By Reem Gaafar
It’s been more than four months since the revolution took Sudan by storm. Four months of almost daily protests all over the country, at all times of the day and night. Four months of peaceful protesters of all ages and backgrounds, marching in the face of tear gas and flying bullets, picking up dead and wounded bodies, running for safety, then getting back up and marching on. Four months of detentions, disappearances, torture, harassment, and misery. And just when it seemed it was all for nothing, the regime suddenly came crashing down.
Or so it seemed.
On April 11th we woke up to the news that the military – whose headquarters in Khartoum had been the site of a sit-in since April 6th – had stepped in and deposed (ex) president Elbashir, and formed a transitional military council (TMC) to lead the country. What followed was and continues to be a somewhat confusing chain of events, with victory quickly followed by disappointment and followed by victory again. The TMC at first showed promise (after the initial disappointment of NCP goon Awad Ibnaouf heading the council then stepping down to Abdel Fattah Burhan), and immediately started house cleaning. And the Sudanese Professionals Association and its allies continued to negotiate with the TMC to hand over power until it became obvious that the latter showed clearly that it had no idea of doing any such thing.
But really, does the military know any better? All they’ve known for the past 30 years is power. They cannot fathom what democracy looks like. They don’t know how accountability works. Forever, Sudan has been this dark miserable hole of chaos and rule of the jungle, and that’s how they want it to stay. And now that they have had the feel of what it’s like to be in direct power through the TMC, they’re not stepping down anytime soon. It’s way easier to simply keep playing games with all these civilians and their silly demands and unrealistic dreams. They lock a few people up and put on a show of dialogue and discussions to keep everyone happy, but really, do you really believe they will simply hand it over and go back to being just the army whose job is just to protect the country?
And to make things worse, now that the coast is clear everyone and their mother is rushing in to claim the whole cake, not just a piece of it. Remnants of the old regime, other parties who were standing on the sidelines watching people getting killed, independents who just want to be president, religious fanatics who will not hear of a government that allows women to walk around without their hair covered, and everyone else. And to suck up to the TMC, they all agree that the military should stay in power for as long as possible, and then hand it over to them. Everyone, except the SPA and its allies who have signed the Declaration of Freedom and Change, that states that the government will be handed over to technocratic civilians for 4 years so that they can try and clean up the mess and save the country from starvation and anarchy.
But unfortunately, it’s not just about us here. There are those annoying regional alliances and interests. Everyone has their fingers in Sudan. Europe wants migration control, the Gulf wants land and troops and slave labour, the US wants ‘cooperation’ in terrorism, and absolutely no one wants a democratically elected technocratic government. The world has been thriving on the chaos and corruption that has been the rule for the past 30 years, and the world wants it to stay that way.
But what all these people don’t realize is that for the people of Sudan, there is no turning back. There is no returning to the darkness and isolation of Sudan under the NCP regime. There is no returning to the idiocy and lies, to the theft and corruption and criminality disguised by Islamist rule. There is no returning to incompetent loyalists put in power to keep driving this country deeper into the ground with their mismanagement and greed and stupidity. We can finally see the bright light of peace and prosperity. We can see green fields in Darfur and rose-filled parks in Atbara. We can see waterfalls and mango trees and mountain deer in Jabal Marra. We can see children playing in their front yards and women baking in the safety of their homes in the Nuba Mountains. We can see museums and tourist attractions in the ancient pyramids and tombs in Merowe. We can see millions of miles of railroads, a sky full of airplanes, children in schools and hospital floors so clean you can see your smiling reflection looking back up at you. It’s all right there in front of us, just a stone throw away. We have suffered so much and so long, lost so many, and come so far in these past few months and years, and we’re almost there.
What these people don’t realize is that the revolution will not – indeed, cannot – be hijacked. We will defend it until the last martyr falls. Come what may, there is no turning back this time.
The revolution will not be hijacked.