Sudan’s new uprising, which began on June 16, has continued with daily protests around the country, revealing the widespread and deep-seated hatred of the National Congress Party (NCP) regime. This anger stems from more than two decades of war, tyranny, corruption and poverty unleashed on Sudan’s people by the government.
The regime has used the full force of its extensive repressive apparatus in a bid to defeat the protests. However the people have remained defiant. Green Left Weekly's Meera Zoll spoke to Rogia Ali, a Sudanese Communist Party activist currently living in Canberra, about the uprising.
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What is significant about the current protest wave?
The same thing has happened before, but this time it is different. It started at Khartoum University, and then the other universities, and then it involved all the country — such as Kassalla and Medani and other places all over. Now it is coming from all the people.
For example, this is the first time the people from the mosques have been there at the protests. The youth, the old people, the women are all also on the streets.
And the other difference is they are not acting just against the price rises, but this is a whole movement for changing the government.
Female students at Khartoum University launched the first protests. What has the role of women been in the struggle?
In Sudan’s history, in 1964 — the first revolution in Sudan against the military government — the women shared in the struggle with the men.
The women are organising themselves in groups, such as the Sudanese Women’s Union and NGOs. They organise meetings, and the new thing is organising by the internet. There are very big networks online. They organise the time and place on the internet and then people come.
Are their moves towards a greater level of organisation of the movement?
Yes, I think it needs more organising. This is starting to happen. Some of the political parties are planning to link with their people and with others as well. The Umma Party [an Islamist party] is with its people and they have been protesting in Omdurman. This is good to see.
The government seems to be trying to crush the protesters’ spirits through severe repression. Do you think this is likely?
The talk of the upper leaders of the government shows they are shaking. They know what they are saying is not true.
The people laugh about what they say. Some of the words the government uses, the people take these words and use them as slogans for the revolution. Like the “elbow licking” [day of protest on June 29, in response to NCP leader Nafie Ali Nafie’s claim that it would easier to lick your elbow than overthrow the regime] and President Omer Al Bashir calling protesters “bubbles” and “cockroaches”.
People use it on Twitter and use their children to make fun of it, so it’s nice. This is linking people together.
When I open the internet and I see everything that is going on in Sudan, I feel it really is a revolution. Even the leaders of the mosque, the Imams, in some areas are telling the people “no, don’t follow Bashir, you have the right to resist”.
We feel it is a real revolution, but they need our support and everyone’s support.
What can people in Australia do to support the uprising?
Now the government is sending its employees to the internet and doing big work in that area. They are watching what people are saying and targeting people who have been active on the internet.
People are being violated — they are using knives and things like that against people. The human rights organisations need to hear about it. We need the media to show what is really going on in Sudan.