The Sudan Doctors' Committee, an ad hoc union body formed this April, has declared a comprehensive all Sudan strike today to protest the detention of the Committee's heading members, Dr Ahmed El Abwabi and Dr El Hadi Bakheet, as well as two other doctors detained this afternoon, and 5 Khartoum University medical students who were also arrested whilst demonstrating in solidarity with the detainees.
The perception that the Committee would collapse upon detention of its leaders has proved to be a false one. In contradistinction to Sudan's historical union movement, largely under central 'political' command in the tradition of 'central committees' and leadership bureaus the new trend is rather 'decentralised' and relatively free of open political affiliation. The essential organisational tool in this current strike and the previous one in April has been the internet social utility 'Facebook'. Discussions and decisions take place largely on-line, and without an apparent hierarchical structure. As such the detention of the supposed 'ring-leaders' achieved nothing in terms of sabotaging the doctors' movement, since the will of the collective nevertheless prevailed, and new leaders immediately emerged, multiple leaders! What the security apparatus is faced with today are not the classical 'clandestine' cells of activists it is so used to bust but a shockingly transparent and horizontally structured movement, more a communication network than an intrigue pyramid.