Sunday, 30 October 2011

Sudan: We love you Bashir, let us 'delusional' together

Remember a while back when Sudanese people decided to boycott meat because the prices were too high? Well, according to recent developments, all this was a waste of time. Primarily because our president, Omar Hassan Ahmed Al Bashir, decided to give away - not sell - 20,000 sheep to Egypt.

The man donated sheep to Egypt. He's donating things! Last week he said that the government is working on a solution to the global economic crisis, which was delusional enough earn him Mayoral status in Tijani Al Mahi Hospital on Foursquare. But this, this is just ridiculous.

There are only two ways to explain this. It's either Omar Al Bashir doesn't know what sheep are, or the Sudanese themselves are delusional. I'd normally go with the former, but unfortunately there's evidence to prove the latter.

See, in order to donate sheep, or anything, to another country, Mr President would have to first think of the gesture. Deem it acceptable. Then say it out loud, to whoever is next to him at the time. We already know his IQ isn't that much more than that of a baseball bat, so we'll just accept this first stage.

Unfortunately, after letting the voices in his head loose Mr Bashir would have to get a second opinion. So, this second opinion would also have to agree that it's a good idea to donate sheep to Egypt. So it does.

Then - because the NCP is a democratic party - Mr Bashir would approach his Minister of Agriculture, someone called Salah Yousif. This approach is about feasibility more than an opinion. However, an opinion will be given, and feasibility would probably have been given an ancillary role.

So thus far you have Omar Al Bashir, a second person and Mr Yousif all agreeing that donating 20,000 sheep to Egypt is a good idea. OK? Now, all they have to do is convince Mr Finance Minister - well not convince, but tell him - that they need money for 20,000 sheep. So they tell him. The Finance Minister, Ali Mahmoud, would first object, but because the NCP is a democratic party, he wouldn't have a choice but to get on board with the plan.

Now, Mr Bashir has the idea, it's very feasible, and there's a budget for it. Apparently. Don't know how. But there is. A budget. For it. There's a budget for donating sheep to Egypt.

The next step would be to find the sheep. Well, he can't get them from Darfur, because obviously Khartoum and Darfur are on bad terms; maybe when they're back on good terms Al Bashir might decide to donate some sheep to them. So Mr Bashir looks elsewhere for the sheep. Most probably Al Gezira. So he finds the sheep.

The process of getting 20,000 sheep on horseback - or whatever technology is available to them - and sending them to Egypt will involve hundreds of people; from sheep herders, to the horse owners and sheep counters. All of whom will be aware of the fact that these sheep are going to Egypt as a Eid gift. All of whom, most probably, cannot afford meat, or even 'mea'.

The number of officials involved in this process is very significant. And the fact that it's actually happening proves that none of them could see anything wrong with it. Not the donation part, nor the 20,000 part. They can't even see that donating sheep is wrong. Sudan donating sheep is like India setting up dating sites to encourage people to have children.

All this just proves that Omar Al Bashir is not the only delusional person in Sudan. More evidence can be found in the recent protests in Sudan against Bashar Al Assad's crackdown on Syrian protesters. This is ludicrous. A miniature Kaaba donated by Omar Al Bashir to the Vatican City makes more sense. How do these people think?

This last week has been yet another embarassing one for Sudan, and unfortunately this time, some citizens played their part. The only sane beings left in Sudan are the sheep it seems; but they're all getting shipped off to Egypt. So.. Umm.. We're pretty screwed.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Sudan: A Sudanese prophet, coming soon

We have this dish in Sudan called 'Fool'. It's basically cooked beans with everything you can find in a 10 meter radius. So if anyone is cooking Fool, make sure your phone and wallet are in your pocket. Fool has detrimental after effects. The most notable is a condition globally known as sleeping, but in Sudan it's known as "just lying down". Well, if you're just lying down, why the f*** are you snoring? This dormant state is the least harmful to society. However, Fool can also slow down one's thought process, one's ability to see and most importantly, one's ability to 'thought'. Yea, it's that bad.

It affects us all, but it seems our president is a Fool aficionado.

Omar Al-Bashir was recently addressing an economic forum at the ruling National Congress Party trying to give a more detailed explanation and solution to the economic situation in the country. He said that the government needs to "raise new revenues without having to raise taxes". Which is impressive to be honest. But then he goes on to say "How do we bridge the gap without raising taxes? We need to broaden the tax base to tax those outside the tax system".

Ok, first of all, why are there people outside the tax system? Who are these people? Are they the people that earn a pittance, and are exempt from taxes on that regard? Or are they high ranking government officials who are treated as diplomats in their own country? Or maybe they're the ones that run away from the taxman every time he comes by the shop. Why are there people outside the tax system? And how does Omar Al-Bashir know what 'outside' means?

If these tax exemptions are made for those with very low to negligible incomes, then it would be ludicrous to even try to tax them. The government would just have to take some of their hair, because even the sheep that they most likely sell won't add much to the government's budget. On the other hand, if it's government officials or party loyalists who are exempt from taxes, then taxing them would have a significant effect on the NCP's fan base. Less and less beards would be grown, and less morals would be prostituted. And we all know that beards and promiscuous morals are the foundations of the ruling party.

Mr Al-Bashir then goes on to highlight the government's economic plans. He claims that Sudan is not the only country suffering economically, but the whole world economy is in bad shape. He says that the government is working on a solution to the problem that is the global economy today, and to find a way subdue the rampant capitalist system that has caused many to suffer around the world.

If you're reading this paragraph after only reading the previous one once, then there's something wrong with you. I don't even know where to start. Ok, tell you what, I'll finish what he said then I'll give my two cents.

He went on to say the government's plan to solve the issue of the global economy is, and I quote, "finding an exit by returning to God for a way out of the severe economic crisis". He also criticized the states for their handling of investments, and he expressed disbelief at the amount of foreign workers in the country. I am quoting from an article. You cannot make this stuff up.

The fact that our president can see past the economic crisis in Sudan is incredible. I don't even understand how he can even think that there's currently a world outside Sudan. He should be charged for every thought that is beyond our borders. All the stages he fantasizes about dancing on, all the blacks he dreams about fighting, everything; all his global thoughts.

I'm sorry, but really? They want to solve the global economic crisis? How is he even allowed to say that in front of people? Who writes this stuff for him? I honestly think the ruling party is deliberately trying to make him look like an idiot in front of people. The only way anyone should be allowed to say something like that is if they laugh afterwards, juggle a couple of red balls, click their heels together and walk off stage.

The most ridiculous part is his "surprise" at the number of foreign workers in the country. Apparently all foreign workers are illegal, since Al-Bashir doesn't know they exist. They all get smuggled in through the northern border with Egypt, hired illegally, and then given illegal residencies without anyone noticing. Most foreign workers get their residencies done between 4 pm and 6 pm, when every Sudanese is "just lying down".

And, what does God have to do with anything? What's wrong with this man? I feel this miniature Kaaba ordeal is having serious repercussions. Next thing you know, the government announces the arrival of a Sudanese prophet, who's miracle would be cleansing the new Holy land of blacks and non-Muslims.

Something needs to change. Let's introduce Sushi into our cuisine. It's healthy and doesn't cause mental ineptitude. We can still have Fool, but as a side side side dish. Maybe have it with tea, or gulp it down with some water in the morning. Large quantities of Fool should be made illegal, and so should Omar Al-Bashir's speeches.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Sudan: Let's pray.. for common sense

It turns out Sudan's economic woes are far greater than the current economy's desperate situation. Apparently, Sudan has an accumulated national debt of $38 billion... That's Congo.

Sudan is indebted to almost every monetary institution in the world with the word "loan" on its About Us page. The country is very close to having an account with the local vegetable seller.

The problem is that when you hear such figures you might think yes, the country borrows a lot, but borrowing is necessary for development in Third World countries. No. The money borrowed is spent on the military and the security apparatus. So the only thing that's developing is the regime's insecurities.

Omar Al Bashir, who's fat, said that Sudan will be working diligently to try and pay off these debts. He said that, in the next OECD conference in Turkey, they will cooperate with Western countries in an effort to relieve Sudan of its debts. Mind you, these are the same countries that he recently said are "under his shoe". Whatever that means.

So now Sudan - the most targeted country in the world according to NCP officials - will be seeking debt relief from the same countries that are targeting it. Targeting it because obviously it's a paragon for Islamic democracy and a regional beacon of hope. It is the most efficiently run country in the world, and the West is just hating on it because "it be getting that paper, son".

