Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Green Bucket and Me

My life has been full of buckets lately , I've grown accustomed to the agonizing process of living in a house where water coming out of the tap is rare; and a lot of energy is invested, time is wasted on waiting for water (for some odd reason, it only gushes out of the tap in our upstairs kitchen or from the "Wudu" tap in the front yard) and filing all the buckets available. I am now very fond of my large green bucket and make time to make sure it is full of water all the time, even though I hate the process of waiting for it to fill-up and having to carry it upstairs. We've been suffering from electricity cuts at work and it was almost the usual in Ramadan. Working while fasting is already difficult, but trying to work in the heat without the luxury of having water to quench your thirst is nothing short of a test. 

As I sit in my relatively luxurious office, one of the women who stopped by our office for an appointment said that their electricity comes on at 6 p.m. before it cuts again at 2 a.m. She lives in one of the humble neighborhoods in the South of Khartoum and during times where electricity has become rationed, it seems that the authorities think that the poorer you are, the more capable you are of handling power cuts. Or maybe they thought that if you live in the marginalized areas around Khartoum, you don't deserve the electricity that the government gave you out of benevolence ……to vote for them in the national elections. 

Looking at the people around me, it seems that we got the better deal. We live next to many key government buildings and this somehow makes us lucky. The last time my mother went to buy no electricity credit, the lady working there told her almost matter-of-factly, "right now 80% of Omdurman has no power." Nonetheless, there is a damned tree in Al-Arda street which seems to be making our life difficult; every time one of its branches collapses, we suffer from a day-long power cut as the electricity office tries to figure out the problem before they finally remember the tree and decide that it is the main reason. I would never demand for the tree to be cut, plants are our lifeline, but why are the electricity wires and cables so intertwined with the tree and its branches? 

As I am spending a good proportion of my evening filling and transporting water buckets and worrying that two buckets might not be enough for washing the evening dishes, I see pictures of protests in different neighborhoods around Khartoum condemning the water and electricity cuts. I have to admit, the protestors are creative, they close the streets with empty water buckets, Azyar and bags of trash that have been left uncollected for weeks. Then, I sat down one day and thought about it in all possible ways…

1) It is good that neighborhoods are mobilizing and taking matters into their own hands.
2) The protests were led by women and men who are ordinary citizens and were not orchestrated by political actors or activists. It means that many ordinary mostly apolitical citizens will gain a lot of awareness and knowledge on how to manage resistance and use peaceful ways to protest with clear demands. 
3) It is easier to get people to protest around issues that are central to their lives and they feel it on a daily basis as opposed to….war in Blue Nile?
4) People are holding the government accountable for not providing even when they are paying for the austerity measures implemented by the NCP  and are paying so many taxes. It is almost that we as a people are subsiding the government to not provide services.

Then, I became very uncomfortable with this line of thought. Why are we advocating for such protests if the demands are so…basic and are tied to a specific demand that the government can provide i.e. bring back the electricity or water.  

So how effective are such protests, anyways? 

I came to think that the issue is not whether they are effective or not , it is that the protests need to be tied to the main issue which is the fact that the government of Sudan is failing to provide basic services to a significant percentage of its citizens and is failing to sustain the services that it is supposed to provide to citizens in the urban centers or those living in areas that are not frowned upon by the government. 

As an avid reader of newspapers due to my profession, I've almost chronicled all the articles about the mismanagement of the state since 2011. The newspaper articles are usually in the form of documents leaked about corruption charges: the money swindled from Khartoum State by the former governor, the corruption of the former Defense Minister when he was the Interior minister, the unknown pipeline that was discovered by the government of South Sudan, the fact that an official in the ministry of justice bought and sold half of the land in Khartoum state, the bogus companies that are so good at getting tenders from the government etc.

Munzoul Asaal of the University of Khartoum estimates that at least 120,000 civil servants were sacked to the public good in the 1990s as the government aimed to replace the entire civil service with individuals who are Islamists, loyal and non-threatening regardless of their qualifications. This created a state that is not only loyal to the party that grew out of Al-Inqaz in the1990s, the national congress party, but one that is so mis-managed, it only makes sense to the NCP affiliates and no-one else.

For a long time, I've thought that the Sudanese state functions haphazardly due to the work of very few employees or based on the bribes that are given, but I've came to realize that maybe there is a system and the NCP has created a system that does not make sense to outsiders to continue in power and exclude those who are not affiliated with it.

But the system broke …it has been breaking for years, but due to the recent excessive lack of money in the country, it stopped working. I am hypothesizing that this is due to several reasons:

-The country was heavily oil-dependent, it neglected all other natural resources and now there is no production because there is no functioning industry and no money coming into the country.
-The corruption became too much, rumors have it that the NCP actually told its cadres to "yes, you can steal, but leave some money to run the country". But then again, the swindling of public funds continues and with the decrease in funds, there is less likelihood for excess money to be pumped into the state affairs.
-Again lack of funds means that things can't be fixed and the infrastructure that is already challenged can not be maintained. 
-The NCP is divided, the club that did not want Bashir to run or for Sudan to hold elections in the first place are unhappy and not doing the roles they traditionally carried out to hold the fragile state together, the old guard were so competent in the system that is in place and they made it work for them. Now the old guard is gone, the likes of Nafie, Ali Osman, Osama Abdullah, Al-Jaz etc.
-The multiple "hot summers" did not salvage the situation in the two areas, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, and even if the conflict in Darfur is marked with low intensity fighting, the militias in Darfur are used to large amounts of money and they need to be paid to stay in order.

Now, the government is set to increase the price of water and electricity to the dismay of citizens who are already struggling to make ends meet as they are heavily taxed because the money extorted from Sudanese people became one of the main sources of income to the state..government. Some believe that the heavy water and electricity cuts were for this reason- to exhaust and terrify people into submitting to the new increases because life is already difficult…power cuts are bad for business…water cuts are expensive for households as they have to pay large amounts of money for a bucket of water. Just submit already!

That is not the issue in question, the increase is merely another attempt by the government to raise more funds not to provide services, but to literally keep the party in power. Bashir and his party are fighting against odds, they are used to taking a piece from public funds and can not be weaned from this regardless of the fact that funds are continuing to decrease, warlords need to be paid and wars need to be fought on the pretense of stopping the armed movements from taking power. 

Because staying in power is costly, the infrastructure will continue deteriorating and cuts will continue. 

