The best books on Sudan: start your reading here

Tragedies – personal and political, fictional and all too real – abound in our literary tour of Sudan
MDG : World Library on Sudan
Suggested reading on Sudan: Season of Migration to the North, Lyrics Alley and Sudan. Photograph: PR

Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih

After several years studying abroad, an unnamed narrator returns to his “small village at the bend of the Nile”, eager to play his part in the new, post-colonial Sudan. At home he encounters a mysterious stranger, Mustafa Sa’eed, who had also lived in Europe many years earlier.

The two men are drawn together, and the story of Sa’eed’s life in London is revealed to the narrator in fragments of reminiscences and writings. Though feted for his intellect and pursued by European women, Sa’eed is ultimately overpowered by events that lead to his undoing – and his return to Sudan.

One day Sa’eed suddenly disappears, apparently drowned, leaving the narrator to look after his wife and children.

The young man, faced with making difficult decisions, finds himself caught between Africa and Europe, tradition and modernity. Meanwhile, he grows increasingly disillusioned with the changes in his own country and with “the new rulers of Africa”.

Salih’s lyrical, bleak and idiosyncratic novel of cultural dissonance – between coloniser and colonised – is regarded as one of the finest in Arab literature. However, its sexually explicit passages and political content have seen it banned on and off in various Arab countries, including his native Sudan.

Salih himself spent many years abroad, working for the BBC in London and Unesco in Paris. He died in 2009.

Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela

Set in 1950s Khartoum, Aboulela’s novel follows the fortunes of the rich and powerful Abouzeid family. As Sudan slips from the grasp of Britain and Egypt and heads for independence, the family – like the country – faces the challenges of a changing world.

The family patriarch, Mahmoud, a successful businessman, lives in two worlds, symbolised by his wives – one Sudanese, traditional and uneducated, the other Egyptian, much younger and progressive.

Mahmoud’s younger son – the handsome and brilliant Nur, who is the heir to the family business – and his niece Soraya are very much in love, and a glittering future awaits them. But their plans are destroyed and Mahmoud is left devastated “in a twist which Fate had hidden”, after Nur is paralysed in a swimming accident.

As Nur struggles to rebuild his life, growing tensions lead to war breaking out between Mahmoud’s wives – a collision between the past and the future – and family members are caught in the crossfire.

Aboulela’s elegant and assured storytelling, and her complex, well-crafted characters make this an absorbing family saga.

The author was born in Cairo and grew up in Khartoum. Lyrics Alley was inspired by the life of her uncle, Hassan Awad Aboulela, a Sudanese poet and lyricist, who was paralysed after a freak accident.

Sudan by Richard Cockett

In 1956, at independence from Britain, Sudan stands on the brink of a promising future. Instead, Africa’s largest country descends into civil war – between the Arab-Muslim north and the black-Christian south – and catastrophically implodes.

Khartoum’s indifference to the remote regions, and the centralising of power and economic benefits, spark rebellions in the south and east, and Darfur in the west. Over the years the government becomes more Islamic and increasingly repressive – exacerbating religious and ethnic divides.

A nadir is reached following atrocities in Darfur, where government-backed Arab militias are accused of ethnic cleansing, and President Omar al-Bashir is indicted by the international criminal court for war crimes.

The on-off 50-year civil war claims more than 2 million lives before a peace agreement is signed in 2005, leading eventually to the south’s secession.

In this informative, eminently readable history and analysis of Sudan’s failure as a state, Cockett draws on interviews with many of the main players. There is plenty of blame to go around, he says, citing “meddling western politicians, over-simplifying activists, spineless African leaders, shamelessly silent Muslim countries … and myopic Sudanese politicians”.

Sadly, optimism for the future is in short supply. “Sudan was born in blood and has yet to learn another way to live.”

Cockett was Africa editor of the Economist for five years, and previously a lecturer at University College London.

