Friday, 30 September 2011

Sudan: The Sudanese Pound, reading glasses and other soon to be useless things

Before we start, here are the latest figures regarding the Sudanese Pound: $1 = SDG 4.7, with a very high possibility of becoming $1 = SDG 400 and then some, by the time you read this. The Sudanese Pound is in trouble, its value is declining like the number of Somalians who understand the concept of water.

Last Sunday it was $1 to SDG 4.3. So if you would like to take out your calculator - you know, the one you bought last week - and do the math, you'd realise that for one week this is quite a significant devaluation.

So, let's be idiots for a minute and blame this devaluation on the secession of the South. Let's blame it on the war in Darfur. And, let's blame it on the boogie. Because according to so called analysts, these are the main reasons behind this catastrophe, the boogie being the biggest of course.

Yes, the Southerners took away 70% of the oil income with them - which is clearly their right - but blaming the devaluation of the Sudanese Pound on the secession is preposterous. The Sudanese government, which so blatantly knew the South was going to secede, should have had a contingency plan. And no, banning certain imports is not a contingency plan, it's not even a plan, it's an arbitrary ban on random things of which no one knew the consequences.

Even if the government didn't know the South was going to secede, it should have planned for the worst case scenario. Human beings usually plan for worst case scenarios. Human beings. Humans. Homosexuals, I mean Homo sapiens. But did they? No! You know why? Well, clearly they're not human. They're just a random aggregation of bones, flesh and beards.

I'm sorry but I will not accept these juvenile interpretations coming from our own economists blaming the government's failures on South Sudan. I mean, yes, occasionally, if money does go missing more often than not a black person is behind it, but that doesn't apply here. I tried to apply it, it didn't work. So, no, economists, the secession is not to blame.

Soon enough, the Sudanese Pound will be worth nothing. You'd have to trade in your limbs for some vegetables, and since meat would only be affordable to those willing to trade in their children, there will be a sudden increase in vegetarian amputees. On the plus side however, people will be having more children, which would make the population competition we're having with Egypt more interesting.

The government has also decided to randomly close down newspapers. Maybe because reading newspapers is forbidden in Islam. I don't know. But whatever the reason, the government seems very adamant on suppressing free speech, or even just speech. Security officials seem to just show up at newspaper offices, and ask everyone to put their pens down; they're like exam invigilators with guns.

Thus far, seven newspaper have been shut down. You can only assume they're doing something unbeardly, I mean un-Islamic. They might all be brothels disguised as newspapers, or worse, places where people write what they think.

But the government's arbitrary war on terrorist speech seems somewhat systematic. Yes, confusing. Soon enough there will be no newspapers to read, or use as a dinner tablecloth substitute. Reading glasses will be more useful as ornaments in your living room. The radio will become a powerful tool which the government will use to foist political views into news stories. Eventually we will all have small mustaches and feel a sudden hatred towards Jews and Blacks.

Also, every Sudanese household will have to find a way to make better use of their dinner table and cutlery, because they too will become redundant. There will be only one channel on TV, constantly broadcasting a new monotonous national anthem praising safari suits, beards and Hyundai Sonatas. So TV's will be more useful as door stoppers. Cars will become horse-drawn carriages and sole-less shoes will be in vogue. We will find ourselves trapped in medieval times where women get flogged in public for no apparent reason. Oh wait!

So there you have it, this is me being sagacious. If you're planning for a future in Sudan, make sure you're accomplished with a sword. And just in case you have a lot of cash stacked away for a rainy day, start smoking marijuana, because rolling paper is all the Sudanese Pound will soon be good for.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Sudan: Forget boycotts, buy a calculator

Last week the humble people of Sudan - which is south of Egypt, but north of South Sudan - decided to come together, for the first time since, since, since.. decided to come together. Everyone seemed to agree on the fact that basic commodities became too expensive. This increase in commodity prices was part of a policy implemented by the government to help stabilize the economy bla bla bla.. sensitive camels and prostitutes.

This lead to an unfathomable increase in prices. Even red things like tomatoes became expensive. Sheep became lobsters. And cooking oil seems to have suddenly been extracted from Siberian tigers. Basically, you would have needed a bank statement to buy a burger.

So the Sudanese Consumer Protection Society decided to call for a mass boycott of all meat products, including chicken - which is a meat apparently. Most people joined in on the boycott. Which is surprising, given the recent trends of impervious attitudes towards the country's dire situation. Nonetheless, this boycott had a significant effect on the market. Apparently, a kilo of lamb went from an embarrassing 30 SDG right down to a very random 15 SDG.

This is very well. But all these numbers seem arbitrary. They're too whole and too divisible by each other and other normal numbers. Why aren't there any decimal places? And how could a two day meat boycott bring down the price so significantly?