Back to the protests….asking for basic services and protesting for your demands is noble and in line with the constitution that we earned as a result of thousands of deaths during the civil war. However, if we don't situate our demands within the large context of the mismanagement of the country, we will achieve gains that will last for hours and we will continue doing what the government wants us to do. Exhaust all of our energy and waste our human potential protesting for days and weeks in a row for services that we pay for, but don't get.

This physical and mental exhaustion thet goes into staying up waiting for water to trickle down the tap and for the bucket to fill makes you so busy and overwhelmed, you can't see past your simple demand.

But we can't give them what they want!

Monday, December 8, 2014

دراسة عالمية: السودان ثاني أسوأ دولة في أفريقيا في حرية الانترنت

تصدرُ في هذا الأسبوع الدّراسة العالمية لـ "حرية الإنترنت لعام ٢٠١٤م"، والذي تُفرد للسنة الثانية على التوالي فصلاً كاملاً عن السودان.  
وكانت مجموعة "قرفنا" قد قامت بكتابة الجزء المُتعلق بالسودان في تقرير "حرية الإنترنت" في العام الماضي، إلا أن تقرير هذا العام كُتب باسم مجهول للدلالة على استمرار القيود المفروضة على الحريات في السودان.
ويغطي تقرير "حرية الإنترنت لعام ٢٠١٤م" ، الصادر في ٤ ديسمبر ٢٠١٤م خمسة وستين دولة في ست مناطق جغرافية. ويغطي التقرير الفترة ما بين مايو ٢٠١٣م إلى مايو ٢٠١٤م. وتقرير "حرية الانترنت لعام ٢٠١٤م" هو الإصدار الخامس ضمن سلسلة تقارير بدأت منظمة "فريدوم هاوس"  باصدارها في العام ٢٠٠٩م. ويُعد تقرير "حرية الانترنت" كـ "أحد المراجع المهمة لصانعي السياسات، والصحفيين، والناشطين في هذا المجال الذي تتزايد أهميته و المتعلق بحقوق الانسان".
ويُصنّف التقريرالعالمي لعام ٢٠١٤ وضع حرية الإنترنت في السودان بـأنه "غير حر"، حيث حصل السودان على ٦٥ نقطة من أصل ١٠٠، مقارنة بـ ٦٣ نقطة في العام ٢٠١٣م.  ومن ضمن ١٢ دولة افريقية، يُصّنف السودان ضمن ثلاثة دول أخرى في فئة "غير حرة" ، ويحتل السودان المرتبة ١١ متقدماً فقط على اثيوبيا.  
وسيكون الفصل المتعلق بالسودان لهذا العام مثيراً للإهتمام ومثيراً للقلق على حدٍ سواء حيث يُغطي التقرير فترة الاحتجاجات الدّامية في سبتمبر ٢٠١٣م حيث قُتل ٢٠٠ شخص على الأقل، والفترة التي تلتها، والحملة الشرسىة ضد الحريات الصحفية وحرية التعبير.
كما شهد السودان أيضا قطع خدمة الإنترنت، والتي وصفته شركة استخبارات الانترنت العالمية  Renesys بأنه "أكبر تعتيم للإنترنت تقوم به حكومة منذ ما حدث في مصر في يناير ٢٠١١م."   وكانت الحكومة السودانية قد نفت علاقتها بحادثة قطع الإنترنت. وعزّت "الهيئة القومية للاتصالات"، وهي وكالة حكومية، انقطاع خدمة الإنترنت إلى حريق شبَّ في مكاتب شركة "كنار"، إلا أن الكثيرين يعتقدون أن "الهيئة القومية للاتصالات" دبّرت الانقطاع كجزء من ردة فعل الحكومة السودانية لقمع الاحتجاجات. وتتفق شركة Renesys مع هذا الرأي، حيث قالت أنّ حادثة قطع خدمة الإنترنت في السودان "تشير بقوة إلى عمل منّسق لأخفاء السودان من الإنترنت."
انتقال الإعلام لساحة الإنترنت للتحايل على الرقابة
وتقوم "الهيئة القومية للاتصالات"، وبحسب السلطة المّخولة لها، بحجب أي مواقع ترى بأن محتواها "غير أخلاقي" ويحوي "هرطقة"، كما تقوم بانتظام بحجب الصحف الرّقمية او مواقع الإنترنت التي تنشر تقارير معارضة للحكومة مثل موقع صحيفة "حريات"، وموقع "الراكوبة" الإخباري، ومنتدى سودانيس أون لاين Sudanese-Online، وغيرها من المواقع. وتم حجم موقع يوتيوب في آواخر عام ٢٠١٢م احتجاجاً على عرض الموقع  لفيلم "The Innocence of Muslims".
إلا أن هذا الهجوم على حرية التعبير لم يمنع ظهور الصحف الرّقمية خلال عامي ٢٠١٣م و ٢٠١٤م، حيث ظهرت صحيفتي "التغيير" و"الطريق"، وأسستا حضوراً قويا على الانترنت. إنّ تحول الصُحف من النسخة الورقية إلى النسخة الرقمية ليس مرّدة مواكبة النسق العالمي للتحول للصحافة الرّقمية، بل هي في الحقيقة محاولة للتحايل على الرقابة التي تفرضها الحكومة على الصحافة المطبوعة في السودان.

