Friday, September 26, 2008

A war in disguise?

So here I am in Darfur, and surprise, surprise, it doesn't quite feel like a war zone. In fact, I quite like it here (El Fasher, capital of North Darfur State). The atmosphere is much nicer than in Khartoum - feels more like a town, and has a lot of life. The market is bustling, the people are friendly, it's much more developed than I expected (paved roads, taxis, etc - although I hear this is all quite new). At night, they sit around the market smoking shisha under small lights. Music blares from different shops. Apart from the heavy military presence (nobody thinks twice when a truck pulls up at the gas station with a machine gun attached to the back, or when a plain-clothed civilian stops by the corner shop with a Kalashnikov in his hand), you would barely realize that this is a region classified as one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters. (This pic is from a site for people displaced by the fighting. Even the displaced have a very dynamic marketplace, a club for watching TV and movies, a taxi stand).
Of course, I've been here only two days. These are the words of a naive girl who has not been out in the bushes where the fighting takes place and who has not been around long enough to see the near-daily hijackings of UN vehicles.

But just to say that this place - Sudan - is not a simple place to understand. Nothing is black and white. And nothing is as clear as it seems.

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