Sunday, 27 February 2011

In the separate South

As is expected a certain Sudan fatigue in the international media has replaced the attention accorded to the event of the South Sudan referendum. As long as no major catastrophe takes place, i.e. a North-South war, it is unlikely that the drab stories of perennial political strife, low-grade violence, corruption and misery, will draw any interest beyond the baseline liberal sympathy with African calamities. With the secession vote established and wholeheartedly acknowledged by the devilish Khartoum regime the army of international ‘experts’ is already in celebration mode over yet another humanist success. This happy end flutter of NGO hearts was poisoned last week by a report claiming that recruits in a police training facility in Juba funded by international donors were subjected to severe treatment, of which some died, while the women among them were variously raped or forced to comply with the sexual desires of their superiors. The inspector general of the South Sudan police force had this standard response to offer “The so called human rights report attributed to investigators from the United Nations lacks ethics of investigation. It is all about allegations which are not correct. They are fabrications. No women were raped...etc”.

The Prendergastians and Winterites among the international troops of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) would probably argue that the ruling party in the South is yet to master the transition from guerrilla movement to political party proper and is thus excused in failing some of the benchmarks of good behaviour, an argument that transpires of the tutelage of the ‘bog barons’, the British district commissioners of South Sudan, whereby the colonial subjects remain locked in a virtual infantile state. The fact that these supposedly infant rulers had waged and won a 20 year long war involving a fierce battle for moral and diplomatic recognition does not really count.
A similar benevolent silence shrouded the security raid that targeted the premises of the Citizen newspaper in Juba last Sunday. Nhial Bol, the paper’s editor in chief described the incidence as “a direct attack on the freedom of expression”. He suggested that the reason for the assault was a column critical of the police forces published a week before. Contrary to the situation in Fanjak which Prendergast himself hastily attributed to the omnipresent Khartoum ghost these two cases are defiantly domestic. Neither the officers of the South Sudan police forces nor Nhial Bol fit the fantasy of subversive elements funded by the conspiratorial Khartoum. To the wider audience of international spectators these incidences will probably feed into the essential prejudice of African doom, or to paraphrase Chabal and Daloz ‘Africa works’ according to its own rules, in any case beyond the realm of universal reason.  To the Sudanese, North and South, my argument is to invest in the universal horizon that is denied Africans by both the rulers and the ‘friendly’ spectators. 

Saturday, 26 February 2011

The Sudanese Ghadafi

My favourite National Congress Party (NCP) wisdom of the last few days is Nafie Ali Nafie’s statement that the NCP regime in Khartoum is immune to the influenza of popular revolts in its immediate neighbourhood, Egypt and Libya, because it has never sided with the West against the aspirations of its people. According to Nafie, the Egyptians ousted Mubarak because of his warm relationships with Israel and the US, while the NCP has always provided full support for the Palestinian struggle, the central theme of Arab liberation. Regarding the situation in Libya the Sudanese foreign ministry urged Ghadafi to exercise self-restraint and refrain from the use of force against the Libyan people. The NCP media outlets, al-Intibaha included, repeated on a daily basis Ghadafi’s Sudan sins, paradoxically all but one involved the Islamic Movement.
During Nimayri’s reign Libya provided the oppositional National Front, essentially an alliance between the Islamic Movement and the Umma Party, with military training and arms, an effort that culminated in the unsuccessful July 1976 attack on the Sudanese capital. Ghadafi’s frustration with Nimayri had more to do with the latter’s relationship with Egypt’s Sadat than with the internal politics of Sudan. Notably, Ghadafi employed the network of fighters recruited with the help of the National Front from Darfur in his subsequent confrontations with Chad starting in 1978.
As part of his souring grudge against Nimayri Ghadafi provided the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) led by John Garang with financial and military support during its formative years prior to Nimayri’s demise by popular revolt in 1985.
Following its 1989 coup the Islamic Movement courted Ghadafi with utmost loyalty, and even modelled its initial experimentation with political structures after Ghadafi’s system of popular committees and conferences. In one such theatrical scene Ghadafi was invited to inaugurate the demolition of the notorious colonially built Cooper Prison in Khartoum North. Ghadafi flanked by Turabi and Bashir oversaw the demolition of a portion of the prison’s external wall. The three then ranted volumes against the oppressive legacy of colonialism. Ghadafi returned home and the prison’s wall got the repairs it deserves, and it still stands serving the needs of post-colonial security. Two things changed though but did not really catch on. The Cooper Prison was renamed the Central Prison and the neighbourhood in its vicinity that goes by the same name was rechristened Omer al-Mukhtar after the Libyan anti-colonial hero.  
The NCP suffered Ghadafi’s support of the Darfur movements in silence. When al-Intibaha charged against the Libyan leader accusing him of supporting the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) attack on the capital in May 2008 and decrying his refusal to hand over JEM’s chief, Khalil Ibrahim, to the Sudanese government the security authorities blocked the publication of the paper.
All that said it would be amusing to see, in case Ghadafi does fall, what name the NCP will invent for Burj el-Fatih (the first of September tower), the Libyan egg-shaped complex that carries the name of Ghadafi’ revolution which dominates Khartoum’s skyline and generously serves the delicate culinary and accommodation needs of its NGO population.  