Not only is Omar Al Bashir being a hypocrite, but he's actually justifying the West's position on Sudan. Yes, the West is targeting Sudan, but not because of its Islamism or its rogue regime, but because Sudan's stupidity needs to be contained. Imagine if Sudan was allowed to participate in global economic development or political conferences, our representatives would talk so much nonsense they might infect others. Then Europe will start thinking the secession of the South is the reason behind Greece's debt, Japan would blame Darfur rebels on the earthquake, and the US government will start a war with Detroit because there are too many black people there.

So the government is now so desperate that it's seeking help from the decadent West; the Muslim-hating, anti-Islamic, alcohol-drinking, light skin-having West. Why not though? I mean China doesn't give out loans unless you have something significant to offer in return, and India shouldn't give out loans but if it does, they should be given in humans not money. So the only way out of this predicament is for the government to go back on its words and beg for help. A valiant effort given the Sudanese people's desperate situation. But wait, there's more.

Ali Mahmoud, Sudan's Finance Minister, decided that he's done with common sense and that henceforth he's going to stop thinking, for at least a couple of months. He came out recently to say that the Sudanese economy is actually better than the US economy. Yes, he said that. I swear to you.

Who says that? I mean really, who? Mind you, the worst part wasn't what he said; it was the fact that he eventually tried to justify it. I mean, if someone showed up to talk to the press, said "Sudan's economy is better than the US's" and left, it would be acceptable. I'd just think that he was on crack. But when you say such a thing, and actually hang around to try and justify it, that's when you know God has forgotten about Sudan.

So as a Sudanese, I feel we need to look up to the sky and pray. Stupidity cannot be cured by protests or sanctions. It can only be cured by some prayer. So let's pray. Even if you're an atheist; pray to your whiskey bottle or arm chair that Sudan becomes spastic-free.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Sudan: The government's fight against retardation

I'm assuming you've all heard of the miniature Kaaba that was built by the government of Sudan to train Muslim pilgrims for Hajj. Right? Well, if you haven't heard, then, umm, the government of Sudan built a miniature Kaaba to train Muslim pilgrims for Hajj.

Apparently, Sudanese pilgrims are, well, retarded. It seems that every year they go to Hajj and embarrass us in front of the 2 million Muslims from around the world. They walk clockwise instead of anti-clockwise around the Kaaba, throw stones at each other instead of Satan, and instead of drinking Zamzam water they seem to use it as fuel for their water guns.

The government, more precisely, the Ministry of Guidance and Endowments, was shamefaced when the Saudi Hajj Authority called in to say that the Sudanese pilgrims were running riot. They apologized and promised to do something about it.

The Sudanese government then decided to give this issue first priority. Forget the wars, forget the ailing economy, the retarded pilgrims predicament had to be resolved... By any "meals" necessary.

So, after much deliberation, the government decided to build a miniature Kaaba, where the pilgrims can be trained for Hajj. The training would include 5 sessions of Directional Awareness, target practice and "A History of Zamzam Water" lectures.

The cost of the miniature Kaaba was $20,000. This included the four cement walls and roof, and the Kaaba-like cloth that goes on top. One can't help but think that this money was either borrowed from some GCC financial institution, or taken out of the government's negligible budget. The latter is more likely. Which means that now the government's budget has halved.

The current regime has been in power since 1989, and since then the country's education system has been overrun with Islamic related subjects. A high school graduate in Sudan can probably recite the whole Quran while hunting for food, or digging for water. So on paper, everyone, including fat people, should know the technicalities of Hajj.

The government however, seems very adamant that the education system that it established is not sufficient to stop people from throwing stones at the Kaaba. So now that the training is under way, all will be well when the next batch of pilgrims leave Sudan for Mekkah.

This is only the first of many government run projects initiated to help the average Sudanese enjoy a mistake-free Hajj. Future projects will include "Umra training for those who can afford to go", "Praying Maghrib at Al-Masjid Al-Haram without licking the person next to you", and training centers all over the country on "How to get to the airport when going to Hajj".

The government has also promised that it will establish a Public Authority for Hajj Related Issues and What Not (PAHRIWN). The head of the PAHRIWN will be chosen by the president, and will be from the war torn region of Darfur, in accordance with the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).

Friday, 30 September 2011

Sudan: The Sudanese Pound, reading glasses and other soon to be useless things

Before we start, here are the latest figures regarding the Sudanese Pound: $1 = SDG 4.7, with a very high possibility of becoming $1 = SDG 400 and then some, by the time you read this. The Sudanese Pound is in trouble, its value is declining like the number of Somalians who understand the concept of water.

Last Sunday it was $1 to SDG 4.3. So if you would like to take out your calculator - you know, the one you bought last week - and do the math, you'd realise that for one week this is quite a significant devaluation.

So, let's be idiots for a minute and blame this devaluation on the secession of the South. Let's blame it on the war in Darfur. And, let's blame it on the boogie. Because according to so called analysts, these are the main reasons behind this catastrophe, the boogie being the biggest of course.

Yes, the Southerners took away 70% of the oil income with them - which is clearly their right - but blaming the devaluation of the Sudanese Pound on the secession is preposterous. The Sudanese government, which so blatantly knew the South was going to secede, should have had a contingency plan. And no, banning certain imports is not a contingency plan, it's not even a plan, it's an arbitrary ban on random things of which no one knew the consequences.

Even if the government didn't know the South was going to secede, it should have planned for the worst case scenario. Human beings usually plan for worst case scenarios. Human beings. Humans. Homosexuals, I mean Homo sapiens. But did they? No! You know why? Well, clearly they're not human. They're just a random aggregation of bones, flesh and beards.

I'm sorry but I will not accept these juvenile interpretations coming from our own economists blaming the government's failures on South Sudan. I mean, yes, occasionally, if money does go missing more often than not a black person is behind it, but that doesn't apply here. I tried to apply it, it didn't work. So, no, economists, the secession is not to blame.

Soon enough, the Sudanese Pound will be worth nothing. You'd have to trade in your limbs for some vegetables, and since meat would only be affordable to those willing to trade in their children, there will be a sudden increase in vegetarian amputees. On the plus side however, people will be having more children, which would make the population competition we're having with Egypt more interesting.

The government has also decided to randomly close down newspapers. Maybe because reading newspapers is forbidden in Islam. I don't know. But whatever the reason, the government seems very adamant on suppressing free speech, or even just speech. Security officials seem to just show up at newspaper offices, and ask everyone to put their pens down; they're like exam invigilators with guns.

Thus far, seven newspaper have been shut down. You can only assume they're doing something unbeardly, I mean un-Islamic. They might all be brothels disguised as newspapers, or worse, places where people write what they think.

But the government's arbitrary war on terrorist speech seems somewhat systematic. Yes, confusing. Soon enough there will be no newspapers to read, or use as a dinner tablecloth substitute. Reading glasses will be more useful as ornaments in your living room. The radio will become a powerful tool which the government will use to foist political views into news stories. Eventually we will all have small mustaches and feel a sudden hatred towards Jews and Blacks.

Also, every Sudanese household will have to find a way to make better use of their dinner table and cutlery, because they too will become redundant. There will be only one channel on TV, constantly broadcasting a new monotonous national anthem praising safari suits, beards and Hyundai Sonatas. So TV's will be more useful as door stoppers. Cars will become horse-drawn carriages and sole-less shoes will be in vogue. We will find ourselves trapped in medieval times where women get flogged in public for no apparent reason. Oh wait!

So there you have it, this is me being sagacious. If you're planning for a future in Sudan, make sure you're accomplished with a sword. And just in case you have a lot of cash stacked away for a rainy day, start smoking marijuana, because rolling paper is all the Sudanese Pound will soon be good for.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Sudan: Forget boycotts, buy a calculator

Last week the humble people of Sudan - which is south of Egypt, but north of South Sudan - decided to come together, for the first time since, since, since.. decided to come together. Everyone seemed to agree on the fact that basic commodities became too expensive. This increase in commodity prices was part of a policy implemented by the government to help stabilize the economy bla bla bla.. sensitive camels and prostitutes.

This lead to an unfathomable increase in prices. Even red things like tomatoes became expensive. Sheep became lobsters. And cooking oil seems to have suddenly been extracted from Siberian tigers. Basically, you would have needed a bank statement to buy a burger.

