The Sudanese Crisis: The History and A Call to Action
By now, you have likely heard about the Sudanese Uprising. But due to little coverage, you may have questions.
With a flood of social media avatars turned blue, and a large number of hashtags created, the solidarity expressed with Sudan has been widespread. Unfortunately, the spread of information has been a little less extensive. Social media makes it difficult to separate the truth from misinformation.
We spoke with Sudanese-American Lina Salam to learn more about the uprising.
Salam’s parents, like many other Sudanese across the country, left Sudan during Al-Bashir’s dictatorship. She has remained in touch with her Sudanese roots and culture, with consistent visits and even having lived in Sudan.
When asked about Sudanese culture, Salam references a culture rooted in a range of elements from bakhour (a Sudanese incense thought to embrace all who enter the home), to music of Sudan’s golden era in the 1950s. More importantly, she thinks of the “intergenerational discussions between friends and family reminiscing of the better days Sudan once had before our current regime. A Sudan with true freedom, justice, and peace- that's the Sudan that we are all seeking.”
In this article you can find out more information about the uprising itself and how you can help
The words of this article are either direct quotes or interpretations of Lina Salam.
A Timeline of the Uprising:
Protests first erupt, triggered by the rising cost of fuel and bread prices, but the demonstrations in Sudan quickly widened to anti-government protest and call for the overthrow of 30-year dictator President Omar Al-Bashir. Bashir came into power via a military coup in 1989 that ousted the democratically elected government of prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi, who was president at the time.
February 22nd, 2019
Al-Bashir dissolves the government and declares a state of emergency banning all types of “unauthorized” gatherings directs security forces to put an end to the protests by any means necessary. Protests continue and security forces respond with live ammunition, as the number of casualties continues to rise.
April 6th, 2019
Exactly 34 years from a previous mass sit in that took place in 1985 to overthrow ex-President Gaafar Nimeiry, thousands of Sudanese people gathered and staged the largest sit in in Sudanese history outside of the military headquarters of the armed forces in Khartoum.
April 11th, 2019
Army generals declare Al-Bashir and other high-ranking government officials in criminal custody and join the people of Sudan revolting against the regime.
A transitional military council is formed and Omar Ibn Ouf, Bashir's former minister of defense, is put into power along with the military rule for a two-year transitional period until elections are held. These announcements are still not aligned with the peoples demands and less than 24 hours after Bashir's topple, Ibn Ouf resigns. A Transitional Military Council, also known as the TMC is an entity that took over power after ex-President Al-Bashir and represents “the State.” Ibn Ouf then names General Abdel Fatah al Burhan to succeed him and has a deputy head known as Mohamed Hamdan Diglo, commonly known asHimedti by his side. Himedti is most infamously known as the brutal militia leader of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), also known as the Janjaweed, whom are responsible for the violent genocide in Darfur. This is a group that was a group that legitimized by the Bashir regime and rebranded as the RSF under the Sudanese Military. They are also responsible for human trafficking and curtailing migration at the borders of Sudan to deploy as foot soldiers for the war in Yemen. In summary, they are truly the devils work.
The state continues to respond with brutality, tear gas, mass arrests, live ammunition, hundreds of casualties, hundreds of injuries, and eventually leading to a full-blown massacre.
Tensions that have arisen due to the uprising and the responsiveness of the government.
The government has responded very violently. Most recently, June 3rd-just days before the Eid celebration for the holy month of Ramadan, there was a violent military crackdown on protesters at the sit in to forcefully disperse them from camping out at the army headquarters. This resulted in a total ~200 killed, over 850 injured, almost 40 women raped, 40 bodies retrieved from being dumped in the Nile river, and more than 6 hospitals shut down by the RSF to make treatment unavailable to protesters. It is important to note that these numbers continue to rise as bodies are recovered and identified.
In response, on June 9th, a nationwide civil disobedience is put into effect to put pressure on the regime and stop all revenue to the state by going on strike.
What is it that Sudanese people are asking for? And why?
The people of Sudan refuse to return to the oppressive and dictatorship ways of the regime and want a true civilian government. Additionally, the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) met Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed for negotiations to be made with the regime and came up with six demands, all demands that align with the people.
The removal of the deployed armed forces from Khartoum and throughout other towns across Sudan.
The formation of an international committee to investigate the crimes committed against the Sudanese people/population.
The release of release all detainees and those facing unfair prosecution for charges against the regime.
The return of internet/WIFI across Sudan
The freedom of press and all media channels
The TMC to be removed and take full responsibility for violently emptying the sit-in site.
Media Coverage (or dire lack thereof)
Sudan needs visibility. Sudan is in dire need of the international community's support. There is a full-on blood massacre where people are being violently and ruthlessly murdered, women and children- raped, bodies being dumped in the Nile river, many bodies still unidentified or retrieved, and its barely making headlines.
It has been 6 months since the uprising started and to add on to this all, there is a nationwide internet/WIFI blackout. We all know how dangerous this combination can be. And frankly my people have sacrificed too much to continue being a part of this “hopeless African” narrative. We need people to get involved and learn more about what is happening. To utilize their social media platforms to raise awareness and uplift the voices of those that are silenced. This type of violence should not be normalized. People need to stop disregarding what is happening. People need to change the way they view the continent, that countries in African cannot exist as anything other than countries that live in poverty and war and that that's all they’ll ever be. Encouraging people to engage in what is happening is a way to put pressure on the regime to stop the violence and hand over power as a civilian government to the people. Sudanese people will not stop until this happens. We all know no true revolution exists without bloodshed and the Sudanese are determined to achieve the true freedom, justice, and peace that our country deserves by any means possible.
But I know that fear has a very real and concrete power of preventing us from doing and saying the things that align with our very purpose. Yet Sudanese across the nation and on the grounds are choosing every day to change that. Women and men on the frontlines leading the revolution, especially our younger generation, who never allowed fear to dictate their beliefs for a free and just Sudan, but rather marched through the streets of Burii, Shambat,Wu’duuri, wad-nubawi, alsaafa, jabra, alabasiya, a’tbara, alubayid, and in every inch of my beloved Sudan these last six months- it becomes our collective responsibility to stand in support and solidarity with them by any means necessary. Sudanese and non-Sudanese, allies and beyond.
As a community we must call out the silence of our communities and the media... and remind our fellow Americans to utilize their voices to change that narrative. To dismantle systems that oppress those not in positions of privilege and power. To spark change for our future generations and put an end to the systemic cycle of suffering. To proclaim that we will not tolerate the violence and pain that our people are subjected to. To remember, honor, and celebrate the lives of all our martyrs, whose spirits remain with us.
Many across the Sudanese diaspora have been shedding light on a movement, known as “Mattar Blue” or Blue for Sudan to raise awareness and honor the martyrs of the revolution by changing one's profile pic to a clue color, most recently termed “Mattar Blue.” This originally started among the families and friends of a martyr of the revolution named Mohamed Mattar to honor and remember the life he lived by changing their profile pictures to his favorite color. This act eventually became a movement to honor all the martyrs of the revolution and began -and continues- to spark attention in social media, raising awareness on the current state and recent massacre in Sudan.
How can I get involved? How can I learn more
The master document contains articles, different social media platforms to follow, and funding/petition initiatives. Can be shared with anyone: Bit.ly/sudanuprising
Use the following hashtags:
The following social media pages on Instagram and Twitter are reliable sources for updates and information.
Official Sudan Page (Instagram)
Sara Elhassan (Twitter)
Khalid Albaih (Instagram)
Ramey Dawoud (Instagram)