إلا أنه على الرغم من ذلك، يعاني المدّونون و الصحفييون الرّقميون من مُتلازمة الكتابة على الإنترنت "حرية التعبير عن الرأي، وانعدام الحرية بعد التعبير عن الرأي" ، حيث يتعرضون للمُلاحقة والإعتقال والترهيب نتيجة لنشرهم لمقالاتهم الرّقمية ولنشاطهم السياسي على الإنترنت.
في يونيو ٢٠١٣م ، أعتقل "جهاز الأمن والمخابرات الوطني السوداني"  الصحفي خالد أحمد، مدير تحرير صحيفة "السوداني"، لأن هناك مقال نشر على الإنترنت يحمل اسمه الأول. وحوّت المقالة معلومات حساسة حول العملية العسكرية في بلدة "أبو كرشوالا" في جنوب كردفان في الوقت الذي كان فيه الجيش يحاول استعادة السيطرة عليها من يد الحركة الشعبية لتحرير السودان (الحركة الشعبية).  وكان أحمد ضمن عددٍ مجموعة محدودة من الصحفيين الذين زاروا "أبو كرشوالا"، إلا أنه  نفى كتابته للمقال، وصرّح بأنّ بريده الإلكتروني تعرّض للاختراق.
وحتى مارس ٢٠١٤م، ظل أحمد خالد قيد المحاكمة أمام محكمة حقوق الملكية الفكرية ، تحت طائلة قانون جرائم المُعلوماتية وقانون العقوبات. وبالإضافة إلى ذلك، في يوليو ٢٠١٣م،  تم اعتقال ثلاثة شبان في بلدة شمال كُردفان تعليقهم في الفيسبوك حول اتهامات بالفساد ضد حكومة شمال كُردفان ، ووجهت إليهم تهمة التشهير. ويعتقد المحلّلون بأن هذه القضايا  تُعد سابقة من نوعها، وتؤسس لسن قانون جديد من شأنه فرض رقابةٍ أكثر صرامة على وسائل الاعلام و الإنترنت، وشبكات التواصل الاجتماعي.
كما عانت الصحف على الانترنت ووسائل الإعلام أيضا من عُنفٍ  تقني من جهات موالية للحكومة، منها هجمات القرصنة في شهر في أبريل ٢٠١٤م على موقعي صحيفة سودان تريبيون Sudan Tribune  وموقع "عاين " "3ayin" .
وقع احداث سبتمبر ٢٠١٣م
وعلاوة على كل ما تقدم، تجلّت آثار احتجاجات شهر سبتمبر ٢٠١٣م خلال العام، كما هددّ مسؤولون حكوميون بفرض قانون على الاعلام الرقمي. فعلى سبيل المثال، صرّح وزير الإعلام للحزب الحاكم،  ياسر يوسف إبراهيم، في مقابلة أجراها في يوليو ٢٠١٣م، بأن هناك حاجة إلى سنّ قانونٍ للإعلام الالكتروني " يمنح السلطات الحق في حجب المواقع التي تنتهك القيود المتفق عليها". وخلال الفترة ما بين يوليو ٢٠١٣م ويونيو عام ٢٠١٤م، قامت حكومة السودان بتقديم طلبات لشركة "فيسبوك" للإفصاح عن المعلومات الشخصية لخمسة حسابات مستخدمين لديها، وهي طلبات لم تردْ من الحكومة من قبل. وعلى أية حال لم تستجب إدارة "فيسبوك" لأي من هذه الطلبات.
وبالإضافة إلى ذلك، بدأت جميع شركات الاتصالات حملة صارمة لفرض تسجيل شرائح الهاتف النقّال حيث تم الإعلان عنها في التلفزيونات والصحف واللوحات الإعلانية في الشوارع، وتم توفيرخدمة تسجيل الشرائح عبر مراكز الخدمات المتنقلة في الأماكن العامة، وتنظيم المسابقات واليانصيب للفوز بجوائز قيمة من المبالغ النقدية والذهب، أو السيارات لأولئك الذين يقومون بالتسجيل. ويتطلب تسجيل شريحة الهاتف النقال هوية شخصية وطنية وعنوان منزل المستخدم، وهو الأمر الذي يعده النشطاء وسيلة من قبل الأجهزة الأمنية لتعقب أرقام هواتف المُستخدمين.
واستمرت مراقبة الاتصالات الرقمية وشبكات وسائط التواصل الاجتماعي، فضلاً عن التنصت على المكالمات الهاتفية، ومواصلة استهداف المجتمع المدني وأعضاء المعارضة السياسية؛ لا سيما في أوقات الاضطرابات أو أثناء الاحتجاجات.
العراقيل الناتجة عن العقوبات الأمريكية على السودان
وأشار التقرير أيضا إلى أن العقوبات التي تفرضها أمريكا على السودان تظل بمثابة حاجز أمام حرية الوصول إلى المعلومات والمعرفة. وتشمل هذه القيود حظر البرنامج الأصلية أمريكية الصنع، وبرامج مكافحة الفيروسات،  والتحديثات الأمنية. وقد أعاق النظام العقوبات الأميركية أيضا الإمكانات التعليمية في السودان، حيث لا يتمتع المُستخدمون داخل السودان من خدمات المواقع التعليمية المجانية على شبكة الإنترنت مثل Khan Academy، والباحث العلمي لموقعGoogle، بالإضافة إلى عدد ضخم من الدورات التعليمية على الانترنت MOOCs. وأشار التقرير إلى أن هذا يشكل انتهاكاً لحق الجميع في التعليم. كما شملت الحواجز العقبات الأخرى التي تعيق الوصول إلى الإنترنت عدم تمكن المقيمين في السودان  من الاستفادة او الوصول إلى مواقع تصميم خرائط الأزمات crisismapping، أو المواقع الأمريكية لحشد التمويل الجماعي على الإنترنت.   
بالإضافة إلى ذلك، تم رصد برمجيات مراقبة وفلترة تابعة للشركة الأمريكية "بلو كوت سيستم" Blue Coat Systems في ثلاث شبكات داخل السودان، مما دفع واضعي التقرير إلى القول "وما توضحه هذه التسريبات هي أن العقوبات الامريكية ضد السودان لم تعرقل على النحو المنشود الحكومة السودانية من الوصول إلى أو شراء برامج مراقبة أمريكية الصنع. بل على العكس، تعرقل العقوبات الأمريكية في كثير من الأحيان - عن غير قصد - وصول المُستخدمين العاديين لتكنولوجيا المعلومات والاتصالات ..."
 منهجّية الدراسة:
يصنّف  تقرير"حرية الإنترنت لعام ٢٠١٤م" الدول عن طريق بناءً على  تواجد عوامل "بيئة مواتية"  لحرية الإنترنت من خلال الإجابة على 21 سؤالاً منهجياً تسمح بالمقارنة بين الدّول، بالإضافة إلى إمكانية  تحليل الأنماط الناشئة على المستوى الإقليمي او العالمي.  تتراوح النقاط ما بين (0) وهي تعني أفضل حالة لحرية الإنترنت،  و(100) هي أسوء وضع لحرية الإنترنت، ويتم حساب هذه النقاط عبر قياس ثلاثة فئات:
  • العقبات التي تُعيق الوصول إلى الإنترنت: وتتضمن تقيم البنية التحتية، والحواجز الاقتصادية، والبيئة التنظيمية، والمحاولات التي تقوم بها الدولة لمنع الوصول إلى تكنولوجيات أو تطبيقات محددة؛
  • القيود المفروضة على المحتوى:  مثل فلترة وحجب المواقع، فرض الرقابة أو الرقابة الذاتية، وتنوع المصادر الاخبارية على الانترنت ومستوى النشاط الرقمي لأغراض اجتماعية وسياسية؛ و
  • انتهاكات حقوق المستخدم: يشمل ذلك أي نوع من الاضطهاد والمضايقات الناجمة عن النشاط على الإنترنت، وفرض القيود على الخصوصية والمراقبة التي تنتهك الخصوصية.
وبحسب النقاط المحسوبة في الفئات المذكورة أعلاه ، يقيّم تقرير "حرية الإنترنت" الدول كـ (حرّة) حيت حصولها على نقاط ما بين (0) إلى (30)؛ وكـ (حرّة جزئياً) إن حصلت على ما بين (31) إلى (60) نقطة؛  و (غير حرّة) إن حصلت الدولة على نقاط تتراوح ما بين (61) إلى (100).  وفي معرض توضيح منهجية دراسة "حرية الإنترنت لعام، تضيف منظمة "فريدوم هاوس" ما يلي:
إن هذه الدراسة ليس الغرض منها تصنيف الحكومات أو الأداء الحكومي في حد ذاته، بل هو تقيمٌ لوضع الحريات في العالم  وحقوق والحريات التي يتمتع بها الأفراد داخل كل بلد. وتتأثر حرية وسائل الإعلام الرقمية في المقام الأول بقرارات الدولة ، إلا أننا نأخذ في عين الاعتبار الضغوط والهجمات التي تشنها الجهات غير الحكومية، بما في ذلك الجريمة السرية المنظمة.  . ولذلك فإن هذا التقييم مؤشر يعكس بشكل عام التفاعل بين مجموعات متنوعة من الجهات ذات الصلة، سواء الحكومية أوغير الحكومية، بما في ذلك الشركات الخاصة.