So the Sudanese Consumer Protection Society decided to call for a mass boycott of all meat products, including chicken - which is a meat apparently. Most people joined in on the boycott. Which is surprising, given the recent trends of impervious attitudes towards the country's dire situation. Nonetheless, this boycott had a significant effect on the market. Apparently, a kilo of lamb went from an embarrassing 30 SDG right down to a very random 15 SDG.

This is very well. But all these numbers seem arbitrary. They're too whole and too divisible by each other and other normal numbers. Why aren't there any decimal places? And how could a two day meat boycott bring down the price so significantly?

You can't help but think that the so called government controlled market is not controlled at all, nor is it government. The austerity measures taken by the government targeted imported goods. But meat in Sudan is a local commodity. Sudan doesn't import meat, it actually exports it. So how is it that meat - which comes from local sheep, local cows and apparently local chickens - decided to be expensive? You can only assume that it was a decision taken by the meat itself, because no human would have such preposterous logic.

I find it very difficult to understand economic trends in Sudan. It might be my poor knowledge of economics, or the government's poor knowledge of economics, and lack of common sense, and incompetence, and stupidity, and abundance of safari suits. But, most economic trends in Sudan are not trends at all, they're in fact sudden occurrences. The government seems to lack that thing that gives people a bit of an insight into the future, what's it called? Oh right, planning.

What's more worrying is the inconsistency of statistical data regarding the economy. Various articles on the meat boycott quoted different numbers regarding Sudan's dependence on meat exports. The range was 1.68% to a ridiculous 40%. Not even butchers make 40% of their income from selling meat. So no one actually knows how much meat - or any other export, be it sand or black people - actually contributes to the country's economy.

So, instead of boycotting things that don't make sense, every Sudanese person should buy a calculator and start doing some numbers. Because no matter how much you boycott, if it's all fictitious and arbitrary, all your doing really is denying butchers a living. And obviously prolonging the sheep's lives; the sheep themselves don't want that, they're probably organizing group suicides right now.

I bought a calculator, yes I did; it's a Casio fx-83MS - which sounds like a power ranger's fantasy. And I did some numbers. It turns out that in order for meat exports to contribute 40% to the Sudanese economy, one sheep would have to be sold for around $4,000.71 - see, decimals. A sheep. Just one. It's unrealistic, and so is every other number I've come across.

Yes, the melioristic approach to the evermore demanding standards of living is a good thing, and the proof that the espirit de corps of the Sudanese population has not yet diminished has made us all proud, but what are we fighting for? Lesser arbitrary numbers?

It's easy to be perturbed by such events, but it's actually easier for such events to occur when economic policies are made around a tea lady wearing socks to repel sexual gestures. So let's not boycott randomness, let's boycott ugly people, since they're all in the government.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Sudan: Out with the old, in with the flu

We've already established in the past that politicians have the intellectual capacity of a horse's testicle. We've also established that in order to become a politician in a Third World Country, all you need is a financial motive; or in the case of Idriss Deby, a stupid name. All in all it doesn't require much. Now, however, Sudan has yet again proven that you can be a politician even if you can't read. Or write. Or think. Or use a toilet.

The most recent breaking news about Sudan was the appointment of a certain Haj Adam Youseff as Vice President to Omar Al Bashir. So, you might think, what happens to Ali Osman Mohammed Taha? Well, he's also Vice President. He's the First Vice President. Which means that if anything is to happen to Omar Al Bashir, Mr Taha and Mr Youseff would have to fight for the presidency in a game of Connect Four.

Let's not bicker about the nature of the positions top officials hold in the government, and concentrate on the matter at hand. I think we can all agree that this is very random. First of all, the guy's first name is an adjective.

There are a lot of flaws with this appointment. Primarily, the fact that Mr Youseff is actually from an Arab tribe in Darfur, not an African one. Yes I know that I've emphasized on the importance of not categorizing the Darfur conflict as Arab vs African but the fact of the matter is that the Fur, the original inhabitants of Darfur, are African. And so are the Zaghawa, who find their voice in the JEM rebel movement.

It is also important to stress that Mr Youseff has no affiliations with any of the Darfur rebel movements. Be it Khalil Ibrahim's JEM, or Abdul Wahid Nur's SLM. Nothing. I doubt he's even aware of their existence. Ask him. Someone ask him. Also, he had no part to play in the Doha peace agreement. He wasn't even on the negotiations table. He has no rebel affiliations, no grievances, no movement. Nothing. Then why would he be appointed? Well, I'll tell you why. Because he's actually NCP.

Yes. He's a former member of the PCP. He's a Turabi enthusiast. Just like how Bob Marley was a marijuana enthusiast. He joined the PCP for a year in 1999 then probably realised that there was nothing to gain, so he went back to the NCP He was an active member of the NIF. Which kind of makes sense really. I mean what were we expecting? Al Tijani Sese as Vice President? I mean yes, his silly name does make him a perfect candidate, but c'mon, he's actually Fur; and Umma Party affiliated. Plus, the NCP don't do Fur. Unless there's an AK47 involved.

In order to understand the ridiculousness of this, you have to realise that Mr Bashir has 189,637 advisers. Yes, that many. All with different silly advisory positions and equally silly names. And, if that's not enough, he has 77 ministers. One for every prostitute on the street. I'm sorry, but this is preposterous. You get the impression that if you ever walk into one of Bashir's meetings with his advisers you'd find them all wearing bibs with smiley faces on them.

According to a recent study, the average IQ in the Sudanese government is 7. Mr Taha scored the highest with 32. Most government officials were in the range of 2-5. These are the idiots wearing Safari suits who have an office to sit in, where a man brings you tea, and a woman called Awatif tells you about incoming guests. These are the people that run the country.

This must be the limit to this government's idiocy. It must be. Otherwise, well, we're better off being governed by Wyclef Jean. Oh wait.

There are a lot of ways in which this type of incompetency can be eradicated. You can start a revolution, you can do a Khalil Ibrahim, you can inundate the presidential palace with stink bombs, you can even call the ghost busters. But, with the grip this regime has on power, they all seem somewhat useless.

The thing is, it seems the Sudanese people are fed up. It seems. The ridiculous rise in prices, the lack of decent infrastructure and basic services all seem to have triggered something. In like two people. But the discontent of an acquainted few has very minimal effects. So, what do we do? How do we get ourselves out of this predicament. Well, I have a solution.

Here it is. Remember that Bird Flu virus? The one that killed three people, who were both diabetic and suffered from hypertension, but was feared like the plague. Remember? Well, I say we spread it in Sudan. Spill some of the virus in the Nile. Somewhere in the South. Preferably Abyei, so there can be some irony to it. Let it work its way up the river, infecting everyone, and eventually killing them, so that the only people left are those from the far West and far East.

This way, they get to run the country. And I do believe that being governed by a marginalized people will have a lot of benefits. For starters, we would have a presidential hut, and not a palace.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Let's talk nonsense

To my surprise, surprise being an overstatement of course, I've become accustomed to skipping through my twitter timeline. There has been a prodigious amount of rubbish infesting my timeline recently. I thought people have become more aware, more mature. But no, we still dwell in the silliness that is similar to celebrity infatuations.

I think the reason behind most of this idiocy is the lack of decent news. By decent I mean gripping, infuriating; news that make you say "No f***ing way!" while your dad is around. But still, there's no excuse for emphasizing on futile subjects.

South Sudan, which is somewhere south of Egypt, gained its independence on July 9th 2011, after many years of civil war, uncertainty, tribal conflicts, political mind games, and a cowboy hat. The cowboy hat, however, is still in the picture. So this historic birth of the "world's newest nation" was widely celebrated by the Southern Sudanese, who always wanted independence, the Northern Sudanese, who don't know what they want, the West, who pretend to like black people, and the UN, because it's being run by a Chinese man.

When addressing the subject of South Sudan's independence most news agencies, and news individuals (better known as Blake Hounshells), concentrated on the challenges new countries face. Which is fine. But then, one day, one historic day, when the people of twitter all decided to be Justin Bieber for the day, the topic of discussion was how South Sudan was not yet incorporated into Google Maps. This was a month after independence. I'm sorry, but on a relevance scale this would be rubbing shoulders with George Bush's shoe size. Who cares? Really. How is a map, or a Google Map, going to make a difference? It's not like Salva "cowboy hats are hot on the street" Kiir and his cabinet rely on Google Maps for development decisions. I don't think anyone does. Maybe Sarkozy, but no one else.

