September 11, 2001 was a day that marked one of the darkest moments in our history. It was also the day that a young boy from Khartoum, Sudan became a man.
What the young boy saw when he attended a peaceful gathering to mourn the attacks, was violence. Endless violence instigated by the same group meant to ‘protect and serve’, the Sudanese police. In his act of bearing witness, his boyish idealism was destroyed.
But Mohamed Abubakr refused to sit idly by.
He began challenging the tenets of the religion everyone was expected to merely accept. At the young age of thirteen, Mohamed was putting his safety on the line to fight for what was right.
He actively voiced his concerns and took action against frequent injustice. For example, Mohamed founded SudanAid in 2003, to find creative ways to help those affected by the brutality of the war in Darfur.
But on July 30, 2005, the world he knew spun out of control when, “hell broke loose in the streets of Khartoum”.
After witnessing the horrors of deadly clashes in the capital between southern Sudanese and northern Arabs sparked by the death of South Sudanese leader John Garang, Mohamed made a choice. He decided to do everything in his power for peace.
Mohamed became an activist in human rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights and democratic institution-building despite the near impossible circumstances around him.
He continues to pave this path, even though the stakes grew immensely when he began advocating for Israeli-Palestinian coexistence; a courageous cause to take up in the Arab-Muslim world.
In 2008, while studying at the American University in Cairo, Mohamed saw Israeli and Palestinian students interacting as friends. This challenged everything he thought he knew and Mohamed grew curious to learn more.
His quest for truth led him to YaLa young leaders in 2011, where he quickly took on an active leadership role. Through online interactions with members of this internet-based movement, Mohamed further saw Israelis and Arabs challenging stereotypes and working together. He saw the power of human connection when fear is stripped from the equation and mutual respect takes its place.
Over time, advocating for peace became very personal for Mohamed.
“Whenever Hamas [launches] rockets, I worry about Maya and her kids in Beersheba,” says Mohammed. “When Israel retaliates, I worry about Ahmed and Amira in North Gaza. We are humans, there is no other title.”
As a peace activist in a region rife with conflict, Mohamed’s challenges are manifold; yet Mohamed’s dedication will not waver. He continues to make sacrifices in hope that all sides will be honest enough to realize their flaws, and bold enough to engage in a serious dialogue for a peaceful tomorrow.
What is Mohamed’s message for peace?
“Please, don’t let anyone get you cynical about it. It is your right to live in peace and have your human rights and dignity protected. It is up to you to get back what is rightfully yours. Get rid of the cynicism and work for peace. There is no other way.”
For more information about how to help Mohamed come to the United States and embark on a speaking tour to share his powerful message please contact Gal@Bold.Global
Gal grew up in the world of theatre and dance. She loves using that creativity to find what moves us and awakens our inner passions. Through sharing inspirational voices on bold.global and Bold Blend, Gal hopes to help ignite the belief that when we celebrate each other, it is possible to break boundaries and live a bold life!
I wish him all the luck in the world.