There is a brutal massacre happening in Sudan right now.
At this very minute and this very hour, over one hundred people perhaps more have been killed. On record, there are seventy rape cases against women, children and a few boys and men. UNICEF is reporting nineteen children are among those pronounced dead. Despite this, for the most part, the world has been silent. Why?
"Maybe because they are Black. Maybe because they are African. Maybe because they are Muslim," posted one Twitter user. It could also be because the military behind these atrocities have powerful friends in the Middle East and Europe bankrolling and supporting them for their own personal gain.
It is a bit chilling that something so horrific wouldn't warrant much attention. Especially considering how much attention and sympathy is given to other countries who have had less casualties. Even historic but empty buildings generate more support than Black human lives.
It is difficult to grasp the fact that the world just doesn't care about the violence and deaths of people of color no matter what part of the world they live in. Maybe it wouldn't hurt so much if the reasoning behind the Sudan crisis wasn't about freedom and democracy. But it is.
This massacre and protest crackdown was ignited purely because the people of Sudan want to be free like America and other countries. Right now, the mostly women-led protestors are simply asking the military power to step down as promised for a democratic transition of power elected by the people. Ironically, western nations like the U.S., England and France have always quickly intervened and aided countries who were fighting for democracy (as Sudan's alliance of opposition is currently doing), but this time the passion to defend a country's fight for democracy seems to almost be irrelevant and unimportant.
There was no Facebook profile to change our profile to a Sudanese landmark of flag. There is no massive Instagram outpour and hashtag to "Pray for Sudan." Naomi Campbell, Rihanna and George Clooney have been very vocal about what's happening in Sudan but most celebs who gave all their energy to Paris have been silent about Sudan. Why?
For those of you who don't understand what's happening in Sudan, here is a brief history.
Sudan's rich resources has always been of interest to its exploitative neighbors in both the Middle East and Europe who have been able to rape the country for it minerals and natural resources by supporting the dictatorship rule that has come at the expense of its citizens (Remember Blood Diamond?). Decades of internal conflict, a lack of economic progression and negligent governance with a military supported by Saudia Arabia and the UAE made life in Sudan difficult for the average person trying to make ends meet. The genocide and civil war between militia and rebel groups in the city of Darfur, Sudan was responsible for millions of deaths and the displacement of 2.5 million people.
In 2009, the international courts held Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity during this present-day genoicide. The International Courts issued an arrest warrant for the president in 2009 and again in July 2010 to no avail. Unfortunately, the Sudanese government, the African Union and the League of Arab States did not recognize this decision. From that time, Bashir faced several protests leading all the way up to April 11, 2019 when Bashir was removed from his position by the Sudanese armed forces. This removal created a potential problem for Sudan's powerful exploitative neighbors who were benefiting under Bashir's undemocratic rule.
Many Sudanese assumed that Bashir's departure would lead to the democracy they had been protesting for. They wanted power to be turned over to a civilian (democratic) government whose interest was in its citizens and not power and wealth. Instead the vice president, Lt. Gen Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, declared himself the Head of State. He dissolved the cabinet and national legislature and announced that he and the military would rule for two years until there was a peaceful transition of power. This ignited more protests from the majority women-led demonstrators who continued to push for true democracy and the resignation of military rule.
On April 12, the military agreed to shorten their rule to one month and Auf stepped down as head of the Military Council and made General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan his successor. In the past few months, despite negotiations between protest leaders and the military, there has been no clear resolution of how the military rule will transfer power to civilian (democratic) rule. Thousands of protestors camped outside the TMC and held sit-ins to demand that TMC step down. With the strong financial and military backing of Saudi Arabia and the UAE (home to everybody's favorite vacation spot Dubai), the military ordered a crackdown on the protestors, which included random killings, beatings, rapes and the imprisonment and deportation of some high ranking protest leaders. The military is working alongside the Janjaweed forces who administered the killings that made Darfur a trending topic during its genocide.
The forces showed no mercy as they targeted hospitals, homes and raped children as young as six years old. The internet blackout was also successfully administered to limit the people's communication with the world and silence them. Somehow Russia also had their hands in the crackdown months before as The Telegraph reported and published a letter by the Dossier Center in which Vladimir Putin- linked businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin (a military contractor) criticized Bashir's regime "for not cracking down" on the peaceful protests. The Telegraph writes that the Russian businessman was angry that Bashir was too soft on the protestors "and ignored Russian advice to paint the protestors as "pro Israel", pro LGBT and anti Islam as a way to discredit them" in the Islamic dominated country. As you can see, there are many factors fueling the crisis in Sudan with so many hands meddling in the country's fight for democracy and stabilization.
Now that we understand Sudan's crisis, it is up to us to break the silence.
In an op-ed in Politico, George Clooney ,who has been active in speaking out against the exploitation and violence in Sudan and other war-torn countries for more than ten years, outlined suggestions to help Sudan and stop the military regime. Clooney wrote the following:
"Traveling throughout the Sudanese region of Darfur and neighboring refugee camps during the mid-2000s, we saw firsthand evidence of the monster the Sudanese regime had built to carry out a genocide. The government organized, armed and deployed militias, known then as the 'Janjaweed,' alongside the regular army as the primary instruments of its killing machine. Ethnic cleansing and mass rape were the Janjaweed's weapons of choice….If this sounds like another hopeless African crisis, it isn't. Sudan is a country that has unified Republicans and Democrats in Congress and successive administrations in Washington in defense of human rights and peace. Much more can be done now by the current Congress and the Trump administration — as well as allies in Europe and Africa — to create consequences for the leaders of (Sudan's) regime."
I believe much more can be done by each of us to help save Sudan's children, women and citizens.
Featured image by Getty Images