Our Humanity in the Balance

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OHIB Featured Member

Osman Naway ()
Human Rights Activist, Writer and Blogger
General Director

I was born in Dallang in the western Nuba Mountains in 1968, just 4 years after Sudan’s first revolution against dictatorship. I lived and studied in Khartoum. When I was 14, a new war started in the Nuba Mountains in 1982-3. Our relatives fled the fighting in Khartoum and many of them stayed with us. They had nothing but the clothes on their bodies; they felt helpless, powerless and unexpected by this new community into which they came. They had to work in very inhuman conditions. They lost their dignity and had their families torn apart, children without mothers and mothers without their children, so many broken dreams and souls.

The slums around Khartoum started to shape itself in that era. War in the Nuba Mountains, war in the South Sudan and drought with famine struck Darfur in the middle eighties. Another Intifada then came. The residents of the slums made up most of the crowd demonstrating. Their unimaginable poverty and inhuman livelihood was their motive. Another government came about yet nothing changed the war. The IDP's camps continued and the slums kept stretching until they started calling it the "Black Belt" surrounding Khartoum. "Black is my skin color" and the skin color of the more than 5 million IDP’S who lived in those shacks.

Wars don’t just kill by weapons. Wars kill human dignity, hopes and futures. Once I was in the Education ministry. It was the university registration period so many students were waiting to be called to receive their high school certificate. The officer called a southern name from one window, another window was calling the same last name. The men called were brothers who had fled south Sudan when they were children. They had never met for years and never knew if the other was alive. Wars separate individuals, families and countries.

Volunteering for Our Humanity in the Balance, is one of my hopes to balance my own humanity with all the suffering and injustice the people of my skin have faced for decades and centuries around the world. We all are going to die one day, but the way we die is the real manifestation of our lives' value. I dedicate the rest of mine to stopping the killing because when those helpless civilians in war zones don’t fear death in their villages, they will stay in their own homes, lands and communities. Living in camps and city slums and working in inhuman conditions with no choice is another death for those who flee from weapons killing them come to face.

The silence of the international community about what is going on in the NM, Blue Nile increases the challenge peace workers, human rights activists, academics, policy makers and philosophers face. They are trying to find new effective mechanisms to change the way we act, while trying to help our brothers in danger; and our own humanity.

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