By Mohamed Muse
Nonviolent resistance by civilians employs the disciplined use of nonviolent methods. With nonviolent direct action, the group or society takes the application of nonviolent methods directly to the presumed source of the grievance or injustice, rather than working through representatives or agencies. The movement considered among alternative or parallel associations always is valued for its potential power. What is more, the days back some of the nonviolent methods engaged in the most dangerous struggles have been derived from a tradition of resistance begun on slave ships centuries earlier. It had been refusal to cooperate with bondage through petitions and other documents, escapes, work slowdowns, sorrow songs, spirituals conveying hidden meanings, and rejection of slave actions. It had been understood that nonviolent freedom struggles and perceived Gandhi’s strategies of resistance to colonialism could have been applicable to societal conditions in the rest of the world or any other authoritarian rulers like Sudan’s Omar Al-Bashir (King, 2010).
People’s Power to Replace Autocrats
People’s power to bring political changes can never be underestimated regardless whether they are capable with resources to changes or not capable. For the case of Sudane, protests began across Sudan in December 2018 due to steadily rising living costs, unemployment and poor economic conditions. Five months later, in April 2019, these protests have reached their peaks and culminated in the ousting of the nearly 30-year rule of President Omar al-Bashir. The dismissal of al-Bashir, one of Africa’s longest-serving rulers, followed four months of protests after people took to the streets of Khartoum to usher in the new era where some were sitting on trucks hoisting Sudanese flags and shouted a civilian administration were the major social and political move to bear in the wielding of power in contentious interactions between collective actors (Schock, 2005). Following there was little excitement in the Sudanese capital after the announcement of a power-sharing agreement between the junta in charge of Sudan and the protest (Hosted by the Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit, 2019).
With the popular mobilization on the back foot, massive sit-ins broke up the security forces, thereby promoting democracy and the interests of citizens young and old in Sudan. Women often led the way. The protesters had cooperative initiatives to contain and address the issues and needs of the people mainly in Khartoum streets. Followed by more people who understood to seek their human rights, fight for democratic freedoms, and social justice that have later realized it is not necessary to constantly stay back in Sudan situation. The people of Sudan took the ethics of civil resistance (nonviolent action) to their struggle and thus overcame the authoritarian rule of Omar Al-Bashir, refusing to remain passive in the face of grave injustices, while finding that the expected legal and governmental institutions had proven dysfunctional.
They managed to follow the collective history of nonviolent struggle and apparently avoided clashes with the armed forces, even though several times government forces tried to disperse the crowd, resulting in human casualties and arbitrary detention, but the campaign reduced the act of mistakes in opposing government. The massive wave of uprisings soon swept the country’s neighbors including Libya, Ethiopia, and reached all the way to the Gulf countries that may have supported the ousting of Al-Bashir.
Nonviolent Struggle and Advance Technology
Sometimes basic communications functions well such as getting out of news reports of suppressed, ignored, or perverted people formally accusing a state prosecuting authority and seeking an ostentatious panel’s condemnation. In Sudan in 2019, however, social media through advance technology told the story. Various hash tags were established like #SudnaUprising and #KeepEyesOnSudan. They raised awareness about the protests and also have gained international attention. For this case, we can say technology, especially the social media, has played a key role in the turn-out of Sudan’s youth-led revolution from December 2018, at the start of protests against Omar al-Bashir, who was toppled by the military on April 11, 2019. Subsequently, the army and civilian groups agreed on a transitional government (Aya Elmileik & Seena Khalil , 12 Aug 2019).
From there, Sudanese sustained the campaigns of nonviolent action while their choice have ultimately being to trace back the long term economic and political trends, the proximate mechanism that exacerbated Sudan current situation and led to the displacement of the securocrats forces who not able to challenge the civilian boycotts. Indeed Sudanese people’s power dismantled the apartheid state since proponents of apartheid were converted to continue nonviolent movement which later undermined the power of the Al-Bashir led regime.
Their strikes were a form of noncooperation and that was what diminished the government’s capacity to control the fluid political situation, making it clear that they would not be able to hold office. Not only Sudan, but such economic noncooperation nonviolent actions would be an important to challenge in authoritarian regimes, making it clear that moral pressure (such as economic and political pressure) could operate in antiapartheid and other civil resistance challenges (Schock, Nonviolent Action and Its Misconceptions: Insights for Social Scientists, 2005).
After decades, it became apparent to the Sudanese that there were major economic consequences for their form of censorship. Foreign investors were reluctant to develop factories where the employment and economic development have been more important in the international businesses and trade. So they refused to accept that condition to continue and called for nonviolent struggle against the regime’s powers, where they would eventually overthrow Omar Al-Bashir’s regime. Now, he reportedly will be taken to the ICC, not for the first time as a result of a nonviolent civil resistance campaign of people power.
Aya Elmileik & Seena Khalil . (12 Aug 2019). Tasgut bas’ to #SudanUprising: How social media told the story. Aljazeera .
Hosted by the Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit, L. S. (2019). Prospects for Democracy in Sudan. OLD THEATRE, OLD BUILDING, LSE, HOUGHTON STREET, LONDON, WC2A 2AE, UNITED KINGDOM: Landon School of Economic and Political Science.
King, M. E. (2010). Civil Rights Movement: Methods of Nonviolent Action. New York: Oxford University Press.
Schock, K. (2005). Nonviolent Action and Its Misconceptions: Insights for Social Scientists. Rutgers University.
Schock, K. (2005). Nonviolent Action and Its Misconceptions: Insights for Social Scientists. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press,6-13.