Published: 18th June 2019
'Sometimes, in exchange for freedom, you have to bleed', why everyone must listen to this Sudanese student's hard-hitting poem
The poem 'I am Sudan' by a 20-year-old Sudanese student Enas Saifeldin talks about the hardships of people in her country during the crisis
She is in a blackout and her country feels like a prison.
Just because she wanted change and freedom, she got raped, degraded and beaten.
Her only weapon is her voice.
Her only bullets are her words.
Right now, she is bleeding and in need.
Her voice is fading out and she desperately needs ours.
She is Sudan.
When Enas Saifeldin, a 20-year-old Sudanese student recited her poem 'I am Sudan' and uploaded it on her Twitter and Instagram handles, the rest of the world could do nothing, but poignantly and helplessly pray for the violence to end — and peace to be restored in the North African country. Enas is an Under Graduate Psychology student in Malaysia. Even though she is far away from the violence and protests, her heart aches every moment for her people, who are living in fear.
So, when she came across the news of the massacre in Sudan, she knew that she had to do something about it. So, she shot a video of her reciting her poem, which had gone viral. "I've always been writing poems. Also, I've noticed how videos and photographs grabbed more attention on social media. So, I wrote this poem for my people, recited it and uploaded the video," she says.
Complete blackout: The crisis in Sudan began in December 2018
The video was uploaded online on June 13. Since then, she's been receiving a lot of positive responses."People are coming forward and praying for the people in Sudan. The Arab community is showing unity too," she says with the hope that everything goes back to normal and that the people of Sudan get to live peacefully.
What do I tell the mother,
whose son will never wake?
What do I tell the father,
whose daughter was brutally raped?
What do I tell the children,
who witnessed their own people dying?
"Ever since the events unfolded, my country has been the only thing on my mind. I have become so attached to my phone," says Enas. She is a part of a number of WhatsApp groups for Sudanese people living outside Sudan. "What if something bad happens and I am not around to hear about it? I am in a state of constant anxiety," she says. "Every member of these WhatsApp groups is going through the same. We're constantly making sure that everyone is ok," she adds.
You can listen to the poem here:
Since December 2018, the people of Sudan have been protesting for a democratic government. What began as a protest in response to the increment of the price of bread, soon escalated, resulting in a National emergency in February 2019. On April 11, 2019, Omar Al-Bashr, who had ruled the country for the past 30 years, was ousted by the Military, led by Lt General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. But what followed was even worse. All of a sudden, the country was under military rule. Protestors were attacked by the troops, which led to more than 200 deaths. Many women were raped, civilians were assaulted and a large number of protestors were put behind bars. Internet services in the country were shut down since the coup on June 3. This has prevented the outside world from knowing the exact happenings.
Of the people in Sudan, who are living with a hope of seeing a democratic government, laced with constant fear for life, is Enas' father. He is probably one of the few who has access to the internet. Every morning Enas texts her father, making sure that he is alright. She breathes a sigh of relief every time he replies 'I'm alright'. Even in the midst of sanguinity, Enas' heart is heavy with remorse and she feels a sense of weakness. "I feel helpless because I'm not with my people. It builds up every day," she says. "We'll only know about the plight after the internet is back. Only then will we know the actual death toll," she adds.
Death toll: Over 200 people were killed by the troops until now
Even though Enas' family hails from Sudan, her parents moved to Saudi Arabia as soon as they got married. Her father relocated to Sudan a few years back. As a child, she'd visit her country every summer. Her last trip was in the Summer of 2016. For her, when she hears Sudan, all that she can think of is about the people there. "Sudanese people are really kind and compassionate. They are really warm and welcoming to everyone. Never have I come across a Sudanese person who has said no to someone who asked them for help," she says.
Like many Sudanese people and their supporters, Enas' Instagram display picture is a dark blue dot. She explains its significance to us. "The campaign #BlueForSudan began in memory of a 26-year-old martyr Mohammed Mattar. Blue was his favourite colour. You do not have to be Sudanese to change your display picture to blue. It simply means that you're in solidarity with the people and that you support their struggle," she concludes.