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Janjweedization: security rape

The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), apparently freaking out over the prospect of an Egyptian scenario in the capital, has chosen to employ the weapons of its pacification war in Darfur against the student ‘rebels’ in Khartoum. On 13 February a team of NISS officers arrested a young student, active in the Girifna movement, from a main street in Khartoum. S remained in the custody of the security service for a few hours during which she was gang-raped by the men of the NISS in their Khartoum North headquarters, and subsequently released to the blitz of the streets.
Rape as a tool of terror, as is well known, is not particularly novel in the catalogue of the NISS. In Darfur the security agencies of the NCP, acting directly or through their proxies, acquired a notorious reputation for the employment of rape as an instrument of suppression. Apparently, the NISS, possibly fascinated by the efficiency of its weapon, has decided to try it out against its student contenders in Khartoum.
To understand why the NISS has decided to shift gears in such a fashion it is important to note two aspects of the 30 January protests and the preceding Girifna agitation in the run up to the April 2010 elections that probably vex the security authorities most. The first, I suppose, is the autopoetic and acephalous nature of the youth mobilisation. The NISS, trained to sniff plots and clandestine movements along a central command model, was faced with a disturbingly transparent and visible form of agitation that does not feature in its textbook. In response, it arrested the whole movement. More than 200 individuals passed through the custody of the NISS, while some still remain, in relation to the 30 January events. The second is the preponderance of young women in the ranks of the agitators and protestors. The expansion in higher education, qualitative concerns aside, invited to public life in Sudan an ever increasing number of young women who are committed to make it an advantage that works in their favour. Rather than satisfy themselves with the secondary women wings of political parties these young activists are well positioned in the loose organisational forms of the recent campaigns unrestricted by the standard male dominated structures.
Against such blatant liberation the NISS chose to pick from its toolbox the axe of male domination in an attempt to shame the young women back into the hijab of private life and terrorise their families into the defeat of female subjugation; as is the case whenever one attempts to bend reality with mere fantasy, to no avail. 