You can't help but think that the so called government controlled market is not controlled at all, nor is it government. The austerity measures taken by the government targeted imported goods. But meat in Sudan is a local commodity. Sudan doesn't import meat, it actually exports it. So how is it that meat - which comes from local sheep, local cows and apparently local chickens - decided to be expensive? You can only assume that it was a decision taken by the meat itself, because no human would have such preposterous logic.

I find it very difficult to understand economic trends in Sudan. It might be my poor knowledge of economics, or the government's poor knowledge of economics, and lack of common sense, and incompetence, and stupidity, and abundance of safari suits. But, most economic trends in Sudan are not trends at all, they're in fact sudden occurrences. The government seems to lack that thing that gives people a bit of an insight into the future, what's it called? Oh right, planning.

What's more worrying is the inconsistency of statistical data regarding the economy. Various articles on the meat boycott quoted different numbers regarding Sudan's dependence on meat exports. The range was 1.68% to a ridiculous 40%. Not even butchers make 40% of their income from selling meat. So no one actually knows how much meat - or any other export, be it sand or black people - actually contributes to the country's economy.

So, instead of boycotting things that don't make sense, every Sudanese person should buy a calculator and start doing some numbers. Because no matter how much you boycott, if it's all fictitious and arbitrary, all your doing really is denying butchers a living. And obviously prolonging the sheep's lives; the sheep themselves don't want that, they're probably organizing group suicides right now.

I bought a calculator, yes I did; it's a Casio fx-83MS - which sounds like a power ranger's fantasy. And I did some numbers. It turns out that in order for meat exports to contribute 40% to the Sudanese economy, one sheep would have to be sold for around $4,000.71 - see, decimals. A sheep. Just one. It's unrealistic, and so is every other number I've come across.

Yes, the melioristic approach to the evermore demanding standards of living is a good thing, and the proof that the espirit de corps of the Sudanese population has not yet diminished has made us all proud, but what are we fighting for? Lesser arbitrary numbers?

It's easy to be perturbed by such events, but it's actually easier for such events to occur when economic policies are made around a tea lady wearing socks to repel sexual gestures. So let's not boycott randomness, let's boycott ugly people, since they're all in the government.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Sudan: Out with the old, in with the flu

We've already established in the past that politicians have the intellectual capacity of a horse's testicle. We've also established that in order to become a politician in a Third World Country, all you need is a financial motive; or in the case of Idriss Deby, a stupid name. All in all it doesn't require much. Now, however, Sudan has yet again proven that you can be a politician even if you can't read. Or write. Or think. Or use a toilet.

The most recent breaking news about Sudan was the appointment of a certain Haj Adam Youseff as Vice President to Omar Al Bashir. So, you might think, what happens to Ali Osman Mohammed Taha? Well, he's also Vice President. He's the First Vice President. Which means that if anything is to happen to Omar Al Bashir, Mr Taha and Mr Youseff would have to fight for the presidency in a game of Connect Four.

Let's not bicker about the nature of the positions top officials hold in the government, and concentrate on the matter at hand. I think we can all agree that this is very random. First of all, the guy's first name is an adjective.

There are a lot of flaws with this appointment. Primarily, the fact that Mr Youseff is actually from an Arab tribe in Darfur, not an African one. Yes I know that I've emphasized on the importance of not categorizing the Darfur conflict as Arab vs African but the fact of the matter is that the Fur, the original inhabitants of Darfur, are African. And so are the Zaghawa, who find their voice in the JEM rebel movement.

It is also important to stress that Mr Youseff has no affiliations with any of the Darfur rebel movements. Be it Khalil Ibrahim's JEM, or Abdul Wahid Nur's SLM. Nothing. I doubt he's even aware of their existence. Ask him. Someone ask him. Also, he had no part to play in the Doha peace agreement. He wasn't even on the negotiations table. He has no rebel affiliations, no grievances, no movement. Nothing. Then why would he be appointed? Well, I'll tell you why. Because he's actually NCP.

Yes. He's a former member of the PCP. He's a Turabi enthusiast. Just like how Bob Marley was a marijuana enthusiast. He joined the PCP for a year in 1999 then probably realised that there was nothing to gain, so he went back to the NCP He was an active member of the NIF. Which kind of makes sense really. I mean what were we expecting? Al Tijani Sese as Vice President? I mean yes, his silly name does make him a perfect candidate, but c'mon, he's actually Fur; and Umma Party affiliated. Plus, the NCP don't do Fur. Unless there's an AK47 involved.

In order to understand the ridiculousness of this, you have to realise that Mr Bashir has 189,637 advisers. Yes, that many. All with different silly advisory positions and equally silly names. And, if that's not enough, he has 77 ministers. One for every prostitute on the street. I'm sorry, but this is preposterous. You get the impression that if you ever walk into one of Bashir's meetings with his advisers you'd find them all wearing bibs with smiley faces on them.

According to a recent study, the average IQ in the Sudanese government is 7. Mr Taha scored the highest with 32. Most government officials were in the range of 2-5. These are the idiots wearing Safari suits who have an office to sit in, where a man brings you tea, and a woman called Awatif tells you about incoming guests. These are the people that run the country.

