A Story of Hope and Resilience
from my Childhood
Shooting at Taab Market
The social and political injustices which happened in Sudan revealed the intense cultural divide between armed Sudanese soldiers and innocent civilians. Sudan’s government deployed thousands of troops into southern Sudan to protect civilians. Sadly, when the government faced resistance in the south, these armed men resorted to different elimination tactics. These tactics included random shootings of civilians, intimidations, and mistreatment, among others.
The random killing of civilians added fuel to the cultural divide and simmering conflict. One of a handful of shootings that stuck out in my mind, beginning from when I was just ten years old, is the killing of an innocent man at Taab Market, just a few steps away from my feeble soul.
Tab is singular and its plural is taab. In Dinka language, tab means tobacco. Taab Market is a place where various types of tobacco are sold. It is located in the middle of the Big Market, about 2 miles from where I went to school. The Big Market is always busy and crowded during the day but empty at night, except for the armed police guarding the market.
One afternoon, my friend and I decided to study at the Comboni school for the soon approaching test. Comboni school is named after Bishop Daniel Comboni, the first Italian Catholic missionary who came to Sudan around 1857. While in Sudan, Bishop Comboni established Comboni missionaries, through which he established several phenomenal schools and churches in Sudan.
To get to the Comboni school, we decided to take a shortcut through Taab Market. Upon our arrival at Taab Market, we heard an intensifying argument between a uniformed man carrying an AK47 and a civilian. Their argument created a cacophony in the market. The voice of the man with the gun was extremely loud, it was clearly authoritative and most prideful. His eyes were as red as blood, and anger was written all over his face.
The man carrying the AK47 suspected the civilian he saw to be a rebel, simply because his right shoulder happened to be lower than his left shoulder. He unjustly concluded that the constant carrying of a weapon is what would cause such an imbalance between his shoulders.
Filled with fury and rage, I saw him hastily take his AK47 off his shoulder and in an instant, shoot the civilian in the forehead. The innocent civilian immediately dropped dead before our eyes while the crowd ran for their safety. My friend and I also parted ways to our respective homes, running as fast as our skinny, little legs could handle.
Undoubtedly, I was dismayed and upset by such a brutal and inhumane act. Worse yet, panic and anger simmered within me for many years. The man with the AK47 simply left the scene, leaving the person he killed in cold blood laying on the floor till evening.
It was incidents like this, incidents of social and political injustices against innocent people, that led to the conception and birth of Undying Hope International. Certainly, I will continue to advocate for peace, love, unity and equality for as long as I live.
Undying Hope Leadership Series
You can also check out this 5 minutes overview of strategic planning. A segue into other relevant and practical topics such as:
- How a vision becomes a reality
- My work with Dr. Tulsi in establishing the Rotaract club in New Jersey
- Project Design
- Undying Hope’s journey
Until next week’s story of hope and resilience, take care of yourself and each other!