Sudan’s president says the south’s desire for secession is understandable, but warns it will not solve its problems.
|Abubakir says he cannot accept the idea of his friends from the south becoming foreigners [Fatma Naib]|
As the referendum in south Sudan is expected to result in the region seceding from the north, one northerner has chosen an unconventional way to express his views on the vote that he is unable to take part in.
Suliman Abubakir, a painter from Kasalla but living in Khartoum, has decided to burn most of his art as a protest against the possibility of his country being split.
“I am unhappy about what is going on in my Sudan. I cannot imagine the map of Sudan being cut in half, I just can’t imagine it. It feels like I am being cut in half,” he said.
“It will leave a big hole in my soul. I feel scarred by the whole thing and I don’t know how to deal with it.”
Abubakir believes that everyone should have the right to decide the fate of the south and the unity of the country, and he warns that a potential secession will lead to more hatred and misunderstanding between the people in the north and the south.
“The politicians are the ones that are deciding our fate. They think they know what is best for us,” he said.
“Some people believe that we should be separated because people in the south don’t share our culture, looks and that they have nothing to do with us. It doesn’t make sense to me.
“We have been drinking from the same Nile, been sleeping under the same sky, with the same diverse culture. I just can’t imagine living without the south, its unacceptable to me, I just wont accept it.”
Abubakir grew up with friends from the south, and the idea of them becoming foreigners rather than Sudanese is totally unacceptable to him.
He feels that his hands are tied, that no one asked or consulted him as a Sudanese on what he thinks about the fate of his country.
“Never in my mind did I even entertain the idea of Sudan being split in two,” he said.
His feelings are reflected in his art. For a while he stopped painting, and when he did start again he felt empty and that his creativity as an artist had been stalled.
However, that changed when he reached the conclusion that despite feeling unable to do anything about the fate of Sudan, he can still express his stance on the likely separation.
What led him to the decision to burn most of his art is the despair he feels for what the country is going through.
|Burning his paintings is a way for Abubakir to attract attention to people who feel they are unheard|
“Local and international media focused on how Sudan is going to be separated. I felt insignificant in the whole process that is taking place. I wanted to express myself and share my outrage of what is going on.”
He understands that burning his paintings is not going to solve the issue, but it is his way to attract attention to the fact that there are people who feel that they are unheard.
His plan to burn his art has attracted some criticism and some empathy.
“Some people think that it is a waste to burn art for the sake of politics, and that burning my art is like killing my children.”
But he thinks that expressing yourself can be done in many different ways.
“I feel that the best way to convey my feelings about the separation is by burning my art to show my anger and deep sadness of the state of Sudan today.
“I belong to Sudan… And without the south it will never be the same Sudan again.”