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Sudan: Mourning a Great Novelist and Musings on the ICC

After a long absence, a number of fascinating Sudanese bloggers, return to the blogosphere to rant, share their thoughts on recent events and vent. They're included in this roundup along with the usual suspects.

After a frustrated rant about Khartoum International Airport's unhygienic condition, Sudanese Optimist mourned the passing of the respected and well-known Sudanese novelist, Al-Tayeb Saleh.

Sudan has lost a dear citizen, who has contributed tremendously to Sudanese and Arabic literature. His most acclaimed work is the 1966 novel “Season of Migration to the North.” The novel was, at one point, banned in Sudan for its inclusion of sexual imagery, yet it was declared “the most important Arabic novel of the 20th century” by the Syrian-based Arab Literary Academy in Damascus.

Earlier this year, The General Union for Sudanese Writers, requested Al Tayeb Saleh to be preliminarily nominated to win the 2009 Literature Noble Prize.

Ras Babi Babiker mourned Saleh's passing too by reminding us about the great novel that made him a major name in the world of modern Arabic literature.

Season of Migration to the North (Arabic: موسم الهجرة إلى الشمال Mawsim al-Hiǧra ilā ash-Shamāl ) is a classic post-colonial Sudanese novel by the late novelist Al-Tayyib Salih. Originally published in Arabic in 1966, it has since been translated into English and French.

The novel charts individuation of the (un-named) narrator, who has returned to his native village in the Sudan having spent seven years in England furthering his education.

On his arrival home, he encounters a new villager (“Mustafa Sa'eed”) who exhibits none of the adulation for his achievements that most others do, and displays an antagonistically aloof nature. The villager betrays his past one drunken evening by wistfully reciting poetry in fluent English, leaving the narrator resolute to discover the stranger's identity. As it turns out Mustafa was also a precocious student educated in the west but simultaneously harbors a violently hateful and complex relationship with his western identity and acquaintances. The story of Mustafa's troubled past in Europe and in particular his love affair with a British woman, forms the center of the novel.

Meanwhile, as Drima mourned along with his fellow bloggers the death of his country's great novelist, he also blogged an in-depth analysis on the possible consequences of an ICC arrest warrant charging his country's president with crimes against humanity and genocide.

the ICC can’t do much on its own in terms of enforcing the arrest warrant (if it issues it at all) and the UN is a fangless paper tiger, but…

… given that we now have Susan Rice as the US Ambassador to the UN, Hillary as Secretary of State (she has her own blog now by the way), and a Blue Donkey administration in charge of running things, US policies towards Sudan will gradually become starkly different than they were just a few months ago when Bush was still in power.

An ICC arrest warrant issued within this new context will now have more weight, and hence its potential issuance will probably be more useful as a tool for pressuring Omar al-Bashir to act in favor of peace in Darfur and implementing the CPA.

Mimz, who returned to the blogosphere after a long absence, also recently mentioned the ICC arrest warrant and her adventures with Facebook.

“Dang!” doesn’t even begin to describe it. It’s been almost a year and a half since I was last here. And a lot of things went down during that time. Here are just a few highlights:

1. I joined facebook.
2. There’s a global economic crisis going on and it’s on the rise.
3. Obama was elected president of the United States.
4. Israeli troops attacked Ghaza killing and injuring hundreds.
5. The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Omer El-Bashir on charges of war crimes.
6. I graduated.
7. Sami El-Haj was released from Guantanamo Bay. (I obviously have a lot of editing to do).
8. Gillian Gibbons was arrested for a “teddy bear blasphemy case” in Khartoum.
9. The rebels reached Khartoum and attacked everyone.
10. I quit facebook.

Did I mention that I finally graduated?

Hipster, a Sudanese blogger living in the UAE, is now also back actively blogging again. She shares with us a little “Che Guevara” experience she had while driving to work.

Aggravated at the abrupt interruption, I glared at the monstrous vehicle, only to be completely amazed and amused at the sight of the colors and words adorning the spare tire case. Che Guevara’s renowned & symbolic raggedy face picture was sandwiched between words in bold letters namely “T.N.T” and “ Al Maafia”. I couldn’t help but look down at my paperback copy of “The Young Che: Memories of Che Guevara”, lying on the passenger’s seat, triggering me to ponder and wonder upon the mockery this revolutionary has become.
With my humble knowledge, I ask: What do “T.N.T” and “Mafia” have anything to do with the Soldier of the Americas?

