N is from a city in Sudan. I met her during our training course in Cairo. N was a media student for two weeks and I had to opportunity to know her well. In Sudan, N has a reputation as a hard-working and warm-hearted activist. Her loud voice was heard and noted by the UN and the international community, but was largely ignored by the Sudanese government. Until she witnessed corruption and spoke too loudly.
For the crime of witnessing and reporting corruption, N was imprisoned and kept in solitary confinement. She placed in a stark cell and kept alone for months. Her only company was the bright light that shone perpetually, keeping her awake for days at a time. From time to time she was removed from her cell and forced by her captors to stare in to a blinding light during brutal interrogations.
Then, just prior to Ramadan for reasons still unknown, she was released. She’s worried about government surveillance, her family, and her safety. She wanted to learn to make media as a form of empowerment. Over coffee and cheap cigarettes N shared her story as we sat and looked at the Cairo sunset.
The experiences shared by N are raw, unvettable, and sometimes shocking. Yet N’s experience is shared by thousands of Sudanese refugees and internally displaced persons. To learn more about systemic marginalization and the wars in Sudan, Kordofan, and Darfur please read Richard Cockett’s Sudan, Darfur, Islamism and the World.
Note: This interview was conducted with a local, untrained translator and recorded on the fly with a Marantz PMD620. I speak Arabic poorly and did my best to keep up with the narrative, but surely much nuance and context was lost in translation. Arabic clarification and edits are welcome.
Thanks for listening.