The Abducted Crown

The Abducted Crown

a tribute to late Mohammed Mustafa Khogali, a 16 years old Sudanese student who got shot by government of Sudan police force on Wednesday 9th January 2019. He was killed shortly after among other fellow peaceful protesters.

#sudanprotests

By Osama Mahmoud

Taj: “Yes, yes I can barely hear you Yumma (mum in Sudanese Arabic); I am with Ahmed, we are trapped at the moment in the main roundabout in Sharie Algasr (Palace Street); Alkajar (police, pro gov. militias) are everywhere; we were mislead by a group of pro government students. All I wanted to say I left my w…..”

On the other side of the phone, Halima: “Hello, Hello can you hear me son? I know they tried to cut off all communications because of the demonstrations. Anyhow, I can’t hear you, my message to you and your colleagues is that what you are doing at the moment may seems little to you, however, it is the same actions done by your late uncle, Jumaa, one of the heroes of 1985 popular uprising against the May regime. I am proud of you and hope to see you later today”.

Taj phone was confiscated while his mother was delivering the speech. A lieutenant in the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) took the phone and responded to Halima: “you will never see him again, we shall cleanse the street from

vandals like him”.

That was the last she heard from or about her son. She went back down the memory lane remembering the night Taj was born; it was a cesarean as the embryrical cord got wrapped around the infant neck, however, Taj was a fighter; he survived with little supply of oxygen and food on the final 24 hours before he was born. That’s why his father always believed in him. He is one of four siblings.

At the age of five, his school got burned and he was transferred to a new school; three villages away from his village, Tululu, West Darfur. One day, on the way to school, he got a lift with one of the merchant of the village on the back of a pickup truck. The road was a bit hilly, the driver lost control and hit a tree on the side of the road. Taj flew over the bonnet of the truck and broke his collar bone, 4 ribs and he sustained a minor concussion. He was rushed to Zalingie Hospital for treatment. The road to recovery was tough yet he survived. 15 years later, he passed his exams with flying colours and got accepted to read English Literature in University of Khartoum. His father, Hussien, a farmer has been dead for the last 5 years. His land was taken by the Rabid Speed Force, government of Sudan militias, and decided to sue the perpetrators, only to be beaten by the very people he reached for justice. Hussien fell ill immediately after, high blood pressure, the silent killer, and died shortly after. His wife, Halima, took the role of the provider and worked on people farms to feed her kids. Taj sometimes helped her, however, she was keen for him to finish his education.

Taj said goodbye to his mother and before taking three buses to Nyala, South Darfur, he visited his father’s grave and vowed to continue his education.

From Nyala, a long train journey to Khartoum, his mother packed his suitcase with dry food, cloth, books, pens and all the money she kept on the side for her first born. In the capital, he got a minibus to his university dorm, Elbaracks, where he met his best friend Ahmed, a fellow first year student, who got enrolled to read Economy.

A year later, Taj passed his exams and he is already into year two. He got himself a part time job at a bookshop, in Abujinzeer station, central Khartoum. The money gained financed his day to day. News came from his village is that all the residents of the northern side of Tululu were force displaced into a new IDP camp called Khor Tibish. This was a result of new wave of demographic changes in West Darfur; a policy by the central government in Khartoum. Taj made the journey to his family’s new habitat and observed a look of despair on the faces of all IDP residents. His mother was strong as always and told him to focus on his studies as it is the only way forward for himself and the family. Halima said she is still able to earn from working in near by fields. The very fields that belonged one day to the IDPs.

Taj made his journey back to Khartoum to finish his second year, he became active in university, he joined Darfur Union in university of Khartoum and within months he became the poster person of the group, particularly after one incident where students from Darfur region where targeted after a heated debate with pro government students. As a result, the students from Darfur Union were attacked by NISS, police and the pro government students inside the university, 11 were injured, and one of them was in a critical condition – a knife stab. The attack did not stop there, it later on continued into the students dorm, Elbarracks, where the belongings of the students where removed from the dorms and thrown into the streets to be looted by the attackers. The stabbed student was pronounced dead on arrival to Khartoum Teaching Hospital. Taj and his friend Ahmed escalated this case to the media and also worked with many others to make sure the students were hosted around the capital and no one was left to sleep on the street.

