14 Oct 2019

 

It Is Intifada, Not Carnival, Al Bashir!

"Back-to-back with the political protest, a cultural rebirth is unfolding in Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North (Bahri): veils are slowly falling off, ladies clad in casual jeans and dungarees are..."

By Victor Lugala

Is Veteran Sudanese President, Field Marshal Omar Hassan Ahmed Al Bashir on social media? If he is not, he now has a good reason to be on social media. State Radio and Television Omdurman will not broadcast to his living room what is happening in the streets of Khartoum.
If Al Bashir sees what is happening outside the military headquarters, he must be enjoying himself, wishing he could stay a bit longer to enjoy the colourful street carnival. What is now a sit-in is actually characteristic of Sudan's intifada, or popular uprisings.
But this very intifada is different from the one of 1964, which toppled General Ibrahim Aboud, for the Oxonian Sadiq Al Mahdi to become prime minister at the age of 31 years.
This sit-in is also different from the popular uprising of 1985, which toppled Field Marshal Gaafar Mohammad Nimeiri, and paved way for the return of Sadiq Al Mahdi 2.
In June 1989, the 45-year-old Brigadier Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, tired of fighting the SPLA in the bush, didn't wait for another intifada. He did what young military officers did in post-colonial Africa: he shot to the Presidential Palace through a bloodless military coup.
The ongoing street protests in Khartoum have taken four months. Incredible! Just this week the people took their protest to the doorsteps of the uniformed men, to cajole and entice them with slogans of a New Sudan (a term coined by the late John Garang), popular music, including rap...
And then there is the iconic 22-year-old engineering student Alaa Salah, who stole the show by climbing on top of a vehicle with her milk-white toub wrapper to address the protesters. Her photo has since gone viral, even photoshopped and headlined as the woman of liberty.
Back-to-back with the political protest, a cultural rebirth is unfolding in Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North (Bahri): veils are slowly falling off, ladies clad in casual jeans and dungarees are sandwiched between soldiers sipping Sudanese tea; music and dance, with popular singers and uniformed men flashing a victory sign are carried shoulder high; young men and women are mixing freely, and what better music is ideal for a street protest other than rap with Arabic lyrics! Young Sudanese are claiming their space in the global amphitheatre.
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