New Internationalist

An open letter to the President of the Republic of Sudan

Dear Mr Omar al-Bashir

When you took over power, it was uncomfortable. When you fired skilled workers in civic service, it was unreasonable. When you introduced Sharia law, it was painful. When your regime announced war against South Sudan, I feared for my family and friends.

But now, after 23 years under your governance; after 23 years of discriminating, forcing, abusing and killing; now, it is personal.

Here I am in London watching the uprisings in Sudan exploding all around our country. People are fed up of seeking permission from your government just to survive. We were already struggling with your authoritarian system and restrictive laws, but the recent So now it is personal, Mr al-Bashir. Very personal. And you should be very worried, because we have an entire country of individuals just like me who are taking this personally. It is not only my friends who are threatened by your regime: there are hundreds of our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, cousins and friends who must be let free.

I cannot imagine what it is like in your prisons or Biut alashbah [torturing/ghost houses].There are few people who have lived to tell their stories, but Waiel Taha and Naglaa Sid-Ahmed’s recent stories are among the most terrifying. Your regime’s crimes continue to pile up: the case of Safia Ishag caught many people’s attention as she was arrested and gang-raped by three of your police officers. Safia is now somewhere outside of the country, having been threatened for pursuing her case.

Unfortunately, the situation may be repeating itself. Three days ago, two feminist and human right activists (Kareema Fatih-Alrahman and Sarah Daif-Allah) were arrested while protesting. Nothing is clear yet because your officers will not allow visitors or give the women access to lawyers. From what we have seen from similar situations in the past, my guess is that the least they will be subjected to is sexual assault; I won’t allow myself to imagine what else could happen.

Mr al-Bashir, what you have done to our country is deplorable. It breaks my heart to see this happening. But if you look around you at the protests and the actions of my fellow citizens, you will understand that these are more than angry, hungry, hopeless people causing problems on the streets. We want our children to have access to education, women to gain equal rights as men, rural areas to retrieve healthcare and everyone to have a home in Sudan. We want change, we want real change.

Finally, as a Sudanese, an activist and a human, I will join with my fellow citizens to use every available platform to push you out of power and change your regime. I call on every individual in the Sudanese diaspora in London and the world to act. I call on the international community to help and support the Sudanese nation to overthrow your authoritarian government and to achieve civic and democratic change.

Mr President, now it’s personal for the Sudanese people. Your regime’s time is coming to an end.

Nahla Mahmoud
London
30 June 2012

Photo of Omar al-Bashir: openDemocracy under a CC Licence

Photo of Sudan protests in London: M. Ali Nogoud

Nahla Mahmoud is an environmentalist and human right activist originally from Sudan. She works with a few campaigns in the UK including One Law for All and Secular Middle East and North Africa. She leads the Sudanese Humanists Group

This letter was previously published on the Young Professionals in Human Rights website.

Comments on An open letter to the President of the Republic of Sudan

Leave your comment







 

  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

  1. #1 Jalil Jalili 04 Jul 12

    Sudanese people deserv a better life. They deserve not only individual and civil liberties such as freedom of strike, assembly, demonstration, belief and expression but also good standard of living and dignity for all citizens based on the highest international standards, increase the minimum wage for all workers to ensure decent and prosperous life for all and, as Nahla says, access to free education for all, equal rights for women and a room for every one. Getting rid of Omer Elbashier’s regime seems to be the first step for Sudanese peple to take.

  2. #2 Gill Lusk 05 Jul 12

    Thank you so much for your courageous and inspiring article. I am only too aware how accurate it is. Change is in the air, however. Truth and justice have always had to be fought for.
    Gill, Journalist.

  3. #3 Duaa Muhammad Ahmad 23 Jan 13

    Nahla and all Atheist

    THE WHOLE WORLD CONVERT TO ISLAM

    WHOLE WORLD WAS DESTROYED A CAUSE OF DEMOCRACY MASONRY AND COMMUNIST PARTY

    SO SHUT UP ,,,

    WHENEVER DEMOCRACY MEANS NATO MEANS KILLING MUSLIMS EVERY WHERE MEANS LYING ON MUSLIMS AND SHARIA LAWS ITS UN ACCEPTABLE

    WE ARE MUSLIMS WANT ISLAM ,AND JUST ISLAM
    DEMOCRACY COMMUNIST PARTY AND THE UN =GO TO HELL

    NOW ENGLAND THE US GERMANY SUPPORT FRANCE AND KILLING MUSLIMS IN MALI ..YOU FEEL HAPPY!! ..THAT IS EXACTLY THE SOMETHING CALLED DEMOCRACY....

