Anniversary of Sudan’s Massacre

Youmna Saeed

Youmna Saeed is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Dallas studying Sociology. Given her identity as Sudanese-American Muslim woman, her artwork strongly reflects the struggles and triumphs her people have faced. “Although I dream  of becoming a lawyer, my writing allow me to amplify the voices of the unheard, speak justice, and promote messages of unity and strength.” 

The Third of June 

Come, let us tell the tragedies of the Third of June 

Their names by the winds whisper over sand dunes 

Every martyr, for the lives they bartered shall not be faltered 

Every precious splash of blood

Flows with the Nile’s summer floods

Tragic is the grave of the martyr 

How grave is the loss of our Lord’s souls

Come, let us tell the tragedies of the Third of June

From Atbara to Kordofan

From Burri to Umdurman, 

Their names ring louder than any drum-band  

From the banks of the Blue Nile, to the Marawi pyramids apices 

Their faces are the only things we see

We still cry for our martyrs

We still cry for freedom 

We still cry for justice 

We still cry red rivers 

On the banks of the Nile, 

You’ll find dried sediments of blood rubies and blood diamonds 

You’ll hear the wind howl in desperation 

You’ll feel the slow pulse of a grieving nation 

And what of the girls? 

What of their humanity stripped? 

What of the 50 and more raped? 

What of the suffocating airs of oppression they could not escape? 

There are mothers who still dream in nightmares 

There are sisters who still shudder at the touch of a man 

There are brothers still haunted by the ghost of their own 

To this day, our beloved Sudan weeps and wails

To this day, our hearts tremor like heavy-weighted scales 

Come, let us tell the tragedies of the Third of June 

Land of the Blacks

My mother taught me to love myself whole 
Not in bits and pieces or in broken fragments, but to love myself whole 
To nourish my mane of hair and elastic skin with fine emollients
Like water to the roots of nature’s evergreen
To love myself whole, and proudly enunciate 
words from the strange dialect of Arabic spoken by those bred 
between the gusts of sand swept from the banks of African waters  

Through her I became to akin to the saying
“The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice”
or as Mr. Shakur put it
“The darker the flesh, the deeper the roots”
Our beautiful skin
glistens ten thousand shades of onyx, gold,
and bronze in the Arabian sun,
Melanin so rich that our existence 
is a lucrative industry tapped dry by human savagery 
Textured coils frame angular jawlines 
Set in such a manner so as to demonstrate determination in
defiance of the institutionalized obstacles 
poised uniquely for those with our coloring, gait, and tongue 

Our clipped and distinctive vernacular
harmonizes the complexities of language
You see, our ebony is so rare that they gawk 
at what they cannot fathom 
For those hailing from the Occident
ensure to make no accident of 
our victimization and humiliation and exploitation
I stand forth a Nubian daughter
painfully aware of every hue of color
To be color blind is to be
deaf in the midst of a symphony,
even as it projects itself a cacophony,
To be color blind is to be deaf in the midst 
of a symphony 

I will remember the strong pulse of the Nile
running through my veins
just as I will remember the bitter taste of bile 
as I spoke my truth in vain 
to those whom from myself I must restrain
I will remember that only twice in my life
was I taught by instructors who shared my
African heritage and thus understood the
difficulties of racial strife 
I will remember the puckering taste and
stand-still motion of time when
the word “abeed” was directed at me for the first time
I will remember every painstaking hour
and the feeling of it so sour when 
a comb raked at the roots of my tight coils, sending me in recoil
I will remember every identity qualm I still
struggle to uncover and re-discover today
I will remember

Let us remember together the ugliness, pain
and struggle that comes with our blackness
Let us embrace the rich pigments of
melanin that have blessed our skin 
Let us cherish this Godly ordinance
because I will always hail from 
The Land of the Blacks
And as put in verse 30:22 
the differences in our tongue and color 
are not but signs from our Lord 
intended for us to mull over, milk, and marinate 
in the pot of teleological ruminations
I refuse to believe they died in vain
Their existence is to many a bane, 
But together, we shall say their name 

To My Dear Soul

I cry rivers
And taste salty seas
But the liquid evaporates quick
It vanishes faster than a wick
Of an abandoned candle
Sometimes I feel this is more than what I can handle
But then my mere realizations are often faulty
So I ignore them as they falsely
Give rise to a demonic sadness
Which overwhelms me in crassness

Seek beyond, oh soul, to it I implores
Because this life is much more
Than the threat of losing your literal and figurative score
Now while some seem grounded on the floor
Hardship and struggle they could not bear
So, by wounds of grievance they feel sore
Like cadettes on Afghan tours
Masks of pride and victory they wore
When reality emulated their true scorn
Misery broke them and their lives torn,
They hallucinated and heard the blow of 
an illustrious horn 

Now they reminisce of the day they were born
Oh, how so forlorn
Pricked by the awakening thorn
Of fate’s enchanted rose
They too rose
By piety they were to the Almighty close
Not darkness, no, but light they chose
From the brackets of evil and burrows
They elevated from their sorrows

So, listen here my dear soul
In your struggles you are not sole
While now the impunity of time will take its toll
Your destiny to manifest and rise ranks was
written on a holy scroll
Hold fast and do not fold
Oh, my dear soul

You can find Youmna on Twitter.

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