This must be the limit to this government's idiocy. It must be. Otherwise, well, we're better off being governed by Wyclef Jean. Oh wait.

There are a lot of ways in which this type of incompetency can be eradicated. You can start a revolution, you can do a Khalil Ibrahim, you can inundate the presidential palace with stink bombs, you can even call the ghost busters. But, with the grip this regime has on power, they all seem somewhat useless.

The thing is, it seems the Sudanese people are fed up. It seems. The ridiculous rise in prices, the lack of decent infrastructure and basic services all seem to have triggered something. In like two people. But the discontent of an acquainted few has very minimal effects. So, what do we do? How do we get ourselves out of this predicament. Well, I have a solution.

Here it is. Remember that Bird Flu virus? The one that killed three people, who were both diabetic and suffered from hypertension, but was feared like the plague. Remember? Well, I say we spread it in Sudan. Spill some of the virus in the Nile. Somewhere in the South. Preferably Abyei, so there can be some irony to it. Let it work its way up the river, infecting everyone, and eventually killing them, so that the only people left are those from the far West and far East.

This way, they get to run the country. And I do believe that being governed by a marginalized people will have a lot of benefits. For starters, we would have a presidential hut, and not a palace.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Let's talk nonsense

To my surprise, surprise being an overstatement of course, I've become accustomed to skipping through my twitter timeline. There has been a prodigious amount of rubbish infesting my timeline recently. I thought people have become more aware, more mature. But no, we still dwell in the silliness that is similar to celebrity infatuations.

I think the reason behind most of this idiocy is the lack of decent news. By decent I mean gripping, infuriating; news that make you say "No f***ing way!" while your dad is around. But still, there's no excuse for emphasizing on futile subjects.

South Sudan, which is somewhere south of Egypt, gained its independence on July 9th 2011, after many years of civil war, uncertainty, tribal conflicts, political mind games, and a cowboy hat. The cowboy hat, however, is still in the picture. So this historic birth of the "world's newest nation" was widely celebrated by the Southern Sudanese, who always wanted independence, the Northern Sudanese, who don't know what they want, the West, who pretend to like black people, and the UN, because it's being run by a Chinese man.

When addressing the subject of South Sudan's independence most news agencies, and news individuals (better known as Blake Hounshells), concentrated on the challenges new countries face. Which is fine. But then, one day, one historic day, when the people of twitter all decided to be Justin Bieber for the day, the topic of discussion was how South Sudan was not yet incorporated into Google Maps. This was a month after independence. I'm sorry, but on a relevance scale this would be rubbing shoulders with George Bush's shoe size. Who cares? Really. How is a map, or a Google Map, going to make a difference? It's not like Salva "cowboy hats are hot on the street" Kiir and his cabinet rely on Google Maps for development decisions. I don't think anyone does. Maybe Sarkozy, but no one else.

Then, when you think that this is the zenith of nonsensical lows that we could ever reach, some idiot with a mustache and low self esteem tries to argue that Steve Jobs is Syrian. Let's say, for argument's sake, he was. Then what? Will it make Bashar Al Assad stop his slaughter house? Will it afford Syrians around the world a free iPad 2? Maybe, just maybe, every Syrian in the world will gain one or two cool points, but that doesn't matter, because the only people who rely on the cool scale all live with their mothers in a one bedroom house and use insect repellents as deodorant. It doesn't matter where Steve Jobs is from, all that matters is that he can't dress to save his life, hence probably why he has cancer.

Then you have the vociferous Egyptian activists, who have a sex life of a bedside lamp, trying to equate Mubarak's trial to the massacre happening in Syria. You have the Sherlock Holmes fanatics emphasizing on Gaddafi's whereabouts, and of course that utterly preposterous trial of Galliano, the hater of all Jews.

The fact of the matter is, Mubarak's trial has no significance whatsoever because justice is a myth, Egyptians should concentrate on what matters, and that's rebuilding their country. Gaddafi's location should be of no concern to anyone except his hairdresser. The guy is gone, the rebels control Tripoli, so they should start concentrating on the country's dire condition and let NATO and Fantastic Four find Gaddafi. Galliano's trial has to be the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of. If this antisemitism nonsense is that serious then the authorities should incorporate it into all constitutions, using a feather and ink. Then they should all huddle up in one room, grab each other's testicles and pray to the Sun. Ridiculous.

And last but not least, the Arab Spring has not failed. The name is a big failure. But it has not failed. One dictator is in a bed in court, another is sunbathing in the Sahara with his African conscripts, one has half a face, and another doesn't understand the concept of a face, because his is an extension of his neck. So, no. The Arab Spring is doing well, taking its sweet time, but doing well nonetheless.

So I urge everyone to stop minding the useless side of the news and concentrate on what really matters. Also, stop asking stupid questions. I WILL report you, to someone, don't know who yet, maybe NATO since they're feeling macho these days.


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