 

From the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/booksblog/2014/aug/14/sudan-best-books-review?commentpage=1

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The Detritus of US Imperial Rage

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The ruins of the Yugoslav Federal Ministry of Defence in central Belgrade, Serbia and the el-Shifa Pharmaceutical Industries Company in North Khartoum, Sudan are testament to unlawful (in terms of international law) acts of war on sovereign territory by the United States. Ugly and obnoxious, their presence is normalised within the communities that work and live amongst them. The buildings are so unremarkable they are no longer a cause for reflection by passers-by; the story of the attacks so well known, so notorious and the sense of impotence and frustration so acute that reflection has given way to the exhaustion, disinterest and apathy that now prevails.  There are no shrines erected, no hallowed ‘peace gardens’ established in their place, no attempt to rebuild or replace (though in perfect irony, the Trump conglomerate has plans to build a hotel on the Belgrade site). The ruins remain civic sculptures of protest and public memorials of disenchantment with the US.

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A generation later, repercussions to US foreign relations from the bombings are multifaceted. In Serbia, general hostility is pronounced. The youth of Serbia, unlike most other Balkan countries, tend to look towards Western Europe for cultural inspiration. In Belgrade’s hedonistic clubs, one hears Italian booty beats rather than American hip-hop.

In the agricultural city of Nis, Southern Serbia, where cluster bombs were dropped on a crowded market and a bridge with a passenger bus on it, I was mistaken for a US national and attacked by an old man with a cane – he whacked my half-eaten spinach and cheese burek out of my hand and stumbled after me screaming anti-American abuse. In the Serbian enclave of Mitrovica, unfortunately placed within the nascent borders of Kosovo and overseen by an Italian lead EU peacekeeping force, the resentment against  the west is vitriolic.

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In Sudan, the US still maintains a crippling trade embargo – though with Coca Cola and Quaker biscuits oddly exempt – as Sudan remains formally a ‘State Sponsor of Terror.’ In fact, Osama bin Laden et al. were expelled from Sudan as early as 1996. One of the many consequences of trade sanctions is the crippling of higher education study (without international – US owned – credit cards it’s impossible to access online courses, academic databases and journals, encouraging a reliance on out of date books and materials). It’s a truism, though one worth stating, that the cognisant education of a middle class is essential in any modern civil society.

Even so, many Sudanese remain starry eyed about the US – specifically about emigrating and pursuing the American dream – brandishing words like ‘freedom’  and ‘democracy’ though most are unable to define what such words mean. Simultaneously, it is not uncommon to see posters of bin Laden on shop windows and  minibuses in Khartoum. Indeed, Bin Laden was a great benefactor to Khartoum, funding visible developments including infrastructure such as roads and bridges and establishing many businesses. Bin Laden and associates made up for some of the funding gap resulting from the sharp drop in USAID money at the advent of Omar al-Bashir and his cronies.

Officially, Sudanese foreign relations with the US are near non-existent, with American interests seen – correctly – as trying to destabilise the government and force a revolution at every turn. This ice-cold relationship is startling given that the Government, like the Sudanese climate, is scorching in its dealings with other countries of strategic importance, particularly those responsible for the International Criminal Court charges against President Bashir for alleged war crimes in Darfur and with Ethiopia about water sharing rights of the Nile.

The reasoning behind the two US attacks are complex and contentious. However, the non-partisan consensus on reflection 15 years later is that both operations were a product of faulty intelligence, poorly executed and ineffective in their goals.

NATO’s bombing of the Ministry of Defence Headquarters

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NATO (commandeered by the US with a number of other yes-men countries in tow) bombed the Ministry of Defence Headquarters on May 7, 1999. The bombing was part of a 78-day aerial assault codenamed Operation Allied Force on perceived strategic targets of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). These strategic targets included electricity plants, telecommunication towers, hospitals and other essential infrastructure. NATO launched 2,300 missiles at 990 targets and dropped 14,000 bombs, including depleted uranium bombs and cluster munitions. It was the largest campaign by the NATO alliance in history, undertaken without UN Security Council consent, preempting the multitude of diverse and problematic offensives umbrellaed under the ‘war on terror’ slogan in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Nato’s campaign caused widespread destruction and societal collapse. The bombing was ineffective because Yugoslavian army camouflage techniques made key bases and targets invisible to aerial bombardment.  It was  the civilian population of ethnic Serbs – not Milosevic’s army – that suffered the most with  hundreds (possibly thousands) of civilian casualties, 40000 homes, 300 hospitals and 20 schools destroyed; officially recorded by NATO under the now much derided term ‘collateral damage.’ Prefiguring George Bush Jr., then Nato Spokesman James Shea noted: “there is always a cost to defeat an evil.”  Despite the rhetoric, it seems that the NATO campaign caused widespread suffering and destruction without any real resolution – by most accounts it was Russia’s belated intervention with the UN’s backing that finally toppled Milosevic, leading to the slow and painful recovery for Kosovar Albanians,  scapegoated and terrorised in the final whimpers of Milosevic’s dying Yugoslavia.

