Article on Protests in Sudan

Full article found at: http://www.girifna.com/8702

Sudan: Rising Death Toll of Peaceful Protesters and Internet Blackout
Posted on September 26 2013 by GIRIFNA

Article Summary:

In recent weeks, there has been a new wave of protests in Sudan. Occurring in several cities, the protests have been triggered by dire economic circumstances which resulted in sharp increases in the cost of basic food items and fuel. Adding to these issues, the Sudanese government on Sept 17 announced that it was lifting state subsidies on sugar and other essential products. Beginning Sept 24, the price of gas almost doubled.

This article, posted on Sept 26, covers the first four days of the protests which began the previous Sunday when a speech delivered by President Al Bashir was broadcast live on Sudan TV confirming the lifting of the subsidies. One focus of this article is the Sudanese government’s violent crackdown on the protests, including: live ammunition against peaceful protesters resulting in deaths (about 100 in Khartoum alone), large-scale detentions of youth activists and political leaders; shutdown of the internet (coinciding with graphic images of dead and injured protesters circulating on social media) and high censorship of print media. These protests are distinguished from previous ones in that they did not spring from known political factions or youth movements, and they are so widely scattered that they are stretching thin the police and security forces, to the point that police administrative staff have been told to be ready for duty on the streets. Shortages in basic necessities have resulted from closed gas stations, shops, and markets, and schools were closed until the end of September. Also remarkable about these protests is the extensive use of cell phones, smart phones, and apps to communicate with each other and to send information on what was happening to the outside world. Which, of course, the government did their best to mitigate. Also detailed in the article, the confiscation of newspapers before they could be distributed, mass arrests of protesters and opposition leaders (names are listed in the article), and summary trials followed by lashings and fines.

Commentary:

I found this article when Greta Van Susteren, who I follow on twitter, posted the link. Girifna is a Sudanese organization begun by three university students in 2009. Here is a quote directly from their website: “These university students decided to call this new movement Girifna, defined as “we are fed-up.” In fact, these students, and a large number of their countrymen were indeed fed-up with war, corruption, dictatorship, injustice, and discrimination against minorities. In response to the bleak reality for Sudanese and the fate of their country, a non-violent resistance movement was born that could change the course of Sudan.”

This was a difficult article for me to summarize, not only because of disturbing content, but also because there really is very little “fluff” to sift out. I highly recommend you read the entire article.

First of all, I ask forgiveness in advance if I appear insensitive, to be insulting is not my intention, I certainly recognize that my information is extremely limited and so, my perception is as well.

Something striking about the report to me is that it is full of contradictions. Not of facts, but of perceptions. I know little about Sudan, only what I see (very occasionally) on the news. My impression of the country is that it’s a third-world battleground, with the people stuck between groups struggling for power. And yet, the opposition groups, protesters, and activists are relying on current technology to not only communicate with each other but to report to the world exactly what’s going on.

Another contradiction, as someone raised in a nation born of a struggle against tyranny, I am simultaneously horrified at the Sudanese government’s treatment of its citizens, and fascinated by the struggle for liberty.

Finally…isn’t it always the goal of the US to support people striving for freedom? Why is the US media largely silent on this?

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About helpterriout

I'm fifty years old, married with three kids and two grandkids. After losing my customer service job in 2008, I've gone back to school. Right now, that's the main focus of my life.
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