Mohamed Beshir Hamid

BETTER BETTERED BETTERMENT

SUDAN TIMES

BETTER BETTERED BETTERMENT

 

 

I spent all evenings last week with my eyes glued to the TV set, watching the unfolding fascinating drama of the debate on the government’s policy statement in the Constituent Assembly. In all honesty, it was the most gratifying experience in my life; it filled my heart with pride, my head with education, and my stomach with peanuts!

 

 

I knew the speeches were being relayed live by satellite to the outside world, and I could even hear in my mind the gasps of envy and the sighs of admiration in Westminster, Capitol Hill, the Kremlin, and the other seats of power all over the world. The special edition of the debate in Hansard would undoubtedly take the place of distinction in the Library of the British Museum, the Library of Congress, and the Soviet Academy of Sciences. It was not just the rich and sophisticated quality of the speeches and the subtle and poetic language that were, quite literally, a literal feast, but the spirit of grace that permeated the debate and a political revelation of the finest kind. Indeed the whole drama had been nothing less than well, Shakespearean.

 

For those who could not till they laid thir hands on a copy of Hansard, here is an edited transcript of the highlights of the historic debate. All the expletives have not been deleted.

 

The Lord Speaker:

The floor is yours, Lord Protector and ‘Sidi’ of the Realm.

 

The Lord Protector:

Most patent, grave and reverend signors, my very noble approved and elected peers,

Lend me your ears.

I come not to praise myself but to constructively self-critize me.

The mess that men do lives after them,

The good is oft nonexistent.

So be it with me.

I am the captain of this ruined band.

My first government hath been an utter and unmitigated failure.

It is not, nor can it come to any good.

(Sobbing)· But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue.

Men of few words are the best.

Silence is the perfectest herald of joy;

I were but a little happy if I could say how much.

 

Lord Speaker (Aside): What a fine performance.

The man is the best actor in the world,

Either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, tragi-comical,

Scene undividable, or poem unlimited:

 

The Opposition Emir (Aside): the Lord Protector loves to hear himself talk,

And will speak more in a minute than he will stand to in a month.

If we lend him our ears we will all be deaf and mute.

(Aloud) Sorrow so royally in you appears, 0 Lord Protector.

Your admittance of your past and present pains we thank you for.

But, hark, our remedies often in Sharia lie which we ascribe to ourselves.

It is too much proved that with devotion’s visage and pious action,

We do sugar over the devil himself.

 

The Opposition Commissar (Aside): Listen to the devil’s mate speaking !

(Aloud) I say it was never merry world here in Sudan since the banks took over

The prince of darkness is in the IMF entombed.

If I chance to talk a little wild, forgive me:

We have been too much .oppressed.

But Security recruited from the evil past, is mortals’ chiefest enemy.

(Pauses) There are many events in the womb of time which will be delivered.

The days are acoming when every man

Shall eat in safety under his vine what he plants;

And sing the merry songs of Peace to all his neighbours.

It is all in our peace initiative;

 

The DUP Duke:

Alas, my good friend, your Communist jargon was unwisely delivered.

Methinks money is the most important thing in the world;

And all sound and successful personal and national morality should have

This fact for its basis.

The greatest evil and the worst crime is Poverty.

 

The SAC Duke:

We propose, melords, a distinction between earthly and heavenly laws.

 

Lord Protector:

I here do proclaim, for the hundredth time, the

laws of the Realm will be achanged ….. ·

 

Opposition Emir (interrupting):

Mistaken art thou if you believe the laws of God will be replaced

In favour of alternative laws that thou desire.

 

SAC Duke:

We have something to say about the matter but given the chance……..

 

Lord Speaker:

You have been sacked, my good  Duke.

Speaketh now the Lord of Housing.

 

Lord of Housing:

Behold, melords,! With a stroke I mark the Emir.

His name herewith is contained in the land list of the returnees, though verily,

The list exists not.

 

Lord Protector (Angrily):

Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue: But if you mouth it; as many ofyour Party do, I shall, perforce, break up the coalition.

 

DUP Duke:

I say, then, we will have no more marriages.

(Aside) Only in the world he fills a place, which may be better supplied

When he has made it empty.

 

Lord Protector (Apologetically):

 Let me not to the marriage of true minds,

Admit impediments.

What God has joined together no man ever shall put asunder.

 

Opposition Emir (Aside):

God will take care of that.

 

Lord Protector (Continuing):

Oh! Never say that I was false of heart,

Our coalition is as strong as ever, and by our newly signed charter,

Made in good faith, stronger.

Alas, it is true I have gone here and there, And made myself a motley to the view,

Made old offences of affection new,

Most · true I have looked on truth

Askance and ·strangely; but, by all above,

These blenches gave my heart another youth.

 

UMMA Duke:

Pity them in the DUP, o Lord Protector, and wish they were renewed.

 

DUP Duke:

My ‘glass’ shall not persuade me I am old,

Nor the false accusation that it is Zionist-made.

