Thursday, March 8th, 2018 is International Women’s Day. At The Enough Project, we focus on countries in East and Central Africa where women and girls are too often the victims of brutal and devastating violence. However, these women and girls are also at the forefront crucial initiatives pushing for peace, inclusion, and transparency in their respective countries. Last month, we had the honor of featuring Darfuri activist and poet Emi Mahmoud at the Lemkin Summit to End Genocide and Mass Atrocities. In honor of this year’s International Women’s Day, we are continuing to highlight and amplify her work.
Emtithal “Emi” Mahmoud is a Sudanese-American poet and author with accolades in a range of artistic, academic and activist pursuits. She captured the attention of many with her powerful TED Talk presentation and earned the first-ever standing ovation in the history of the Forbes 30 Under 30 conference. In early 2018 Emi embarked on a harrowing journey to walk across Sudan with the goal of inspiring peace, harmony, and connection in her increasingly fragmented country. Through this “One Girl Walk for Peace” Emi aimed to use poetry as a way to “approach collaboration in a way that evokes compassion and not discord; a way that inspires hope.”
Emi’s walk comes at a time of serious questions regarding the future of Sudan policy and the manner in which the United States interacts with the country. Currently, the United States is considering removing Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List, as part of a path to a full normalization of relations with Sudan. However, Sudan’s economic crisis is sparking ongoing popular protests which have led to fatalities and the imprisonment of opposition leaders, protesters, journalists and other independent voices. This is the same regime that has conducted genocide against the people of Darfur, bombed and starved the populations in the Nuba Mountains, and denied millions of Sudanese citizens access to critical humanitarian aid. Millions of Sudanese remain in internally displaced or refugee camps.
Emi began her walk in January in El Fashir, Sudan and ended over 1,000 kilometers away in the capital of Khartoum in early February. Along the way, she collected “Dreams for Peace” from people around the world, including over 50 participants of the 2018 Lemkin Summit. These dreams came in the form of letters, recordings, and videos and were meant to highlight individual and collective desires to contribute to a more peaceful Sudan and world more generally.
In two weeks, we’ve completely challenged every conversation in Sudan. It is inspiring, terrifying, and absolutely necessary, and it all started through poetry. One voice can carry many, and I am counting on all of yours. So, please send us your #DreamsForPeace #OneGirlWalk
— Emi Mahmoud (@EmiThePoet) February 19, 2018
While Emi’s walk has ended, her goal of generating dreams for peace continues. This International Women’s Day, demonstrate your support by sharing your own dream for peace on social media using the hashtag #DreamsforPeace you can post a video like the ones below, or simply type out your dreams.
To follow Emi for more updates, please visit her Facebook page.