Being Single during Khartoum’s Wedding Season(s)

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“If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married.” Katharine Hepburn

There’s always a wedding in Khartoum. Before it used to be specific seasons designated as the lets-get-hitched-and-fuck-up-our-lives but it’s now open season -every day, every month (Ramadan is a month of respite thank God).

I personally do not find weddings enjoyable but nonetheless dress up to the nines, slap on the war-paint, face the music & inevitably the prayers calling on the Almighty that I soon be in my marital home. The comments are usually why are you still signal? you sure there’s no one? and the cream with a cherry on top one – don’t put it off longer, you’re not getting younger. What the…?

It was a cousin’s wedding yesterday, nice party, great entertainment etc etc (food was ok but that’s the norm and not the exception) and I see another cousin who I say hello too. [as a Sudanese that 6 degrees of separation is actually more like 3 degrees; **everyone’s either a relative or someone always knows someone else you know regardless of which city or area you/they hail from.That whole adage just because am from this or that place doesn’t mean I know everyone kinda holds true in regards to Sudanese so we rarely get upset when someone says ‘Oh I know this wonderful Sudanese’, chances are you do know them.]

Back to my cousin. He’s a lovely bloke, very sweet and one of the few i genuinely like. He declares I should go on a walkabout with him to look for good looking guys and that all i have to do is point them out and he’ll do the talking on my behalf. I actually laughed out loud and told him there are no good looking guys in Sudan. He kept asking. I wasn’t insulted nor upset but I felt I was reduced to a female seeking a guy like I seek out bargains but no effort required on my part to ‘snare’ them either. Sweet deal, no? Look pretty, smile and nod my head – a living doll.

Get to talking with another cousin, she’s a very close friend besides the blood relation between us, and she tells me some members of our wonderfully extended family kinda suggested she should be on the lookout for guys who for one reason or another are sans spouses but not bachelors per say. Apparently, once we hit a certain age there’s a specific bracket and pool of men we can only play in. Nice.

The only adequate response I have to all these suggestions is WTF?

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Unless DTGM (desperate to get married) is tattooed on our foreheads, honestly we’re fine, we’re happy and we’re doing very well, professionally, personally and all other ally’s without a male figure to call ‘my husband’ by our sides. The assumption we cannot and should not be non-married is just ludicrous in this day and age, and it’s something I’ve seen in a number of societies and not just ours.

There’s this unrelenting pressure on the female to basically be SuperWoman. Work, have kids, be married and look great. In the slightly altered words of Jerry Hall one must be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom (to shoot out the kids which is a sign all’s well in the Kingdom of Marriage).

Nothing, and I mean nothing, prepares you for the verbal onslaught especially if you’re female. It’s a constant barrage of comments, prayers, wishes, and attempts at finding you a partner for life. After a while it becomes like the host who keeps piling food on your plate, thank you but kifaya (enough) I can’t eat another bite becomes thank you but enough BS I can’t take another ‘get married’.

The issue I have with all this pseudo-wedding-is-a-bliss farce why force it? Why wish for it so desperately that it seems like life will come to a standstill, the earth will stop orbiting if all singletons are not ensconced within the entity that has higher rates of separation than Fleetwood Mac? So you think marriage is a sanctuary, سترة الزواج? that’s you not me. Everything happens when it’s meant to and in due time. For a people that are so laid back and renowned for their lax attitude to life they’re sure in a hurry when it comes to marriage.

I’ve taken to telling marriage wishers ‘fee 7ayatkum’ which roughly translates to in your lifetime, as in when I get hitched you’ll be there to witness the glorious union and lay off my back for a bit. I was getting away with it until this one woman grabbed my arm and demanded i say Amen Inshaallah (if god wills it) after she sent a prayer to Allah. She wouldn’t let go until I did. I kid you not. So I mumbled something and legged it. I now avoid that woman like the plague.

Ah Sudan, you never cease to amaze.

**slight exaggeration but somewhat true.

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Yet Another un-Mubarak Eid

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sigh. we are ruled by idiots.

Muniness

I remember last Eid ul Adha, people were in a horrid state of shock and depression about the massive blow to the popular peaceful uprising in various states in Sudan. The biggest in recent years, it brought a lot of hope, yet left people tethered and exhausted after burying, what seemed like, an endless stream of young men and women who had fallen victim to a vicious and armed-to-the-teeth government backlash.

سموهو عيد شهيد

Almost a year later, Sudan is sinking deeper in a black hole of despair, loss, conflict and absolute backwardness.

I have a few reasons to withhold “happiness” this Eid.

Maryam Yahya: what an embarrassment to the government; one woman managed to cause an international whirlwind and was such a darling at it. She won the battle and many are now aware of the blatant law violations by the institutions that should be administering, guarding and…

View original post 431 more words

Yet Another un-Mubarak Eid

Standard

sigh. we are ruled by idiots.

Muniness

I remember last Eid ul Adha, people were in a horrid state of shock and depression about the massive blow to the popular peaceful uprising in various states in Sudan. The biggest in recent years, it brought a lot of hope, yet left people tethered and exhausted after burying, what seemed like, an endless stream of young men and women who had fallen victim to a vicious and armed-to-the-teeth government backlash.

