Arrested at Karrari

If I get arrested one more time for some really stupid reason, I am going to give some serious thought to quitting this country.

The first time, taking a photo of a nice rustic café on the edge of Kilagla, I have to admit that it was sort of fun and dangerous. Now it is just tiresome.

Having been in Khartoum for almost nine months, I decided that it was about time I paid a visit to the legendary battlefields of Karrari. But, aware that they are in close proximity to a military zone, I left my camera and anything incriminating back home.

I was just a regular tourist for the day.

Having now seen the battlefields, I can honestly say they are worth a visit (really atmospheric, just as I imagine that they would have looked over a hundred years ago) – and, had I not just been arrested for going there, I would be urging people to also go and see them.

There’s a rather interesting plaque detailing the Battle of Omdurman, and explaining how fantastically brave the Mahdi forces were, triumphant even in defeat. The plaque is finished off with a nice few words from old Winnie Churchill: “They were the bravest people who have ever set foot on the Earth. We did not defeat them in Karrari. We only destroyed them with the power of weapons and fire.” A fitting epitaph for such a battle.

So, the government has whacked up this great monument to the dead, which clearly they would like people to see and appreciate – and then the officers in the nearby military barracks are intent on arresting those people, like myself, who are interested in appreciating it.

I spent about an hour in the military headquarters explaining that I wasn’t a spy but a teacher, and repeatedly asking whether I could leave yet, whilst the slack-jaw yokels painstakingly ploughed through my guidebook and examined any marker that I had wedged within the pages to try and discern whether I really was about to overthrow the government.

Eventually, they let me go with a warning not to return. Apparently, the monument is within the domain of the military. Now that’s just daft.

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4 Responses to “Arrested at Karrari”

  1. William Says:

    That should make your journey through immigration more interesting next time you visit the States 🙂

    “Have you ever been arrested?”
    “Yes”
    “Can you tell me what for sir”
    “Spying”
    “Could you come this way please…”

  2. drLisica - Damjan Says:

    Hey, just read your blog! Fantastic! I was also in Sudan two times. And got similar experience. I didn’t land in jail because I had some connections. But they have taken my camera and all the films (I was shooting with analog SLR). Later I got the camera back. Off course the films I did not. But otherwise, I think Sudan is one of the most fascinating countries. You can check some photos oof mine on: http://photofox.wordpress.com/2008/02/16/this-is-africa/

  3. Rebels in Khartoum #2 « Blakerig’s Weblog Says:

    […] When they attacked, the heaviest fighting was in two key areas. Um Badda, site of the Whirling Dervishes, and Karrari, where the famous battle between British and Mahdi forces took place in 1898. Ironic that it was Karrari where I was taken, to probe the belongings of the rebels at the security station, when only a few months ago I was arrested for an hour by the military there. […]

  4. Khalid Hammour Says:

    If u r in Rome “Behave like Romans”,

    Have been arrested near the White house cuz i am black and using a digital camera there !! I think George bush finished all his work all around the world and just looking for me .

    I am just a tourist , suck USA.

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