قرفنا" تكمل الخامسة"

في 30 اكتوبر 2014، اكملت "قرفنا" الخمس سنوات. قبل خمس اعوام اقدم ثلاث شبان جيران في ودنوباوي، امدرمان على تكوين منظمة سياسية لمقاومة انتخابات 2010.
لم يكونوا متأكدين من اسم المنظمة او آليات عملها، لكن احدهم جاء بالاسم.....قرفنا. كانوا يريدون اسما قصيراً وملفتاً، اسم يمكن تذكره بسهولة. تم اختيار اللون البرتقالي عشوائياً، عندما لفت نظرهم عندما كانوا يختارون ورقاً ملوناً في احد دكاكين بيع الاوراق.
ولدت قرفنا وهم يحتسون الشاي في منازلهم ويناقشون محتوى المنشور الذي سوف يأخذ طريقه إلى المطبعة. وفي الحقيقة تم اصدار اول منشور في ليلة ولادة الحركة. ومع تواصل نقاشاتهم حول مايريدون فعله، لم يكونوا يتوقعون ان تنمو الحركة وتحوي متطوعين من كل السودان، و من السودانيين خارج ارض الوطن..... لم يكونوا يعلمون التحديات التي سوف يواجهونها.
الانتخابات السودانية الاولى من نوعها في 21 عاماً، كانت عام 2010. كان السودان في مفترق طرق كما صرحت كافة القنوات العالمية، واستحقاقاً قبل انتهاء اتفاقية السلام الشامل. عادت كل الاحزاب، والقادة المعارضين للوطن، كما عاد إلى دائرة الضوء او الى العمل "الغير سري" الذين يعيشون ويعملون تحت الارض.
كانت الانتخابات سوف تسير بالتأكيد لتكون معيبة، وقع حزب المؤتمر الوطني اتفاق السلام الشامل ولكن لن يتخلى عن السلطة إلى أي طرف سياسي آخر. ومع ذلك، لم تكن هذه هي المشكلة الوحيدة ، كان الذين يركضون للانتخابات مشكلة أخرى. كانت وجوههم مألوفة جداً فقد شاركوا في اللعبة السياسية السودانية من الخمسينات أو على الأقل في الثمانينات. للشباب، كانت الانتخابات تقريبا نكتة، وكثير من سكان السودان هم الشباب ولم يروا أي انتخابات تجري في السودان من قبل، ولكن بالنظر إلى الناس الذين يركضون لتمثيل السودان، كانت الوجوه لا علاقة لها بالشباب.
بحلول شهر أكتوبر، والانتخابات قادمة كانت المعارضة بين الحملات الانتخابية للترويج لمرشحيها "القديمة ولكن الذهبية" اومقاطعة الانتخابات، لأن حزب المؤتمر الوطني لم يكن نزيهاً ومتجهاً لتزوير الانتخابات، ولم يقدم لهم المتفق عليها للضغط والفضاء الحملة.
ولدت قرفنا من الإحباط من الحكومة والمعارضة، استناداً إلى حقيقة أن الشباب كانوا "سئموا" من الحكومة والمعارضة، ولكن أيضا لخلق الأمل، وهو العنصر الذي كان في عداد المفقودين من السودان لسنوات.
بعد أيام فقط، تطرقت لها صحيفة الشرق الأوسط في احد المقالات.... ومنذ ذلك الحين، أصبحت أحد الأصوات الرئيسية المعارضة في الانتخابات. وجاءت التبرعات يوما بعد يوم، من المواطنين العاديين الذين احبوا فكرة إبداعية جديدة، من الحركات والنشطاء السياسيين الذين رأوا في قرفنا ما تفتقر إليه أحزابهم، العمل الميداني الكثيف والنشاط في تنظيم واحد.
في ايام الذروة, وزعت الحركة 120,000 نشرة يومياً، واخذت طريقها على حافلات لمدني وبورتسودان وعبر طرق غير معروفة لمخيمات النازحين في دارفور ومعسكرات اللاجئين السودانيين في تشاد. ما ميز قرفنا من الحركات السياسية الأخرى في السودان العديد من جوانب وجودها ..
أولاً، ولد مؤسسوها وأعضائها الأوائل في الثمانينات والتسعينات، وشبوا خلال حكم حزب المؤتمر الوطني، رأوا السودان في أسوأ شكل كان عليه من أي وقت مضى، وتلقوا من المشروع الحضاري منهجه التعليمي مع غسل الدماغ. وعندما كانوا صغارا كانت "المعارضة الرسمية" في الدول المجاورة والخارج لبناء التحالفات المعارضة واحدا تلو الآخر، وعاجزة عن اخراج السودان لعقود طويلة من الجمود السياسي.
ثانياً، رأوا فجوة كبيرة بين الأحزاب السياسية التقليدية ودوائرهم. سوقت قرفنا على هذا من خلال تمثيل نفسها على أنها حركة الشارع. جندت الحركة عشرات المتطوعين لتوزيع منشورات في الأسواق ومحطات الحافلات، والجامعات وجميع المواقع المكتظة بالسكان. لم يمض وقت طويل بعد أن بدأت، بدأ متطوع يبلغ من العمر 17 عاماً وناشط اكبر سناً، في دفع الحركة لتنظيم مخاطبات عامة. بعدها، سوف تنظم الحركة مخاطبات علنية في الأسواق ومحطات الحافلات. كان للمخاطبات صدى مدوياً في الخرطوم، وخلقت ضجة حول الحركة على مستوى الحي وكذلك على الإنترنت عندما تم نشر الفيديو.
ثالثاً، الحركة التي اسسها الشباب، اعادت السلطة مرة أخرى إلى الشباب، وهو القطاع الذي يمثل غالبية السكان في البلاد ولكن عادة ما يتم تهميشهم داخل المؤسسات السياسية والمؤسسات الأخرى.
نمت قرفنا بسرعة كبيرة قبل عيد ميلادها الأول، وانتشرت في جميع أنحاء السودان، أنشات موقعاً على شبكة الانترنت، وجود مكثف على وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية، وأصبحت معروفة للجمهور والمجتمع الدولي.
