Sudan; A Generation’s Legacy

April 11, 2019.

The people from Sudan witness history unfold before their eyes as Omar al-Bashir is ousted and arrested, ending the 30 year regime that oppressed the people of Sudan. After decades blemished by insecurity, famine, strict Sharia Law, and the Darfur genocide, the streets of Khartoum heard cries of happiness for the first time since its independence. Khartoum was adorned by the voices of a former voiceless generation, and feelings of hope flooded the hearts of the people in Sudan.

However, the serenade of his departure came to an abrupt end. The transitional military council that took over the government country betrayed the trust of its people as it announced that the power shall remain with them. This sparked multiple peaceful protests across Sudan. However, with streets once flooded with cries of joy just months ago, Khartoum was now flooded with cries of despair and the blood of its citizens as armed forces opened fire against the protestors. Today, Sudan is facing yet another tragedy where people are being systematically raped and hundreds killed for their desire of basic human rights.

How Could This Happen?

It all stems from the “transitional military council” formerly known as the Janjaweed. These are the same people who oversaw the Darfur Genocide in 2003. Re-branded as the Rapid Support Forces and legitimized by the European Union, the Janjaweed now possess more power than ever before. I will try to dive into the psychological and behavioural factors that could have caused this. The terror tactics used by the Janjaweed in Darfur and what is happening in Sudan are not something we haven’t seen before. The systematic rape of women as a tactic of terror and spiritual annihilation was a part of the ethnic cleansing techniques that the Hutus tribe exhorted over the Tutsi tribe in the 1944 genocide in Rwanda and that Japanese troops exhorted over the women of Nanjing during the Second Sino-Japanese war in 1937. The way militias are painting the Nile River red with the blood of its people without hesitation resembles the way US military troops tormented the Abu Ghraib prisoners in 2004, where Iraqi prisoners were blatantly abused by American citizens. So, how are these events and what is happening in Sudan connected? Stanford professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo, best known for his involvement with the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment, teaches us that “morality can be disengaged by the tactic of dehumanizing potential victims” (Zimbardo 17). In Rwanda, the Hutus referred to the Tutsis as “animals” or “beasts”. Testimonies from US soldiers in Abu Ghraib describe how they saw Iraqi prisoners not as humans, but as prison scum that lived in their prison. This is what happened in the past, and this is what is happening in Sudan.“Those are not protestors, they are gangs which we have won against early on” “This is a warning for all martyrs and conspirators who are a threat for Sudanese people”. These are words from the Janjaweed leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” when talking about the victims of Khartoum. The way he alienates protestors from Sudanese people enables his forces to commit the atrocities we are seeing in Sudan without hesitation. Moreover, this resembles the tactics used by President Donald Trump to alienate Mexican-Americans in the US and enable the horrible conditions in the US immigrant holding centres. So, what can we learn from all of these? That this principle is unbound from time and from location, but is rather a dispositional force present in all of these events that shows how human beings are capable of totally abandoning their humanity for a mindless ideology.

Why no government has tried to stop it

Sudan has a role of utmost strategic importance in the world. For instance, Sudan has direct access to the Red Sea, a route where one tenth of the world’s crude oil is shipped. Moreover, Sudan has reportedly been supplying child soldiers to fight in the Yemen War, which is the reason why countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia support Hemedti’s militia. Another contributor to Hemedti’s forces is Egypt, who fear that Sudan’s peaceful transition to a democratic government would spark ideas of revolution from the Egyptian citizens. However, the biggest enabler for Hemedti’s militia is the EU. Sudan is a major hub for immigrants and the EU finances non-profits and border patrols in the country to facilitate their passage, and who controls the Sudanese borders? The Janjaweed.

So is History Repeating Itself?

The Sudanese government will not do anything. The international community will not do anything. Is history just going to repeat itself? There is one thing that gives me hope about the situation in Sudan: our generation. Our generation in Sudan lived through a genocide, overthrew a 30 year regime, and is still fighting for freedom. We are the generation that thrives for change. We are a generation that is more connected than ever. I feel that if you ask previous generations one event that defined their era, answers would vary from country to country. But our generation is so interconnected through social media, that I feel that every single thing that happens in the world, affects all of us. When Parkland happened, thousands of us rose against gun violence across the world. We all mourned after the Paris and Manchester attacks. Syria, Puerto Rico, Christchurch, Sri Lanka, Orlando all atrocious events that deeply affected thousands of people across the world and marked our generation. But behind every event, we were all there for each other. Borders and cultures are getting more and more blurred as we all find connections with each other. That is why I still have hope for Sudan. It is horrible what is happening and in no way I can understand the pain that all these events caused nor what the people in Sudan are going through, but what makes me hopeful for Sudan is that for the first time in the county’s history, Sudan stands united, with the whole world behind their cause.



Business Student at Canada || Sports and Esports enthusiast || Writer for The Strangers Almanac

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Juan Ramirez

Business Student at Canada || Sports and Esports enthusiast || Writer for The Strangers Almanac