I was speaking with a close friend of mine back in Khartoum and he told me that the two day weekend will not be applied to any public schools. Obviously private schools (of which there are many), can set their own weekly holidays. So that settles the issue of Christian schools having to forgo their Friday-Sunday weekend.
It’s more than a minor detail that some of the fiercest fighting of the last few months has involved the government fighting against mutinous Arab militias. It’s harder to argue the case for an ongoing Arab genocidal intent when some of the biggest Janjaweed commanders — including Mohamed Hamdan Hemeti and Musa Hilal — are flirting with the rebels. (Emphasis added) The question of what really is going on with the Arabs is complicated and I will explore it elsewhere. But you will agree that demonizing the Arabs as genocidaires is a pretty dangerous approach, especially at this particular juncture.)
A ten day old article from the Jerusalem Post caught my eye today, Palestinians Who Fled From Iraq Seeking Shelter in Sudan. I had to inquire.
Some 2,000 Palestinian refugees who fled from Iraq are seeking shelter in Sudan.
Several parties are trying to negotiate a solution for the Palestinian refugees who sit stranded on the border between Iraq and Syria and in camps near the border, a spokeswoman for the United Nation's refugee agency said.
Abeer Etefa, Middle East and North Africa spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told The Media Line that talks were ongoing between the UNHCR, the Sudanese government, the Palestinian Authority and the Arab League.
All questions regarding resettlement of the refugees have been finalized, apart from the accommodation problem due to a housing shortage in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, Etefa said.
After another quick Google News search, I stumbled along this from the Kansas City Star:
So, which country stepped up to end this suffering? Sudan, of all places.Perfect!!! Our government which cannot provide for the millions of its own citizens all over the country, is trying to do WHAT??? This absurd and ludicrous move is another attempt by the ruling regime to push their Arabization (a word I hate to use) policy. How will it justify this? I really can't wait to find out. There are literally tens of thousands of Sudanese citizens which have had to violently flee their homes in Darfur, south Sudan, the East and Kordofan areas. These camps, most of which I have personally visited, such as Mayo-Mandella, Jebel Awliya and Al-Selama are homes to people who have literally nothing but the clothes on their backs and the mud brick shacks they build to pretend they have something to their own in this world.
Al-Ahram, a state-backed Egyptian newspaper, reported this week on an announcement that Sudan has agreed to accept the Palestinians who fled sectarian violence in Iraq.
The Al-Ahram story said Khartoum will scoop up 2,500 refugees in all, emptying the miserable Tanaf and Walid camps. The government also agreed to accept some other Palestinians who had made it to Damascus.
Sudan is not exactly Sweden, and anyone following the Darfur conflict knows that the Sudanese government doesn't always act in such a model humanitarian fashion. Still, the dusty tableau of Khartoum should be a welcome sight for a community that spent so many agonizing months in a place even the United Nations referred to as "no-man's land."--Kansascity.com
Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to belittle the situation of the Palestinian refugees. They are very unfortunate, but the government of a people has the responsibility to protect its citizens first, then look after its Arab (or African) "brethren." I cannot believe this government has the audacity to even propose such a move. This is without a doubt a move by the NCP to further align itself with the Arab countries and score some (cheap) points with Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the rest of these (failed) regimes. How will it explain this to the SPLA (its partner in this so-called Government of National Unity?) and the millions of Sudanese who are homeless as I am writing this right now? This is utterly disgusting and inexcusable. But for some weird reason, I have a feeling this move will go through (if it already hasn't) and the people of Sudan will continue to suffer.
I was browsing the UN's website and was checking the Webcasts posted by the Security Council. They have what is call a "Media Stakeout" where representatives and UN officials are able to speak to members of the press and media.
"Sudanese cabinet today has decided to adopt a two-day weekend starting from January 26.
The Council of Ministers on Sunday decided to expand the weekend holiday from the current one day (Friday) to two days (Friday and Saturday) beginning from Saturday January 26, for a period of six month for studying and assessment.
The Council of Ministers called on the Ministry of Labour to adopt the necessary arrangements to implement this decision in a manner that comply with the national and international labour laws and guarantee enhancement of the productivity."
It got me thinking. I remember several years back when this idea was widely discussed by a lot of people in Khartoum. In fact, it has been expected for a while. The actual notion of having a two day weekend seemed to be a foreign idea and many quickly dismissed it. The Egyptians, Saudis and most other Arab states had implemented the 2 day weekend. The Saudis as well as most other Gulf States added Thursday and Friday, while the Egyptian have Friday and Saturday off.
Several folks I remember discussing this topic with said that they don't want to seem to be copying the Saudis and implement a Thursday-Friday weekend. While the proponents of the Friday-Saturday, used the fact that having Saturday off would be a positive because it wouldn't disrupt the banking and financial sectors as the world's stock markets and other institutions close on Saturday as well. A (pious) friend of mine actually said that the fact that Saturday is to be added as a weekly holiday was due to the fact that many Sudanese companies had been doing business with Israel and the Jews. Made me laugh! I love how we are so paranoid about so many things, how America is out to get us and how Darfur is a Jewish conspiracy. Give me a break!!! Moving on...
This is going to be interesting in the long run. I personally believe that this is a positive move. Seeing how this is just a 'study and assessment' phase, I think we are going to very easily adopt this. Also, how will the Christian schools change their schedules? Because I know they take both Friday and Sunday off to please both Muslim and Christian students. Will they have a three day weekend? Or will this just continue with their regular schedules? Time will tell.