How Do You Treat an Entire Nation’s Depression?
By Reem Gaafar
Sudan is an unhappy place these days. After 6 months of peaceful resistance and a few hours before the joyful occasion of Eid, thousands of uniformed forces massacred hundreds of peaceful protesters – their own relatives, in-laws and neighbours – in the heart of the capital, right under the early morning Khartoum sunshine.
Since then, the country has been plunged into darkness and despair, with mobile internet cut off, armed men roaming the streets attacking passerbys, harassing women and raiding homes and businesses, and tied-up bodies of young men and women surfacing on the River Nile. Sudanese people at home and all over the world are in shock, many suffering from collective PTSD. Those abroad are worried sick about their families and loved ones at home, and those at home worry about tomorrow when they will have to venture out of the house to face the guns. Every day the magnitude of the loss becomes clearer, and the barbarity of those now in charge is unmistakable.
There is a crushing sense of having been robbed of something immensely valuable by a gang of criminals and illiterate warlords, intent on beating the people into submission and dragging the country on its face back into the stone ages. Everywhere we look, we see a dead end. Weeks and weeks of negotiations have gotten almost nowhere. The other side has continuously and blatantly broken promises, the first and foremost of which was to protect the civilians standing at its gates. For as long as people can remember, there have never been any days like these.
So how do you treat an entire nation’s depression? How do you clear the gloom and let a little sunshine in? How do you imagine a future where your children will live in safety and prosperity? How do you stop counting the dead, missing and injured and start counting the successful? How do you go back to ‘normal’? There is only one way. You fight back. The only way out of this abyss is up. The only way through the darkness is forward. The only way to treat this helpless despair is to kick it in the gut and move on. There is no other way.
On June 30th, millions will march in the face of the tyrants, holding pictures of the young women and men who they buried, chanting for the freedom and justice and peace that they deserve, and demanding they take their country back. It is, after all, their country. Our country. We will not be trampled on and held hostage in our own homes, forced into submission by a group of armed thugs. How do you treat an entire nation’s depression? You put your mask on, ready your yeast water and bandages, take a deep breath, and hit the streets.