This post is also available in: Arabic

One of the highlights of my journey as a conflict resolution student was a quote by John Dewey, an American philosopher which graciously read: “We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.” In its rightful sense, this later became the premise by which I viewed the current situation in Sudan. While the people of Sudan have paved the way for a bright and promising future, a moment of introspection and deep reflection is in order.

As we transform conflict in Sudan, a bottom up approach is crucially needed for the next phase. This people centered approach involves working on a grassroots level while changing the minds and hearts for a common goal. It also involves building trust between individuals from a grassroots level as opposed to a top down approach. In order to mend the divisions which may arise between us, we must look at each other as humans and stop seeing each other as ‘the other. Resolving and deescalating conflict over political representation, the economy, and education are all possible through an approach which involves a well designed roadmap for peace building. There is however, one other paradigm by which we must view the situation in Sudan; and that is through self-reflection and introspection; an approach often overlooked and taken for granted.


Art by @Enas.Satir on instagram

As we strive for a lasting transformation in Sudan, we understandably become preoccupied with exterior factors that propel us to make lasting change. We either long for a romanticized past or hope for a promising future. As we are swayed between past and present, we inadvertently look beyond an important venue by which change is emitted: the kind of change that is sprouted from within us as human beings. I am not here to delve on the dilemmas that we face as a nation or on the vices that we may possess as a people. I am simply here to share a reflection that has been journeying in my mind for some time. It is a product of deep seated introspection, the kind of introspection that I would like for us to experience in unison. This is not an invitation for creating a utopia. It is an invitation to dig deeper into the truest essence of ourselves, without having to sound self-righteous, as I am also a novice to this process of inner transformation.

Having noble aspirations for our nation is a beautiful thing. There is nothing wrong with it. There is nothing wrong with freedom. There is nothing wrong with contextual democracy that is applied in its appropriate context. Although we as a nation may have a long way to go, looking deeper within ourselves will help us realize that change which comes from within translates into a far more powerful form of change that is reflected outwardly. Have we upheld the principles of morality, integrity, honesty, and selflessness within ourselves? Have we redirected our basic moral compass? Have we learned to be at peace with ourselves? Have we learned to simply scoop out the disingenuous vices that our souls may carry? Have we taught our children to look at the content of character of their brethren as opposed to their status? Have we thought about how we will beget a generation of righteous, tolerant, and intellectual individuals? Let’s look at our inner world, first.


Image via Sameh on Pinterest

In order for us to weave a new Sudan, we must create a moment of introspection within ourselves and truly look deeper into the confines of our beings. There is an importance to be earnest in our efforts to be better; to be the best we can be as individuals. We need that self-transformation, that self-engineering, that rebranding of our souls which will transform and propel us to making lasting change. By finding ourselves and working on a grassroots level, we will find a new Sudan which will be founded upon the principles of resilience, tenacity, integrity, and the pillars of benevolence. Let’s set our own narratives by telling our inner success story, first, so that goodness may then boomerang on a personal, community, and a national level. Once we’ve gone through a period of self-repair, we must then turn outwardly and work with one another in order to build a better nation and a better future. It is high time that we quit living in inertia.

A promising Sudan exists in each and every single one of us. We must simply find ourselves first in order to find it. It takes courage and courage is all that we have left. Let’s teach our children to become good citizens and in turn be their guides and role models. Let’s learn to judge one another by the essence of who we truly are.

Let’s find the Sudan within us.

Ibtihal Khidir Haroun

Ibtihal Khidir Haroun holds a master’s degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. In her words, she aims to climb the ladder of words by unveiling deep-seated sentiments through her unpublished written project, ‘Conversations.’ She is a Sudanese American and a Third Culture Kid (TCK). In her free time, Ibtihal enjoys landscape photography and creative writing.