Monday, November 3, 2008

Settling down

Life in Sudan is finally becoming somewhat stable. I've got a regular job, I'm playing soccer a few times a week, I feel like I've got a routine, and it feels nice to have some kind of stability after all the chaos. I wish I had more to report, but when your life revolves around your laptop and telephone, it's not really stimulating travel writing.

The biggest news recently was the killing of five Chinese oil workers in central Sudan. The government says it was Darfurian rebels. They deny it. But of course, it highlights the dangers of China's increasing role in Africa, and how China might get caught up in some internal Sudanese issues because of it. The rebels accuse China of indirectly supporting the government's actions in Darfur because China is the biggest investor in Sudan's oil industry (which funds the Sudanese government more than anything else) and because it is also one of Sudan's most important arms suppliers.

Otherwise, the government has come up with a new initiative for finding peace in Darfur, which many people say is just another attempt to convince the international community that it is taking great strides towards peace in Darfur - in order to defer an imminent International Criminal Court arrest warrant against the president for genocide.

The last thing I've been looking at lately is the impact of US elections on Sudan. It's interesting. As one analyst put it, "In its mind, the government thinks McCain will be better for Sudan because Democrats have historically been more antagonist towards the ruling party here and Obama has threatened a tougher stance on Darfur. But in their hearts, many politicians, like the rest of the Sudanese people, have been swept up by Obama's magic." Some Sudanese say Obama gives them hope that the underdog can rise to the top. It's amazing to what extent sharing the colour of someone's skin can make you relate to them.

I'm heading back to Canada in a month - almost looking forward to the snow actually, bizarre as that is. It's going to be a fun trip home, I think. I'll be visiting Mom in Vancouver and seeing many friends i haven't seen in one or two years.

So there you have it. Heba's life in Sudan is becoming boring. Except, that is, for a funny incident i had on Saturday. I went to meet a professor for an interview at the University of Khartoum, wearing black pants, a loose, long-sleeved shirt and a scarf around my head, as I always wear when I go out here. I was entering the university, someone stopped me and said, "You're not allowed in." Why? I asked. He pointed to the pants. "El Bantalone"... Little did I know that the university is run by the Muslim Brotherhood. Women must wear skirts to enter ... ha!


Kamal Shaath said...
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Kamal Shaath said...

Heba, I am happy to see that the chaos has finally subsided... at least for now. I am also sure that your Mom is comforted by knowing that you have a routine in your life again...
SNOW you said.. bite your tough my dear;) we are hoping for a warm winter... is that ok with you ? Although I have plans for building another Time Share Igloo... but I would really like a warm winter.... cause our summer just did not happen.

Hope to see you on your next visit to O-town if your schedule permits... Take Care of yourself.
Later :)


Hi Heba,

I just read your blog for the first time after a friend of mine read your article in the CSMonitor. I've just added your blog to my blog as an RSS feed because I want to follow your experiences closely in Sudan.

Those who alike your stuff should also know about the reporting you do on the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting.

I am planning on going to South Sudan at the end of January for a three months to report on the development challenges in a post-conflict S. Sudan and the role of the media in the democratization process there. I'm an emerging freelancer who wants to get his feet wet.

Anyway, I look forward to reading more of your posts and articles. Maybe we can hook up once you are back in Ottawa. I am in Montreal.

Salooly said...

interesting experience at the doors of the university. sometimes i think some people in this world are so trivial. clearly women should only wear skirts. [sarcasm] what were you thinking heba?!