Then, when you think that this is the zenith of nonsensical lows that we could ever reach, some idiot with a mustache and low self esteem tries to argue that Steve Jobs is Syrian. Let's say, for argument's sake, he was. Then what? Will it make Bashar Al Assad stop his slaughter house? Will it afford Syrians around the world a free iPad 2? Maybe, just maybe, every Syrian in the world will gain one or two cool points, but that doesn't matter, because the only people who rely on the cool scale all live with their mothers in a one bedroom house and use insect repellents as deodorant. It doesn't matter where Steve Jobs is from, all that matters is that he can't dress to save his life, hence probably why he has cancer.

Then you have the vociferous Egyptian activists, who have a sex life of a bedside lamp, trying to equate Mubarak's trial to the massacre happening in Syria. You have the Sherlock Holmes fanatics emphasizing on Gaddafi's whereabouts, and of course that utterly preposterous trial of Galliano, the hater of all Jews.

The fact of the matter is, Mubarak's trial has no significance whatsoever because justice is a myth, Egyptians should concentrate on what matters, and that's rebuilding their country. Gaddafi's location should be of no concern to anyone except his hairdresser. The guy is gone, the rebels control Tripoli, so they should start concentrating on the country's dire condition and let NATO and Fantastic Four find Gaddafi. Galliano's trial has to be the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of. If this antisemitism nonsense is that serious then the authorities should incorporate it into all constitutions, using a feather and ink. Then they should all huddle up in one room, grab each other's testicles and pray to the Sun. Ridiculous.

And last but not least, the Arab Spring has not failed. The name is a big failure. But it has not failed. One dictator is in a bed in court, another is sunbathing in the Sahara with his African conscripts, one has half a face, and another doesn't understand the concept of a face, because his is an extension of his neck. So, no. The Arab Spring is doing well, taking its sweet time, but doing well nonetheless.

So I urge everyone to stop minding the useless side of the news and concentrate on what really matters. Also, stop asking stupid questions. I WILL report you, to someone, don't know who yet, maybe NATO since they're feeling macho these days.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Some Theoretically Theoretical Theories

We all know how crazy the world is. Actually - this is as politically correct as I can be -, white people have shown us how crazy the world is, or how crazy they can be. The recent bombing and shooting in Oslo are examples of the extremities of the human psyche. If you can wake up one morning, plan such an attach, and then actually carry it out, there's something very wrong with you. And since you're human, there's something wrong with all of us.

Now, I don't want to get into the psychological aspect of the event, I want to put forth some theories. If you take the following seriously, then there's something wrong with you, and you should find a nursery to attack... Just saying.

Rupert Murdoch killed Amy Winehouse

The man who smacked Rupert Murdoch with a foam pie knew something we didn't. What I can deduce from that is Rupert Murdoch doesn't like foam very much. But, why on earth did the pie-man use foam? Why didn't he use cow dung or something? Something potent, so Rupert can at least smell it for the rest of the day. But then again, sneaking cow dung in would've been an issue.

Rupert was also getting cornered, somewhat. The phone hacking scandal was getting too much publicity. He was all over the place, newspapers, magazines, you name it. So, it seemed like a losing battle. Probably for the first time, him and his media empire, were held accountable for some of the distress they had caused. So, the only solution was, kill someone.

So, he probably went over to Amy's house - with the stash of course - and got his smoke on. He would obviously have been aware of her drug addiction, because his news conglomerate does have a tendency to over publicize personal celebrity issues. So, whatever happened happened, and Amy stole the headlines.

But then, you'd realize that the bombing in Oslo was the main talking point a day earlier. So in that case, James Murdoch might have put on a blonde wig, bombed Oslo, shot some children at the youth camp, and just to make sure him and his father don't appear on the headlines again, called his father and asked him to deliver some ehm ehm to Amy's.... YES INDEED! Case closed. Now, someone catch them. Not you ICC, someone useful. The A-Team maybe.

The US "Droughted" The Horn of Africa

Ever heard of the "Climate Control Project"? Actually that's not what it's called, and I can't be bothered to google it. But it's basically part of a theory that has been circling around lately that says the west (mainly the US) has plans, or has already devised a plan, to control the climate. According to this theory, the US caused the earthquake in Haiti, the earthquake in Japan, and Ice Age.. The movie.

Now, since even I'm theorizing, aimlessly, I'm going to base my theory on the Climate Control Project theory. So, my theory goes a little something like this, actually not this; it goes something like the subtitle. Read the subtitle again. Read it? Ok. Here goes.

What's aid? Aid is a salvation process for the needy, doesn't necessarily have to go anywhere, it's just a process. This process includes a lot of money, bureaucracy, and white people. The money is collected from governments, or very charitable I-make-more-than-half-of-African-countries individuals. The money is then used to pay for the bureaucracy and the white people. No money, or very little of it, ever reaches the people that need it. What the people actually receive are a couple of photographers, and their 15 minutes of fame as the cover story in news outlets around the world. If I was the needy, I'd eat the photographers.

So why would the US "drought" the Horn of Africa? Well, the recession has hit hard. Really hard. So now they need money. The only way left to make money is to create a humanitarian crisis. Since they can't invade Australia for having silly animals, or Uzbekistan for having a silly name, they decided to "drought" somewhere in Africa that's already f***ed.

So now as the aid flows in for the needy, the US is getting richer, not that much richer, but rich enough to keep being the US. Bold move you might think, but no; ever heard of the saying "Desperate times call for desperate measures"? Well, this is desperate. Given that it's true.

Friday, 8 July 2011

South Sudan: An inevitable split, but at the right time

In the beginning of the 20th century when Sudan was under the administration of the British empire, many thought that the British systematically isolated the South from the North. In reality, the situation was more complicated than that.

From mere observation, the British realised the differences between the north and south of the country in terms of physical appearance, culture and sociological behavior. It dawned on them that the people of the south had more in common with their southern neighbours, i.e. Northern Uganda, Kenya and Congo.

But then the British also realised that despite sharing the hardships of their southern neighbours, the people of South Sudan were actually in a more dire condition. Inevitably, this lead the British - with the burden of history eating at their conscience - to think that uniting the north and south of Sudan would afford the southerners a chance for development.

The north at the time was more acquainted, more developed and a product of conquest by various empires throughout history.

This theory worked on paper.

The three British governors of the south at the time objected to this setup, and so did the missionaries. In turn, they offered a different approach. They proposed that a unified Sudan should grant Southerners a "special status". This special status offered Southerners privileges in access to education and the like, up to the point where there would be a balance - in terms of development - between the north and south.

So in 1948 this "special status" was voted for in parliament - in which there were Southern members - in the central government in Khartoum. However, in kicking off a tradition of failed political strategies, the "special status" was scrapped in January 1956.

If, in 1948, there existed a semi-competent politician among the northerners, the South would've been given independence there and then. However, the outlying problems back then would've prevented any attempts at development for the South. The myriad of tribal affiliations, illiteracy and general lack of professionals are just a few.

So it seems the South could have easily gained independence 63 years ago, but the tribal differences would've had an egregious effect on the country. Now however, there seems to be a sense of unification. The Southerners are proud to be a nation, not a tribe. Sentimentally, independence is definitely worth the 63 year wait.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Narrative on Sudan: What we can learn

With the recent tumult that I caused in Al Jazeera I think more people are starting to realize the effects of the false narratives on Sudan. Well I hope that's the case. I know for a fact that I'm not the first to apprehend the short-sighted reporting of Sudan's numerous conflicts. I'm also not the first to address the issue publicly.

We are at a time where all this doesn't matter anymore. What matters is what's said now and in the near future. The recession in the South has to be looked at more objectively, because while independence is a cause for celebration other internal issues might cast some doubt on the new-born nation's stability. We basically have to take the sentimental aspect out of every equation.

I am very grateful to Al Jazeera for following up on my complaint, and on their recently launched series of documentaries on Sudan. They've definitely exerted an effort into asking the people that matter, local experts, political scientists, and political activists.