The next day, a group of professors from the university teaching staff plus member of the student’s union plus Taj and Ahmed complained to the Chancellor of the University of Khartoum as well as the ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. Also, the group organised a stand on the Main Street, inside the university. The police forces attacked the stand and targeted the group with tear gases. Taj was selectively targeted by one of the NISS personal by live ammunition; his dark complexion not to be missed in the middle of the group . The bullet brushed his shoulder and left a mark on the skin; he survived once again.

Six months later, the situation in the country became worse. multiple factors have lead the streets of the cities to erupt across Sudan. On Christmas Day, 2018, the masses rallied to the streets of Khartoum and other cities calling for the end of Bashir ruling, freedom and justice.

Taj took part in the demonstrations; he joined the masses in AbuJinzer square, central Khartoum, and from there they marched to Sharie Elgasr (Palace Street). The protesters were attacked by snipers located nearby rooftops and police forces on the ground. Taj, Ahmed plus twelves others decided to take a turn where they got trapped by NISS and rapid speed force militia. After the phone conversation with his mother was cut off short because his phone was taken by NISS lieutenant.

Two days later, Halima’s neighbours heard of Taj incident and came to console his mum although his whereabout and fate are yet to be determined. However, she responded to them by saying the following:-

A few days in a dark room, lies the fate of one young groom

Married to a beautiful bride called bravery

Only that her dowry was beyond the silence

He looked down at his fate…

and right in the face of the adversity

He cried “for how long?”

Shaking by that the dictator’s throne

Abduction, detention and torture did occur

While the socialites didn’t give enough care

Is it race? Is it background? Is it class?!!!

Either way, dead or alive…miss bravery salutes you

She hopes that you are safe and sound

A widower or a pride … you made her very proud

Taj means Crown in Arabic, and the fate of her crown even though he often survives, is not yet determined.

It is the responsibility of all to remove the perpetrators and to install justice and freedom for all.

The story is fictional yet it touches the reality on the ground in Sudan. It is also a tribute to young Mohammed Mustafa Khogali, 16 yours old student, who was shot dead by government of Sudan in a peaceful and civil protest organised by the people of Sudan on Wednesday 9th January 2019. May he Rest In Peace. The victims crime that day was their calling for freedom, peace and justice.

حرية سلام وعدالة والثورة خيار الشعب

قصة من نسج الخيال تلامس واقع مرير يمر به الشعب السوداني وهي في رثاء الشهيد محمد مصطفى خوجلي، الطالب، ١٦ عام، قُتِل بواسطة قوات البشير بعد إطلاق رصاصة على صدره في تظاهرة سلمية يوم الأربعاء ٩ يناير ٢٠١٩.

#مدن_السودان_تنتفض

https://resudan.wordpress.com

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The Beats of Antonov over the River Cam

Happy New Year!

Venue: St. Johns College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, Cambrigeshire, England.  

Snapshots from the Film

A mild night over the river Cam was made warm by Cambridge African Film Festival (CAFF). When African movies are mentioned, Sudanese films are not in contention or the most popular; not because of lack of quality, but rather poor investment, absence of infrastructure and extreme censorship over the last thirty years, all of the aforementioned reasons have hindered the production, in once a thriving industry pioneered by the later formidable cinematographer Jadallah Jubara. Almost all of the films by Sudanese movie makers are results of individual efforts and external fundings. Raising fund for a film project is not an impossible task, however, the lack of openness and close censorship by the various governmental bodies, especially when it comes to gaining permission to shoot a film makes it a task impossible; It takes the ad out of adventure! Any form of work which highlight issues such poverty, child abuse, human rights, women oppressions etc… ought to be received with objection and a possible imprisonment. 

