So, as I was talking to a good friend of mine, I had an epiphany. Will tell you all about that in a bit, just let me sound smart first.
Throughout my life, I have read so much on the ‘issue’ of Sudanese “identity.” In these readings, I found great articulations of how we as a people, and more importantly as a “state,” failed to create a common Sudanese identity. And how the whole Sudafication project was doomed to fail since its inception due to the peculiar nature of the Sudanese demographic.
Yet again, we are simple people. I don’t know why people like to complicate everything. Maybe they are trying to do what I just did up there, and obviously failed miserably at achieving: to sound smart. Yakhy kade dageega.
Yes, we could all use these fancy notions of nationalism and statehood, and how a national identity is usually built on variant factors, some of which are necessary conditions for formulating a common identity, and the rest maybe considered as simply sufficient ones. Even the very necessary and sufficient nature of these conditions vary from one context to the other. For national identities like those of America or Switzerland, the necessary conditions are: a shared land, a common history and a shared believe system in freedom and democracy. Sufficient conditions in this case is the common language in America. Although this common language is not present in Switzerland, this goes to show that this element is not necessary to the very composition of this identity.
So when we come to talk about our Sudanese identity, we usually tend to fall into the trap of complicating what it really is. Let’s face it, we didn’t choose to be together from the very beginning, I know, it’s not like the African Americans chose to be sent off to America. But this post is not about Amreeka, it’s about Sudan. So don’t act smart and try to rebuttal my argument, this is not Khartoum is it time to go back? So yea, we didn’t choose to be together, and some of us didn’t want to be part of this nation, but tough, it happened.
And this is precisely why when we come to discuss Sudanese identity, we need to look at it from a different perspective. We don’t have a one common shared history, each Sudani has their own version of the story. Whether McNimir was really a brave man, or more of McChicken w fak aljarya sai 3amak, each Sudanese would have a very convincing argument for a plausible justification of his fleet. Yes, it might be argued that in the present day have a common language, Arabic, but this language was not common amongst the various groups until recent history, so it fails to qualify for a necessary condition here. We do have a shared territory. But hey, Egypt is always welcome to have a bite min hina wala hinak of that so called sovereign territory. So in a nutshell, we can’t just simply use normative understandings of identity to formulate a Sudanese one.
But I have found the solution. It’s simple. We are awesome and our identity is as special as we happen to be. Have an open mind and hear me out before you start bashing my theory.
The Sudanese identity is composed of three imperative components: 3iris (عِرِس), 3irig (عِرِق) and 3dam mawdoo3 (عدم موضوع). And these make up the عs (3s) of what I like to call Sudentity (Sudanese Identity).
I think 3iris (marriage) is the number one spoken off topic in Sudan. I have never been with a Sudanese crowd without hearing mention of this central theme of the Sudanese Dream. And no, it’s not just girls who discuss this, we all know you Sudani guys trying to act all heavy and ish, pretending like you never bring this up, ya man inta borta w almawdoo3 da 7ayes laik, fa ma ta3mil shifit inta w as7abak alshafata, 7areeeegkom w betitkalamo feeho. Anyways, I will not get into this whole 3iris element, cuz we all know it is inherent to Sudanese nature.
And then we come to the controversial one, 3irig (race). Yes, the fact that we are all different is what makes us the same. Our shared history/story is that we all come from different races (more like tribes in many cases) and feel marginalized. And some of us are so stupid to still adhere to the hierarchal perspective of these so called races. Believe it or not, each race in Sudan is racist, and somewhat delusional 🙂 Kolo nas, Nuba, Falata, J3al, Rashayda, Fur etc., shayfeen ro7om a7san nas. So each race ultimately marginalizes itself by placing itself superior to others. And no, I’m not trying to undermine or justify government policies here regarding this whole marginalization thing. That’s a whole different topic.
And then I come to the third element, 3dam mawdoo3 (…). This element of course encompasses: shamar, gatee3a, excessive mojamalat, falsafa, 7anak, etc. etc. You get the drill. I will not go into much detail about this element as it’s perfectly demonstrated in the very writing of this post.
So it’s pretty simple really, all Sudanese have a common Sudentity one that is built around 3iris, 3irig and 3dam mawdoo3. Therefore, we as a people didn’t fail at creating a common identity. We created a unique one, so unique that we ourselves fail to see how it unites us.
Disclaimer: some people might find this post highly offensive. If you do, then you’re probably Sudanese and this is due to 3dam mawdoo3-ness.