Towards the end of last month, Facebook announced its new policy on banning white nationalism and separatism, a policy that will also apply to Instagram. After a long time of conversations and arguments from experts and civil rights advocates, and following the multitude of hate-derived […]
By Bill Chambers “As people who are both white and Muslim, we straddle two identities -one privileged in society and the other, not. We experience Islamophobia to varying degrees, sometimes more overtly depending on how we physically present, and at the same time we have […]
On December 19, 2018, demonstrations broke out all over Sudan. Initially, people were protesting the rising price of bread, an essential food item to many Sudanese, and astronomical increases in living costs. Living under al-Bashir’s rule for nearly three decades, the Sudanese people have been caught between two difficult choices: rise up and fight the oppressive regime, or protect their families. It is a choice no one wants to, or should have to, make. While protests have taken place in Sudan over the last ten years, it was clear to everyone here that this time was different. People were more tired and fed up than they have ever been. Standing in endless lines for bread and gasoline was the last straw for many.
I found my way to Sudan in late January 2019, even though I was aware of the ongoing protests and political turmoil. I am the daughter of a Sudanese immigrant to America and an Italian-German-American mother, and I am married to a Sudanese man living in Sudan. Despite the instability and danger, we are only able to be together in Sudan, so I booked my ticket here with mixed emotions.
While I often struggle with my identity as a Sudanese-American, the fact of the matter is that this regime has impacted my life directly. The bottom line is that living in Sudan is difficult — it takes courage, strength, and tenacity. Many of us are living “on a blessing” or “بالبركة”, as we say. As an outsider looking in, I want so much better for my people. Simultaneously, as a person living under this regime, I want more for myself. I feel anger and rage, but most of all, sadness at the state of our country and our lives; many of us feel the same way. Why us? It’s a question we have no answer for.
Revolution has moments of beauty and inspiration, that tend to go viral on the internet, but many people fail to recognize the price that those living in Sudan pay.
My perspective is unique. I am a Sudanese-American experiencing this revolution firsthand. It was never my intention to be here at this time, but it seems God had other plans. There is something I want the world to understand — revolution is far from the romantic tales in history books. Revolution is hard and dreadful; it is soul-sucking at times. It is hunger and it is pain. But most of all, it is sacrifice. Revolution has moments of beauty and inspiration, that tend to go viral on the internet, but many people fail to recognize the price that those living in Sudan pay. Many of us live day to day, wondering if there will be electricity tomorrow. We wonder if we will be able to afford medical care if one of our family members is beaten by the police. We wonder if tomorrow we will be blocked from contacting our relatives overseas and accessing news and information on the internet.
Many people have paid a bigger price and have died rising up against this oppressive regime. I am truly moved by their commitment and willingness to sacrifice their lives for something bigger than themselves — for all of us. But I want to call attention to another important point: those of us living in Sudan, born here or otherwise, are not another case of “history gone wrong.” We are not to be studied and analyzed, without recognition of our humanity. We are human beings. We deserve true democracy, we deserve human rights. And we deserve to be able to provide for our families’ basic needs. We come from a complex past, haunted by colonization, civil wars and many years of harsh rule by a regime that has robbed us entirely of the wealth and riches of our country.
Do not romanticize our struggles; send your support and call attention to our cause, and realize that this is our battle to fight and at the end of the day, we are the ones who are carrying the burden of death, hunger and instability.
Those of us who were born in or currently live in “developed” countries must realize the privilege that we have. As a person of both the developed and the developing worlds, I have learned a lot during my time in Sudan. I urge you to value the brave actions of the people in Sudan, whether they are on the ground protesting, or protesting in their homes. Some of us can only protest in our hearts — and we still count. We all overcome many adversaries each day, simply by waking up and living our lives. Do not romanticize our struggles; send your support and call attention to our cause, and realize that this is our battle to fight and at the end of the day, we are the ones who are carrying the burden of death, hunger and instability. You cannot stand with us in the same place we stand; you can only stand by us. Finally, we are not simply a story for media consumption. We are intelligent people, just like you, in a situation that many people could never dream of enduring.
The fight is not over yet. As reported by many media outlets, al-Bashir has been ousted, only to be replaced by a temporary military council led by one of al-Bashir’s closest military lieutenants, General Ahmed Ibn Auf, who was also ousted within 30 hours of his “rule.” We will fight until this regime falls completely and an independent civilian government is in place. That is the wish of the majority of our people. Many more people will suffer, and some may die. The world watches on, most of them from the comfort of their safe homes, but this our fight for our country. Revolution is our choice, but at the end of the day, was it really a choice? To those still dominating our country, all we have to say is, “just fall, that is all” or “تسقوط بس.” We are not giving up.
Yesterday, Trump tweeted out an edited video of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments about 9/11. From Omar’s entire speech, he picked out four decontextualized words—“some people did something”—which he used to further fuel his Islamophobic propaganda and racist agenda. It seems to me that many white, […]
Fresh off of Women’s History Month and Muslim Women’s Day, stumbling across an article titled, “In Women’s Month, Suffering Of Palestinian Female Prisoners Increases,” stopped me cold in my tracks. As I am half Palestinian, this particular problem that continues to arise is very upsetting to me. I chose to discuss this article not to bash any religion, ethnicity, or race. I chose to write about this article as it is an issue that takes place way too often, and is rarely brought up as a problem that society needs to help address and shed a light on.