مع التمدد جاءت المشاكل. بدأت الحركة تعاني من ضربة تلو الأخرى، كحركة رئيسية فعالة مناهضة لحزب المؤتمر الوطني خلال الانتخابات، ألقي القبض على أعضائها وارهبوا. في فترة مع كل منشور، سوف يتم اعتقال متطوع.
أخذت الحملات الأمنية تثقل كاهل الحركة، فجهاز الأمن الوطني وبموارده الجيدة ومجهزاً بقسم كامل للتعامل مع ما يسمى "حركة الشباب". ومع ذلك، كان السبب الرئيسي بنية الحركة التي استمرت لتفشل مراراً وتكراراً.
فعلت الحركة الكثير من العمل وغيرت وجه النشاط في السودان، فعلت ما لم تتمكن أي مؤسسة سياسية من القيام به في السودان على مر السنين. جعلت الشباب مهتمين بالقضية الوطنية، ومهتمين بالسودان ومستقبله.
جعلت النشاط السياسي جذابا او =="cool".
من بدايتها، أنتجت قرفنا فيديو ساخراً سوف يستمر كمصدر إلهام للحركة لسنوات. كما وزعت الأساور البلاستيكية البرتقالية التي كانت جذابة، وخلقت العلامة التجارية للحركة، وبدأت حركة الأحداث البرتقالية حيث يتجمع الشباب في شارع النيل يرتدون ملابس برتقالية اللون، وهو اللون الذي تم وصفه بأنه لون المقاومة.
كان لقرفنا دور كبير في النشاط الإعلامي الاجتماعي، وتأسيس الثقافة الفرعية التي ولدت في فترة ما بعد 30 يناير2011، من دعوات لمحاكمة النشطاء المعتقلين في الحملات السياسية، وتسجيل الفيديوهات مع عائلات المعتقلين ومع المعتقلين بعد الإفراج عنهم.
على صعيد آخر، لم تكن الحركة قادرة على الحفاظ على نفسها. جعل الهيكل اللامركزي وعملها كحركة مقرها الشارع، من المستحيل تأمين نفسها أو أعضائها وسط حملات أمنية مختلفة. في النهاية، اسست الحركة لتكون هناك، في الشوارع مع الجمهور، وهذا جعل أعضائها واضحين جداً ومعرضين للاعتقالات.
منذ البداية، لم تكن للحركة قيادة، والتي جعلت جميع الأعضاء على قدم المساواة والمشاركة على قدم المساواة في إجراءات العمل. نمت الحركة من خلال عملها، ولكن بقي أساسها ضعيفاً، غير موجوداً تقريبا.
رأت الحركة في نظام اللامركزية أنها من شأنها أن تبقي على العمل مقسماً بين خلاياه المختلفة وسيضمن امان أعضاء، ولكن كان للنظام عيوب. جعلت عدداً كبيراً من الأعضاء يواجهون خطر الاعتقال دون الأخذ بعين الاعتبار استعدادهم للقيام بذلك. كان العديد من أعضاء الحركة يفتقرون إلى الخبرة السياسية السابقة، وكانت قرفنا أول تجربة لهم، وهذا يعني أنها تفتقر إلى البرامج التدريبية السياسية التي تقدمها الحركات السياسية الرسمية للتامين والتعامل مع جهاز الأمن الوطني.
وعلاوة على ذلك، لم تستطع الحركة أن تفلت من نفس الأحزاب السياسية التقليدية التي تمردت عليها. منذ البداية، استهدفت قرفنا بشكل كبير من قبل الحكومة من خلال جهاز الأمن الوطني لأنه رأى فيها تهديدا وحركة قد تثير احتجاجات واسعة النطاق ضده، بل أكثر من ذلك من قبل المعارضة، التي تسعى للسيطرة على الحركة من خلال عدة طرق.
أولاً، رأت المعارضة في حركة قرفنا تهديداً وفرصة، تهديدا لأنها استطاعت استقطاب أعضاء من شبابهم الذين ضاقوا ذرعاً ببيروقراطية الأحزاب التقليدية وفرصة لأنها كانت حركة ناشطة ذات وجود حقيقي  في الشارع. وعلاوة على ذلك اعتقد كل طرف التمكن من تبني قرفنا من خلال دعمها لوجستياً وتشجيع أعضاء شبابهم لمواصلة التواجد في الجسم.
أخيراً، مع كل هذا الضغط المستمر واستنفاذ الكثير من طاقة الأعضاء في ابعاد قرفنا من أن يتم التحكم بها من قبل مؤسسة سياسية وجعلها تستمر مستقلة، بدأ الهيكل الضعيف للحركة ينكشف.
قرفنا مثل جميع الحركات الاجتماعية والسياسية المعاصرة في السودان، وقعت ضحية لكثير من أمراض المؤسسات السياسية التقليدية. وأبرزها، الاتهامات بأن بعض الناس حول الحركة هم عملاء لجهاز الامن، أو وكلاء لهيئات أخرى، استبعاد بعض الأعضاء في محاولة للحفاظ على حركة أكثر أمنا. هذا المرض المعين أثر على حركة من نمط "فصيلة الأسرة" واستمر لاضعافه.
مع كل تحدياتها، ستظل قرفنا واحدة من أقوى الحركات السياسية في التاريخ المعاصر من السودان ويومًاً ما سوف يكتب تاريخها مع كل عيوبها وانتصاراتها.
عيد ميلاد سعيد قرفنا، وارجو ان تعمر بصحة.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Girifna Turns Five

On 30 October 2014, Girifna turned five years old. Five years ago, three friends in the old neighborhood of Omdurman, Wad Nobawi, embarked on creating a youth political movement to resist the 2010 general elections.