سموهو عيد شهيد

Almost a year later, Sudan is sinking deeper in a black hole of despair, loss, conflict and absolute backwardness.

I have a few reasons to withhold “happiness” this Eid.

Maryam Yahya: what an embarrassment to the government; one woman managed to cause an international whirlwind and was such a darling at it. She won the battle and many are now aware of the blatant law violations by the institutions that should be administering, guarding and…

View original post 431 more words

The Story of the Ritz Lounge, Khartoum.

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I was told** of this case only yesterday and it just struck me how in Sudan we enjoy no rights whatsoever. Zilch. Nada. Zero.

One’s age, gender, social status means nothing. It comes down to one simple fact – you’re either ‘with’ the ruling party and reap the (astronomical) benefits of such an association or you’re on the outer peripheries of whatever inner circle the NCP deems fit to fend for yourself and manoeuvre the myriad of obstacles put into place to ensure you cannot better yourself, cannot succeed, cannot function as a human on any level. So regardless of what your social, financial and educational background is, good luck in trying to make something of yourself.

The Ritz Restaurant/Lounge was a recent welcome addition to the Khartoum scene. Food was reportedly good, service was shit, great decor and location overlooking the Nile on the Garden City side of the river – you’re typical new ‘IN’ place in a city whose residents are starving for spots to escape the crap they face and deal with on a daily basis. 

The owner bought the pricey plot of land and proceeded to set up the lounge. For like a month or so things were going well, word of mouth was doing its usual excellent work of ensuring punters kept going and the tills ringing. All of a sudden during the last week of Ramadan we were told the place shut down, problems with the Mahaleya (the local municipality) regarding the land itself.

Turns out the realtor/agent sold land that wasn’t for sale nor did he have the permission of the owner to sell. Whats more, the real owner was allegedly someone high-up in the ruling party and they were livid. Word is the owner’s the First Lady – (in all actuality she’s the Second Lady but we won’t let such details bother us) who probably got the land for peanuts (assuming she paid in the first place) and was either going to make a killing with it or develop some gaudy, unnecessary, white elephant of a pseudo-government enterprise using public money.

Next thing we hear the Ritz was demolished. Broken into smithereens with nothing left but rubble and broken pieces of concrete. Turns out the Mahaliya gave the owner notice to vacate the premises in the morning, he asked for a ‘grace period’ so he could clear out the furniture and equipment, get his matters into order etc – the usual steps any business owner takes when they’re forcibly shut down especially as its clear he invested quite a bit in setting up the lounge.

By the end of the night there was no more Ritz. Bulldozers were sent in seemingly with the instructions to demolish everything which is precisely what they did. The owner allegedly only had time to save the printer everything else was smashed and broken. This was a hateful, vengeful act ordered by someone high up for the local authorities to act so swiftly as the only time they act in any way and with speed is when they need money from the people or when they have to – dignitary visiting, the tv cameras are coming to shoot something and so on. Warning in the morning, destruction by early evening.

True, end of the day the land was not his but not through his own fault. It’s not like buying plots is a matter of bartering there are legal paperwork and lengthy procedures one goes through before anything can be bought and sold. The Mahaliya should’ve given him to time to vacate but because someone high up was miffed they went in all gung ho like a crime’s been committed. The guys investment is now nothing but rubble. The time, effort and money spent on building & establishing something gone in a matter of minutes. Even if he takes the agent to court (assuming the guy’s still in town) or the mahaliya itself the probability of him getting anything back is minute. It’s just a depressing state of affairs.

If the land belonged to anyone else but a regime insider the matter would’ve and could’ve been dealt with better. But no, the Untouchables were hit and for that there’s a very high price to pay.

In Sudan, the whole populace is adversely hit by the government. Your ethnicity, your gender, your religious faith, your business decisions and choices, your political affiliation, your line of work and business, your attire even make you a target. for anything and everything. The only bracket immune to such violations are those “with them”. George W. Bush said it best: you’re either with us or against us. 10294247_666812690060297_7055158338927882473_n 10383578_666813200060246_8062341218682362124_n 10428571_666812733393626_667016749250649684_n 10422560_666812820060284_4452695104128795473_n

** What I’ve written on this case is based on what I was told, if there’s incorrect or missing info my apologies.

all the pictures are from the Ritz page on Facebook

Open letter from Javier Bardem about the massacres in Gaza

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just one of many written and spoken words on why we shouldn’t stay quiet in the face of the continuing onslaught, killing and violating of the Palestinian people, not just those in Gaza.

guriluri

I have translated this letter written by the Spanish actor Javier Bardem, published today in the Spanish newspaper http://www.eldiario.es
I am not an official translator at all, but I hope this important message comes out correctly:

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As horror is occurring in Gaza there is NO room for equidistance nor neutrality. It is a war of occupation and extermination against a people without means, confined to a minimum of land, without water and where hospitals, ambulances and children are targets and alleged terrorists. Hard to understand and impossible to justify. And the international community’s stance is embarrassing, allowing such genocide to happen.
I do not understand this barbarism, the Jewish people’s horrible history makes it even more cruelly incomprehensible. Only geopolitical alliances, that hypocrite mask of business making- for instance arms trade- explain the shameful position of the USA, the European Union and Spain.
I know that the same people as…

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