 

  

The City of Cambridge/ CAFF

A captivating Sudanese film was featured in the CAFF 2015. It was shot in two areas in the Sudan, which are under the full control of the Sudan People Liberation Army – North, a rebel group. The film crew was given the green light to work in parts of Sudan where the people are suffering from a notorious war waged upon them by the government over the last few years. 

 

Beats of The Antonov

The film follows the invisible tangent between sadness and happiness while raising questions about the identity of certain individuals/ communities in the Sudan. It does reflect on the legacy of continuous war while touching on the issue of race and its direct relation to skin complexion in the Sudan, and in particular the conundrum of the center (elites) vs. everyone else (marginalised people).

The film also talks about the legitimate right of people to defend themselves by all means.


                           Survival in War Tormented Regions of Sudan

All of the aforementioned is dealt with by going back and forth between the sorrow of death/ destruction and the delight of existence of one among his/her family and loved ones. Culture and music are the pillars of the documentary, and that’s where the people of the two regions (Nuba mountains and Blue Nile State) gain their strength.

I strongly recommend it to you and to your mates.

 

The film was directed by Hajooj Kuka (picturedabove), starring Sudanese refugees and IDPs, and it features Sudanese artist Alsarah.

شعرة مُعاوية المُنقِذة المُهلِكة

شعرة مُعاوية المُنقِذة المُهلِكة

 

غرف الإستجواب: ما الذي دفعك على الإقدام بهذه العملية؟

لم تكن هذه المرة الأُولى التي يجاوب فيها بالصمت، فقد سئل عدة مرات خلال جلسات مختلفة، والمتغيّر الوحيد هو صيغة السؤال. فتارة يأتيه المحقق بلباس المساعد الذي يود أن يستنطقه مقابل منحه الحرية، وتارة أخرى بلباس المحقق اللئيم الذي يود تعذيبه دون الإباه بنوع الإجابة الذي يستخرجها من ذلك الفتى المدلل.

نشأته:

الظاهر: رغد العيش في مدينة الخرطوم، بحري، كوبر، منزل مُطِل على ضِفاف النيل، تقطنه أسرته المكونة من الأب والأم والأخت وشخصه، حي آمن ورب غفور. في خارج المنزل يوجد ملحق، حيث مجموعة من الناس، منهم، الطباخ، السائق، والجنايني، والحرس، كلهم متواجدون على مدار الساعة لخدمة الأسرة الصغيرة.

زواج شقيقته نوال، كان حديث المدينة، فقد تم عقد قرانها، على أحد أبناء السفراء القدامى، شاب يمتلك مصنعاً للمواد الغذائية، من نفس الطبقة المعيشية. Continue reading

A camp they called compo

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Education was a big issue. School was far away from home. Home was in the middle of two big streams, an agricultural land where 100s of families reside. The men and women work day and night growing different crops, cleaning, harvesting or fighting their way to open water channels to ensure a smooth irrigation session, mostly at night. Sweat, blood and tears plus the agony of an area infested by malaria, bilharzia and tape worms. The fruit of their labour neither belong to them nor shared equally with the owners, afterall they do not belong here. The land owners are doing them huge favour by providing part of there land as living accommodation.
As for the landlords, the nobles, they live far away from that land, where the local market, hospital, schools and communal facilities provide a much tolerable life.

As aforementioned, education is essential as the only hope to break the vicious cycle of the life within the camp. However the obstacle being the amount of funding provided by the local authorities for the camp children to gain their basic education, this was next to nothing. In other words, budget overlooked the children from the camps. Therefore, out of good will, school governing bodies, grant the limited spaces on the basis of favouritism. The rest of the kids have to join force with their parents to keep up with the lands maintenance. One does not have to look long to determine the camp residents backgrounds, almost all are descends from the two very regions which the successive central governments neglected and / or waged war upon.

