aside Who Makes Them Appreciate What They Have? By Ethar Hamid

Who Makes Them Appreciate What They Have?

By Ethar Hamid

I wish I knew more about the wars and poverty that have gone on in Sudan. I don’t like to admit it, but one of the few things I know about the subject is that Sudan is infamous for both problems. But I do know that the wars, like the civil wars and the war in Darfur, have displaced a large number of people and have led to sexual violence against many women, among other humanitarian issues. I also know that the poverty in the country has resulted in the death of many people. Regardless of knowing these (few) facts, though, I don’t know the extent of suffering that the victims of these tragedies have experienced. Nor can I ever really know, as is becoming more evident to me.

Despite my lack of knowledge on some of the critical issues facing the country, I am a proud Sudanese (“proud” meaning “not ashamed,” really…I don’t actually think someone can be proud of something like demographic characteristics. But being unashamed and content is fitting). I like Sudanese culture. I like the warmth of the local people. I like being both African and Arab (I like my coily hair and dark skin…I like speaking Arabic…and I like having both ‘aseedah and falafel during the same meal. I think I actually did a good job, here, of highlighting perks of being Afro-Arab). But that’s all I know about Sudan, and the Sudanese experience—the fun stuff. I don’t know anything about not having enough food to eat. I don’t know about being driven out of my home. And I certainly know nothing of losing someone to war, or having my own life threatened.


I have a mental illness. Whenever I have a particularly bad day or week (or month or year) with it, I always say “it could have been worse. Alhamdulillah (meaning “praise be to God” in my native Arabic)—it could have been a lot worse. I could have been the victim of war, or I could have been living in poverty. But I wonder what the people I compare myself with (like the victims in Sudan) say to themselves to boost their morale. Who do they compare themselves to?

Northern Africa By Benjamin Earwicker
Northern Africa By Benjamin Earwicker

Find out more about Ethar Hamid by following these links:


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