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Nafie: the proud bumpkin

Nafie Ali Nafie

Addressing an audience of supporters on Saturday the deputy chairman of the National Congress Party (NCP), Nafie Ali Nafie, compared between what he referred to as the humble origins of the NCP nomenklatura and the affluent backgrounds of the opposition’s leaders. He stated “we don’t want these smooth talkers to tell us about the people’s agonies because we are part of the people”, adding “those who run the government today are the rustic sons of rustic families, and hail from the wilderness and the peripheries; they are not the residents of Khartoum (2) and Amarat and the posh neighbourhoods of Khartoum who learn about the strife of the people through hearsay”. Nafie was speaking on the occasion of the inauguration of construction works of a bridge in Soba, a residential area in the Southern outskirts of Khartoum. “Soba to us is a capital, and when we come to it we say that we reached Khartoum and its electricity” bellowed the NCP strongman.
In his populist style, Nafie hit a raw nerve of the urban/rural divide inherent in Sudan’s political dilemma. For the ambitious elite of rural origin born out of the educational expansion of the 1970s the Islamic Movement, in its various formats (the National Islamic Front of the late 1980s and the ruling NCP), was a channel for upward social mobility and conclusively hegemony. To reach that end the Islamic Movement played the role of opposition within the opposition. With the leftist inclined petit bourgeoisie of Khartoum it shared the animosity against the sectarian parties, the Umma and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which commanded the loyalty of the rural masses, and yet it challenged the nationalism and socialism of the left with a ‘native’ narrative of political Islam. The Islamic Movement’s message had a double edge to it. It challenged the sectarian parties on their own ground and it provided the aspiring rural elite with a working ideology that approved rather than questioned their view of the world, in contradistinction to the more demanding postulations of the Communist Party, the archrival of the Islamic Movement. Presenting political Islam as an ideology of empowerment the Islamic Movement attracted to its ranks the bright and the bold of the rural elite, student newcomers to the temptations of Khartoum, a bastion of Westernization standing above and beyond the rural wilderness that Nafie referred to.
The Communist Party attempted to invest in this contradiction between the rural and the urban and initially achieved considerable success among the tenants of the Gezira scheme and the plantations of the Nuba Mountains. This early success was largely contingent on the Communist Party’s mastery of trade union organisation rather than a reflection of its penetration into rural communities. Thus, the situation emerged whereby the sons and daughters of yesterday’s ‘red’ farmers imbued with the values of trade union camaraderie became the Islamic vanguard of today.
What Nafie missed to mention nevertheless is the fact that the socio-economic factors that ushered in the Islamic Movement’s rise to power, by and large the consequences of harsh urbanisation, may very well represent the causes of its demise. The NCP today can neither satisfy the expectations it groomed among its rural constituency nor can it cope with the emergent urban crisis under its watch. The result of this unrest has till now been the series of ‘ethnic’ insurgencies against its rule, a volatile combination of rural grievances championed by ambitious elites. 

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Tea with Gosh!

Salah Gosh

The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in the person of its former chief and current security affairs advisor to President Bashir, Salah Gosh, acting in the capacity of the recently conjured up security advisory of the Presidency, disclosed on 16 February a ‘national dialogue’ proposal to address the constitutional and political arrangements in the rump North post-secession. Gosh made the proposal public in a meeting with senior media figures in Khartoum. The secretary general of the presidential security advisory, Hassaballa Omer, added that a secretariat composed of two members each from the Umma Party and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and one member each from a plethora of smaller political parties, will be charged with steering the process. Omer expected the participation of 1500 delegates in the proposed forum including representatives of academia, civil society, and prominent national figures.
While Turabi’s Popular Congress Party (PCP) and the Communist Party immediately rejected the proposal as another NCP bluff with no substance the Umma Party preserved its right to silence. The rift between the PCP and the Umma in the umbrella opposition alliance, the National Consensus Forces (NCF), thus widened further. On 17 February the PCP’s Kamal Omer told the press that the Umma’s ‘national agenda’ does not reflect the position of the NCF which remains committed to the demand of a ‘transitional government’ that replaces the ruling NCP regime.
The conflation of state security and politics in itself I suppose is very telling. Out of all the structures and figures associated with the office of the President it is the security advisory headed by Salah Gosh that shoulders the responsibility of pursuing Bashir’s politics. The President himself toughened his stance towards the opposition after a fortnight of relatively appeasing statements. On 16 February he ruled out the possibility of a ‘transitional government’ insisting that participation in his promised broad-based cabinet is open only to those who accept the declared NCP programme, i.e. those who neither challenge his authority nor question the state of affairs in the armed forces, his exclusive domain of influence. In that period the NISS sifted with the tool of torture through the minds of the 30 January detainees in order to submit to his Excellency a qualified estimate of what the opposition might and might not be able to do. The outcome of that exercise is the proposal forwarded by Gosh, a ‘national dialogue’ within the limits of safety and its complement, Bashir’s 16 February challenge to the opposition to take to the streets if it had any support. Through Bashir’s looking glass politics equate with threats and the measures needed to address them. In that sense, the choice between brute force and talks does not signal a change of perspective as much as a change in instrument in the administration of power.     

