Washington DC Demonstration: When Sudanese Turned Against Sudan

9 Jun

In March of this year, one of Sudan’s tribal leaders opened a charity polyclinic in Dongola, in honor of his late father who has served Sudan and Sudanese people in so many ways until passing away in 1987. In the first day of its opening, 3,000 people in Dongola were seen and treated free of charge by top Sudanese doctors and consultants who flew in especially for the opening. Then this tribal leader continued on with his daily life, doing great tribal leader thangs. Until one day, he was invited by the Sudanese Government (oh, snap) to go to Washington DC to represent his tribe. He dandily accepts, arrives in DC– cane, shawl and all, and strolls towards the White House like the badass tribal leader that he is, along with a number of other honorable tribal leaders from all over Sudan. (namely, Zaghawa tribe, Al Fur, Al Rashaiyda, AlShukria, Rufa3a, and many more)

Except that there was one pesky problem…he and the elders of other Sudanese tribes were harassed by a rally of Sudanese people in DC, who all but threw rocks at them. No really, Sudanese people were harassing their own tribal leaders who belong to ALL sorts of political parties, including being declared opposition.

Now here’s the thing, I’m going to ask you my dear reader to withhold your angry political breath for one second, and remember that Sudan isn’t the government, unless of course you just want to mix the two and basically hand over our culture to the government on a silver platter/sainiyya. That’s your prerogative. Except, if you’re going to use your simpleton George Bushian motto “If you ain’t with us, you’re with the terrorists” mentality just at least remember that these tribal leaders have helped and will continue to help Sudanese people, of their own tribe and other tribes, more than you will in a lifetime with or without Al Bashir.

I’m deeply saddened and embarrassed by what our tribal leaders were subjected to in DC, but I’m affected on a deeper level to see that the lines between Al Watan, our Sudan, and Al hukooma, have been so blurred that this has occurred. No you cannot demand that tribal leaders cannot cooperate with the government. Why? It is the current government. We are ALL cooperating with it. It’s the government because we as a people failed to remove them time and time and time again. Yes, we’re all immensely angry about this, but don’t take out your anger on the wrong people. Especially our own tribal elders, who went to DC to humanize our nation that receives little to no coverage on anything other than negativity. People who are now escorted by American security teams, and had to change their hotels in DC just because they are being harassed and threatened by their own people. What have we become? The question is, what has this rally achieved? What was the point? Other than depressing people who continuously try to help their tribes in the best way they can?

We may have missed a rare opportunity to humanize our Sudan and let our cultural heritage shine in lieu of the constant focus on politics. But we also missed the point- let’s not rise up against each other if we have failed to rise up against our government. And you know why it is important to humanize our Sudan in the US? Because, sanctions. Because that very tribal leader who is trying to treat people via his free clinic in Dongola, desperately needs the US to cease or ease the sanctions that are affecting access to medical equipment needed and generally affecting the lives of the tribe he looks after. At this point, I’ll support any and all efforts to humanize our country and end sanctions, and so should you. So if you’re in DC and like to rally, please use your power to ask the US government to stop sanctioning the innocent. Or at the very least, make some fine shay bil legaimat* and go sit down with your tribal leaders while they’re there, you might catch up on a thing or two about Al Watan rather than being so focused on Al Hukooma.

*actually maybe take them out for some Starbucks, they’ve probably never had it, because, sanctions.


5 Responses to “Washington DC Demonstration: When Sudanese Turned Against Sudan”

  1. hafoot June 10, 2015 at 5:38 am #

    Welcome back, really missed your refreshing articles. Its hard to get REAL news in Sudan these days. You are al Zet.

  2. hassan mohamed June 10, 2015 at 10:01 am #

    in 1985 i visited displaced people camp at outskirts of Omdurman to see people from western Sudan hit by the famous famine; that is thirty years ago a whole generation. People told me their tribal leaders are living in Khartoum and that they long time go have abandoned them! the ‘thing’d is that the visit was staged diplomacy by the embassy and Sudan government. in real life there is nothing left of so called tribal leaders. they are long time gone.

  3. cordonedsudan June 14, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    interesting blog post.
    the important thing to remember is that we are held hostage by the Sudan government first, not by the US sanctions program.

    It’s the Sudanese government that stifles freedom of speech.

    It’s the Sudanese government that arrests and tortures innocent civilians.

    It’s the Sudanese government that is obstructing our path to development and democracy.

    Why does the Sudanese government do this?

    Because they’re a bunch of thugs and high school bullies in jalabiyas.

    They’re men with no compunction to divide, terrorize, and murder innocent people to retain power.

    If the Sudanese government were interested in our longterm prospects, they could quietly give way to a capable and democratic Sudanese society. But they don’t.

  4. sudaneseoptimist June 17, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    @hafoot Thank you! So motivating to keep writing 🙂

    @hassan mohamed, i don’t think that’s accurate for all of them, especially the ones that were in DC. The man mentioned in my blog post for example lives in Dongola. They’re not long gone at all, but I see your point.

    @cordonedsudan hi! long time 🙂 I completely agree with what you said. I just feel like because they’ve put us in this situation, shouldn’t we support ANY effort to get us out of it?

  5. cordonedsudan July 4, 2015 at 11:08 am #

    Hey again SudanOptimist,

    Thanks for your reply.

    There has been virtually no US media coverage that I can find of with regards to this Darfur elder visit to DC. Who were the representatives? Who did they meet with in Washington? Please share a link if you could.

    At any rate the protesters are there because they understand the larger Sudan government strategy. The government sought to legitimize itself with fresh elections, appoint an ostensibly less Islamist cabinet, and make an attempt for a normalization of diplomatic and trade relations with the US. The government is acting on the following:

    (1) the US has been victorious in reinstalling the military government in Egypt. Egypt is now under US proxy control. Islamism has been crushed in Egypt.

    (2) the Saudis and Sunni gulf allies are asserting new found determination to contain Iran. Sudan has more to gain by realigning itself with the Saudis, which is also in line with US interests.

    (3) US-Iran nuclear agreement would progressively unroll the Iran sanctions regime.

    (4) US has restored ties with Cuba.

    All the above have inserted new found (tactical) determination by Elbashir to pursue normalization of relations between the US and Sudan. This is why Ghandour, and not Karti, is foreign minister.

    As part of the above items, these Darfur elders were sent to Washington to display the grassroots “African” approach to solving our domestic conflict. Except its all a charade.

    Any sensible politician from China to the US would say that Sudan needs comprehensive peace in order to be taken seriously. Peace means compromise and dialog between all warring factions. Compromise means agreeing to a democratic governance architecture and pursuing sincere dialog in our nation’s interest. What we have with the Islamists and the SPLM is shortlived tactical maneuvering. No one is serious about the our larger national interests, our economic development, and empowering our countrymen.

    The reality is that the government is not serious about pursuing any comprehensive peace. Because an obvious requirement for peace is that it cannot remain in power. And given this government’s record, that is sensible.

    As always the burden of responsibility is on this crazy government that is arresting the development of the entire country for a few members.

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