What About Heathrow?

There’s been this whole hubbub about some line connecting Khartoum to Heathrow being stolen. I really couldn’t understand what that was about. I thought it refers to something rather than actually meaning something. But apparently, that’s just what it is. The line connecting Khartoum to Heathrow was stolen by some invisible ninja, and sold to someone else. By line we mean the airline. I mean not the airline, just the line connecting the airports. My friend Dalal heard the story and shared it with us, and goes something like this:

Once upon a time, when Sudan was still a country and Sudanair was still an airline, and people actually considered both entities a respectable and solid fact of their realities, there used to be a line connecting Khartoum airport with Heathrow. Apparently, airlines (or countries) have to pay a fee to the other country to let their planes land in their airports. But since Sudan was so cool and hip and was in the Queen’s good books, we didn’t have to pay anything to anyone, and the line between Khartoum airport and Heathrow was free, so to say. And then, one day, someone stole the line. Just like that. Stole it, and then sold it, to someone else. This happened some time ago, and ever since then certain people (shout out to Mr. Alfatih Jabra!) have been wondering how this happened, why this happened, who did what and why on earth isn’t anyone doing anything about it?!

So basically, that’s the story. Or at least that’s what Dalal told me, so if it’s wrong take her to court (not me). I’ve been hearing so much about this stolen line it’s kind of fuzzy to me now, and I’m not sure where the case is or if it’s even still alive. I doubt it is. The thing is, though, that you can’t help but wonder that such an incident isn’t even considered the least bit weird, simply because things like airline lines getting stolen and sold are almost normal in Sudan. I mean, the most ridiculous, atrocious and unimaginable things happen in this place, that anything is expected. I hear about lines getting stolen and sold, ministries getting stolen and sold, entire districts getting stolen and sold, revolutions getting stolen and sold, anything and anyone could be stolen and sold and no one would wonder about it anymore. I mean, we wonder how they even thought of stealing and selling that particular thing, but we don’t really wonder about it, if you know what I mean. If there’s one thing Sudan should go down in history for, it’s the remarkable things that have been stolen and sold.

What I want to say from this apparently pointless post is this. This country has had enough of this nonsense, because nonsense is the only way it can be described. You know when something happens that is so bad the only thing you can do is laugh about it? Well, there’s been a whole lot of laughter going on now, and not because it’s funny. Because back-breaking taxes and customs are not funny. Students dying (allegedly beaten to death) is not funny. The world’s largest textile factory reduced to an electronics warehouse is not funny. People dying in hospitals because there’s no medication, no nursing, no doctor’s, no facilities, is not funny. Prices and poverty soaring beyond anything imaginable is not funny. An honest, hardworking, respectable and brave society being reduced to lazy, resentful, cowardly liars, is not funny.

We want our dignity back. We want our honour back. We want our country back. And most importantly: we want our Heathrow line back!