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Athor the macabre

George Athor

Speaking on 15 February in Juba Pagan Amum revealed that an estimated 200 individuals had died in the recent upsurge of violence between the troops of his government, the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA), and the forces loyal to the ex-SPLA general George Athor in Fanjak, Jonglei state. According to the BBC Amum the Minister stated that most of the dead were civilians chased into a river by the rebels. On his part Athor accused the SPLA of inciting the violence despite a ceasefire signed between the two parties on the eve of the referendum. Notably, James Kok, the Humanitarian Affairs Minister in the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) coined the confrontation a “massacre”. He said referring to the victims “They were chased into the river. I was the one who put them into a mass grave”.
The two ministers I presume chose their words consciously, to dually de-politicize and criminalize the presumed offenders, Athor and his forces. ‘Massacres’ and ‘mass graves’ in this sense are not to be understood but reflexively condemned for what they are supposed to represent, absurd violence. Assuming the very gaze of their international observers the two ministers bought into the inexplicability of African violence, as it were, apart from the ahistorical notions of atavistic tribal drives, this time in the favour of their own position as statesmen facing an insurgency.
Rather than defend Athor’s resort to arms in his attempt to challenge the outcome of the April 2010 elections the point here is to highlight that the SPLA is equally a party to the cycle of violence in Jongeli, either directly or through its manoeuvre to crush Athor through arming vigilant Murle youth groups under the leadership of an SPLA officer, Joshua Kony, a strategy that backfired when the Murle youth aligned with the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) turned their guns against the Luo Nuer. With that in mind the Luo Nuer/Murle dispute in Jonglei, officially presented as a virtually eternal cattle-rustling war, feeds in one aspect at least from the GoSS plan to outsource its conflict with George Athor, the standard by-proxy twist that the SPLA had to face during its war with Khartoum.
Now, it seems the GoSS has borrowed both the tactics and the language of the Khartoum counter-insurgency. I wonder what the NGO beholders in the South will make of these developments.  

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Egypt: the spectre of betrayal


