Khartoum’s Barons, Lords and Nobles

Mohammed Saad – Khartoum

Baron: an aristocratic billing originating from the feudal era. In a feudal society, a Baron comes directly below a Viscount.

Among the British House of Lords, the Baron holds the lowest stature.

The word Baron originates from the old French “Baron”, meaning “warrior” or “free”.

It merged with and later became similar to the old English “Beron”; meaning noble.

I cannot exactly recall why I had this in mind after finishing a phone call with an official at the EU office, whom I had contacted to inquire about the Union’s interest in subscribing to the Brown Land weekly. It is after all a fairly common occurrence in our line of work to build a rapport with organizations that are of economic and political importance in Sudan.

The voice at the other end of the phone came back to me with a condescendingly dramatic theatrical performance as if he was a player on a stage drawing cheers from barons, fops, lords, and viscounts in attendance.

What I had understood, asides from the belittling and disgust in his tone, was that he was pretty annoyed by our conversation and having to waste his time on a nothing commoner such as myself.

Despite the Baron’s audibly coherent disgust with me, he pointed out that the EU, and his Excellency, are contracted to a private firm that, among other things, manages their newspaper subscription affairs when it comes to Sudanese news sources.

He had not exactly made it clear why but he had hinted at the private firm relieving the EU from having to deal with local media professionals and their outlets.

He had refused to reveal details regarding this “professional” business when I had enquired about ways to contact this establishment.

This drove me to speculate whether this company is in any way related to the company that handles Hamadok’s employee payments.

Why does it operate behind a veil? What criteria does this company have for local media that makes them eligible for serving the EU? What must we at Brown Land do to appease these Barons?

Is it not the Europeans who talk about the need for transparency within state institutions? Is it not them who say that the citizens have a right to know?

Is it that African countries are yet to be worthy of these things?

My lords (in the EU), If I may say, what most people seem to know about these missions (post independence) is that they’re supposed to create a brotherly bond between them and the people coming over.

This minimally requires respecting the press and media professionals, making sure your PR representatives are well-versed in etiquette and manners, and ensuring they’re less inclined to talk down to, more inclined to assist.

Unfortunately, the Baron who had addressed me with his chin up, looking down his nose atat me, was Sudanese on both sides.

Mohammed Saad Kamil

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