***Update about the New Agreement in Sudan***
Senseless violence in the military state of Sudan left hundreds dead and millions more around the world alerted to the scramble for political dominance in the region. On Saturday, leaders from both sides of the conflict in the country - the military officers and the pro-democratic opposition - hashed out a power-sharing agreement that will hopefully stop the bleeding in Sudan, and serve as a small step forward in the peace process. Under the power-sharing agreement, democratic elections will take place in three years. Until then, the pro-democracy movement and the military state will take turns ruling the country.
After three decades of rule under brutal dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudan now holds on tightly to a delicate hope for democracy. In early June, pro-democracy protesters were attacked by paramilitary troops such as the Janjaweed, shutting down the country’s internet and borders. While the internet was at a full stop in Sudan, the rest of the world’s social media exploded–– resulting in a heightened awareness of the violence and political injustice in the northeastern African country.
Hip Hop superstar Rihanna is using her giant following to raise awareness for the atrocities on social media. On her Instagram Story, she wrote, "They're shooting people's houses… tormenting people, making them drink sewage water, terrorizing the streets, and stopping Muslims from going to eid prayer. There is an Internet blackout! Please share. Raise awareness."
Last week in Levinsky Park in Tel-Aviv, the Sudanese asylum seeker community in Israel organised demonstration where protesters wore shades of blue in support of the pro-democracy movement in Sudan. Similar marches occurred around the world, and with the rising global awareness of the conflict, a meeting was called between protest leaders and high-ranking military members.
Twenty percent of Israel’s asylum-seeking population hails from Sudan –– most are Darfurians that fled the genocide conducted by the Janjaweed government-supported militias.The power-sharing agreement bodes well for the future of Sudan, but peace is far in the distance and return to the country is still dangerous for Sudanese refugees.
At the ARDC, we stand with the protesters in Sudan and around the world marching for peace and political representation. With them, we hope for a bright future in Sudan and, eventually a return to their homeland.
(Photo taken by Katherine Elise at the solidarity march with the Sudanese people in Tel Aviv)