Friday saw the peak of the Egyptian uprising as it were. Mubarak stepped down in surrender to the main demand of the mass movement. I was struck however by a comment in the BBC where it was announced that the hour has come for the professional politicians to take over and see to it that a ‘stable’ democratic dispensation replaces the so called anarchy of the last few weeks. The argument plainly put is this, the protestors have done their part and the political class proper can now reap the profits, i.e. the standard ‘betrayal’ involution of revolutionary upsurges.
In Sudan such a scenario unfolded right after the April 1985 intifada against the regime of Colonel Nimayri. The military, Nimayri’s very allies and henchmen, declared a transitional authority, supposedly a ‘neutral’ arbiter of national calibre, with the mandate to restore ‘democratic’ order. The neutrality of the military however no sooner revealed itself as a cynic bluff. With the protesters back home the Transitional Military Council (TMC) in power headed by General Siwar al-Dahab, Nimayri’s defence minister, proved to be a ‘stable’ bulwark against the possibility of realising the very demands of the intifada, namely the dissolution of the state security apparatus and the scrapping of Nimayri’s September 1983 shari’a laws. In fact, Siwar al-Dahab himself, as well as his prime minister el-Gizouli Dafa’alla did not hide their sympathies for the agenda of the National Islamic Front (NIF), Nimayri’s bedfellows. The first went on to head the Islamic Relief Organisation, the NIF’s humanitarian proselytization machine, and the second was anyway a cadre of the NIF. 
Under the slogan of ‘democracy’ the Islamic Movement, reorganised as the NIF, washed its slate clean of complicity with the dictatorship and was allowed to vegetate and flourish in the political suspension that followed the demise of the dictator. To little surprise, the professional politicians of the intifada, who had essentially parasitized on its gains rather than led its upheaval, had no other vision to offer in the new situation but a return to the pre-Nimayri dispensation. Emblematic in this regard was the bankrupt call to reinstate the 1956 constitution, a colonial relic that sustained rather than challenged the colonial state albeit wrapped up in the flag of independence. In the parliamentary session that marked the endorsement of the 1956 constitution Hassan al-Tahir Zaroug, inspired by his communism, offered a lasting criticism of the post-colonial state and its heritage that is ever relevant. I quote Zaroug “In the second section of the constitution we find the following ‘no Sudanese shall be denied the right to holding public office, private jobs, or appointment in any position, trade or work, with reference to his place of birth, religion, race, or sex’. We find however five thousand registered unemployed in Khartoum alone. We also find that the wages paid to Southerners are by far less than those paid to Northeners even when they perform the same work”. Zaroug went on to add “We also find that women teachers are paid less than male teachers and subjected to different and worse terms of employment even when they have the same qualification and work in similar schools”.
The Egyptian mass movement is its own authority. It has already created and crafted organisational forms and modes of mass action that transcend the bankrupt and ossified political parties. In its universalism it has with one blow generated the possibility and actuality of overcoming with true politics the falsity of cultural particularisms, the Moslem/Copt schism and the fantasy of the inevitable hegemony of the Moslem Brotherhood. In that sense, the horizon before the Egyptian mass movement is not a return to the pre-1952 dispensation, but the re-approbation of the progressive Nasser moment. 

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

In the separate North

Monday witnessed the formal announcement of the outcome of the Southern Sudan referendum in Khartoum, an incontestable 99% for secession. The vote for an independent nation in the formulation of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) represents the victorious culmination of the struggle of the Southern Sudanese, mission accomplished. The National Congress Party (NCP) on the other hand is making a considerable effort to dispel the gloom associated with the event of partition in the North. In this regard President Bashir is particularly occupied. The Big Man has literally spent the last week clinging to the microphone. Amongst other public engagements the President briefed the officer corps of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) on the current political situation on 3 February. He repeated the same to the police forces, and then again to the officers of the security service on 6 February. On 7 February he addressed a rally of the student wing of the NCP, and on the following day he flew to North Kordofan where he spoke to a rally in Um Rwaba. On all these occasions the President had basically one message to convey: the NCP is not responsible for partition, it is the SPLM who is to blame for not following through with the commitment to unity; the enforcement of shar’ia does not constitute a cause for partition; North Sudan post-secession will be 98% Moslem and therefore the path is clear for the full embrace of Islam as the religion of the state and shari’a as the governing law of the country
Apart from the NCP only its associate or rather chapter, the Just Peace Forum (JPF), headed by al-Intibaha’s chief, al-Tayeb Mustafa, marked the announcement of the referendum outcome with a public event. The JPF organised a celebration on Monday in which a ‘black’ bull was slaughtered as a token of redemption. Technically, the JPF can declare its sole objective realised, and with it the justification of its existence. Nevertheless the ‘vindicated’ party issued a statement declaring its post-secession agenda, namely the promotion of the institutional character of the state; the combat of corruption; the division of state powers; the reform of educational curricula to correspond to the new situation in North Sudan; and the promotion of national sovereignty. Judging by the phrasing the JPF might with a stretch of the imagination be a good candidate to join Khartoum’s liberal opposition!
On the sidelines of these initiatives the NCP announced Monday that it had reached an agreement with the chief of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Mohamed Osman al-Mirghani, whereby a joint committee will work out common positions between the two parties regarding the future constitution and the structure of the state in the new North.
The NCP is ‘administering’ the situation, I suppose, effectively articulating the dwindling political space in the North within the coordinates of its enterprise. I reckon, whoever wishes to challenge this closure will be faced with two major concerns: how to engage North Sudan’s rural crisis beyond the fragmentation of ethnicity tags; and how to address the question of shari’a without surrendering to the colonial/native dichotomy that underlies its post-independence political allure. 

