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OSMAN: My Story is A Prayer

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

From Khartoum to Canada

I’ve contemplated sharing my story for a while, but I always struggle to find the right starting point. Maybe it all starts with our desperate trip from Khartoum to Sinnar, where the chilling reality of being shot in the back of our heads as we fled weighed heavily on my family's mind. I wish I could convey the fear we experienced in only those 2 hours leaving Khartoum that made it impossible to imagine a future.

Maybe this story begins during that first week of the conflict, where every explosion felt like it struck us directly. Where my family lived in constant terror, unable to sleep or eat, resorting to jokes to mask our fear, where everyone was shaken to the core but never let anyone see it because we had to be strong for each other. The absence of electricity and internet left us with only terrifying WhatsApp voice notes of people crying, news of death and destruction, and the intrusion of RSF forces into homes. The anticipation of worse explosions at 3am haunted us daily. I wish I could find the right words to convey the deafening sounds of fighter jets, missiles, gunfire, and bombs so that the international community could truly understand the magnitude of what we endured and what those in Sudan continue to endure but only worse now.

Maybe I should talk about the ten-day journey my mother, uncle, and I embarked on to reach Toronto. From Sinnar an 18-hour bus ride to Port Sudan, followed by days spent in Port Sudan, Cyprus and Dubai before finally arriving home. But my words would fall short in doing justice to the countless individuals I encountered along the way. The Syrian and Yemeni refugees filling the streets of Port Sudan, whose plight remains unheard by the international community. Those desperate for legal support, unsure if pieces of documents printed and photographed desperately complied are enough to secure a better future for their families. I can't emphasize enough the unimaginable hardships faced by those in Port Sudan who traveled across the country braving danger with their children and elders, lacking food, water, and even proper health.

But maybe it is best to focus on what matters most: my family. We traveled together to Sinnar, only to be separated later. Three of us made it to Canada, three to Egypt, five are stuck in Port Sudan, and seven remain trapped in Sinnar. The word "stuck" fails to capture the depth of our displacement. But now I would need to explain why they are stuck, why they left their documents behind in Khartoum, unknowingly leaving their homes for the last time. What about the struggle my cousins have faced to complete their education, disrupted by COVID, the revolution, and now this war, unable to even prove they attended university at all?

The truth is, I don't know where to start because my stories contain countless stories. Our stories contain stories, intertwined, acting as a tapestry of pain and resilience. There is so much to say, but how can we say it in a way that will capture the attention we desperately need? for someone to do something. So for now, I dedicate my story to a prayer. Rather than focusing on the story that governments need to hear, this is a prayer—a plea—for my family, for those suffering in conflict areas, Darfur, Al Genina, Nayla, Omdourman, Al Khartoum, and more. A prayer for the courageous young men in Halfa. A prayer for Port Sudan, Medani, Sinnar, Kosti, Dongola, Kassala, Al Samalya, and every city and village that opened their hearts to the displaced. A prayer for the doctors and aid workers who stayed, A prayer for the ones trapped, unable to flee. A prayer for those who stayed selflessly providing water, food, and hope. A prayer for the ones who lost everything. A prayer for the directionless, unsure of their destination in refugee camps across Ethiopia, Egypt, Chad, South Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and those within Sudan itself. A prayer for those who sought refuge in Sudan only to be haunted by war once more. A prayer for those who have lost everything, those that are still missing, and those that lost their lives. Most importantly, a prayer for Sudan as a whole…

May we meet again, God willing.

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