Posted on Jun 21, 2019
A big part of celebrating Eid is spending time with families and friends, appreciating their presence in our lives. However on the blessed morning of June 3, 2019, as the month of Ramadan was near its end, Sudanese people woke up to a violent massacre. Many spent the day pulling the lifeless bodies of their loved ones out of the Nile river and mourning their loss.
Lana Haroun | Image source from Twitter: @lana_hago
The people of Sudan were made victims of a government that ordered para-military forces to break up the peaceful protests occurring for several months. Reports of violent oppression spread all over Sudan detailing stories of beatings, murder and rape - all for the purpose of crushing the people’s dissidence.
The violence and protests in Sudan is very personal to me, as my family is from there. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Sudan to see my family. I had planned a trip there this winter, but it’s looking less and less like a possibility. Most of my calls to my family are in anxious anticipation, like I’m expecting to hear bad news. I’m grateful to Allah for keeping my family safe so far.
For those that are unfamiliar with the crisis in Sudan, here’s a quick summary:
On December 19, 2018 the people of Sudan took to the streets of Khartoum in protest of a 30-year dictatorship that failed them time and time again. People of all ages and from different ethnic backgrounds and parts of the country came together to speak out against a regime whose policies have created unstable living conditions and economic strife.
The sentiment was shared across the entire Sudanese nation and even outside of the country among the members of the diaspora. In different cities all over the world, Sudanese people leveraged the power of social media to organize protests in different cities and to spread word of the struggles of their people.
After many months of persistent protests, the president of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir, was finally deposed by the military on April 11. The Sudanese people had been heard, but this did not bring peace to the streets because the transitional military council that continued to rule the nation was composed of allies of the previous regime.
General Mohamed Hamdan, the man in charge of this military council, is known for leading the genocide of the people of Darfur. With this oppressive regime still maintaining power, the protests continued their unfaltering protests in favor of a democratic civilian rule. Internet blackouts soon engulfed the country.
I remember calling my father in the weeks that followed the end of Al-Bashir’s rule, and I was surprised at hearing music and chanting that sounded more celebratory than rebellious. My father described his enjoyment in watching younger people protest, the pride he felt being part of his people making history. The general mood was positive and hopeful - almost celebratory.
That mood again changed completely once Rapid Support Forces brought violent means of subjugation in an attempt to silence the people. However, even as the death toll reaches more than 100 and is rising daily, the people have not been silenced and will continue to protest until Sudan is finally free of the regime’s oppressive and violent rule.
How Can I Help the People of Sudan?
1. The most important thing is to spread awareness to the largely silent international community. There is a shade of blue that is becoming the symbol of the revolution and is used to stand in solidarity with those who passed in it’s noble efforts. Many have changed their profile pictures to this blue, but you can take it beyond that simple social media show of support.
2. Donate to the relief efforts in Sudan. There are also various means in which you can donate to provide relief effort. Save the Children is working on ongoing relief efforts as well as Islamic Relief USA.
Mahmoud and his cousin at a protest for Sudan in New York.
3. Use a hashtag in your social media posting. Say what you want about hashtag activism, but it does serve a purpose in spreading awareness. If you can’t donate or participate in protests, simply post news articles or share other people’s updates/tweets on social media with the hashtag #IamTheSudanRevolution. By spreading the word we can shed light on the events that are happening in Sudan and provide a voice for the people suffering at the hands of a tyrannical regime.
4. Follow these people on Twitter to learn more about the protests in Sudan: Yousra Elbagir is a Sudanese news reporter who works for Channel 4 News out of the UK. She has consistently covered the events since the early days of the protests and is in and out of Sudan. Isma'il Kushkush is a Sudanese-American journalist who is reporting on the violence, and Hind Makki, an interfaith educator of Sudanese origin, has also been regularly sharing updates, news articles and insights into the upheaval.
Do you follow any other journalists or activists to know more about Sudan? Do you have family there? Share your stories below.
Mahmoud Yousif is Haute Hijab’s software engineer.