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Khartoum divides

Rather than attract the sympathy of the general population in Khartoum the 30 January demonstrations were met with indifference, if not outright mockery in some instances. By-passers reportedly ridiculed the young demonstrators and challenged them to keep their ground in the face of police oppression if they were really seriously out to get power. Supposedly targeting the new menace at its roots the security apparatus arrested, imprisoned, and tortured at will, while the National Congress Party (NCP) politicians continued to propagate the new government line of retail reconciliation with the sectarian opposition parties.
If the news reports of al-Intibaha are anything to go by the NCP made quite a generous offer to the Umma chief, Sadiq al-Mahdi, over the weekend, the post of prime minister for Mr al-Mahdi, in addition to four ministerial portfolios for the Umma Party in the government to come.  Sadiq’s cousin, Mubarak al-Fadil, denied that such a pot was in the cooking, noting that the rumour was designed to divide the opposition alliance, and possibly stimulate the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the archrival of the Umma Party, into accepting a similar deal with the NCP. While al-Fadil’s argument is reasonable it is equally reasonable to assume sincere bilateral bargaining between the Umma and the NCP, one that is closer to materialisation than to failure.
In the same al-Intibaha a columnist criticized Sadiq’s nomination for prime minister as disastrously uncreative, given that Sadiq was a relic from an age bygone. His comment however on the nomination of Sadiq’s daughter, Miriam al-Mahdi, for the ministry of social welfare was more telling. Miriam, affluent and empowered by right of birth into the quasi-royal Mahdi family, in his judgement, would replace Amira al-Fadil, the current minister who hails from a humble village on the White Nile, historically subject to the domination of the Mahdi house. “The Omdurman folks, of course, are more deserving of ministerial posts than the rustic bumpkins. Is this not the mentality of those who rule across time?”
A respectable Sudanese sociologist, Haidar Ibrahim, took the same route, albeit in the opposite direction, in expressing his admiration for the sophisticated 30 January activists. Referring to the NCP clique Ibrahim wrote “..where it not for the Sudanese people who paid from their livelihood for your education you would be today just peasants or nomads roaming after goats, cattle, or camels in the White Nile or ..”. Ibrahim, as he repeatedly does, was giving voice to the urban elite’s prejudice against the NCP leaders as rural bumpkins who assumed power in a slip of history.
The above is a demonstration of one dimension of the urban-rural divide in the Sudanese polity that is usually eclipsed by the ethnic distinction between centre and periphery. The polarisation in question is one between the established Khartoum urbanites, Westernised and historically privileged in the post-colony, and the new elite of migrant origin associated with the NCP which straddles this divide through the one party structure and the tentacles of a refashioned native administration in a manner that challenges and displaces the asymmetric relationship between the urban-based leadership of the sectarian parties and their rural clientele. For the ‘backward’ rural bumpkins, paraphrasing Ibrahim’s disregard, the NCP is nevertheless a venue of participatory democratisation vis-à-vis Sudan’s political establishment. 