The camp experience is yet another form of segregation inflected on the marginalised people of Sudan since the beginning of the neocolonialism post 1956 by the elites and their cliques.

One Fat Kid – A Journey of a Multicultural Comedian from Charlotte to Khartoum

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It seemed like scene from a movie, not a typical Hollywood one; The hero in this case was an overweight chap fighting his way through the masses back stage after he has been introduced to an impatient audience.  As he was passing by, the sound man whispered to his ear “good luck man”. He could not reply as a huge piece of muffin was occupying his mouth. He acknowledges the goodwill message by nodding in appreciation. As he got close to the stage, he glanced at a monitor next to him. Three reputable opening acts preceded his appearance. He felt he had to kill tonight. Material was never an issue for an observant person like our friend. After all, he survived a suicide attempt on himself, fighting his demons, as well as a depressive over bearing mother.

Born and bred in Charlotte, North Carolina, a son of immigrants who fled Sudan at the wake of an attack on their corner shop in the capital Khartoum, just a few weeks after the implementation of September’s law back in 1983. The May regime had just shifted its left communist agenda to a right wing one.  This action was driven by a growing close relationship the Muslim Brotherhood lead by Hassan Elturabi and President Jaafar Nimeiry. The off licence shop was attacked as liquor was part of the goods. Another problem was Sam’s mother Jewish religion; Nimeiry, Ariel Sharon and Adnan Khashoggi signed a deal to shift as many Sudanese Jews out of Sudan in an attempt to help populate the promise land of Israel. The infamous Flasha deal torn some Sudanese families apart, ruined business and establishments and most importantly violated people right codes, their will to choice. All of those reasons were sufficient for Ragi to seek safety and financial security for his small family. He managed to liquidate some of his assets and fled his family to Egypt. One year later, the family settled in Charlotte after managing to secure a green card through the UN refugee council high commissioner in Cairo. Samih or Samuel, names which created a dispute ever since Sam was born. His father wanted the former while his mother insisted on Samuel. On Paper, he was Samih but to people he was Sam. Continue reading

Born in Prison (إبن البتول) on Nas With Notespads blog

 

Born in Prison (إبن البتول)

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A short piece I have written to protest the wrong imprisonment of Mariam Yahia was kindly published on Nas With Notespads blog. Since the first publication on the Resudan blog Mariam has been ‘released ‘, a few weeks ago, yet the case is still in the loop of the corrupted justice system of Sudan. In the text إبن was used instead of بنت as a form of disobedience and / or protest.

Born in Prison (إبن البتول)

ليليّات ود عاصمة – سبعة

ليليات ود عاصمة – سبعة

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حلّت قافلة عوض تلودي جنوب كردفان، بعد رحلة عبر هليكوبتر تابعة لقوات اليوناميد، وتحديدا منطقة تلودي، مسقط راسه واسم عائلته، منطقة تلودي. تغير حالها، فقد كانت جنّة ظليلة، يتدفق إليها القاصي والداني طلباً للاستراحة والطعام الجيد والتجارة في سوقها العامر. أيضاً كانت قلباً نابضاً بالعلم والمعرفة. حيث مدرستها الإرسالية، وكانت هذه المدرسة سبب لقاء والديه (ليليّات ود عاصمة – أربعة). كانت المنطقة صغيرة، ولم تكن ذات أهمية قصوى للدولة كغيرها من قرى وحلّال الإقليم.  ازدادت أهميتها منذ عام ٢٠١١ حيث أصبحت وحدة الشرطة فيها مستودعاً لأسلحة اللجيش الحكومي، خصوصاً القذائف والقنابل المستخدمة في طائرات الأنتينوف. عليه فقد تم انشاء مربوع على بعد ٣ أميال من المدينة وأتخِذ كمطار عسكري. Continue reading