But I want to give special gratitude to someone who has passionately reported on Sudan for the last couple of years. She's written a book on Sudan called "Fighting for Darfur: Public Action and the Struggle to Stop Genocide.” I haven’t read it yet, but it’s definitely on my “Books to buy” list (buy, not read
J ). That someone is Rebecca Hamilton.

She’s a special correspondent on Sudan for the Washington Post, and has been published by almost every outlet you can think of. Here are a few: Foreign Affairs, The Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, The International Herald Tribune and Newsweek. You know what; I think she even writes on my blog when I’m not paying attention.

Anyways, I’ve been religiously following her reports on Sudan, and as I recently found out, she’s been paying attention to the real issues in Sudan before I even started this blog (not really, but it was back in November 2010).

Here’s an extract from her article “'Oil-Rich' Abyei: Time to Update the Shorthand for Sudan's Flashpoint Border Town?”, published by the Pulitzer Centre:

“.. Accordingly, the number of articles on the Abyei referendum has sky-rocketed. Read any of the media coverage and you’ll be hard-pressed not to find the phrase “oil-rich” placed somewhere in front of the town’s name. But these days the accuracy of the journalistic short-hand is questionable.

In 2004, when the final stages of the negotiations for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement were underway, the Abyei area was indeed “oil rich.” There were two major oilfields to the east of Abyei town, Heglig and Bamboo, and another to the north called Diffra.

Back then, the combined production of the three fields was an estimated 76,600 barrels per day (bpd). If youcrunch the numbers, this amounted to 25 percent of Sudan’s annual oil production. With so much at stake, “oil-rich” summed up perfectly the reasons why Abyei was an obstacle to the conclusion of the peace agreement.

But we are now in 2010. In the intervening six years, two factors have diminished the accuracy of the “oil-rich” label:

First, oil production from Heglig, Bamboo, and Diffra has declined across the board. From the 76,600 bpd of 2004, the 2009 estimates for the three fields dropped to 28,300 bpd. Meanwhile, production from outside the area increased. By early 2009, “oil-rich” Abyei only accounted for 5 percent of Sudan’s annual production.”

You can read the full article here.

I hope all journalists can learn from Rebecca’s insight. As the saying goes “If you don’t know the details, don’t report.” Ok, it’s not a saying, I made it up; but it should be.

Also, apparently Rebecca Hamilton is from New Zealand. I know, I don't know where it is either. It just makes you think though, as a Sudanese, I should be putting in more effort.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Sudan: the effects of misrepresentation

To say the current conflict in Sudan has been underreported would be an understatement. Not only has it been underreported, but Sudan as a whole has been more or less forgotten by the West and its neighbours.

Alex De Waal made a compelling point on his SSRC blog where he points out that there’s a “Missing Academic Generation” on Sudan. He claims that there’s a missing generation of scholars on Sudan. There are those who taught and lived in Sudan in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s; and there’s the new breed that are producing new literature on Sudan. But none in between. He narrows down the reasons to the country’s self isolation, US imposed sanctions and Arabicization of the education system.

That’s fine; we all know the detrimental effects of isolation and sanctions. North Korea is a glaring example. However, a sudden surge of comparatively little media attention showed the more worrying effects of isolation and sanctions, and that’s misrepresentation.

Most articles being written about Sudan these days highlight the conflict as being more or less oil related. Every single article that tries to address the issue in Abyei paints a one-dimensional picture of the conflict. The phrase “oil-rich region of Abyei” is more common in literature about Sudan these days than a plausible solution. Now that the fighting has spilled over the state’s border, South Kurdofan gets an honourable mention as “oil rich South Kurdofan.”

The problem with such reporting is that the real stories get lost in the middle. Western reporters have failed miserably in addressing the real issues behind the conflict in Sudan. They seem to concentrate way too much on the oil wealth of the conflict ridden regions, and in doing that not paying much attention to other issues.

A recent news story about the development plans for South Sudan claimed that the World Bank recommended a $75 million trust fund for development purposes, while at the same time the government of the South is planning a $50 million independence celebration. This is ludicrous. It is unacceptable. But is it being disparaged? No, because people are too busy thinking about the “genocides” happening all over Sudan.

What’s more deplorable than all this is the overuse of the word “genocide.” Thanks to the over publicized Nickolas Kristof, Darfur and all other conflict regions in Sudan are now synonymous with genocide, ethnic cleansing and human rights violations. Every single report I have read about Sudan in the last 6 months – with no exceptions – has mentioned genocide at least once. A recent article posted on Nicholas Kristof’s blog, written by Samuel Totten, asks if Omar Al Bashir is up to genocide again. The base for this argument is the current hostilities in the Nuba Mountains in South Kurdofan. The region, mind you, is home to 30,000 rebel fighters who took up arms in a rebellion to demand their rights.

Some of you at this point will automatically assume that I’m a supporter of Omar Al Bashir and the NCP. I’m far from that. I’m not denying the deaths and violence, but using the genocide label so freely distorts the picture and is very counterproductive to those who are trying to voice their concerns.

So the point here is that when you label a conflict like that in the Nuba Mountains as genocide, you automatically remove the will, courage and audacity of those who took up arms from the equation. They become helpless civilians rather than freedom fighters (or whatever you want to call them). There’s a huge responsibility on the reporter to tell the story how it is. It is actually extremely condescending to have a western reporter classify the conflict in the country as genocide when it’s not, because of the sympathy and pity that are associated with the term.

This misrepresentation of events in Sudan is more dangerous than most people think, and because the conflict in Sudan is so underreported, we tend to inadvertently rely on such reports coming from the ground.

The coverage of the Arab revolutions was so immaculate because reporters knew the details of most of the inner workings of the political systems in the Arab countries, and most of the history associated with them. In Sudan’s case however, people just see governmental offences on African dominated “oil-rich” regions, they draw their conclusion there and then, and call it genocide.

Sudan’s history is intricate and requires an understanding. Even the local historians and political scientists – whose views are never taken into consideration when the issue of Sudan arises – are currently having a hard time understanding the predicament that the government has gotten itself in.

Mansour Khalid, a profound Sudanese political figure, published a book called “A Government They Deserve” in 1989. In this book he highlights how, since independence in 1956, the Sudanese elite have relentlessly failed their country and their people. I absolutely agree. It has been the North’s duty and responsibility – since they’re the educated ones – to ensure a united egalitarian multi-ethnic country, and not only has the North failed but it succeeded in doing exactly the opposite. You have to keep in mind that this book was written before the advent of the NCP. I could only imagine what Dr Khalid would have to say now.

The problems in Sudan are real and very serious, and I personally think it’s time that the Sudanese “elite” take responsibility and act for the future of the country as a whole. For that to happen, political, ethical, racial and religious differences have to be put aside. The government needs to stop categorizing the intellectuals as Umma Party or Communist Party, and take their advice where necessary; because in all honesty, they need as much help as they can get. This is no time to put the blame on political parties or corrupt officials, Sudan’s problem needs to be solved and it needs to be solved now, not tomorrow or the day after.

There has to be immediate, unbiased coverage of the hostilities in the South and West of the country. Calls for the genocide police and classifying rebellions as genocidal attempts by the government is doing injustice to those on the ground fighting for their rights.

Sudan: Not ethnicity, but incompetence

Many Sudanese people – even the so called political thinkers and intellectuals – blame Sudan’s failure as a state on the myriad of ethnicities that inhabit it. If you care enough to hear out this preposterous blaming game, they all eventually end up blaming the British and their divide and concur tactics. Well, the British wanted to concur, is there a way of morally concurring a nation? There isn’t.

Almost 60 years on, you still get the occasional “Sudan Expert” – usually a Northern Sudanese – claiming to have found the solution to Sudan’s problems. And nine times out of ten that solution would be for us to “embrace” our differences. I’m sure, ever since Sudan’s independence this solution would have been proposed on a daily basis.

Recognizing the ethnicity issue as a cause for all the tumult is good. But blaming the country’s consistent failures on it is inexcusable. A variety of ethnicities with conflicting demands is certainly not unique to Sudan, which is uncommon belief among most Sudanese. We constantly think that we are the only country in the world with conflicting ethnic groups. But we’re not. We’re not even the only one in the region, let alone the world.

Nigeria, for example, is more or less divided into three regions with dominant tribes. There are the Hausa in the north, the Igbo in the east, and the Yoruba in the west. All these tribes have sub-tribes. Nigeria being the most populated country in Africa has done a very impressive job in establishing a pseudo-democracy given the number of tribes that it accommodates.