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Liberty for the NCP

Louis Aweel
Arguing the case of his government on Thursday the security advisor of President Bashir and the former chief of the security service, Salah Gosh, made the note that the anti-NCP facebook campaign had gathered 37 000 participants, while a counter-initiative of the ruling party’s supporters had joined 48 000!  Gosh went on to say that the government had defeated the young opposition’s attempt to wage a popular revolt with the aid of the ‘civil support battalions’, a novel name for the NCP’s militias, neither police, army, nor the standard state security forces. It seems the NCP is willing to borrow aspects of the ‘Janjaweed’ experiment into the urban context, namely the militarisation of disenchanted young men ready to provide their services to the ruling party.
Compared to the zero-tolerance towards the youthful protest movement the NCP is polishing President Bashir’s proposal of a broad-based government to the established opposition parties. On Friday the Minister of Information, Kamal Obeid, stated that contacts with the opposition continue, declaring “we will not isolate any party who wants to participate”.
In an article titled ‘Change is the demand of the hour’ published last week Amin Hassan Omer, the NCP ‘intellectual’ and government lead negotiator in the Darfur talks in Doha, gave the NCP post-secession retail line a theoretical scaffold peppered with quotes from the Quran and elements of popular wisdom. Omer attempted to problematise the wave of revolts in the Arab World with the criticism that an uprising in itself is not a sign of health, since the body only shivers with fever and illness. He argued that it is the people who create their dictators and oppressors, and as such the aspired transformation should not be the change of the political leadership but the change of the political culture. “Political power, just like water, spoils with stagnation” stated the NCP philosopher.
With regards to Sudan Omer argued that the NCP has now the initiative to pioneer the transformation of political culture from ‘confrontation’ to ‘conciliation’, whereby the political elite should aspire to cooperate organically as one family for the good of the nation. To that end Omer suggested that the NCP should involve the political parties and the civil society as equal partners in a critical discussion of the constitution targeting the drafting of novel arrangements that address the current situation in the country and the challenges of its future.
Now, Gosh the facebook campaigner, and Omer the constitutionalist, evidently enjoy the liberty to argue their case at will. The flipside of this liberty is the imprisonment and torture of their civilian contenders in the detention cells of the NCP security apparatus. At least three of these unarmed ‘rebels’ Louis Aweel, a pharmacy student, Hussam Malik, a medical doctor, and Hatim Gattan, a political activist, are reportedly closer to death than life.
Gosh on Thursday did not forget to mention that the opposition’s bid for power does not enjoy any significant international support. The US, according to Gosh, knows very well that ‘stability’ in the Sudan hinges on the sustenance of NCP rule. In combination, what Gosh is saying is simply either the NCP or janjaweedisation. We already have both. 

Friday, 4 February 2011

Hatim's life in danger

Hatim Gattan, the member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Sudan, who was lately arrested by the security forces is reportedly being subjected to severe torture. I call upon those have a voice to demand his immediate release.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Free Hatim

The security authorities arrested in the early hours of 03 February  Hatim Gattan, a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Sudan. Hatim is a dear friend and colleague. He is a committed and able political activist. May he defeat his oppressors.

Release the detainees

The wave of arrests in Khartoum continues unabated. Today the security forces violently dispersed an attempt at a rally in Agrab Square in Khartoum North. The numbers of activists under arrest currently is estimated at 70. Several of them have been subject to severe forms of torture. There are good grounds to fear for the lives of at least two communist student activists, Louis Aweel and Anwar Hashim.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

al-Midan arrested

The security forces confiscated yesterday the 01 February issue of al-Midan, the newspaper of the Sudanese Communist Party. This evening the premises of the paper and the headquarters of the party were cordoned by armed security forces, who moved in and arrested nine of the newspaper's editors:
1. Samir Salah Eldin
2. Mohamed Rahama
3. Kamal Karrar
4. Ibrahim Mirghani
5. Suleiman Wida'a
6. Khaled Tawfiq
7. Mohaned el-Dirdiri
8. Fatima Bashir
9. Fathia Tinga
Creative Commons Licence
This work by Magdi El Gizouli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.