notion of generational superiority’. He continued: ‘each era has its challenges, trials and tribulation, where the parameters may change, however, the endeavour is always highly valued during all eras.
Mirghani Hassan is a brilliant story teller, a wordsmith; his writing style is a show case for quality, flow, and rich vocabulary. It is beyond recommended. A must read!
One of many funny accounts was showing one’s having game at the lecture hall. The students would be attending before anybody and then reserve an aisle seat hoping a female colleague would come and sit next to them. If she walked passing the seat, awkward and buzzard gestures would follow from the fellow male colleagues to draw attention to the empty seat!
The book is available on Amazon: The General and the Frogs
The official book launch: mid April 2014 in London, stay tune for the exact date and venue.
Mirghani Hassan has a PhD in law from Warwick University and is currently a senior legal counsel. He has published more than a dozen short stories over the past few years. Mirghani and his wife, Sanaa Ibrahim, have two children and live in Vienna, Austria.