The US justified the NATO strikes on humanitarian grounds, national interest and  – quite unbelievably – to prove to non-aligned doubters that the dormant NATO was still a military force to be reckoned with.  However, the destruction of civilian infrastructures, the high death toll, and the spreading of the crisis to all of the former Yugoslavia as refugees scattered, warrants some reflection. Rights group Amnesty International’s report (which must be read with a dash of pragmatism – their moral standards perhaps idealistic and impossible) is scathing, making the case for war crimes:

“Indications are that NATO did not always meet its legal obligations in selecting targets and in choosing the means and methods of attack. On the basis of available evidence, including NATO’s own statements and accounts of specific incidents, Amnesty International believes that – whatever their intentions – NATO forces did commit serious violations of the laws of war leading in a number of cases to the unlawful killings of civilians

Of course, the Official Report to Congress by the Department of Defence paints a highly different story, describing the operation as the ‘most effective air operation in history.’  The report notes minor issues with precision targeting –acknowledging the intelligence blunder that resulted in the bombing and destruction of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, killing three Chinese journalists, causing outrage in Beijing and souring US-China relations for years afterwards. It didn’t spend as much time discussing  the targeting errors that destroyed an entire Kosovo village, an old people’s home in Belgrade and a whole convoy of Kosovar refugees.

US bombing of the El-Shifa Pharmaceutical Industries Company.

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Precision targeting problems were not relevant during the cruise missile bombing of the el-Shifa Pharmaceutical Company in North Khartoum on August 20, 1998. Around 1000 kilometres away, a submarine in the Red Sea fired thirteen missiles which hit with arresting accuracy, destroying the production facilities of the company, killing  a small number of workers as well as damaging two food-processing factories nearby.

The attack was a response to the terror bombing of American Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which killed 224 people. Less than two weeks later the US military unleashed Operation Infinite Reach with bin Laden and al-Qaeda as targets.  They bombed el-Shifa, as well as a suspected terrorist training camp in Afghanistan in retaliation.

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Like the NATO operations, US intelligence proved startlingly uninformed, prioritising an immediate response, without consideration of the strategic and diplomatic consequences of  an act of war based on inferences rather than concrete facts.  To coincide with Operation Infinite Reach,  the Administration engineered the vilification of bin Laden and al-Qaeda as literal embodiments of pure manichean evil. Clinton:

“Let our actions today send this message loud and clear — there are no expendable American targets…There will be no sanctuary for terrorists. We will defend our people, our interests and our values.”

The Clinton regime – then entangled in a domestic scandal over Clinton’s public deception about his relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky –was keen to display fast and decisive action. They launched attacks when links between al-Qaeda and the embassy bombings were only tenuously established. Clinton’s Administration asserted compelling proof, while FBI Director Louis Freeh stated  a few days after the Sudan bombing that ‘no final conclusion’ about who orchestrated the [embassy] bombings had been reached.’ It turned out that members of the terror group Egyptian Jihad orchestrated the embassy bombings, as a revenge attack on the US for the extradition and alleged torture of four Egyptian Jihad members in Albania two months before. Egyptian Jihad did and do have formal connections to al-Qaeda. However, bin Laden denied – and later investigations clear al-Qaeda – of any involvement. Most analysts agree that bin Laden and al-Qaeda were further radicalised against the US when Clinton erroneously placed blame on them.

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Clinton’s Administration justified that attack by claiming they had irrefutable evidence of sinister and clandestine operations at the factory. Security head, Sandy Berber and  other senior Clinton aides declared that the plant was financed by bin Laden, had a ‘secured perimeter patrolled by the Sudanese military’ and had no traceable commercial activities. EL-Shifa’s sole purpose, the US claimed, was to manufacture ‘components for VX gas and other chemical weapons.’

