"But They Can't Manage to Silence Us:" Mahjoub Sharif’s Prison Poem “A Homesick Sparrow” (1990) as Resistance to Political Confinement
Schlagworte:Sudanese Poetry, Cultural Policy, Political Islam, Public Spaces, Political Prisoners
This article discusses the poem "A Homesick Sparrow" by the Sudanese poet Mahjoub Sharif (1948-2014) in the frame of recent cultural policies in Sudan. The poem was written in 1990, one year after the military coup that brought the present regime to power, while the poet was imprisoned together with others regarded as oppositionists to the new Islamist government. It reflects not only a specific, critical positioning against contemporary political events, but can be read in the context of a long-term, often harsh negotiation of the modalities of public appearances and utterances in Sudan. In this sense, the poetic language and the way it was brought outside the prison walls are understood here as a performative act of political resistance against governmental attempts of peripheralization vis-à-vis cultural policies aiming at homogenization and centralization through political Islam.