Sudan: December Revolution's Diary

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni with Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir at his Kisozi farm.

Two months back, the host on Sky News Arabic was doubtful when spokesman of the Sudanese Professionals Alliance in Paris Mohammad Alasbat confirmed to her the Sudanese uprising would triumph. The TV presenter's doubt was the ferocity of the regime that continued for thirty years during which it established deep roots in the society aided by a class of opportunists, interest groups, armed militias and security bodies, while those who stood up to it were young men and women armed with nothing more than zeal and determination.

Mohammed Alasbat has now won his bet. The unarmed young men and women have fought and won their battle of toppling Omar Albashir and of forcing his corny, General Ibn Awaf, to step down after just 24 hours in office as chairman of the transitional military council.

The most striking aspects of this uprising are:

The Young Generations

The sweeping majority of demonstrators were young men and women below thirty. That is in the central towns and cities. The demonstrators in suburban areas were far younger than that, even children.

In all cases these were generations born and grew up under the Bashir rule. The general mood was that this was a hopeless generation, an idle generation concerned with no more than trendy clothes, strange haircuts and sitting in cafes. The so-called Islamists had thought that heroism had died in Sudan.

The older generations were surprised to see these young men and women step in and press for the change they failed to attain. The older generations were also surprised at the bravery of these young men and women who did not fear death. Writers raced to apologize for these young men and women. For one, renowned autopsy surgeon Ali Alkobni has written that: This generation owes us an apology.. we bow our heads to them. What they have done and what they have given .. the courage they have demonstrated is very rare in this time of ours. We have judged them by how they looked. We judged them by appearances. These youngsters terrorized all the hypocrites!"

Effective Role Of Women

The young women had heavily participated in this struggle, sharing their masculine peers their ideas and tactics. Relationships developed between these young men and women, in some cases marriages and engagements occurred. Older women joined the rush mixing with the demonstrators. They heated the atmospheres by ululations. In all cases housewives rushed to open their house doors for the demonstrators to hide from the security. And when demonstrators were to build road blocks to prevent the security vehicles from chasing the demonstrators inside inner roads and lanes, the women were always ready to give a hand. Even aging women were seen carrying heavy stones and car tyres to build road blocks and smoke screens.

The international media had heavily circulated images of university student Ala'a Salah who climbed a truck in her customary Sudanese attire rehearsing the revolution's songs, chorused by the other demonstrators. All through this movement women were ready to supply the demonstrators with food and water. During the decisive sit-in in front of the Army general command, women cooked food and carried it to the demonstrators.

Sudanese Interdependency

All Sudanese have interacted with the protesters. One sign of this was that doors were open for the demonstrators as they fought forward and backwards against the security. Another such a phenomenon was related by a member of sit-in in front of the Army Headquarters. The demonstrators used to politely search newcomers to the place, all the time using pacifying language. The search was meant to guard against any sabotage. And if it happens you find a cell phone on the ground they would direct you to take it to a certain place people can find their lost things. As one moves among the demonstrators, one could come across youths holding money bags with signs on them that read: If you have, put in what you can, and if you don't have take for your transport cost. And if you happen to feel thirsty, members of the sit in would readily help with water bottles. And if you feel hungry they would help you with a sandwich and a banana. Some phone stores offer free credit cards and recharging services. Cigarettes and tobacco are readily available. All of this to the sound of loud speakers and sound systems airing ashaab yoreed isgat alnizam "People want the regime down" and tasgut bas "Down ..Down with the regime." Groups of demonstrators move around the place collecting garbage. Groups of demonstrators continue erecting tents to shade the demonstrators from the blazing sun.

These peaceful atmospheres had encouraged the demonstrators to play cards and domino, for a break. Beverages were available and so were medicines and first aid. Demonstrators were asked to write telephone numbers of their families, just in case.

Cars would shuttle around carrying food and drinks from homes to the place.

It was a mini-state there, well organized and orderly. "There is no need for a government, if this is the case." They would say.

A sit-inner performing the Muslim Friday prayer at the yard in front of the army HQ stated that: "while we were performing prayers under the simmering sun, our fellow Christian Sudanese citizens were standing up in lines spreading shade tarpaulins to protect us from the sun heat".

The Army Solidarity

Demonstrators were not attacked by the army. And every now and then an army vehicle would come through, with soldiers on board calling: "We are here to protect you... Down down with the regime." Moreover, the army prevented the security from attacking them. And when the security forces fired towards the demonstrators the army engaged them in a fight. An army officer and a soldier were killed in these exchanges.

The next day the demonstrators assembled barbed wire, nails and rocks to build barricades against security vehicles. The army personnel used to tour the sit in zone, making sure everybody was safe and giving advice on how to fortify the barricades. These gestures created a fraternity between the army and the protesters. The two groups used to sit together to exchange anecdotes and jokes. Even General Burhan, now chairman of the Transitional Military Council, seen once moving through the demonstrators and talk to them.

A Word about the Professional Association

The Professional Association emerged as lifeline at the right moment and stayed all-along skillfully steering the demonstrations into the right direction through well-planned tactics, whereby they managed to avoid all attempts by defunct regime militias to drag the protesting youth into bloodshed.

Those tactics have totally confused the defunct regime security institutions and kept them in the dark about the professional association's movements.

The Sudanese youth, on their part, have revealed high morale and succeeded in crafting on-spot plans and tactics to contain the vicious attacks by the security forces and militias of the defunct regime and proceed with their peaceful demonstrations to their intended objectives.

Demonstration days were also allocated names and titles that marked certain occasions such as "Women Day", "Martyrs' Day", "Detainees' Day", "Palace March", "Parliament March", etc, which gave them momentum for pushing forward.

The 6th April anniversary procession, which turned into a sitting-in campaign, was a culmination for more than three months of demonstrations and protests all over Sudan, a tactical move that caught the regime's security forces and militias by surprise, and ultimately drove the final nail in the defunct regime's coffin.

It is noteworthy here to refer to, and hail, the strict compliance by demonstrators with the timings declared for demonstrations and with the boycott calls for certain regime-supporting corporations although most of these demonstrators had no actual knowledge of the professional association or its members, a fact that shows high degree of revolutionist awareness and discipline.

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