Thoughts on Sudan

Earlier this month, 26-year-old Mohammed Hashim Mattar was killed by Sudanese paramilitary forces. His favorite shade of blue—appearing in social media campaigns and profile pictures—now symbolizes the martyrs of the pro-democratic revolution.

Riots began in December when protesters demanded lower food costs, fuel shortages, and the removal of dictator Omar al-Bashir, who oversaw the War of Darfur in 2004. When the military removed the president in April, the Sudanese people celebrated and initiated discussions of a transition to civilian rule. However, these peace talks were interrupted by reports of excessive violence on behalf of the Rapid Support Forces—the rebranded militia group that orchestrated the Darfur massacre and took Mattar’s life.

Mattar’s death is one of the over 128 murders in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan and epicenter of recent protests. These numbers are accompanied by more than 1000 cases of rape, numerous attacks on hospitals, and bodies dumped into the Nile. Furthermore, RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemeti, aims to take Bashir’s spot. The UN proclaims that Sudan’s situation could spiral into the next largest humanitarian crisis in modern history.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama once asked, “Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?” The Trump administration has made no substantive effort to support the Sudanese people in their transition to a democratic society, thus prompting the question of whether our political leaders value thwarting controversy over justice. Myanmar, Syria, and Yemen are just a handful of examples in which our fear of engagement resulted in long-term political turmoil. I urge Americans—as citizens of the most influential country in the world—to reflect on our global responsibility and to not allow Sudan to join the list of nations we have watched slide into chaos.

Sources:

Asmelash, Leah, and Faith Karimi. “What's Going on in Sudan and What the US Is Doing about It -- Explained.” CNN, Cable News Network, 13 June 2019, www.cnn.com/2019/06/13/africa/sudan-crisis-overview-trnd/index.html.

Lynch, Justin. “The West's Complicity in Sudan's Massacres.” The New Republic, 18 June 2019, newrepublic.com/article/154223/wests-complicity-sudans-massacres.

Oliphant, Roland. “Sudan Crisis: What Is Happening, and Where Does It Go from Here?” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 18 June 2019, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/18/sudan-crisis-what-is-happening-instagram-blue/.

Walsh, Declan. “Sudan Ousted a Brutal Dictator. His Successor Was His Enforcer.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 15 June 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/06/15/world/africa/sudan-leader-hemeti.html.

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