For weeks the people of Sudan have been in revolt against the vicious dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir. Here two Sudanese comrades from Dublin offer an account of the background to the uprising and call for international solidarity.
Osama Said Kambal, translated and expanded upon by Muiz Hajaz.
There hasn’t been such an example of concerted international backing for a regime as is happening today with the al-Bashir dictatorship in Sudan. The October 1917 Revolution, after its victory, faced 17 different enemies both internally and externally, but in our case, we find a historical uniqueness in the consensus of our enemies and their agreement on the importance of the permanence of the current regime.
This extends from the far east as in China and North Korea to the far west as in USA, the European Union, Russia, all of the pugnacious brothers of Arabic Gulf not to mention the regional dictators and warlords in African Union and Libya. Therefore, the global imperialist alliance against the Sudanese revolution is taking place on various fronts at home and abroad and in various scenarios. Every single one these powers is benefiting in their own way from a regime that became more of mercenary go-to-man than a government with any sort of sight, ideology or moral stance.
This is ranges from sending regime militia to fight on the ground on behalf of the Saudis in Yemen, to hosting Russian companies in gold mines where they’re allowed to bring in security companies like Wagner with their snipers, seen shooting locals. Fractions of the government are run by the CIA and have turned Sudan into an intelligence war zone with other imperialist forces, but both need to maintain the battlefield and its regime guard. The EU on the other hand isn’t too far from the list of top beneficiaries: since 2014 the regime is acting like an external border control unit for Europe. The Khartoum Process agreement was signed with EU whereby funding and training was provided to the regime, totalling €250 million so far, who delegated border control to its fearsome Rapid Support Force (previously known as Janjaweed). They are tasked with controlling immigration movement on the Libyan Sudanese borders far away from Europe and its shores.
Apart from the regime and its allies, we also face the internal enemies of the revolution who oppose change through public uprisings and political strikes. They are seeking what a lot of Sudanese refer to as the “soft landing” for the regime. Strongly backed by the EU, this entails a limited change of personnel while retaining the essence of the system itself, meaning less losses of the global imperialism, similar to what happened to the revolution in Egypt.
The current uprising, which is the latest one in a our 30 years resistance against the al-Bashir regime, started on the 19th of December 2018. Protests have erupted and swept across all of the Sudan, in response to a long down-spiral of the country’s economic condition. These spontaneous, peaceful protests are an inevitable consequence of the ever worsening lack of access to necessities as basic as bread, fuel and access to personal bank current accounts, due to the government monetary limitations on cash dispensers at the banks in a desperate attempt to control inflation. It reached a state where life-saving medications like insulin and children’s cancer treatments became scarce. Although the initial trigger of the uprising was the dire economic situation, in the following days, people flooded the streets across Sudan demanding an end to corruption, human rights violations and al-Bashir’s tyrannical regime. They are now protesting more than just soaring basic living expenses and austerity measures.
The regime’s response, as always, has been to suppress the protest violently and civilians demonstrators were faced with live ammunition used with the intention to kill. This is evident by the fact that most fatalities and injuries are direct gunshots to the head, neck and chest. The number of fatalities is over forty. This has been accompanied by mass arrests, torture to death, and shutdown of social media outlets and the Internet.
The international response to the atrocities has being of one of moral equivalence between unarmed civilians and the regime’s ruthless security agencies, police, army including the Rapid Support Force previously known as Janjaweed. This is evidenced by UN and African Union response of asking the regime to investigate its own crimes by the former and calling for “mutual restraint” by the later!
Of course the world’s ‘guardians of human-rights’ in the EU governments have kept completely silent over the atrocities for over two weeks now.
Since his military coup in July 1989, Bashir ruled the country with an iron fist using every trick in the book to stay in power. The Sudanese people’s struggle against the tyrannical dictatorship started from day one and the answer has always being the same. In Darfur alone, regime genocide and ethnic cleansing claimed the lives of over 200 thousand (only 10 thousand by Bashir’s own admission). An arrest warrant for Bashir was issued by the International Criminal Court in 2009, which itself became a card used to blackmail the regime by Western imperialist governments, until it was no longer effective and the UN Security Council didn’t mention it any more. Now Bashir is allowed to travel freely from South Africa to Russia, China, the Middle East etc.
Meanwhile civil struggle met a different fate: trade unions were dissolved from the start; leaders and members including communists, socialists and democrats were dismissed from their jobs in tens of thousands. Civil strikes were banned and some resulted in arrests, torture and deaths as in the case of the late Dr. Ali Fadul, the Doctors Union president in 1990 who was tortured to death for organising a doctor’s strike. Civil peaceful demonstrations in September 2013 were met with brutal crackdown from the start – over 270 unarmed protesters were gunned down in just 5 days. And all this met with an international silence and indifference.
The popular experience in Sudan is diverse and rich, Sudanese people managed to revolt and change the regime through civil struggle twice before, in October 1964 and April 1985. Also the December revolution is different from previous uprisings in many areas. First it’s going on in almost every city with unprecedented unity from all sectors, morale is sky high and there has been a strong determination evident to continue the protest despite losses and brutality for over two weeks now. We will continue until we change the regime, bring justice to its long list of victims in almost every corner of Sudan, and build our true democracy and social reforms. Solidarity protests have taken place in Dublin, Philadelphia, Edmonton, Toronto, San Antonio and beyond. In their tens and hundreds, ordinary people have taken to the streets to demand their government takes action.
There has never been a time when we needed solidarity from outside world more than now.