Else I resign.

 

Lord Protector:

To me, fair friend, you can never be old.

(Aside) the fools could have invested in high-powered transmitters not glasses

(Aloud) We meant no reflection· on your noble Party.

Yet he that can endure to follow with allegiance a fallen lord,

Doth conquer him that did his master conquer and earns a place in the story.

 

Opposition Emir:

O It comes over my memory now as doth the raven over the infected house

Boding all. Thou doth remind me, O Lord Protector,

Of the evil insurrection in our Southern parts.

Shall we make the savage bull bear the yoke?

Shall it be holy war or ignominious peace?

 

Lord Protector:

Both, my loyal emir of the Opposition.

If you would take the pains but to examine the wars in our Southern parts

You shall find, I warrant you, that there is no tiddle-taddle

Nor pibble-pabble in our camp.

We arm no Moors as friendly legions.

So no peace, says I,

But our Ministry of Peace shall attempt to attain by peaceful council

What acts of war eludes us to achieve.

The web of our life is of a mingled yam, good and ill together,

The flowery way that leads to the broad gate and the great fire.

 

Opposition Emir:

(Aside) the Black Duke of the SPLM is the villian of the Earth.

Death to the fifth columnists!

 

Lord Emissary:

Our foreign policy in the far-flung lands shall follow

The same star of no-war and no-peace.

In Nature, an infinite book of secrecy,

A little I can read:

Foreign Disservice cometh in handy in the footsteps of Disinformation.

Mark my words: in the North our pleasure lies.

Since our lady is Cleopatra again, make her Anthony.

 

Opposition Commissar:

Methinks these strong Egyptian fetters you must break,

Or lose yourself in bondage.

 

Lord Protector:

Peace! Peace! Dost thou not know all the world is a stage,

And all the men and women merely players?

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts, His act being seven stages.

(Aside to the Lord Chamberlain)

Methinks our Lord Emissary hath a lean and hungry look.

He stoops too often. Such men need watching

 

The sacked Former Lord of Commerce:

Like an honest actor I forgot my part and am now in full disgrace

But I fear no more the frown of the great,

I am past the tyrant’s stroke.

It is like a barber’s chair that fits all buttocks.

But set honour in one eye and the deadly Mafia on the other;

And d I will look on both indifferently.

(Pauses and then goes into a passionate oration)

When in disgrace in fortune and the Lord Protector’s eyes,

I all alone beweep my outcast state

And trouble deaf Heaven with my bootless cries.

(Looks in contempt at the benches of the DUP Dukes)

Haply I think of the Alliance,

And this sweet remembrance such wealth brings,

That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

 

Lord Protector:

I do perceive here a divided duty.

Maybe, perchance, the young man lacks experience.

To persevere in obstinate condolement is a course of impious stubbornness.

It shows a will most incorrect to heaven, a heart unfortified, a mind impatient.

But no matter. Thy charges will be investigated.

Meanwhile, adieu Thou art too expensive for my possessing;

My bonds in thee are all determinate.

 

Lord of Industry:

My bond and that of all the merchants shall not be forfeited.

We demand our pound of flesh.

 

Lord Protector:

Methinks you speakth harshly.

His green years justify forgiveness.

The quality of mercy is not strained,

It blesses him that gives and him that takes away.

(Aside to the Lord of Industry) Have him beheaded when the right time cometh.

 

Lord of Industry:

(Eloquently) Being your slave what should I do but tend upon the hours and times of your desire?

I have no precious time at all to spend, nor services to do till you require.

(Aside) All contraband has been cleared from Port Sudn, meLord.

 

Lord of Finance:

Me too, meLord. I have some happy tidings: the treasury is booming

And coffers filled.

All loans are mortgaged.

 

Opposition Emir:

We are concerned, O Lord of Interior, about security in the realm.

The death of the princess hath been most disquitening.

(Aside) But not to prevent us verily to put it to political advantage.

 

Lord of Interior:

All strange and terrible events are welcome,

But comforts we desire

Yet if you wish, measure for measure will be taken:

Not a mouse shall disturb this hallowed house;

I am sent with broom before to sweep the dust behind the door.

 

Opposition Commissar:

(Aside) Wish you could sweep the remains of May.

 

Lord Protector:

All is well that ends well.

Indeed, sweet are the uses of adversity,

Which like the toady and venomous press, impede us not in our noble endeavours.

And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds peace in the South.

Prosperity in our treasury coffers, sermons in our substitute laws,

And good in everything.

(Aside to the new Lord of Disinformation)

See to it that the toady press is pressed hard enough.

 

DUP Duke:

(Aside to Umma Duke)

The Lord Protector is a fine orator and a man of his word.

 

Umma Duke:

(Replying) He hath indeed better bettered expectations

Than you must expect of me to tell you how.

(At hither point the Lord Speaker is aroused from his slumber and proclaims the government policy statement passed unanimously)

 

 

SUDAN TIMES 3 July 1987


 

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