And I’m done with it. This week alone, I have been called a sell-out, laughed at by three grown ass women, and been accused of theft by some random stranger on Instagram.
I went to the University of Khartoum on Sunday to film my part in an upcoming project called Our Sudan. For more information on it, please go here.
In true Sudanese fashion, we were made to wait two hours until we were allowed to enter the campus. During that time, we were regaled by the female guard at the gate, and regaled the throngs of students entering and exiting the campus. The following is one part of the painful conversation we had with the female guard:
Guard to my friend D: “Are you sisters?”
D: “Yes… haha, no, I’m kidding, we’re friends”
Guard: “Oh, really? You look so much alike” <covers her mouth, lowers voice> “Except she’s dark”
Okay, first of all…. am I deaf and I just don’t know it? How is you covering your mouth going to prevent me from hearing you “insult” me with my skin color, when you’re sitting A FOOT AWAY FROM ME? Also, since when is being brown-skinned so bad that you have to cover your mouth and whisper like I am a leper you don’t want to offend with your disgust?
Moreover, ma’am, you have the same complexion as me. I’m just sayin’.
Guard, this time to me: “Where did you study?”
Me: “in the United States”
Guard: “aaaah, 3ashan kida mutshabbiha bel Amrikan!” (ooooh, that’s why you are trying to be/look American)
Allow me to show you how I looked on that particular day:
Now please tell me, what exactly about me made this lady think that I was “trying to look American”? Was it the over-sized skirt I was wearing with the 8 million other layers because that’s the only way I can get into your damn campus? Was it the perfect Arabic I was speaking with her to answer her ignorant ass questions (which we’ll be discussing in a separate post)?
Or maybe, just maybe, it was the fact that my hair was in twists and not covered with a scarf.
Nevermind the fact that my friend you just talked to doesn’t have her head covered, either. But no, she’s not mutshabbiha bel Amrikan, only the darkie in the corner with the mushaat (braids/twists) is.
Can you explain to me when the city of Khartoum got together and decided that we all actually have long straight hair, and that anyone who doesn’t straighten their hair is a sell-out who’s trying to be another nationality? Because I didn’t get that memo. But maybe that was because I’m so Americanized that I was taken off the list? Or maybe I’m so Americanized I couldn’t read it? Or maybe, I’m so Americanized that it just burst into flames at the very mention of me and my heathen, American ways.
Anyway, I was excited to take some photos at the University of Khartoum, because, well, when will I get the chance to be on this campus that you’re only allowed to be on if you’re a student or have some special level 8 clearance? So I took some photos, and I posted them on Instagram a couple of days later to share with the world a quite beautiful and not-seen-enough side of life in Sudan. Among the photos I posted were the one you saw above, and the one you see below.
But in true Sudanese fashion, you can’t enjoy anything without somebody diarrhea shitting on your parade, and/or trying to act like you stole their shine. I wake up this morning, open Instagram to find some dude verbally assaulting me, talking about how I stole his photo and I should give him credit for the photo I stole.
This was his comment:
“… lol .. nice picture but the copyright ?!! ..because this picture is taken and edited by me”
Below is the picture said dude took:
I refuse to protect this dude’s identity, because if you’re gonna attack me and call me a thief with absolutely zero proof, then I’m gonna blast you to Kingdom Come. If you know who this person is, please send him this rant. Folks need to know when they act out of pocket.
So I respond by saying:
“ummm, not really. I took this picture 4 days ago at #UofK and “edited” it on Instagram. Sooo…. amshi al3ab ba3eed :)”
To which he responds:
“What if I told you I took this picture 14 weeks ago .. and I am quite sure that it’s my picture .. by the way I am not here to play and waste my time here .. actually I don’t like adding comments with people I don’t know .. but seeing my picture is uploaded by someone else, added to it few words .. that’s not good at all”
Forget the fact that this photo was *clearly* taken at a different time of day, that the lighting in his photo is completely different, that a million people have been on this campus and a million people have probably taken a photo of this very same hallway, that 3 other people I was with that day took the same photo and some of them have or will probably post it on Instagram, that you not being on INSTAGRAM ” to play and waste time” is a ridiculous concept, forget all that.
How dare you call my written-with-care caption a “few words”? My captions tell empowering stories of this not-so-great nation in bite-sized, fun-to-read increments, so howww dare you. Also, why would you think I stole your photo if in the very next one I’M IN THE DAMN HALLWAY?! Did I really want to be in a photo of that hallway so bad that I went back 14 weeks when you posted your raggedy ass photo of this tired, over-photographed hallway, edited out your “shadow work”, then photoshopped myself in there? I repeat: ummm, not really.
Moreover, sir, just because you know how to use the Lo-Fi filter on Instagram, don’t make this photo “edited” by you. I’m just sayin’.
Then yesterday, I’m walking up the stairs back to my office, minding my own business, when I come across three married women (you could tell by the overpowering smell of dukhaan – fragranced sauna treatment married women do) coming down the stairs. The stairwell is pretty small, so I wait for them to come down, they form a line against the wall, I squeeze past them and go up the stairs. As soon as I turn my back to them, this happens:
“HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Albit di 7assa bei shinu? HAHAHAHHAHAHA”
Translation: <laughter> who does she think she is/she think she cute <more laughter>
I really hope these three grown ass women are really just child brides who are barely in high school and that’s why they’re dumb asses thought me walking up the stairs was somehow me giving off “I’m feeling myself” vibes, and that that was somehow hilarious. I’m sorry that, to quote a friend, I’m not hunched over staring at the ground trying to look as invisible as possible. I’m sorry that you think being married is some badge of honor that allows you to laugh at other women. Most of all, I’m sorry that you think that because I can’t see you it also somehow means I can’t hear you.
A little less time burning, and a little more time reading, would do you wonders. I’m just sayin’.