Contradictions with US statements were instantly apparent on the ground. Rather than cordoning off the ruins, Sudanese officials encouraged foreign visitors and media to examine the ruins and take photos. In fact, invitations to foreign visitors were nothing new. Contrary to the Administration’s allegation that the site was off-limits to foreigners and heavily guarded by the Sudanese military, US and UK consultants were regularly on site to design and oversee the plant’s construction, the British Ambassador attended the 1996 opening of the plant, the German and Italian Ambassadors both received personal tours of the plant; two days before the bombing retired AME Bishop Hamil Hartford Brookens received a personal tour. These dignitaries unanimously chastised the US for the bombing and none noted a heavy presence of military.

El-Shifa was patronised and celebrated by foreign dignitaries because it was the leading producer of Sudan’s pharmaceutical needs  manufacturing 40-50% of Sudan’s medicines for people and animals at prices that were affordable to local Sudanese. Critically, it was only producer of TB medicines in the country.

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Despite the outcry of Ambassadors and foreign nationals, the Clinton Administration continued to state that the plant had no commercial activities –  until someone pointed out that a year before the plant was approved by the UN Security Council – which requires US approval – to package veterinary medicines for relief shipments to Iraq as part of the UN Oil for Food Programme. Amongst the ruins, journalists snapped photographs  of vials of livestock antibiotics and strips of antimalarial tablets.  Sometime after the bombing then Secretary of Defence William Cohen stated that prior to the strike the US was unaware that the plant was making medicines. If taken at his word, then the paucity of US intelligence gathering is unnerving – as is the decision not to seek intelligence from its own strategic allies who, unlike the US, had nationals in the country.

The destruction of the plant – the collateral damage – meant that hundreds of thousands of people lost access to the medicines they needed. One report notes that the destruction of el-Shifa resulted in a sharp increase in infant mortality as  it was the only producer of drugs that stopped transmissions of parasites from a herd to the herder.  Werner Daum,   Germany’s Ambassador to the Sudan at the time, estimated that the destruction “probably led to tens of thousands of deaths.”

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The allegation that bin Laden financed the plant was also false. Sudanese-Saudi millionaire Salah el Din Ahmed Mohammed Idris owned the plant with partial financial backing from a Kenyan development bank. Within days, it became obvious that US intelligence did not know Idris was the principal owner; they scrambled to vilify him as an al-Qaeda front man. A month after the bombing, the Administration admitted that they had no hard evidence to  link bin Laden to either the plant or to Idris. Regardless, they froze Idris’s US bank accounts for years afterwards.

The most serious accusation was that the plant produced precursor agents in the manufacture of chemical weapons. This allegation also began to unravel. With the collapse of all other justifications for the  attack the ‘compelling and unanimous evidence’ turned out to be from a single sample taken by a non-US national on behalf of the CIA. The sample contained EMPTA, which the US claims is required to make VX Nerve Gas.

However, chemists from the American Chemical Society and Oxford University, including an EMPTA specialist, formally expressed doubts that a single EMPTA sample was reliable evidence of chemical weapon manufacture. They unsuccessfully petitioned the CIA to release information about the amount of EMPTA discovered, the method of analysis, and how the results were determined. The Sudanese government also invited the UN to examine the soils in and around the plant, an invitation vetoed by the US. Plant owner Idris – who unsuccessfully sued the US government for damages and for a formal admission of a mistake – paid  an independent American company to conduct an analysis of the soil and drainage sludge of the site: no EMPTA or breakdown composites were found at the site, however residue of pesticides with similar EMPTA properties were discovered.

The current US Administration continues to support the decision to destroy the pharmaceutical company. No apology or redress has been offered to Idris or to Sudan.  However, the former American Ambassador to Sudan, Donald Petterson now admits: “The evidence was not conclusive and was not enough to justify an act of war.”

