الثلاثاء، 2 يوليو 2013

Unfinished... Untold Stories: Voices & Faces from Darfur (1)

Those stories are not complete, yet told. They are sketches of 5 minutes of chat. They need be told because in Khartoum and anywhere else in the world you cannot encounter similar stories of daily life influenced by war and traditions.

hand made bags, hats and mats in Elfashir

Disciplining the displaced:

I asked her to take me to visit Zamzam camp where she lives. She strongly said "NO" and explained further:

"I even don't feel safe living there. Last week a lot of soldiers have been killed in a battle and 7 soldiers were severely injured. The rest of government militia has passed by Zamzam while taking their dead and injured fellows to Elfashir. They immediately started beating up the people fetching for water and in the market. The violence by armed officers of the government has continued for several days.
Yesterday I was walking back home and I've heard people talking about soldiers being in the market. In no time I've changed my direction and took the longest way to home to avoid passing by the market."

I really couldn't ask her why the soldiers treat the displaced people in Zamzam violently. I know she would never have an answer not only to this question in my mind but also to the reasons behind this devastating war. Neither she nor I can understand why those innocent people have lost their beloved, belongings and were forced to flee their villages. Only the war lords know.

Family Occasion:

My taxi driver apologized for picking me up in the early morning saying that he has a family occasion. When I met him the day after I've learnt that the family occasion was a newborn feast "Simaya" in their neighborhood and it is inappropriate to leave the neighborhood while your neighbor is making tents in front of his house. At least you should spend that day with them. Bearing in mind my taxi driver is having another full time job.
A friend who works for a public governmental office was not surprised by the taxi driver execuse. She used to stay at home for 40 days when her father passed away.

The Road to Nyala:

The road form Elfashir to Nyala is approximately 280 km but the trip may take 8 hours. There is many check points in the road where their control may differ from point to point. Points are either controlled by rebel groups, Janjaweed or government authorities. All of them are collecting taxes from bus drivers. When there are battles between those groups they cut the road completely.

Dead Soldiers:

She asked me "Did you noticed any abnormal movement or sounds this morning?" I told her that I've heard ambulance and noise in the early morning. She continued: 

"There was a battle yesterday 27 Km away from Elfashir. One of our neighbors has lost a son who was a soldier. His colleagues called the family in the midnight telling them by his death. Till now the officials haven't announce any news or even contacted the families of the dead soldiers"

She kept silent for a moment, stared in the clouds and said: 

"A lot of families do not know the fate of her sons specially those who are not from Darfur. The officials don't call them back saying we are sorry your son has passed away, but their fellow soldiers do. Sometimes their fellows even don't have any contact to the family; they collect their military ID cards and keep them if someday a person show up and ask about the disappeared soldier"

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