    I CALL ON YOU AND EVERY ONE TO CONVERT TO ISLAM

  4. #4 Nadir Ali 27 Feb 13

    As a Sudanese citizen, I find it necessary to respond to the outrageous lies that Nahla Mahmoud told in this article. There are so many lies however, that I hope by exposing a few I would prove that Nahla is nothing more than a self-serving liar (a conclusion that the British Home Office seems to share with me as it rejected Nahla's application for political asylum).
    First, the Sharia laws are the choice of the majority of the Sudanese people who look forward to them to save the nation from the ills of the failing and bankrupt secular way of living. The choice of Sharia by the Sudanese people, as well as many nations in the Muslim world, is evident from the decisive election victories Islamists make whereever elections are held freely.
    Second, the current Sudanese government did not start the war against the South. It was the other way around; the Southerners started it; back in 1955 incidentally, when mr. Al Bashir was only 10 years old! Contrary to Nahla's lies, the current government made the greatest and bravest sacrifice to achieve comprehensive peace; it granted the Southerners self determination, and allowed them to become an independent country.
    Contrary to Nahla's lies again, this government has many grand achievement economically, politically and socially. It built the largest hydroelectric power dam in Africa, the most comprehensive road and bridge network, produced oil from a war zone, the revenues of which propelled Sudan to be the sixth largest African economy in 2007; with the fourth highest economic growth rate worldwide. The number of universities rose from 3 to 30. Women were the greatest beneficiary of this as they make up about 60% of university students; making Sudan one of very few countries where female doctors outnumber their male counterparts! Freedoms of expression and organising political parties are granted and practiced openly. Problem is they get abused by few fanatical activists who preach violence and support armed rebellions and undermine the country's national security. Still, the number of detainees is far less the arbitrary figures that Nahla made up out of thin air. The number of people who died after clashes with police or security forces does not exceed 20 over 23 years, not hundreds as Nahla lied.
    Why did Nahla lie so blatantly? Two words: asylum seeking! She is a failed asylum seeker as the British Home Office did not believe her original story and rejected her application. Nahla left Sudan on a scholarship from the Sudanese government to study environmental science after graduating from the University of Khartoum, Sudan. Therefore, like many others in her desperate situation, she myst file claims after claims (at tax payer expense) by changing her story and adding to it. This time her plan is to make such volatile and inflammatory statements about the great Islamic faith hoping to convince the Home Office bureaucrats that her life is in danger, which it isn't. The same old political asylum lie, only much more desperate this time!

  5. #5 Nadir Ali 27 Feb 13

    Nahla is lying blatantly. Everything she said is mere fabrication and intentional misrepresentation of the truth; for personal gain only: to gain political asylum status by convincing the Home Office that her life would be in danger if she return to Sudan after the Home Office did not believe her original story and rejected her application.
    She left Sudan on a scholarship from the Sudanese government to study for a master's degree in environmental science; she did NOT flee because she was being persecuted for her atheist views that only God knows when they developed, before or after her refugee applucation.
    She lied in her application like tens of thousands of failed asylum seekers.
    She should be ashamed of herself for insulting the great Islamic faith by her biased, foolish and inflammatory statements about this wonderful faith. Freedom of expression does not mean inciting hatred, encouraging violence and telling lies. She should also be ashamed of abusing the British asylum system, waisting taxpayer money, and depriving genuine asylum seekers of needed resources.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

About the author

Nahla Mahmoud is an environmental campaigner and human right activist originally from Sudan. She is particularly interested in issues of secularism, equality and modern concepts of conserving natural resources.

Read more by Nahla Mahmoud

Get our free fortnightly eNews

Multimedia

Videos from visionOntv’s globalviews channel.

Related articles

Popular tags

All tags

New Internationalist Blogs

New Internationalist hosts several different blogs, from the Editor's Blog to the Majority World Blog, the Gaza Blog to the Books Blog

New Internationalist Blogs