Intervista a Drima, giovane blogger sudanese.
Gli abbiamo posto qualche domanda (ringrazio DarfurNews per la revisione del testo in inglese, che ha pubblicato in anteprima nel suo blog)
Dear Drima, you are the blogger of The Sudanese Thinker, a well known blog of the sudanese blogosphere, writing about Sudan and related issues in the world. In your site, you define yourself as a very sarcastic guy.
Who is Drima really?
Can you say something more about you?
I’m just a regular 21 year old guy who decided to do something about the bad things I see instead of just sitting down and complaining all day. For now my humble blog is my way of trying to make a small tiny positive difference.
My ultimate dream is to help people become entrepreneurs but before I do that, I myself need to become a successful entrepreneur. I don’t believe in charity as much as I believe in entrepreneurship. Like the Chinese say “give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life.”
I’m very sarcastic in real life. A lot of the time I want to curse and use dirty words to describe stupid politicians but I try not to since it’s not a good habit. Sarcasm allows me to express my frustrations in a better manner. Plus, like I said, I’m very sarcastic in real life.
Some politicians in my country are super smart. In fact they’re smarter than Einstein and better than Ghandi. :-)
Two classic questions: When and why did you start blogging?
I began blogging in April 2006. I was very surprised and sad at the fact that most countries in Africa and the Middle East have very active blogospheres. Sudan didn’t! There was nothing at all and I couldn’t understand why. Here we had Darfur bleeding and Sudan basically upside down, and no Sudanese was blogging about these things to give those interested an opportunity to learn from a Sudanese perspective.
I then decided to start my blog and began my search for Sudanese interested in doing the same. I found a few, who found a few others and slowly it began forming. Now there is a decent Sudanese blogosphere in existence discussing important issues and I’m very happy. However I would like to see it grow and become more active. That would make me happier.
As bloggers of Italian Blogs for Darfur, we write about Darfur crisis since May 2006, trying to press traditional Italian media to cover the war in Darfur.
Media mainstream in Italy speak an hour only about Darfur per year.
What is your opinion , is Darfur war covered by traditonal media worldwide and in Sudan?
What’s the level of press freedom that you feel in your Country?
The Western media has been covering Darfur a lot better than Arab media.
Keep in mind that Sudan is an Afro-Arab country but still, the Arab world is more concerned about Iraq and Palestine.
Darfur deserves more attention.
There are many inaccuracies floating around.
The conflict is not as simple as how the Western media makes it look. While the coverage time for Darfur is good when compared to media elsewhere, it is not accurate. Still though, I think having a coverage even if it’s not accurate is much better than having no coverage at all.
Unfortunately in Sudan, there is very little press freedom. It was much worse before the peace between the South and North came. It’s better now, but still not enough.
One of the causes of this war is the small representation of all communities of Sudan in the central gov. The blog phaenomenon worldwide could help the integration of minorities in sudanese society, giving them a voice inside the society ?
The internet is amazing. It provides freedom of speech and expression. Sudanese can interact and say what they want freely while blogging. This is defintely good and it does play a positive role in providing a space for dialogue. However those interested in dialogue and those who have access to the internet in Sudan are a small number.
The real challenge is bringing integration on the ground. Politicians try to keep us divided and controlled. Worse still, the government doesn’t share wealth and power fairly.
That should change.
Please keep in mind that Sudanese society in the North, East and West in Darfur are generally well-integrated. Integration with the South isn’t as good because of the long 20 years civil war. It ended recently but the wounds are still too fresh. We have a lot of work to do.
There is an Arabs vs Africans conflict in the sudanese society?
What do you think about the word “genocide”, to describe the war in Darfur?
To say that the conflict in Darfur is one between Africans and Arabs is not accurate.
It’s more complicated than that. It’s between different tribes who oppose the government and tribes who are pro-government.
Both sides have Africans and Arabs.
In Sudan, the North, East and Darfur in the West are mainly of mixed Arab-African blood. The culture is more Arab than African though.
Darfur’s conflict is not about race.
Many Darfurians are angry about not getting their fair share of wealth and power so they started a rebellion. The Khartoum government fought back and used very brutal and cruel tactics. (This is the basic summary.)
When it comes to the South and North, we can say it is a conflict between Arabs and Africans. People in the South are mainly pure Africans in blood and have a strong African culture.
Regarding calling Darfur genocide, there are many points of view. I don’t know if we can call Darfur genocide or not. People say genocide is mainly a legal term. I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t make a comment on that. In the mirco-level to me it does look like genocide. If anything, there is certainly ethnic cleansing carried out by tribes against other tribes who want to take land with more water resources.
Whether it is truly a genocide or not, doesn’t matter much in my opinion.
What matters more is that the conflict is absolutely horrific.
Countless innocent people including women and children have been mercilessly killed.
Many others are still in danger and will die if aid agencies are driven away.
The rebels and the Khartoum government must find a political solution.
We need peace as soon as possible.
In the last few days, SPLM went out of the governement, because Al-Bashir doesn’t respect the peace agreement of 2005.
As a sudanese-born man, what do you think about rebel movements in South Sudan and Darfur?Are they a resource for the democracy in Sudan, or they are an obstacle to the full implementation of democratic rules?
In principle I support the rebel movements in Darfur and the South.
They are basically fighting for their rights and freedom.
However in practice I don’t support some of the strategies they use. Sometimes they themselves kill innocent people and commit ugly crimes. I find the SPLM reasonable in their demands. They can surely help in the democratic transition of Sudan (in some cases, they already have helped). As for Darfurian rebels, some are genuinely fighting for their people and can help in democratization. Others are just greedy criminal gangs who want a seat at the negotiating table as a way to get some money and power. A few are also making very unreasonable demands which will never be accepted by Khartoum. For example one rebel leader said he wants Darfur to become a seperate independent country. I believe this kind of thinking is an obstacle to peace. Both sides must make compromises.
One problem I do see with all of them is the potential to engage in corruption once they are in government. The SPLM in South Sudan is sadly already engaging in corruption. We need honest and responsible politicians. They don’t need to be angels. They just need to be good enough.
A Final question, Drima: you are to much liberal to be a practising Muslim.. are you a secret agent of the United States in Sudan? [laughing]
Haha! I hate you man. You almost made me fall off my seat laughing so hard.
No, I’m not a secret agent working for the United States.
Working for the Italian Mafia would be much cooler though. At least I’ll be able to eat Italian food every day. Oh, I love Italian food!
The cheese, the olive, the rich tomatao sauce.
It’s so good! I would prefer good Italian food any day over a fast Ferrari. Ah, forget that. Ferraris are better.
I don’t think I’m a liberal Muslim though. Okay, maybe I am but only politically. I believe in a liberal democracy and freedom. I don’t believe in forcing people to follow religious law. There must be freedom of religion and freedom from religion.
Religiously I’m quite conservative and I consider myself a practicing Muslim. I pray five times a day and I fast during the whole month of Ramadan from sun rise to sun set. I personally find it to be a good form of meditation. Although I admit that I do like to party a lot. :-)
Thanks for the interview!