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The hope that subsequent US Administrations learned lessons from the blunders and wanton destruction of the Infinite Reach and Allied Force Operations were short-lived. While Clinton fanned the Us vs. Them rhetoric, George Bush the 2nd detonated it. Like his predecessors, Obama continues with routine breaches into sovereign territory through covert military operations while hypocritically lambasting other countries for doing the same. It appears that until the US is prepared to hold itself to the same standards that it holds other countries and people; to pacify its military industrial complex that requires the proliferation of war and violence; and to renounce its demoralising moral universalism, it will continue to humiliate, alienate and radicalise communities all over the globe.

The international community knows that the US is not the bastion of virtue and diplomacy that many of it’s citizens delude themselves it is. Like all countries, the US is greedy, selfish and xenophobic; this is an unavoidable reality of modern nationhood. Perhaps, what is needed is for the international community – guided by emerging strong players like the Gulf States, China, India, Germany and Russia – to be more vigorous in its condemnation of reckless US  aggression in sovereign territories. Without such combined diplomatic and economic pressure on the US, its clumsy, rash and imprudent aggressions will continue to make the US’s own problems everyone else’s problem – as too painfully evidenced in Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan in present times.

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Dr King

Many people who talk about Dr. King have never studied Dr. King and don’t know that he was promoting Economic Empowerment for African Americans especially the last 3 years of his life. They also don’t know that the ideologies of Dr. King and Malcolm X were both converging towards the end of their lives.

When Jews, Arabs, Asians, Hispanics, etc. spend their dollars with their own people some of our people admire them and don’t criticize them. When African Americans want to do the same thing some of our people are such brainwashed Negros that they want to call it segregation but they would never call it segregation when other ethnic groups do it. I find it very odd that these same people don’t accuse other ethnic groups of segregation when they are the #1 employers of their own people but when African Americans say that we need to do the same thing many of the biggest objectors come from our own people. These Negros say nothing about spending 98% of our dollars with people that don’t look like us. No one else is that economically irresponsible.

If there’s any dream that Dr. King sad that we need to fulfill, it’s dealing with Economic Empowerment. Dr. King also went on to write, “Black Power is also a call for the pooling of Black financial resources to achieve economic security. Through the pooling of such resources and the development of habits of thrift and techniques of wise investments, the Negro will be doing his share to grapple with his problem of economic deprivation. If Black Power means the development of this kind of strength within the Negro community, then it is a quest for basic, necessary, legitimate power.”

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Sudanese Tea

Originally posted on Al Remix:

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If you’ve ever had Sudanese tea before, you might have heard the phrase, “Al shay hala?”

This translates to “Did the tea steep?” 

Two of the factors that make Sudanese tea unique are how long the tea is left to steep and what you use to infuse it. Cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, and cloves are traditional spices used to infuse Sudanese tea, using each spice separately or combining them together. Of course, the longer you steep the tea, the richer the flavor. 

How do you drink your tea? What unique spices do you use to infuse your tea? 

 

 

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Who are the Sudanese

We are the generation that is lost in translation, literary. I often find myself debating the Sudanese culture with other Sudanese friends, trying to pin-point what makes us Sudanese, or, what makes our culture unique as Sudanese people.
The answer I keep coming up with is, well…peanuts.
I feel like Sudan has always been suffering an identity crisis. Are we Arabs, or Africans? The question remains unanswered, and I am ok with that. Maybe we are just Sudanese. Maybe we don’t need to belong in a group. Maybe we fall in the ever so popular “It’s complicated” category.
But people keep talking about culture. And I say that Sudan has no culture of its own. Maybe it’s just the word culture that bothers me.
The definition of the world culture is pretty much this: An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning.
Sudan holds such a diverse collection of ethnicities, religions and beliefs that it’s almost impossible to set a pattern of anything from it. We are like a creature that has half its body in the water and the other half on land. But its still a very happy creature, most of the time. I get an image of a big seal, laying in the sun and flapping its tail in the water.
A friend snapped at me and said well the Sudanese are known to be very generous and very welcoming. I said that is a common trait in the Arab world, and it does not define us as a culture.
“You mean like the Italians and pizza?”
“No,” I answered “I mean like the Egyptians and Heliopolis, the pharos. Or Japan and its Samurai, or”
“China and its food”
“Well maybe”
“Men are whipped in some tribes at their wedding”
“Men are whipped at their weddings everywhere hun,” I said smiling “and yes I know what you mean, but that’s an African thing. It happens all over West Africa, it is not a Sudanese thing”
“Darfur” she finally said “and peanuts”
Also known as “Fool” or “Al-fool al-Sudani” or in some places “Slave peanuts” and then the other thing that we are now known for.

