Sudan's Revolution - View From Abroad

Protesters hold hands to create a cordon to create space for ambulances and other vehicles transporting wounded to hospital.
analysis

A group of young kids have attracted the attention of one passing-by driver, who stopped to film what is going on. And the shots went viral. It said the time was around 1:00 am in the morning and the kids were painting the sidewalks of a street leading to Al-Sahafa suburb, then wrote "We will build our country" on the asphalt in a nice calligraphy.

Initiatives like this are taking place in Khartoum, Khartoum North and Omdurman. In some cities some have taken over control from the defunct popular committees to look after various issues related to their municipalities.

This is one by-product of the determination that was going on in form of anti-government demonstration since December, then crowned by a sit-in that led to overthrowing of former President Omar Al-Bashir.

That was a strong signal to the world that something is happening in Sudan and the media was anxious to follow and know.

Hardly Sudan has been subjected to such media coverage in its recent history. Moreover, on average that coverage was a positive one.

The Washington Post devoted two of its view, which is bylined by the Editorial Board to what is going on in Sudan, in addition to news, analysis reports and op-ed pieces appearing in various sections of the paper. The same applies to the main western media outlets more or less, in addition to vivid coverage by TV stations from the CNN, BBC and others.

In fact such coverage went beyond the conventional politics to delve into new areas to explore the extent of the Sudan's revolution. The BBC in both its Arabic and English services had a feature titled: The art fuelling Sudan's revolution accompanied by nice paintings and drawings exhibited in the sit-in area before the army headquarters.

It is not only arts that has been attracting some interest, but even fashion, where the New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman, who wrote a long piece on Alaa Salah and her famous picture chanting for the revolution. Friedman wrote, "Some people have dubbed her the Sudanese Statue of Liberty, others simply "the woman in a white thoub." Either way, her picture has had resonance far beyond its place of origin." She went on to speak about the Thoub and her earing.

Even the Vogue magazine saw what is going on in Sudan as, "a cultural renaissance has appeared to begin blossoming as public squares buzz with debate, artistry, and the excitement of feeling the future at their fingertips."

The magazine talked to three leading women who are vital to the paradigm shift.

The unprecedented media interest in Sudan could be attributed to various factors. It first revived the memories of the Arab Spring. Unlike those deposed then, Al-Bashir is indicted by the ICC, which gives his collapse an international dimension. Then there is the central role played by women and the youth in sustaining their anti-regime movement in terms of demonstrations and sit-ins that have been going on far more than any of what has been seen in similar uprisings in the Arab Spring or even in Sudan previous two uprisings in 1964 and 1985.

More important the December-April Revolution have highlighted two important lessons. That is the peaceful movement that have managed to achieve in four months what resorting to arms failed to accomplish in three decades. Though it could be argued that military operations by rebels have added to weakening of the regime, but the fact is that for almost three years the Ingaz regime was enjoying unilateral ceasefires and thus under no serious challenges after reducing the military threats from Darfur rebel groups, a fact that was highlighted in a report by panel of experts to the UNSC in January 2017.

Equally important is the fact that the revolution was initiated and carried out internally, which goes against a long tradition of opposing the regime from abroad.

Yet the fact that six weeks after Al-Bashir was deposed both the Transitional Military Council and the Freedom and Change forces failed to conclude a deal and as such still there is no government that should start the interim period.

Hopefully the ingredients that helped in toppling the regime will be successful as well in crossing the tough interim period that will usher the country into a new era.

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