And if you've ever wondered whether blogging is a form of therapy, you're not alone. Path2Hope shares those thoughts too.

And then it happened, the dam that was blocking my ability from putting down thoughts onto paper broke and everything wanted to come pouring out instantly. So much to write about, so many experiences to relate and then you sit infront of the laptop and wonder – who the heck cares? Everyone has their own battle that they are tackling – and well I suppose blogging really is a form of therapy and an excuse to self indulge.

As for JohnAckec, he reminded us today of the increasingly sad situation with education in Sudan.

With more than 30 universities in Sudan and with talk of declining academic standards and rising level of unemployment amongst university graduates in our country, one is led to believe that university education has lost its glitter and is now next to worthless. Nothing could be further from the truth.

On a happier note, Precious, wished everyone a Happy Valentine's Day.

Although I no longer beleive in romance and that passionate love I used to dream of, and although I no longer trust a man's fake “I love you”s, but you might still have a little hope. So anyway, I deeply and sincerely wish you a very Happy Valentines day, whether you are Single, dating, engaged or married. Enjoy the day and dont let anyone not even him/her, ruin it for you!

  • http://rawdawgb.blogspot.com rawdawgbuffalo

    maybe he should have made my fav writers list

  • http://jewelsnthejungle.blogspot.com BRE

    Drima, I am commenting at GVO because I experienced errors on your personal blog re: the pending ICC arrest warrant. Here is an edited version of my comment left at your place:

    I am glad that you addressed the pending ICC arrest warrant controversey and that you went back to follow-up on Susan E. Rice’s positions on Darfur. First of all, the DIPNOTE blog is NOT US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s personal blog. DIPNOTE was launched in September 2007 by (acting) State Department Secretary for Public Affairs Robert Wood with encouragement by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a new public diplomacy tool. There have been significant changes to a number of official US government websites i.e. the former USINFO site and VOA News over the past few years as well.

    That is a very interesting take you have on the impact of an ICC arrest warrant on the Sudanese government, the people of Sudan, and of course the millions of Sudanese living in refugee camps in Darfur and Chad. Your viewpoints on this important matter are very much appreciated, as are those of your readers. I found the claim by one of your commenters that there is a great deal of buzz and Angst in and around Khartoum re: the pending indictment to be most interesting. I thought that the supporters of President Omar al-Bashir were totally indifferent to the ICC, the African Union, and the United Nations?

    As far as what the new US Ambassador to the UN, Susan E. Rice (Condi’s evil twin sister), will say and do re: the ICC indictment will depend wholly upon US President Obama’s instructions (with advisements from his Cabinet members and experts on the crisis). Susan E. Rice is no longer a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution where she could say what she thought without restraint.

    If the hammer does fall and the ICC judges actually issue a warrant for the arrest of Sudan’s president, then President Obama and the US government will be placed into a very delicate position because of previous US administrations’ resistance to join the signatories to the International Criminal Court. Let’s hope that President Obama does what is right and follows through on his previous statements and positions re: Darfur. Let’s also hope that the ICC decision receives strong support from the court’s signatories, especially the EU member countries and any countries in the Arab and Muslim world who have signed up to the ICC.

  • http://www.sudanesethinker.com Drima, The Sudanese Thinker

    Hey BRE, thanks for the comment. Regarding Hillary’s blog, yup. I know it’s not her personal one but belongs to the US Department of State. But the particular blog post I linked to was authored by her personally.

    As for the ICC warrant receiving support if it gets issues, I truly doubt it. People are more concerned about the economic crisis. Even Hillary throw human rights under the bus when dealing with China recently.

    It’s sad.

  • George

    I hope all of Africa and the world will see that violence is not the way to go. God sent his only begotten Son ,the Lord Jesus Christ to die for our sins on the cross, he was buried and rose from the dead,was seen of men and went back up to Heaven. He will give us his gift of eternal life if we will repent of our sins and trust him as our personal Lord and God. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved and thy house.(Acts 16:31).The Authorized King James Holy Bible is Gods preserved word to all mankind.

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