Goodbye, 2013

2013 will be a year remembered for a quite a few reasons, but mostly for illness, tears and death. I don’t think there’s ever been a year so full of tragedy and exhaustion, at least not in my relatively pathetic and boring life. I’m sure many other people can say different. The one thing I am thankful for, however, is that my immediate family has been spared, and that I met all these events at home instead of abroad. That makes it just that much more bearable. I truly hope this is the last year we see so full of sorrow, and that the future brings only good news. I would rather not count how many people died, who was rather expected and who was a shock, who left behind children and grandchildren and who left behind devastated parents. Death does not differentiate between ages, backgrounds or gender. It doesn’t give an excuse or ask permission. It just happens, in the blink of an eye, putting an end either to a lifetime of accomplishments and long, drawn-out illness, or to a childhood with a lifetime of accomplishments awaiting. We belong to God and to Him we return, and we will all meet one Day, hopefully in a better place. The only one good thing that comes out of this, is that somehow, it brings those remaining closer together. It’s not much, and it never fills that gaping emptiness the departed leave behind them. But it’s something. It also makes one think over and over again: am I doing enough? Will I be ready to go? Have I packed my bags for later properly? And I also, what will I be remembered for, if anything at all?
2013 was also the year the government lost its mind and announced its clear intentions to kill every last citizen, either by starvation or shooting, and will continue to do so until there was no one left but them. We’ve always known that was their plan, but there’s something rather uncomfortable about seeing it stated blatantly and unabashedly, and knowing we’ve reached the beginning of the end. What’s far worse, however, is seeing the people give up. Prices go steadily higher, but the voice of dissent grows steadily fainter. People accommodate themselves to emptier stomachs and longer walks. They grumble about the size of a piece of bread getting smaller, but take it anyway. The number of food items in kitchen cupboards and on the lunch tray lessen bit by bit, but they tighten their belts. Homes and lives are lost in floods and air raids, but life apparently goes on. Entire families of well-dressed people are seen looking in dumpsters for something to eat. A middle-aged man once showed up at my office with an inhaler, asking for the 32 pounds it cost to renew his prescription. He told me: ‘ana Ja3ali min Algi6ena,’ which was more than enough of a description of how humiliated and broken he was to have to resort to begging because he simply could not afford the most basic necessity anymore. And in the midst of all this: sirens preceding dozens of luxury cars at all times of the day and night; aluminum and marble-clad buildings spring up all over the city; waist lines getting bigger and skin getting softer; as if there is no tomorrow. However, something good comes out of this, somehow. At times of need, the people come together, despite different tribes and colours and religion. All the barriers put up over the past 24 years of hell we’ve been living are broken down in a second. #Nafeer, Shari3 Al7awadith, Sadaqat, To Sudan With Love, Star Charity; every blanket drive for the freezing homeless and Ramadan iftar for the hungry; every food bank and clothes collection and medicine donation. If there’s any good that has come out of this good-for-nothing government, it’s showing the good in people, and knowing that come what might, the people will always be there for the people.
2014 is expected to be a difficult year, and there’s no reason for us to believe otherwise. We just ask that its nothing we can’t bear, and that God shows us the mercy He is known for.

اللهم ارحم موتانا وموتى المسلمين جميعا، اللهم اغفر لهم وأكرم نزلهم، ونقهم من الذنوب والخطايا كما ينقى الثوب الأبيض من الدنس، واغسلهم بالماء الثلج والبرد، اللهم ان كانوا محسنين فزد في إحسانهم وأن كانوا مسيئين فتجاوز عن سيئاتهم، وارحمنا إذا صرنا الى ما صاروا إليه، إنك أنت الغفار يا كريم يا الله
اللهم ارحم عادل محمد الأمين وعثمان الناطق وإحسان علي الشيخ وحمزة علي حمزة، وأحمد حسن جعفر وأمنة وزينب خطيب، وعمنا عباس، اللهم ارحم الطاهر محمد الطاهر، وصلاح  سنهوري وجميع الشهداء، امين


  1. Such a moving piece, ya Reem. Insha Allah our Sudan and our people see better times in our lifetime. The government can continue its posturing but their day will come. Allahumma ar7am mowtaana wa mowta al muslimeen wa Mandela and all the good guys.


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