Rwanda is another example. Rwanda’s current stability should make every Sudanese feel ashamed of our failure to contain our differences. Not only does Rwanda have conflicting ethnic groups, but the dominant Hutu waged an all out extermination of the Tutsi minority. After the atrocities of 1994, the Rwandan government has managed to establish a functioning system of governance and a stable economy under the patriarchal leadership of Paul Kagame.

It is self evident from Sudan’s history that the ethnicity issue was never made a priority. Not one president or prime minister has ever made a veritable effort to address the people’s differences. It seems that this was the case because, technically, the only people to have voiced their concerns and taken up arms in the early years of independence were the southerners; a bold move which was seen as audacious from the ever so chauvinistic north.

So when the southerners first formed a rebel army back in 1955, it was viewed as mutiny. The Sudanese government’s reaction was not much different from the reactions of the current Arab despots slaughtering their people. It seems the decision makers at the time thought the southerners didn’t have the right to demand their rights. Which is exactly what happened in Darfur, and South Kurdofan.

There are many reason to why the northerners think they are superior to everyone else; colour, religion, race, education and the like. The putative intellectual superiority of the north should now be called into question and scrutinized. Mainly because if the educated few can’t link armed rebellions with demands for rights and equal share of governance then who can?

So ethnicity is not the issue, it’s our leaders. They have a tendency to be incompetent. They have a tendency to deny minorities their rights, their freedoms and sometimes their modest existence. So no, I do not buy this hypothesis of embracing our differences in order to make our co-existence plausible, because that will help no one. What might help is if our government fully recognizes every region as significant in its own way from a political point of view; we can leave the emotional bonding for a later time.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Sudan?.. Not interested!

Shortly after all the revolutions kicked off in the MENA region, Al Jazeera, so impressed with the impact of social media on the uprisings, introduced a new, 30 minute program called The Stream.

This is what's written on The Stream's wikipedia page:

"It is branded as a “Web community With a Global TV show”. On television and online The Stream taps into the extraordinary potential of social media to disseminate news. The Stream is an aggregator of online sources and discussion, seeking out unheard voices, new perspectives from people on the ground and untold angles related to the most compelling stories of the day."

The Stream, impressively, has covered many untold stories. Contiguous events that other news outlets seem to ignore.

But it seems there's one story that everyone has agreed to ignore; and that's Sudan. Yes, Sudan. Sudan is no longer a country, nor a state, it's a news story. There is so much wrong in Sudan that even Ethiopia is offering a helping hand.

But it seems Sudan doesn't fit the aforementioned prerequisites. Apparently, there are no "unheard voices" to seek out, no "new perspectives from people on the ground", and also no "untold angles" related to Sudan's compelling stories. Well, OK, Sudan's story is never the most compelling of the day, because there's always someone somewhere in the world launching an online crime fighting website.

Don't get me wrong, I understand The Stream's commitment to the impacts of social media and its effects, but a consistent apathy towards Sudan is not justifiable.

Let's put Darfur and Abyei aside. During The Stream's first couple of weeks it addressed the issue of dying languages. There were detailed accounts made of two dying languages in Mexico, which was interesting. So I thought I should contribute. Being naive, I "told Al Jazeera" (#tellaljazeera) of the Nubian language in Northern Sudan that's losing its grip on survival everyday. Did Al Jazeera mention it? No.

At a later time, I was so enraged at the situation in Abyei, "I told Al Jazeera" to give it a mention. Did they mention it? No.

Mind you, Sudan is in the MENA region. It's right next to Egypt. To be more precise, Egypt and Sudan share a 1,273 km border, that's probably the circumference of Qatar (I'm not going to check, you check).

So, since none of the Misseriya, Dinka-Ngok or residents of South Kurdofan have iPhones or Android enabled mobile devices, the current conflict in Sudan will probably never make it to The Stream. Yes, all other news corporations also regard Sudan as insignificant, but The Stream matters to me, primarily because I'm its audience. I'm not a social media activist but I believe in the powers of social media, which automatically makes watching The Stream a daily chore.

The topics that have been covered on The Stream are numerous. From the Saudi women's fight for rights to India's new anti-corruption online activities. But for some reason, Sudan, which is inundated with problems, is being omitted.

Maybe social media hasn't done anything for Sudan, maybe it can, maybe it can't. But all these factors need to be addressed. I don't expect The Stream to cover only Sudan, but at least acknowledge the fact that there are some very serious problems in the region, and how, despite all efforts by the Sudanese online community, they have been incessantly missed or even ignored. That's a real issue, and it concerns social media and the internet. The failure of an online awareness campaign is just as important as a success. So, what's The Stream waiting for?

I was a dedicated fan of The Stream, I even used to watch the post-show discussions on a lagging stream, but I can't fervently support something that completely ignores my issues.

Hence, I think all Sudanese people should boycott Al Jazeera's The Stream, and I will be the first.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

How much are we worth?

Once upon a time, someone somewhere said that a human life is priceless. Really now?

Let’s see why. Well, for starters, humans are superior to other creatures (I am quoting from text, in my opinion this is far from the truth). We have the ability to think, to solve, to innovate, to preempt, and to analyze; basically, we have a lot of abilities that single us out as superior.

As far as priorities go, we always get first priority; housing, food, medical care etc. Our needs are always put before the needs of a beaver, or an oak tree for instance. Which kind of makes sense. I mean, surely the contribution of a beaver to capacity building is limited to teeth-related tasks.

However, the claim that a human life is “priceless” has been invalidated, unremittingly, in recent times. People don’t seem to matter anymore. Pay close attention to what I’m about to say next (because you might quote it in the future, and if you do, give me a mention will you!?).

A human life is worth whatever its eradication begets.

This ominous reality seems worse the more you try to comprehend its extremities. The extremities being the return on ending a human life, and the number of human lives deemed expendable relative to the return on their eradication.

It will all make sense soon.

I have compiled a list of places in the world and the corresponding worth of a human life (this is completely from observation):

Iraq: Human Life = a few barrels of oil.

Egypt: Human Life = a political ideology.

Bahrain: Human Life = a crown, a religious ideology.

Congo: Human Life = not much.

Darfur: Human Life = refusal of recognition ≈ not much.

Ivory Coast: Human Life = a few more days in office.

Somalia: Human Life = a fish or two.

Afghanistan: Human Life = some opium, a strategic military position.

US: Human Life = a few barrels of oil, a strategic military position, a few more days in office, some natural gas.

UK: Human Life = whatever the US thinks.

Brazil: Human Life = economic growth.

Myanmar: Human Life = some golden stars on the shoulder, a nice bank balance.

Arab Countries with protests: Human Life = worthless.

Average Human Life = $100.

Please feel free to make additions or criticisms.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A Bull's Union

Since my Nobel Laureate post a lot has happened in the world. Just to show you how eventful 2011 has proven to be, my trip to Dubai was a mere side-dish.

I know some people might have expected that I would write a piece about Osama Bin-Laden’s “assassination”, but to be honest I don’t regard it as significant. No one should. I will discuss this further in a minute. Now however I want to point out that the putative raid carried out on a compound in Pakistan that resulted in the extermination of Osama Bin-Laden sounds too Hollywood for my liking. Navy seals, special forces, helicopter assault, president watching on live stream, wives used as human shields, random Pakistani cyber-freak tweeting the events as they happened, Pakistani government and army not knowing about it, the US president relaying the news to the world; I’m sorry, it’s ridiculous.

The legitimacy of the situation aside, it shouldn’t matter in the first place. Yes, he was known globally as the embodiment of Satan himself, but he’s had no significance in the last 10 years, none whatsoever. The most ominous part of this GI Joe-like tale is that people were celebrating like they got death threats from Bin-Laden on a daily basis. Was it a publicity stunt? Maybe. Is the world still ignorant? Absolutely.

Based on how blown up the Osama Bin Laden story was, it didn’t last for long in the news headlines, 10 days maximum; which is still a long time regarding how inconsequential the event should have been. Maybe – this is dedicated to the conspiracy theorists – the US government is now trying to take the spotlight of the issue in order to alleviate the demand for evidence. Maybe.

