Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The death of a friend

Yesterday, a friend and a colleague of mine, died in Geneina (West Darfur), a community physician in his late thirties working for the World Health Organisation, he was on a job trip to the troubled region. He died, possibly of a heart attack, whilst lecturing in a workshop. Apparently he suffered severe chest pain, sat down for a second to regain his composure and died trying to do just that.
Imad is a father of a two year old daughter and his wife is six months pregnant.

We spent the larger part of this day waiting for his body to arrive in Khartoum airport carried by a military plane from El Fasher.

Other than a community physician Imad was a political activist since student days, a member of the Communist Party of Sudan, as I am, and a talented organiser.

A professional community physician he had no place in the health bureaucracy of Sudan because of his political affiliation. His body had to be flown in from Gineina on a military plane, something he would have detested and refused alive, and that through mediation that involved a military officer from his neighbourhood in Khartoum. His body was kept awaiting the flight in a military hospital.

As expected, he was not fond of religions, however carrying his body to his grave cries of Allahu Akbar set the scene, and we, his friends, could find no appropriate words of condolence. The last words before his grave were the usual religious jargon. Moreover in the place of mourning a bearded preacher found his prey, and started warning all those present of their imminent death and the need to satisfy Allah before that day. To my ears, I could hear a tone of scorn and spite, since his political opinions and world views were no secret.

On the other hand, his mother in law, a lady in her sixties could not stop crying out his virtues, alternative as they were. Usually those would include piety and religious zeal, but she recognised his kindness, his friendliness, his love of his daughter and his wife, and his generosity.

Imad believed in a country that would carry all its citizens, including himself and his small family, he did not live to see that happen. I will not suppose that I would do that either.

The man in front on the image associated is the late Dr Imad El Amin. I pay him my respects.

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Creative Commons Licence
This work by Magdi El Gizouli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.