They were not exactly sure what to name it or what their mechanisms would be until….one of them came up with the name Girifna. They wanted something short and catchy, a name that will be easily recalled by people. The orange color was picked at random,  they saw it as the most powerful color as they wanted to chose colored papers in the stationery shop. 

Girifna was born in their houses as they sipped tea and argued over the content of the flyer on the way to the printing house, in fact, the first flyer was produced the night the movement was born. 

As they discussed what they wanted to do, they did not expect that the movement will grow to encompass volunteers all over Sudan's states and in the diaspora, they didn't know the challenges they will face. 

Sudan's first elections in 24 years was the general elections in 2010. Sudan was at the crossroads as the international channels reported. It was a long overdue elections before the end of the CPA. All of the parties and leading opposition figures were back to the country or back to the spotlight from living and working underground. 

The elections was surely going to be flawed , the NCP signed the CPA but will never give up power to any other political party. However, this was not the only problem was the elections, the people running for elections were another problem. Their faces were too familiar and were or have been involved in the Sudanese political game from the 1950s or at least the 1980s. For youth, the elections were almost a joke, many of Sudan's population were youth and have not seen an elections taking place in Sudan before, but looking at the people running to represent Sudan, the faces were not even close to youthful.

By October, elections were coming up and the opposition was between campaigning for their "old but gold" nominees and boycotting the elections because the NCP was dishonest and will rig the elections and did not give them the agreed-upon space to lobby and campaign. 

Girifna was born out of frustration with the government and the opposition, based on the fact that youth were "fed up" with the government and the opposition, but also to create hope, an ingredient that was missing from Sudan for years. 

Just days later, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported on the movement and from then on, it became one of the main voices of opposition in the runner-up to the elections. The donations came in day by day, from ordinary citizens who liked the new creative idea of the movements and political activists who saw in Girifna what their parties lacked, heavy street -based work and activism. At one point, the movement distributed 120,000 flyers a day and the flyers made their way on buses to Medani and Port Sudan and through unknown ways to the IDP camps in Darfur and the  Sudanese refugees' camps in Chad. 

What distinguished Girifna from other political movements in Sudan is many aspects of its existence..

Firstly, its founders and first members to join the movement were born in the 80s and 90s and came of age during the NCP's rule, they saw a Sudan in the worst shape it had ever been in, they received the المشروع الحضاري Ingaz civilizational project's educational curriculum with their brainwash, they were young when the official "opposition" gallivanted in neighboring countries and abroad building one opposition coalition after the other and failing to deliver Sudan from its decades-long political deadlock. 

Secondly, they saw the big gap between the traditional political parties and their constituencies. Girifna marketed on this by representing itself as a street movement. The movement recruited dozens of volunteers to distribute flyers in markets, bus-stops, universities and all locations that are heavily populated. Not long after it began, a 17-year old volunteer and an older activist pushed for the movement to organize a public talk. Soon, the movement was organizing informal public talks known as "mokatabat" in markets and bus stations. The talks had a loud echo in Khartoum, creating a buzz around the movement on the neighborhood-level and also online when the videos were posted.

Thirdly, the movement which mostly rallied youth around it, gave the power back to youth, a sector that represents the majority of the nation's population but is usually marginalized inside political institutions and other institutions. 

Girifna grew too fast before its first birthday, it spread all around Sudan, established a website and a social media presence and became known to the public and to the international community.

With fame..comes problems. The movement began suffering from one blow after another, as the main active anti-NCP body during the elections , its members were arrested and intimidated. At one point, with each batch of flyers, a volunteer would get arrested. 

The security crackdowns took their brunt on the movement because the NISS is well-resourced and equipped with an entire office to deal with the so-called "youth movements". However, the main reason remained the structure of the movement that continued to fail it time and time again. 

The movement did a lot of work and changed the face of activism in Sudan, it did what no political institution was able to do in Sudan over the years. It made youth interested in the national cause, interested in Sudan and its future. 

It made activism "cool".

From its onset, Girifna produced a satirical soap video that will continue to inspire the movement for years. It also distributed plastic orange wristbands that were cool and created a brand for the movement, at one point, the movement create orange events where youth would gather on Nile street wearing orange, a color that was branded as the color of resistance.

Girifna had a big role in the social media activism sub-culture that was born in the period post Jan-30 2011, with the invitations to the trials of activists to the political detainees campaigns and recording videos with families of  detainees and with detainees upon their release.

On another note, the movement was unable to sustain itself. Its decentralized structure and its work as a street-based movement made it impossible to secure itself or its members amidst the various security crackdowns. At the end, the movement was based on being out there, on the streets with the public, and this made its members too visible and subjected to detentions. 

Since the beginning, the movement had no leadership which made all the members feel equally in charge and equally involved in the work processes. The movement grew through its work, but its foundation remained weak, almost nonexistent. 
The movement saw in decentralization a system that will keep the work divided amongst its various cells and will secure the members, but the system had flaws. It made a large number of members face the risk of detention without taking into consideration their readiness to do so. Many of the movement's members were with no prior political experience , Girifna was their first experience, meaning they lacked the political training packages provided by more formal political movements on security and dealing with the NISS.

Moreover, the movement couldn't escape the same traditional political parties they rebelled against. From the onset, Girfina was heavily targeted by the government through the NISS as they saw it as a security threat and a body that could spark large-scale protests against it, but more so by the opposition, that sought to dominate the movement through several ways. Firstly, the opposition movement saw in Girifna both a threat and an opportunity, a threat because it was attracting their youth members who were fed up with the bureaucracy of the traditional parties and an opportunity because it was an active body with a real street presence. 
Moreover each party thought of embracing Girifna through supporting it logistically and encouraging their youth members to continue being present in the body. 

