How much is enough? When it comes to the big things in life: war, climate change, gentrification, the rise of fascism… how do you know when what you’ve fulfilled your obligation, looked after ‘your bit’, or done enough?
I’m going to write about something a little close to home today.
For those who may or may not know, Sudan is going through a process of major political upheaval right now. I was on the ground in Sudan, when protests first started kicking off in mid 2012 - that’s why I started this blog actually, to talk about what was happening and try get international attention. My blog ended up being frozen for some time, and folk who were writing online started getting raided and beaten, and so my family asked me to stop. I did - and I went back to Australia, to my professional life and to a diasporic existence that’s a little more complicated than turning up to the protests.
Come December 2018, and I hear about the people taking to the streets in Atbara. Things are kicking off. I am meant to be in the country, and my family asks me to refrain from travelling as the government is collecting anyone with a voice, anyone ‘making trouble’. My family isn’t politically connected per se, they wouldn’t be able to get me out easily of a nasty situation - and so I stay here in London, safe (Alhamdulilah), but wracked with guilt. Is writing an article or two enough? Is posting on social media enough? How much posting on social media is sufficient? Is raising money for the people who are in the sit-in enough? How much money is ‘enough’? If you have a platform (as I do, Alhamdulilah) what is your responsibility, and where does it end? Are you allowed to take a break? Is that cheating, lacking integrity, not good enough?
I don’t know the answers to these questions. I try to do what I can, in fits and starts, but never feel like it is enough. I wonder whether, on the few days where I haven’t checked the news on the uprisings, whether that is ‘self care’, or me choosing my privilege over my people. I wonder if it would be morally easier if I just put myself in the line of fire - metaphorically or physically - at least then, I know I have given everything I had…
Often, when grappling with challenges like this, I turn to faith. But I have yet to find an answer that soothes the guilt. Maybe in time, inshallah. But until then, yallah. How do you navigate this space? I have no answers yet, only a yearning… a yearning that I agree and appreciate self centers my moral struggle amongst a much more urgent conversation about a country’s political future! Ah - I guess that’s what a personal blog is for, right?