Cities without Palms

by Tarek Eltayeb

Hamza flees his Sudanese village of Wad al-Nur to search for work in foreign lands. His desperate attempt to provide for his poverty-stricken family takes him to many places, far away from all he holds dear. I was saddened by this bleak portrayal of a country ravaged by disease and famine and I felt deep empathy for the long-suffering Hamza who endures needless hardship from which there is no escape.


I curse the injustice and demons of this world. I left my family under hunger's dominion, and came here to provide for them with money for food. I was forced to steal, yet when I gave up theft to look for proper work I found that all paths to an honest living were blocked. I will be forced to steal again, and this time I will not regret it: Theft is no crime for those who truly know hunger.
Translated by Kareem James Palmer Zaid



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