Finally, with all this ongoing pressure and the members exhausting a lot of energy to prevent Girifna from being controlled by a political institution and to make it continue being independent, the weak structure of the movement began to unravel.

The movement like all contemporary social and political movements in Sudan began to fall victim to the many diseases of the traditional political institutions. Most prominently, the accusations that some people around the movement are NISS agents or are agents of other bodies and the exclusion of some members in an attempt to keep the movement more secure. This particular disease affected the "family-type" movement and continued to weaken it. 

With all its challenges, Girifna is and will remain one of the most powerful political movements in the contemporary history of Sudan and one day, its history with all its flaws and victories should be written.

Happy Birthday Girifna, may you age well. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Memory from September 2013- the Brown Scarf

Last week, I found the flimsy brown scarf lying on my couch between my other scarfs and a black skirt. It was washed and ironed and folded, almost too neatly for such a rebellious scarf. I didn't even know that it had left my wardrobe where I kept it since Friday the 27th of September 2013.
Let me tell you the story of this small scarf, which is more like a neck tie than a scarf. It was a very hot Friday, my best friend, Sara, came over in the morning after hearing news that a large protest will take place in Omdurman that day, it was a long week, mass protests took place all over Sudan and were suppressed by live bullets. By Friday, over 200 were killed.
We agreed to go to the protest and live-tweet what was happening. I wore leggings and on top of it, a black dress belonging to my mother and orange shoes since I couldn't find my sneakers….. and most importantly, a beautiful teal cotton scarf. It had an exceptional color and although Sara told me not to wear it. I insisted on wearing it because its material will make me cool down. Before we left the house, I sprayed some vinegar mixed with water on the edge of my beautiful scarf, in anticipation of heavy teargas.

We left the house in a big group, my parents and my aunt, my two cousins who never protested before, my uncle and ..Sara. We walked to Al-Gala2 neighborhood before we saw masses walking towards us, they were chanting while holding big signs with anti-government slogans.
We stood there in shock before we found ourselves in the middle of the protest. Estimates by various groups and my father who I consider a good statistician said that the protest had up to 10,000 people.
We marched for a long time until we reached the Central Police Station next to Omdurman Locality.
There was a moment of silence before the crowds shouted "peaceful", dozens of police officers and plain-clothed security officers stood there in shock, at the massive numbers and the loud voice.

My best friend told me that when the crowds chanted "peaceful", one plain-clothed security officer signaled "NO" with his finger.
We should have seen it coming.
When we reached the middle of Street 40, I put more vinegar with water on tissue-paper and then put it inside my scarf before wrapping the scarf around my mouth. I wanted to breathe in as much vinegar as possible. I could see the tear-gas coming.
At some point, the crowds stopped and sat on the floor and began chanting the national anthem while I felt like I was going to faint from the heat and exhaustion, Sara and I crossed the street and knocked on one of the houses and asked for water.
I took a few sips from the water then turned around to make it back to the crowds when I saw them getting dispersed. They were trapped and army vehicles were coming from both sides, firing live bullets into the air. The crowds were running, both from the live bullets and from the tear-gas bombs that were being fired left and right.
I remember seeing people running at me , dozens were trying to force themselves into the house were I had asked for water. I crouched on the floor and put my hands on my head. I saw hands reaching out to me, my best friend and another friend were in tears, screaming at me to come inside the house.
I made myself into the house with dozens of young men and women. A young man was leaning on the wall, with his face stretched in pain, his arm was dislocated or broken or something…during the chaotic dispersal scene.
Another young man was asking for a cloth, a scarf…something to tie the poor guy's hand. I took off my beautiful teal scarf and wrapped his arm with it and then tied the scarf to his neck.
A young woman who lives in the house where we were staying gave me the brown scarf.
For a long time, I thought about my scarf, my friend told me it is now hung on the young man's wall. As a beautiful souvenir from the September protests.
I also thought about the brown scarf. One day, I got dressed and threw it inside my beige bag and walked to Street 40. As I came closer to the house, I decided not to take it back. I decided to keep it.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Open Letter to Safia Ishaq

Dear Safia,

We have never met, but I know you.

When you were gang-raped on the 13th of February 2011, I was in Tripoli, my father was stationed with the UN there at the time, and we arrived in Libya after we were evacuated from Egypt as the revolution there unfolded. 

We were escorted from our house as military barricades filled the streets of Cairo, taken to terminal four and put on a World Bank plane to Dubai. From Dubai, we came to Libya only for another revolution to unfold.

Five days after your life changed forever, the day you were arrested by the national security service as you were buying your art supplies and then subjected to a horrific gang-rape by three security men as they muffled your screams and beat you into forced submission…. the protests would start in Benghazi in Western Libya and we would again evacuate Libya just days before the airport was shut down.

The whole world was changing in February 2011, Safia, your world changed and my world changed as well.

Ten days later, I am in a cold country and my mother is hospitalized, I am scared and afraid of loss, I check my Facebook only to find a video circulated by a movement called Girifna. In the video, you are wearing a blue scarf and speaking about your rape.

You went through something unimaginable, but you were not broken, you spoke about rape in a conservative society where rape is a stigma and a rape victim is stigmatized. You spoke about it at great personal risk..... the video was filmed and you were in hiding. Your family refused to speak to you for days after February 13th, Safia, they just could not grasp what happened to you. 

Some of your friends were in detention from the protests and others were arrested by the police who wanted to blame them for your disappearance.

In the video, you are collected as you tell what happened to you in details, towards the end, you break down in tears as the emotional ordeal becomes too heavy on your heart then you explain why you did this things don't remain this way, so it doesn't happen to any girl again.

 So things get better.

So things get better...such a small sentence, Safia, but it has become my motto. A loaded phrase ….that gives me inspiration to continue to fight for human rights. I became an activist after watching your video and seeing how people reacted to it.

Too many things need to get better, Safia.

You shouldn't have been arrested or raped, because no-one deserves to be subjected to this. You shouldn't have been shunned by your family and called a liar by the government's propaganda because rape is serious and is a dangerous weapon ..... legitimatized by the mentality that makes it acceptable to fight wars over women's bodies and accept violence against women because they are active and taking part in resistance and protests . Because they exist in the public sphere.