According to this article, there are, at present, 48 female Palestinian prisoners held within Israeli prisons. Out of these 48 prisoners, some are injured and ill, some are mothers, and all are being held without charges or trial. Held in a prison located inside the occupied territories, these detentions are in direct contradiction to the Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV), a treaty that prohibits the transfer of an occupied population to the territory of the occupiers.
Whilst researching, I stumbled upon information on BBC News regarding the Fourth Geneva Convention and Israel. The site stated the following: “Israel is a party to the Geneva Conventions, and bound by its obligations. But its government argues that the international conventions relating to occupied land do not apply to the Palestinian territories because they were not under the legitimate sovereignty of any state in the first place. Israel has over the years often chosen to use the term administered territories to refer to Gaza and the West Bank. It has annexed the Golan and East Jerusalem. Israel, therefore, denies the formal, de jure, the applicability of the 4th Geneva Convention in the occupied territories.”
In simple terms, the West Bank and Gaza are considered Palestinian territory. The Palestinian people are not allowed to travel freely into “Israel”. This so happens to be the place where prisoners are being held, making matters worse for the families in terms of visitation, or having the opportunity to bail their loved ones out of prison.
Women who are held prisoner are being mistreated and are dealing with severe abuse. Even during the arrest, women were being handled in a harsh manner. The services in the prison are unimaginable as these women are not being given proper meals, water, personal hygiene products, medical care, rights to privacy, or the rights to an education. What’s even worse about all of this is that women who are detained are interrogated for several days and denied the right to know why they were arrested.
When the prisoners seek medical attention, the only counseling given to them by the on-staff doctors is to drink more water.
Additionally, it has been reported that female prisoners are not given proper medical services and that the assigned doctors at certain prisons are not providing proper medical advice. When the prisoners seek medical attention, the only counseling given to them by the on-staff doctors is to drink more water. Funny, since the prisoners are barely given water, to begin with. It has been reported that there has been a shortage of food and that in September of 2018, there was no provision of hot water for almost two months. These living conditions and environmental conditions are completely unethical by any standards.
The harsh treatment these women are undergoing can, of course, affect them physically, mentally and emotionally. The strength they possess in order to get through these tough days and nights is truly inspirational. I could not imagine the amount of isolation they face from their families and children while they maintain a strong stance. How would you feel if you were blindfolded and handled roughly, without knowing what was going to happen next? How would you feel if you were handcuffed and deprived of major necessities such as sleep, food, access to the restroom, or a simple shower, for extended periods at a time?
Any criticism of Israel is immediately met with cries of anti-semitism. And so, these women — held without charge — continue to suffer.
These are the conditions that Palestinian prisoners are experiencing. Let us not forget the amount of sexual harassment and verbal abuse women deal with while being detained. But of course, few on the global stage are going to protest these injustices, because these incidents are kept quiet to preserve the Israel’s image. Any criticism of Israel is immediately met with cries of anti-semitism. And so, these women — held without charge— continue to suffer.
Statistics show that since 1967, over 10,000 Palestinian women have been taken into custody by Israeli occupation forces. Sadly, from 1967 to 2019, these occurrences have become more frequent. Palestinian women and girls are routinely seized from the streets, Israeli military checkpoints, and during brutal night raids at their homes. Who is involved in all this you may ask? During those unlawful military raids, you can expect to see Israeli soldiers, intelligence officers, and police dogs. These invasions cause destruction to household items and damage to personal property.
The incidents that take place happen repeatedly, and nothing is being done to stop it. I could never imagine someone forcibly entering my home, uninvited, and causing havoc. I cannot imagine having my relatives torn away from me, to be imprisoned in an abyss, with no knowledge of when—or if—I will ever see them again. Palestinian children grow up seeing this on a daily basis, and yet, the world stays relatively quiet. I truly pray for these women and their families. May justice be served, and may we all open our eyes to how much trauma and tragedy these events bring on the Palestinian people.
It’s so hard to believe that our imperfections are in fact normal and common. It’s hard to accept that the “flaws” aren’t real, and that ugly doesn’t exist. Society, media, and beauty industries have influenced us all our lives. We have grown to give into […]
After months of anti-regime protests in Sudan, President Omar al-Bashir,75, has been overthrown in a military coup since early this morning after 30 years of rule. Sudan’s Minister of Defense, Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, has confirmed that a two-year military council will oversee a transition of power until the next election. Civilian protesters are against this idea and are demanding that power be handed to a civilian government.
UN human rights officials are calling for authorities to lift the national state of emergency as they respond to grievances of the Sudanese people.
You’ve been dancing for 30 years. Today it’s our turn to dance.
Just before he was overthrown, protesters gathered outside of the military headquarters in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, chanting, “You’ve been dancing for 30 years. Today it’s our turn to dance.”
Al-Bashir, who seized power in a military coup in 1989, has been accused of war crimes during the Darfur conflict and was charged with war crimes against humanity and genocide in 2010. Despite the charges against him, he was elected as president in 2011. The economy has continued to plummet in the country causing unrest. He was asked to step down by Sudan’s National Security and Intelligence Services in February 2019, which al-Bashir declined to do, creating more unrest and protests. For a detailed explanation on the protests, read this article.
We’ve all been in that situation where, amidst a discussion about world issues, someone has said to us, “Oh, I’m not into politics.” What I’ve never understood is how someone can simply not be “into” politics. No one is asking you to like politics, because […]