I wonder why the Sudanese pyramids at the ancient city of Meroe aren’t famous. I wonder why no one made a big deal about the English invasion of Sudan like they did of India’s. I wonder who is responsible for this chaos. I wonder if it’s the people, the geographical location, or the leadership.
I wonder maybe we didn’t write enough books, made enough art. I wonder maybe we didn’t have enough resources. I wonder about refugee camps and ethnic cleansing campaigns. I wonder about sands soaked in children’s blood, and a helpless mass of parents watching horrible things.

At some point I will no longer wonder, and I will begin to fear the one word that will mark Sudan will be genocide instead of peanuts. It will be war instead of culture. It will be anarchy instead of generosity and hospitality. The question remains, what is it that truly defines us, and unites us as one other than political and ecological borders?

By Badri Salih: http://badrisalih.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/who-are-sudanese.html

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Sudanese Bloggers

 

The following is the most complete and up-to-date list of Sudanese bloggers you’re ever going to find. Some are active, but others sadly no longer blog much. Either way, enjoy reading their musings on Sudan and everything else they’ve written about so far.

Also, if you know a Sudanese blog that’s not included in the list, please add it in the comments section below so I can become aware of it and include it here. (Last update on October 12th, 2011.)

Beace, my beebull.

Sudanese Bloggers (writing mostly in English)

  1. Adil Abdalla
  2. AK
  3. Ajaa Anyieth
  4. Amjad
  5. Aperadosoni
  6. Ayman ElKhidir
  7. Bin Mugahid
  8. Blackboard Redemption
  9. Black Dahlia
  10. Black Gay Arab
  11. Black Kush
  12. Brownie
  13. D3à Bin Kar
  14. Daana Lost In Translation
  15. Drastic Hypothesis
  16. El-Africanist
  17. Fluent-Sudani
  18. H. Tai
  19. Hashim Arbaji
  20. Hipster
  21. Ibrahim Mamoun
  22. Jah Guide
  23. Jamila Elgizuli
  24. John Akec
  25. Konyokonyo Clinic
  26. Mimz
  27. Mr. Man
  28. Mo Elzubeir
  29. Moez Ali
  30. MoKotkot
  31. Muhanned: Life in Sudan
  32. Nesrine Malik
  33. Noon Globally
  34. Nyx
  35. Path2Hope
  36. Precious
  37. Rara Avis’s Realm
  38. Reem Shawkat – Kizzie
  39. Sudan Ease
  40. Sudan Fairytale
  41. Sudan In My Dreams
  42. Sudanese Future
  43. Sudanese Nectar
  44. Sudanese Optimist
  45. Sudanese Returnee
  46. Sudani4eva
  47. Talal Nayer
  48. The Princess of Forests
  49. The Sudanese American
  50. Waad Ali
  51. Yousif Magdi
  52. Zoulcolmx
  53. Zoya

Sudanese Bloggers (writing mostly in Arabic)

  1. Amna Mukhtar
  2. Ayman Haj
  3. Emad Aldeen Aldabagh
  4. Eman J
  5. Hammour Ziada
  6. Harith’s Space!
  7. Khalid Nour
  8. Salah286
  9. Maialkheir’s Blog
  10. Mohammed Eltilib
  11. Mohammed Hassan
  12. Omer Mahgoub
  13. Zulfo

http://www.sudanesethinker.com/sudanese-bloggers/

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25 Photos to Remind You How Beautiful Sudan Is

For a country that is ridden with woes and troubles, it is very easy to forget how beautiful Sudan can be.

Neighboring Egypt and with some of the most virgin beaches and destinations, here’s a reminder of Sudan’s breathtaking beauty.