Now, Mr Strauss-Kahn (might be Dr, I can’t be bothered to check) has stolen the limelight. For many reasons. First of all, keeping up with imperialist tradition he goes and assaults a hotel maid from West Africa. How appropriate. This is just service to critics on a silver platter. I bet he violated her natural resources (pun intended). Second of all, a so called socialist, and a primary candidate for the Socialist Party of France’s presidential bid, AND head of the IMF, has always made him a target for critics. Then he goes and stays in a $3000 a night hotel suite. Unintelligent, really, why would you do that? I’m not judging, but it’s like claiming to be celibate then sleeping around and hoping no one notices. Of course there’s the issue of the part he’s playing in securing European bailout packages, his ridiculously wide face and the fact that the IMF’s managing director has to be European.

This is probably the wrong time for someone like Strauss-Kahn to commit suicide, I mean sexual assault. The wrong time primarily for the IMF. Chiefly because the emerging economies have recently been voicing their grievances regarding the must-be-European Managing Director issue at the IMF. Now, these grievances will be voiced louder than ever. For the most part, I think this is absurd. It’s unrealistic. The fact that the emerging economies have such grievances shows how detached they are from the realities of this world. The IMF’s head is European for a reason. This reason doesn’t concern non-western countries. So everyone should stop whining and let Christine Lagarde take it; and concomitantly, let imperialism do its job.

So the Spanish have been protesting. When I heard this I was puzzled, because why on earth would they be protesting? Do they not like the fact that Barcelona wins the Champions League every year? Are they unhappy with the weather? Do those flamingo dance dresses give them epilepsy? Ok, maybe that’s a good reason to protest. On a serious note though, apparently the protestors have real objections. These are some of the things they’ve demanded: electoral law reform, true separation of powers, and political regeneration – which is basically an end to corruption. Fair enough. I say they should protest; everyone should have the right to. This just goes to show that the European countries on the Mediterranean are more alike with their North African neighbors than their European ones. This was always apparent. So yes, the Spanish should protest, and so should the Greeks, Portuguese and Italians. Even though, I think the people that should protest in Spain are those bulls being stabbed for everyone’s gratification. They should have a union.

There are other quasi-interesting stories here and there, but nothing special. I think the news has become too negative. There are too many people being raped, murdered, slaughtered, ran over by tanks, bombed, molested, sexually assaulted, killed, tortured, murdered, slaughtered (repetition was intentional, one for the normal criminals, one for the Arab leaders). Why isn’t anyone portraying good news? Like Porto’s win over Braga last night. That’s nice isn’t it?

I have good news; there’s a post before this one, go read it.

Monday, 16 May 2011


When I was in Dubai I stayed at this pretty decent hotel. 4 stars I think. It was a nice, friendly, “international-ish” environment. The hotel staff at the desk was a paragon for a condensed United Nations conference. One of them was even Sudanese, although he looked a bit Indian with his gel-molested hair. All in all, the hotel had a very welcoming feel to it. So on one of the occasions when I got into the elevator to set off on the relatively long, ear-pressurizing trip to the 44th floor where I stayed, a middle aged man stepped into the elevator with us. I was with a friend, and we were making small talk in our version of Arabic. So the man, most likely Iranian, turns to me and asks where I was from. So I told him. Then he asked, with a bit of gesticulation, “That (my country) and Nigeria.. Same same?” His English was woeful and his gestures were implying geographical locality. “Yes”, I said “Yes they are.” We both turned away, him proud of his geographical knowledge, and me with a smug look on my face.

This wasn’t the first time someone showed a lack of knowledge about my country, but it wasn’t the worse. I usually get the “Which continent is it in?” or the utterly hopeless “Is it next to India?” At least the man in the elevator got the Africa part correct. I don’t blame anyone though, because I think knowledge is acquired when the respective person deems it necessary.

The thing is, ignorance is not an issue, until people take advantage of it. Most of the people around the world don’t know much beyond the confinements of their habitat. That said, it doesn’t make them bad people, or “ignorant” people. At the end of the day ignorance is relative. You might think you know it all, but when compared to others with more knowledge you might be considered ignorant.

Ignorance is dangerous when you are subject to propaganda, like in the west; or when you are duped into thinking that the election of a certain individual will get you out of poverty. Even then it’s not your fault. The people behind the falsified promulgation strategies that target the less acquainted are the ones to blame.

The word ignorant is being misused. It doesn’t mean stupid or idiotic like most people assume. For example, when most Arabs talk about how the American population is ignorant of their strife in the Middle East it’s utterly preposterous. When the whole world talks about the lack of knowledge of western professionals towards certain detailed aspects of people’s lives it’s also preposterous.

The only entity one can blame is the media, and of course the education systems. These are the aspects in peoples’ lives that shape the outcome of their profundity.

I, for example, think that awareness of global affairs, politics, history and culture is necessary for my progression in life. You might not. Or some Genetics PhD student living in Toronto might deem it redundant. All I’m saying is, people acquire information on a need to know basis, and this basis is completely dependent on people’s perception of what they need to know. So, the only thing you can technically disparage is someone’s judgment on what’s necessary and what’s not – from a knowledge point of view – for their own progression.

Ignorant literally means unaware. In theory, there’s nothing wrong with being unaware. It only becomes wrong when one is unaware of something that directly affects them, like all other things in life; like being unaware of the fact that not getting to work on time will get you fired. Being ignorant of something that does affect you is bad, but being ignorant of something more distant, I think, is a personal choice. The morality of this choice can always be brought into question, but that’s beside the point.

On the other hand you can argue that awareness isn’t synonymous with knowledge. Basically, you can be knowledgeable, but apathetic to the realities of a situation. In which case using the word ignorant can be justified, or not, depends how you look at it.

Don’t for one second think I’m trying to promote ignorance, or justify it. I’m all for intellect, it even makes for nice dialogue. All I’m saying is the word “ignorant” is being misused.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

No Mr Laureate, You Will NOT Get My Vote!

The Nobel Prize was founded to award people who have made immense contributions towards the progression of humanity. Whether or not its reputation has recently been tarnished we can’t deny that it’s currently the most prestigious accolade in the world.

Winners of the award have primarily come from the west. This has pretty obvious reasons; economic and technological developments obviously help in the advancement of humanity. The award does however find recipients in undeveloped countries like Bangladesh, Burma, Nigeria and Ghana.

Having said that, most of the awards given to people from Third World countries are for Literature and Peace. Literature, because as we all know any story from an under developed country is considered exotic in the west (which is a phenomenon I am willing to exploit with my to-be book “Sit Shay”, which translates to “Tea Lady”); and Peace because, well I don’t have to explain that one.

Despite their incredible achievements, Nobel Laureates from Third World countries have developed a rather exasperating presumption regarding their own political adeptness. They think they are fit to run their countries. Ok, they don’t think, they’re convinced. If you think, you’d write about it but when you’re convinced you actually run for office.

Kofi Annan, a former secretary general of the UN, and former head of the UN Security Council is one of the aforementioned Nobel Laureates. After his rather pathetic term as the head of the UN Security Council, he assumed the post of secretary general of the UN. During his tenure as secretary general he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for being an African in a high position, or at least that’s what I think, because honestly the Royal Swedish Academy of Science’s reasoning was incomprehensible.

So after Annan’s tenure ended in the UN, he went back home to Ghana for a political career. In 2007 he was considered as a candidate for Ghana’s presidential elections.

Another Nobel Laureate with high political aspirations is Wole Soyinka, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. In 2010, he established the Democratic Front for a Peoples Federation, which he chaired, but whether he was going to run for office was disputed.

The most recent Nobel Laureate to make such a preposterous move is Egypt’s Mohammed El Baradei. He’s a former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his “attempt” at purging the world of nuclear weapons.

El Baradei was heavily involved in the recent Egyptian revolution and was considered a symbol of resistance by many Egyptians. In February 2010 he formed the National Association for Change, a non-party-political movement. He later announced in March of 2011 that he intends to run in the upcoming presidential elections.

The outrageous part in all this buffoonery is not the silly reasons on which the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Annan and El Baradei, but the inconceivable conviction of the Nobel Laureates’ political aptitude.

Being in charge of a major global organisation, and having a high proficiency in telling stories doesn’t give anyone the right to a political career in their country, let alone be president. Politics, despite being a reprehensible field, like all other fields requires experience. And unlike other fields, its climate varies from one country to the next. So it only makes sense that successful politicians always have significant experience in their own country’s political atmosphere before making attempts at high positions.

