“As I Stand Here, Reflecting”

If you think you know me

Let me assure you—

You do not

You only know the projection

Of a role I like to play—

Someone I created to be some version,

Of a girl who might have been me

You think you know me

But have you had intimate conversation

With my soul?

Have you peeked inside my mind,

And unfurled the tapestry

Of my secrets?

You claim to know me

But I don’t even know me

Every now and then I get to see her

In my dreams—the girl I might actually be

And she is beautiful

She doesn’t know my world,

And so she is free of its restraints

Her home is between one dream and the next

And she speaks to me only when I’m ready to listen

Unlike me, she is not an illusion

She is the manifestation of who I hope to become

While I am shards of glass,

Still learning to piece myself together

She is the mirror: whole and far from broken

I look at her and I see my potential

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When War is Fought for Justice

“Servitude kills, but just war brings every soul to life” ~Friedrich Hölderlin~

Fighting for a cause is seldom black and white, never easy. But then again, nothing ever is. Many people who are wont to advocate peace wish for matters to fit into neat and tidy boxes, each labeled with its respective name. They long for a Utopia in which government does not exist and yet chaos never manages to take over. But such a world does not exist, and never will.

We live in a world that has depended on the false rings of liberty since the first governments tolled the bells of freedom, sure of the long-lasting impact that such an establishment would have on the emerging world. As such, we yearn and look for liberty in every aspect of our lives; in the way we expect to be treated by others, in the way we view our own philosophies, in the way we see government and what we think its role should be. As soon as we realize that a freedom has been taken away, that we are denied our rights, that is when government becomes a separate entity, a threat.

As soon as leaders decided that government needed to exist in order for chaos to be extinguished, freedom became – ironically – a privilege and not a God-given right. If our governments allow us to maintain these liberties: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion – can they not then be just as easily taken away? Like a monetary fund, something to be given and taken at will? How, then, is this freedom?

It must be recognized and believed that governments exist to serve and protect their people. The opposite should never be true. Once a nation’s leaders have decided that they are invincible, untouchable – that is the moment when freedom becomes jeopardized. Then governments become ever-hungry piranhas that feed upon the fear and weakness of their citizens, citizens who realize too late that they have become prey.

What, then, is justice, if freedom can be compromised and stolen? Do the two not walk, hand in hand, on the same foundations that wished to rid societies of anarchy and injustice? We perceive strong, stable and fair governments as just, we watch criminals in courtrooms, where justice is meted out in the form of a vote. Innocence blurs with guilt, fairness with unfairness, until it seems impossible to determine the truth. To our friends the optimists who see life as the black and white, the right and wrong, this is a rude – and disheartening – wake-up call.

Suddenly reality is staring us all in the face with her own Truth, and we are forced to re-wire our minds to consider this, to angle the camera from an entirely new perspective. We realize that we are “born free, and yet everywhere we are in chains.” This sparks a heat in the depths of the soul, a flame that ignites with furious determination, with renewed vigor acting as the gentle breeze that feed the spark until it transforms into a roaring fire. Suddenly we are acutely aware of the facts, our minds and bodies buzzing with the thrill of knowing the truth, our will pushing us forth until we choose to act, subconsciously and by default.

The moment in which our body and soul are at harmony, reaching a unanimous and final decision to act, this is the moment, the pinnacle of potentially reaching true Freedom. For when we are willing to fight for justice, that in itself is a liberty strong enough to transcend every fallacy that existed beforehand. But actions suggest responsibilities, and once the decision is made, once plans are enacted and positions delegated and a vision kept in mind – once the problem is addressed from all angles and scrutinized with depth and understanding, only then can justice be found and freedom attained.

It is with utmost pride that I say it gladdens me the Sudanese people have finally opened their eyes to the truth, that they have acknowledged the dormant government and its inactivity in all matters that are relevant to the growth of the country. It has taken a quarter of a century, but the bells are once again tolling, this time with a louder echo. They call upon the angry businessmen, the exasperated store-owners, the excited youth. I hope that they continue ringing, until the streets are free of bloodshed, until the last shot has been fired, and the people realize that violence is never effective.

To fight a war against injustice, we must strip away all tendencies toward brutality and understand that justice is born only from just means. With our words, with our creative imaginations, we need only to drive our forces through the walls that use corruption and deceit as their mortar.

Join in the call that has become a universal appeal for freedom:

الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام

Indeed the people have woken themselves from a long hibernation, spanning a period of more than two decades, and they are prepared – I have every confidence – to rise and stand up for their personal liberties, so that they may elect an effective government.

As a Sudanese youth growing up in the United States, it has been a personal struggle for me to accept that the Sudanese people have sat back and taken this abuse of power in complete silence. I harbor the most enthusiastic of thoughts that this decision to take initiative will have a lasting and positive impact on the future of Sudan.

Let no one say that our people are lazy, that they don’t have the ability to stand up for what they believe in. September has marked the beginning of an end and the start of a new beginning. God willing, the outcome will be both productive and peaceful.