The revolution no one cares about
This is what a real crisis looks like
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
by Katie Bell
Sudan is seething in political turmoil, not that you’d know from mainstream media. As MPs in Westminster shout playground insults at each other and bicker over semantics, a real crisis thousands of miles away is going ignored. The Sudanese people are marching in the streets. They will not cease until President Omar al-Bashir steps down from his 30 year reign of violence and oppression.
There are no signs that he will voluntarily step down and he is adamant on running again in the 2020 elections. Bashir states that, “those seeking power are welcome - [but] only through free, transparent elections.” This shows blind ignorance to the fact that his repressive rule has led to this burgeoning revolution.
He cannot seem to fathom that there is a difference between simply retaining power and abusing it.
The Sudanese people have good reason to protest. This is not a quibble over taxes or some frivolous nonsense. Lives are at stake. Bashir has massacred around 400,000 of his own people in the largest ethnic cleansing since the Rwandan genocide in 1994. It should be no surprise, therefore, that he is the first sitting president to be indicted by the International Criminal Court for a campaign of war crimes and genocide. This follows long standing allegations of corruption throughout his government. Such is his personal wealth that a chief prosecutor went so far as to describe him not as a ‘crusader’ but as a ‘thief.’
Yet, he seems almost invincible. The warrant for his arrest was issued in 2009, a whole decade ago. It may be supported by NATO but the neighbouring countries of Jordan and Kenya have failed to arrest him even on his presidential visits, despite having unquestioned authority to do so. It is with this incompetence, or perhaps it is more kindly understood as fear, that the neighbouring nations have sat back and watched the maddening, senseless violence unfold. Now, the people will have to step forward where others have failed to do so.
Massacres aside, Sudan is under huge economic strain. The National Congress Party took what seems a ludicrous step to spend over 2/3 of the country’s budget on security. This left a pathetic 5% for health, education and social services. This is a damning insight into how the government regards its own people. Sudan is failing with a lack of hard cash and worrying shortages in necessities like medication and bread. The government, again, takes no responsibility. It blames their economic woes on, “foreign powers aiming to destabilise the country.”
The people of Sudan, thank god, have yet to be placated by these lies.
The ongoing Omdurman protests are the longest political protests since Sudan gained independence in 1956. Bashir’s government militias have been killing protesters, murdering journalists and taking every step possible to stop any information leaking to the outside world and revealing the vicious instability within Sudan. They will smite anyone or anything threatening to unveil the peoples’ plight and will continue to use violence against anyone questioning their power. The people of Sudan are no longer afraid, and I feel this is only the beginning of the end of the uprising of Sudan. We must stand with them. We support these protests. We must ensure that freedom prevails.