25 October 2014
October Revolution…50 years on
Salam. My name is Ashraf Nageeb Khalifa. And it is a real privilege to get up and speak to you hear today. I would like to start off by saying that the views and opinions I have represent only myself, and not any political party, or youth group, or movement or even Sudanese youth in general.
Also i believe I am an ideal person to speak to you all today, for several reasons. Firstly because I am Sudanese. Secondly because unlike a lot of the youth i actually do try and attend Sudanese events, functions and conferences and try to get involved. Thirdly and i believe most importantly because of the year that I was born. There is a very important generation in Sudanese history, I like to refer to them as generation X. Those born on or after 1989, as we are the generation that has not seen any other Sudan.
As a Sudanese that has not grown up or lived in Sudan or studied in Sudan I was never taught the history of Sudan in great depth, and always struggle to fit into the sudanese cultural narrative. I always feel like an outsider both whenever I am in Sudan or within the Sudanese community in general. And it think this stems from a lack of cohesive sudanese identity which can encapsulate everyone. That is why it seems much easier to splinter and separate into divisive groups and the spread of what i like to refer as toxicisity.
So in other ways i want to acknowledge that in certain respects dont feel fully qualified to talk about the subject, especially not in any great deapth or details, unlike many of you here who can remember the events clearly as well as many of the changing faces of sudan first hand.
But i would like to share with you some of my own thoughts and reflections in my own capacity as a strong
Anyways back to the main point of today. It has now been 50 years since the revolution which toppled the military democratic government of Ibrahim Abbod. The october revolution.
The Ibrahim Abood years especially when compared directly with the omar elbashir years, i have heard described as the golden years. I dont know exactly why they ate refered to as the golden years, and i dont know that much about his policies or how he governed Sudan.
I have recently seen two documentaries about Abbod which simply amazed me.
The first was the documentary was the one of Ibrahim Aboods visit to the US. JFK not only invited him for a state visit but sent airforce one personaly to come and pick him up. Him and his wife.
The second was the documentary of Ibrahim Aboods visit to the UK. Not only did Prince Philip come to collect him from the airport and bring him to paddington, but queen elizabeth was standing and waiting for him to arrive to the station.
These two documentaries has really opened my eyes to how well respected Sudan was on the national stage, and how great a country we were. It also shows how we were viewed by the superpowers of the world.
There is also one other thing I know about Abood, and that is the rather infamus anecdote. The story of Abbood being informed of his close friend being in hospital and his response upon hearing the time was that the gafeer would not let him in because it was past visiting time.
My message for you today is probably different for many of the other messages you will be hearing today. I thing we should look to the past to see how far we have fallen. We need to reclaim our sense of self, sense of identity, sense of self respect before it is too late and we lose it all.
Also i have been asked many times why the youth generation is never represented at any of the sudanese community events. And it is a question i find myself thinking about alot. I believe it is because we are not a very good society for adapting to change. It feels like the older generation does not want to change, or take into account the views or needs of the youth. And more importantly the divisive, gosippy, judemental and fragmented nature of what we have become does not really present a welcoming environment.
I believe that Sudan has become broken but there is still the potential to reclaim our glory. We need to find our sense of Sudanese Identity that not only takes into account our diversity and differences, but is unique to us. We have to reclaim our culture and history and not allow outside influences to dictate to us how we should think, dress or behave. We have to learn how to able to compromise to both the needs of all sudanese, but also take into account their issues, problems and grievances and address them in a way that is fair and just. The older generation has to get involved in meaningful discussion and conversation with the youth and see things from their perspective and what changes they want.
50 years ago the people of sudan marched out into the street demanding a change, and successfully challenged and over threw the government. And i feel like 50 years on there is that same vibe, of disolutionment, and despair, hopelessness and frustration, that it seems we are quickly reaching a breaking point.
We need to be open to change, but more importantly i believe u need to be the change u want to see in the world.