You see that bar that everyone is behind, or I should say, all the black men are behind, well, that’s because only whites are allowed past it. Sorry about the technically bad picture and all that, but I was going through pics for my next installment of the Sudan story and came across this one. …and PS: Sorry about the delay on the story, but have been really busy – coming soon though. Anyway, well, here it is. It amazes me really, in this day and age, that I can buy a slave, sit on the sidewalk and watch men argue over the price of an eight year old girl for the night, watch someone actually get whipped, that I can take a picture like this. Most Americans think this was stopped in the 60’s or 70’s. Most Americans think slavery was abolished. Most just don’t know, or are just blind to what is outside their boundaries, or don’t really care. I don’t know.
Now, was I glad that bar was there? Damn right I was. This was taken on the ferry from Aswan to Wadi Halfa, Sudan, and this boat was packed. I mean packed. I was so glad to have a space that wasn’t crawling with people, where no one really had room to move and everyone had to fight for where they would sleep. That said, it was just plain dumb, and I wasn’t at all pleased that it was there to separate color. As I “jumped the fence”, roamed the boat, and mingled with anyone I wanted too, I also felt very “weird” at times. After this shot I went over, slapped a few hands, jumped over the bar and talked for a while with these guys. Most are Sudanese headed home to see their families after months of working in Egypt or beyond. Great guys. Basically, from their perspective, it is what it is and, as pronounced by Mohammed’s hat, everything is OK. They are used to it and that is life. It’s how it is and how it always was and probably will be, to them. It’s an Arab vs. Black world here, unfortunately, with travellers and non-locals being sectioned off rom both. These guys were great. All to willing to share their food, space, smiles and conversation . Great guys, every one of them. It’s a different world out there, especially when you really get “out”.
December 11, 2007. It still exists. I can almost guarantee that bar is still there today, maybe just a bit rustier or with another coat of paint.
I wonder if the man taking the picture here goes home and shows his children “all the whites”.