I think of you many times, every year I remember you in the days leading up to February the 13th, I watch the video and I am touched by your message of hope against all adversity. 

Thank you Safia for touching my heart with your words and courage.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Can artist campaigns help reunite the centre and the periphery in Sudan?

In the 1990s, as the war continued to escalate in Southern Sudan, Northern Sudanese activists arrived in conflict-affected areas in what was called a ‘peace convoy’. Initially the activists felt they were “mistrusted and no-one wanted to speak” to them, but after some days, this changed and people began to open up. Much the same has happened since 2011, when war broke out in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan and activists began pitching the idea of visiting the conflict areas and the refugee camps to send a message of solidarity.
Sudan’s conflicts have often involved areas on the marginalised periphery revolting against the more powerful and wealthy centre, and there is a gulf between the people who live in these different areas too.
Hajooj Kuka, a Sudanese filmmaker, has spent significant time in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan to film the perspective of those affected by war as they navigate their lives through Antonov bombing raids, and reaffirm their cultural and physical existence through music, dance and story-telling. When Kuka arrived at the IDP and refugee camps, usually finding himself the only or one of a very few there from the centre, he was met with many questions: “Why are people from the capital not coming here? Why is the only doctor in the area an American and not a Sudanese? Where is the centre in all of this?”
Kuka is not the only Sudanese artist attempting to highlight the country’s devastating conflicts. Art VS war is a cultural campaign carried out by Nabta Art and Culture Center in collaboration with the National Group for Cultural Policies. From his office in Cairo, Ahmed Isam – a Sudanese artist – designs colourful posters detailing the amount spent on war as opposed to government expenditure on the arts and mixes images of war planes and soldiers in camouflage with art supplies and musical instruments. The campaign is slowly growing from social media to posters and t-shirts; and by the end of the month it will head to refugee camps for musical and cultural exchanges between the centre and the conflict areas.
The film and the campaign should not be taken lightly; they are both innovative ways to build a bridge between the centre and the periphery and show solidarity from the centre, the place that Kuka and Isam believe can really pressure the government to stop the war.
Yet so far in Sudan, activist groups have been largely unable to mobilize people around the problem of war.
The September Effect
In 2012, Girifna, an activist group, campaigned for a protest day named “Darfur Baladna Friday” or “Darfur our home Friday,” during the protests known as Sudan Revolts. However, “Darfur Baladna Friday” never quite materialized in Khartoum. Some argued that it failed because it was Ramadan, others say that people never really related to what the day was intended to represent. The day did have one positive output: a note circulated online, written by Omdurman youth to Darfuris describing how they are saddened by what is happening in Darfur.
A few days later, there were protests in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state, and more than a dozen youth were shot dead. There was a sense of embarrassment in the centre: when the capital’s residents protest they are tear-gassed and detained, in the periphery, the government goes straight to live bullets.
The September 2013 demonstrations, during which more than 200 people were killed, mainly in the capital, were a turning point. When the bodies of protesters began piling up it was a shock to the centre. The government that allegedly protected them from the evil people in the periphery had now begun killing them too. The events of September 2013 echoed loudly in the war areas too. Kuka says that it made people realize that Sudanese in the centre could also be killed.
The September incident opened a new space for dialogue between activists in the centre and the periphery, but this dialogue will not prove prosperous unless the activists can mobilize people against the war and not just about economic issues.
The War Next Door
A few months ago, as Rapid Support Forces (RSF) burned and pillaged villages in North Darfur, the conflict in Sudan’s western region surfaced in Khartoum in the form an Arabic hashtag #Darfur_Burns. As one Darfuri activist put it to me, “it gave people information they never knew about Darfur and its history.”
Activist groups like Girifna and Sudan Change Now have campaigned against the three wars raging in Sudan. But the campaigns, despite all their good intentions, were never strong enough to rally popular support.
First, the campaigns were not prioritized during times when other events in the centre were given more coverage; and the local was usually not tied to the bigger problems in Sudan. Right now, the conversation is about the floods, with a particular focus on the implications for Khartoum state residents. The floods could be made a national issue as they bring to the fore issues of governance, the mass displacement of IDPs from war-torn areas to Khartoum where they live in uninhabitable land, and officials embezzling money instead of using it to prepare for the rainy season.
In another example, when Univeristy of Khartoum student Ali Abakar was shot after he gave a speech about the deteriorating situation in Darfur, activist groups failed to make their campaign about the war. Instead it was presented as a local University of Khartoum event. Soon, the attention moved from Ali Abakar to the students who were arrested and to the dispersal of students from the dorms.
Second, the campaigns have been isolated from the civilians in the conflict areas. This is because activists lack access to the war zones and sometimes do not reach out effectively to civilians from those places. Moreover, there is a serious trust issue. Salih Ammar, a journalist, was beaten up when attempting to show solidarity with a Darfuri student activist who was allegedly tortured to death by the security services.
Finally, no sustained efforts are made by activist groups to explain to the average citizen how war is their biggest problem, as it affects everything from the country’s economy to healthcare and the educational system. Over 70% of the country’s revenues go to the military and security; in other words, war affects everyday life.
Art as a weapon against war
“War stops at the place it is coming from, where the arms are made and the planes are launched,” Isam says. Both Kuka and Isam explain that the centre needs to be part of the solution to stop the war.
To make his documentary, “Beats of the Antonov”, which tells the story of
the people of the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains in Sudan, Kuka spent months going to the refugee and IDP camps in which hundreds of thousands of people from both regions live. Previous films about the war in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan have not been made by Sudanese filmmakers and he wanted to make a film where Sudanese people are the audience. The people he filmed were at the heart of his documentary, and they saw the many cuts of the film as it was being edited and gave their comments and recommendations.
In the film, in one scene, the girls are giggling as they watch themselves on Kuka’s laptop. These girls were never going to be on national television, but now they are part of a film that will have a bigger audience than simply Sudan TV. The film is meant to arm its Sudanese audience, who after watching it will want to fight for cultural and ethnic diversity, to listen to this music and hear these stories told in the centre, in Khartoum.
Art Vs War is also important because like Kuka it will directly go to the people affected by the war and will be a bridge between the centre and the periphery. It is an attempt at peace-building, with no resources to build services, but merely to build social peace between people.
The only anti-war attempts that will work should start from the centre and engage with the conflict areas and should only be focused on war; the most critical issue in Sudan today.

Originally Published at
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