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The Khatmiyya Sufi Mosque

Jebel Marra (Via)

Jebel Marra Waterfalls (Via)

Dinder National Park

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The Nile (Via)

Meroe Pyramids (Via)

Northern Sudan via

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The Red Sea (Via)

The Red Sea (Via)

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Read more: 25 Photos to Remind You How Beautiful Sudan Is http://scoopempire.com/photos-beautiful-sudan/#ixzz3ArMVumnz 
Follow us: @ScoopEmpire on Twitter | ScoopEmpire on Facebook

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To Lack of Ambition

As a young Sudanese male having not grown up in Sudan I have always enjoyed my holidays back in the motherland. I look forward to them all year long and the anticipation builds and grows immensely.

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There is no greater feeling than that of landing in Khartoum and being greeted by that blast of hot air as soon as the airplane opens its doors and you get your first breath of Sudanese air.

Unknown-4Having spent so long imaging and building up to this moment, built up plans and outlines and so I always make sure I make the most of my time. Get involved in everything I get my hands on and make sure to make the most of it all.

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I’m quite a forward thinker, enjoy developing my knowledge, building new skills. So in the back of my mind I always think of making my holidays productive rather than pleasurable because I know I the what ifs and opportunities that could be pursing back home in England. I have always enjoyed work and training opportunities and these have become ever more clear in this recession age that we live in so that is always my priority when I get to Sudan.

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It would seem to be however that the Sudanese mentality generally speaking are more laid back and chilled out by this whole concept. I have had a little work experience across a few sectors and companies and what strikes me is the ambitionless nature of the Sudanese psyche, and the shallowness of looking at career progression.

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Whenever I started any training or internship position I was always excited and optimistic and went in ready to learn with an open mind. Like a sponge ready to absorb and soak in everything.

What I quickly noticed was that people were very guarded and defensive, especially more so to foreign based Sudanese. I can understand their feelings, in the sense that they can be fearful of being potentially replaced or whatever.

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But I felt that this went beyond all that. I got the feeling that people were to comfortable in their “current” jobs. There was no push to develop new skills, or a clear career progression. Training and development seemed not properly planned or well thought out.

Obviously this was only a temporary outsiders view of the way things were, and also I have to say that my last internship in Sudan was in 2010 so things may have changed by now. Or at least I hope they have.

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Ideas, Abilities, Dreams, Gifts

On your death bed imagine if u were surrounded by the Ghosts of your: ideas, abilities, dreams, gifts; Given to u by life!

How would that conversation go? Chase your dreams, use your gifts, hone your abilities and build your dreams. You only have one chance at life, have no regrets, live life to the fullest.

Make sure you are living your life. The past is not the now, and the future is it the latter now. So there is only the now!

The best advice I ever read was by Sir Richard Branson, “If anyone asks you if you can do something, say yes, you can always learn how to do it later.”

I have always tried to grab hold and take every opportunity presented to me, and the only regret I believe you can never get over is the regret of not have tried. So try everything is what I live by.

Build your dreams, don’t spend your life building someone else’s. Live your live, don’t spend your life living someone else’s.

 

By: Ashraf Khalifa

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Doctors & Round Abouts

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I was having a interesting debate with a Sudanese friend of mine. We were discussing this rather interesting phenomenon and fixation with Sudanese and Drs.

Everyone and their dog wants their kid to be a doctor. The pressure on then is intense, especially if one of the parents is already a adr. And the amount of universities opening up all over Sudan is intense.

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So our debate was why people would want to be Drs in this country when there was no work, with hundreds of fully qualified Dr’s driving taxis and rickshaws. I just found the whole concept quite bizarre.

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And then why they don’t the medical profession seriously at all. Especially the doctors that have been abroad and gained experience and knowledge and training before coming back.

His anwser shocked me, and I realized its not a doctor thing but a general mentality outlook.

Unknown

He said I will put it to you this way: you know when your living in the UK or Canada or Europe. When you get in your car do you ever drive without your seat belt? And I said no. He then asked what about when your driving around town you follow the road rules. I said yes.

Unknown-2

He said exactly there’s the problem. You see our problem in medicine is the round about mentality.

Unknown-1

And its mentality that as soon as we come to Sudan we get sucked in and regress to the way people are driving rather than maintaining their training and level.

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