Suddenly emerging on to a political scene and having the audacity to think that people should vote for you and your policies is not only stupid but quite disrespectful. The only thing people like Annan, Soyinka and El Baradei have to offer the populace is their much coveted accolade. This does nothing for anyone.

Anyone can think that they know how a certain country should be run; almost everyone in this world has political views and ideas; but not all can execute them, this is primarily due to a lack of political adroitness and familiarity with the people.

I think there’s a very important question that should be asked of every presidential candidate anywhere in the world. Referencing will be quite embarrassing but, as Janet Jackson so fruitfully put it, “What have you done for me lately?”

This question is more important than most people think, because you can always tell me what you’re going to do when you get elected, but what have you already done that makes you think that you’re a viable head of state. Written a book? No thank you. Inspected some nuclear plants? No thank you. Chose to intervene in some conflicts while ignoring others for political reasons? I think I’d rather vote for the first two.

So unless these laureates don’t think much of the people they’re campaigning to govern, the thought of running for office shouldn’t even cross their minds.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Why Syria?!

So far, since Mohammed Bouazizi’s self-immolation, two dictators were overthrown, another one was forced into the constraints of his presidential compound, another one is accepting proposals for a trial-less resignation, and a rookie to the protest game is just starting to show promise in his ability to massacre his own people.

The rookie is of course Bashar Al Assad; he and his oligarchic nepotistic elitist tyrannical fraudulent thug infested ruling party.

On Wednesday it was announced that more than 50 people were killed since the army moved into Deraa, in southern Syria. This made a significant addition to the current death toll of 453 since the protests began in mid March.

It’s also being reported that 30 tanks are currently surrounding Deraa, and more tanks are being positioned on the outskirts of Damascus.

These figures are very vague and barely accurate, mainly because the government in Syria has banned all press coverage, except the deliberate falsification of news by the state TV channel. Unfortunately for Mr Assad this happens to be the year of citizen journalism.

Due to the emergence of this new type of journalism, we have the privilege of a sneak preview of what is happening on the ground in Syria. Even though the numbers are hard to verify, videos don’t lie.

So whether it’s 453 people dead or 2 people dead we know the means. And I can tell you now, they’re ugly.

The most uninteresting thing about the Arab revolutions is that they are mundanely similar. After what had happened in Tunisia and Egypt, I could’ve told you EXACTLY how the presidents of the rest of the countries were going to react to the dissent. It’s so similar that conspiracy theorists could currently be having a field day on all sorts of theories surrounding the idea of a Middle East controlled by a single power. It’s mind boggling, but let’s leave that for now.

So Assad’s journey to dictatorial stardom started with small protests. Al Jazeera wrote a piece about how it all started with families demanding the release of their children who were arrested for revolution slogans they purportedly drew on walls in a street in Deraa.

From there you can probably guess how things went; calls for release, rejection, more calls for release, rejection, protests, subjugation. This proved to be the spark that the Syrian people have been waiting for. The protests that followed called for freedom from oppression, obviously.

Assad, being a quintessential dictator like his father, decided to follow in the footsteps of his counterparts (some of them no longer there) in the Arab world and crush the protests.

The protests that followed were bloody. As the soon to be called “protests cycle” dictates, death begets more protests. Subjugation and deliberate killing only adds more fuel to the fire, and it did.

The death toll kept rising and rising until by the middle of this past week it reached the 453 figure.

As we’ve seen in the previous revolts in the region, the most anticipated milestone is the moment the western leaders stand up and “condemn” the violence. For Syria however, this particular moment was nowhere to be seen. Not only that, but no one really anticipated it.

All we got were a couple of unceremonious comments from Obama saying how he would like the violence in Syria to stop. Which is what he always says; in a way that convinces you of his utter confidence in his reprimands.

A couple of days after Obama, William Hague, the British foreign minister came out and said more or less the same thing. Lackadaisical comments that call peace and restraint.

Most embarrassing of all is the lack of reaction from the UN. Not only did they completely ignore the issue, they had the nerve to inform the media that they’re not decided on their statement regarding the situation in Syria.

If they’re stuck on which terminology to use, that’s unacceptable; if they’re stuck on who exactly to make the statement to, that’s unacceptable; basically, there is no reason for the UN to be taking this long to address such an issue.

We all know, including Mr Obama, Mr Cameron and Mr UN, that press coverage of the events in Syria is deliberately banned by the government; and we all know that our only credible source of information is the videos updated by those on the ground, and the phone interviews they rarely give. We all know that. Yet not all of us are acting against these monstrosities.

Does this mean that the west doesn’t believe in the power of citizen journalism? Does it mean that they doubt the authenticity of the videos and statistics being delivered through the civilians’ mobile phones? Or is there just too much politics involved?

In order for the west to recognize Assad’s regime as dangerous, considerations have to be made for Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia. It is a precarious situation, or so it seems.

This is a very credible issue to take into account when considering the west’s reaction to the Syrian revolution. But its credibility only goes to prove the theory (yet to come) of the devaluation of the human life. Political strategy is more important than saving lives. Yes, you can always argue that political instability can eventually cause more lives to be lost, but planning for future stability and sacrificing lives now is irresponsible.

Come to think of it, none of the western leaders gave their support for the protesters; none of them, not even Obama, aka Mr Political Rhetoric. No support shown, no help promised, no proper sanctions put into place, no veritable statement of condemnation. Shameful? I think so!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Are we missing the point?

Today some unfortunate news about the death of a foreign journalist, Tim Hetherington, in Misurata was circulating endlessly on all social media sites. People were deeply saddened and were offering their condolences.

It was a bit too much if you ask me. No disrespect to Tim Hetherington or his family and friends, and may he rest in peace, but people die every day in Libya, especially in Misurata where he died.

There is an evident bias in every syllable of western journalism, or maybe even journalism in general. It seems the deaths of those reporting violence and those intervening are so much more significant.

To clarify my point I’ll give you some news headlines from today.

“Foreign journalist, Tim Hetherington, dies in Misurata.”

“MOD names British soldier who died in hospital after Afghanistan blast as Captain Lisa Jade.”

“200 dead and over 50,000 displaced in post-voting violence in Nigeria.”

“20 dead as protests are dispersed by security forces in Syria.”

“12 rebel death in besieged city of Misurata.” (a couple of days ago)

Do you see the difference between the death of a foreign entity and that of the locals? The worst part is that this is not the first time this happens; it has been going on ever since the invasion of Iraq.

American and British troops are always identified; even their ranks are pointed out. However, the millions of Iraqis and Afghans that have died since the break out of both wars are fused into the numbers on the headlines.

To be fair, some of the local people do get named; only, however, when they’re journalists or “activists”. What does that mean? What’s an activist? And why are they more important than all the rest of the people in the street campaigning for freedom? I mean at the end of the day they can all die with one bullet and are vulnerable to arrest and torture.

Libya’s case is by far the worst. NATO is clearly there to help out the rebels. The main people behind this conflict are the rebels fighting for their freedom. However, even their names are left out of news headlines. Then who the hell matters?

It just seems to me that if you’re not a registered activist (you can register at the Royal Activist Association for Activists (RAAA)*) or a journalist or a foreign soldier, you don’t really matter.

*Note: RAAA doesn’t exist.

Let's not forget

It seems that after the ouster of Mubarak attention has been directed towards twitter, facebook and social media more than anything else; arguably even more than pornography.

Yes the internet and social media helped the people’s cause in the MENA region, but this social media mania has eclipsed the things that really matter.

Not only did the uprisings show that there’s always hope of emancipation, they also proved that governments are not that important.

The role of government, ideally, is to regulate. That’s it. Regulate imports or exports, immigration, local markets, anything that would be severely affected by excess or shortage. Security is one government role that needs de-regulation.

As was proven after the fall of Mubarak, the eloping of the interior ministry apparatus (also known as the police) didn’t have as dramatic an effect as would be imagined for a police-less state. Normal citizens organized checkpoints, neighbourhood watch and cleaning fiestas. Yes you get the occasional burglar here and there, but that’s not beyond normal citizen rule.

A while back in Sudan, being a burglar was arguably the riskiest business. If you got caught, by the people in the neighbourhood that is, you’d be praying for Godzilla to come storm the city. You’d be begging to be taken to the police station.

I think this is one main aspect of the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya (Benghazi) that has been severely neglected. After all everyone was getting their hands dirty for their country.