Fighting HIV/AIDS in ‘post-Islamist’ Sudan

zizou from Djerba, a Tunisian blogger, works for the Sudanese Ministry of Health's AIDS prevention program in Khartoum.

Zizou writes that in contrast to its neighbors to the north,” Sudan has already moved into a “post-Islamist” period marked by an increasing openness to modern ideas.

He offers as evidence a photograph of one of his coworkers, face veiled in a Niqab, reading an academic article about gays and lesbians in Russia:

Ma collegue s'interesse en effet aux populations vulnerables et plus specialement aux hommes ayant des relations sexuelles avec des hommes. Elle a meme effectue une etude sur le sujet ou elle a interviewe (en Niqab) plus de 100 homosexuels soudanais des deux sexes.

Il n'ya pas mieux que l'exemple de cette fille pour parler de l'epoque post- islamiste qui characterise le Soudan. Contrairement a ses voisins arabes du nord ou la fascination pour l'islam politique ne fait qu'augmenter. Le Soudan est deja passe par sa periode islamiste. Cette periode n'est jamais regrette et ne reveille chez les gens que je rencontre que de mauvais souvenirs.

Les Soudanais y ont pourtant cru… L'application de la Sharia, l'islam comme solution a tout… mais le resultat de cette politique a beaucoup decu et la vie des soudanais et soudanaises est devenue plus dure qu'avant… Et c'est avec plaisir que la plupart des soudanais ont accueilli le vent d'ouverture qui souffle depuis qlq annees deja.

My colleague is interested in vulnerable populations, especially in men who have sexual relations with other men. She even did a study on the subject where she interviewed (in Niqab) over 100 Sudanese homosexuals of both sexes.

To talk about the post-Islamist period that characterizes Sudan, there is no better example than this girl. In contrast to its Arab neighbors to the north, where the fascination with political Islam is only increasing, Sudan has already passed its Islamist period. That period is never missed and never stirs in the people I've come across anything but bad memories.

Then the Sudanese believed in the application of Sharia, Islam as a solution to everything…but the result of this policy disappointed many and the life of the men and women of Sudan became worse than before…Most Sudanese have already been welcoming with pleasure the winds of opening for many years.

Zizou is quick to point out that despite the liberalism in certain quarters, Sudanese society is still deeply conservative, a fact that makes his work for the AIDS program challenging. “Opening yes! But not too much!…It's almost impossible to move from discussing abstinence to promoting condom use,” he writes.

But he derives hope from the “embers” glowing brightly among the “ashes,” like his Niqab-wearing coworker, who says she would no longer wear the veil if only Sudan would pass a French-style law against it.


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