The people of Sudan are protesting for their freedom, but authorities have shut down the internet and led a brutal crackdown in a bid to close them off from the rest of the world.
— Amnesty International USA (@amnestyusa) June 14, 2019
“Hospitals in Khartoum record more than 70 cases of rape in aftermath of attack on protest. More than 100 people were killed and as many as 700 injured in the attack last Monday on a sit-in and clashes afterwards. Many victims have not sought medical treatment, either because of fear of reprisals, insecurity in the city, or because care has been limited. Human rights activists and experts have described the reports of sexual violence as reliable.” – (The Guardian, June 11th)
The pro-democratic movement that is led by the Sudanese Professionals Association want the civilian rule and a long period of transition before any new election begin to properly prepare voters and allow the country to have systematic time to mature politically. In the beginning, the pro-democratic organisers and the military council had agreed to a three-year plan to enter into a transition phase towards democracy – but then negotiations fell apart quickly. Then the military came out and said that they will hold elections within nine months.
As of today, (June 11), an Ethiopian envoy states that Sudan’s opposition has agreed to suspend their campaign of civil disobedience and a general strike, in exchange for military concessions. This strike brought a standstill as the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces alliance tried to pressure the military council to cease their own power.
The top US diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy, is going to Sudan this week according to the State Department and the BBC. Nagy aims to, “call for a cessation of attacks against civilians.”
Prior to that, several US officials (anonymously) complained that the Trump administration had ‘no solid strategy’ on Sudan beyond sharply worded statements condemning violence. This clearly was not sharp enough to coordinate between the State Department, National Security Council and the US Agency for International Development.
The biggest issue with Sudan is that there is very little intelligence or insight on the political and social crisis when it comes to forecasting a plan of any diplomacy – especially when there is a ban on internet and communication from within. On top of that, during the United States (and the rest of the world’s) absence, the Gulf states (Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt) are stepping in.
If we have learnt anything from history, it’s that things crumble when there is no communication or intelligence. Things become too far gone, and uncontrollable long after it is reported in the news. That history itself is, in the words of media theorist Marshal McLuhan: “Rite words in rote order.”
Featured Image from: Sky News