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  • Writer's pictureManushya Foundation

Global Liberation Series: #PeoplePower in Sudan

#GlobalLiberation 🪢Our movements are stronger when we pay attention to, listen to, and stand in solidarity with, the liberation movements of our global relatives. 

🇸🇩We are featuring #Sudan first as part of our Global Liberation Series!


In this series, we will centre #PeoplePower movements from across the globe, from Southeast Asia and beyond.  


We do not have to be from the same community, share the same nationality, or share the same language to show empathy and care for our fellow humans. Colonialism and capitalism have taught us to focus only on ourselves, our own nations, and only people who look and think like us. Individualism and tribalism (caring only about your own ‘in group’) fosters division and holds us back in our journey to a more liberated society for all. 

Division is a lethal colonial tactic to make us humans feel like we are more different than we actually are, and forget that we actually depend on each other - including our non-human relatives just as much as our human ones - to create a harmonious society. This makes it easier for colonisers to control us here in the Global South, even though we are of the Global Majority. 

Imagine how much more powerful we would be if we worked with our relatives of the Global South, learning from each other, standing steadfast in solidarity with each others’ human experiences, and sharing appreciation and love for each others’ histories and cultures? We would be invincible. We would be able to appreciate each others’ differences and reconnect with our humanity. We would be able to love, and be loved, more freely. And nobody would feel left behind, or like their humanity is lesser than those of others.

Thus, we must recognise that moving in solidarity with one another makes us collectively stronger! As Southeast Asians, we are no strangers to dictatorships, armed conflicts, military regimes, political instability, the sabotage of People’s Movements - all things that the people of Sudan are actively enduring and fighting. Let’s stand in solidarity with our Sudanese relatives; their fight is our fight too! 

The fight for freedom is a long, constant struggle, and we cannot do this alone. We must honour the experiences of our human and non-human relatives to envision a better world for us all.


Sudan gained formal independence from British and Egyptian colonial rule on 1 January, 1956. However, as with many liberated nations of the Global South, colonisers left a messy trail of fragmentation, factional divisions, and power vacuums behind. Though ‘formal independence’ had been achieved, non-Sudanese actors, including the united states and the United Kingdom, continued to exert their influence more covertly, using Sudanese politicians and influential institutions as scapegoats and pawns. This is a common tactic of colonisers; even in instances where they have ‘granted independence’ to Global South nations, they will always find ways to protect their interests otherwise. Until today, Sudan has faced seemingly endless political instability. 

In 2019, many Sudanese citizens staged a popular uprising protesting against the 30-year-long rule of President Omar al-Bashir, an oppressive dictator who has been charged by the ICC for multiple crimes against humanity. At the front lines of the protests were youths, students (such as those of the University of Khartoum), educators, and workers, particularly women and girls. 


One of the central demands of the protestors was the resignation of Omar al-Bashir and the end of his administration. There were many reasons why the People rejected al-Bashir, including that he was directly responsible for genocidal attacks against the Sudanese people, for corruption, and for aggravating the economic instability in Sudan by imposing price hikes and causing prices of living to become intolerable.

In opposing Omar al-Bashir, the People also opposed all he stood for: social, political, and economic injustice, lack of accountability, and the refusal of authorities to serve the People’s needs. Protestors thus demanded that a civilian-led transitional government take the place of al-Bashir, that would prioritise economic reform, and holding perpetrators of violence accountable. In particular, protestors were demanding justice for Sudanese women, who are faced with daily instances of brutal violence at the hands of the patriarchy, and misogynistic laws.


Every global movement has its own set of iconic protest symbols and key landmarks. 

  • 🇸🇩The Sudanese flag shares its colours and design with those of other Arab flags, inspired greatly by the historic Arab Revolt flag. The colour scheme is symbolic not only for the Sudanese liberation movement, but also for those of other Arab nations such as Palestine, demonstrating how they are united in their interconnected struggle for freedom.

  • 👩🏾‍🎓The University of Khartoum has long been an epicentre for youth-led activism. It is also symbolic because it was once a ‘satellite’ university under the University of London, but like the nation of Sudan itself, it gained independence in the mid-20th century. Generations of experience have made the students deeply versed in resistance tactics. 

  • 🧕🏾The ‘Kandaka of the Sudanese Revolution’ (also known as the Nubian Queen, or Sudanese Lady Liberty) became an inspiring symbol for Sudanese liberation after a powerful photo of young woman protester Alaa Salah went viral online. Alaa is one of millions of fearless Sudanese women using their voices to fight at the frontlines of the movement, despite the disproportionate levels of violence they face daily.


In the face of injustice, diverse forms of resistance are warranted, whether or not the oppressors or outside critics deem them to be ‘logical,’ ‘respectable,’ or ‘appropriate.’ Injustice in itself is not ‘logical,’ ‘respectable,’ or ‘appropriate,’ even based on colonisers' definitions of these terms. In decolonisation, oppressed peoples do not owe ‘respectability’ to their oppressors.

  • Civil disobedience

  • Rallies and demonstrations

  • Making their voices heard

  • Educating the community, and the world

  • Armed mobilisation and self-defence

  • Art as resistance

❗️RESPONSE: Short term aftermath of the protests

Though the al-Bashir regime was successfully toppled during the 2019 Revolution, a military government under the TMC (Transitional Military Council) took al-Bashir’s place, against the protestors’ wishes of having a civilian-led transitional government. The issues that the People were advocating against persisted, just with a new regime. Protests broke out to oppose this response, but they were met with brutality at the hands of the new regime, and a repressive declaration of a State of Emergency.

⌛️LEGACY: Long term aftermath; what has happened since?

In April of 2023, war broke out in Sudan between two rivalling militarised factions, the Sudanese RSF (Rapid Support Forces) and the SAF (Sudan Armed Forces) fighting for political power. According to UN-reported data as of mid-April, 2024, around 8.6 million people have been forcefully displaced, 18 million people are facing severe hunger, and 14,790 people have been killed. It must be noted, however, that the UN’s claimed figures are likely inaccurate. The UN itself has stated in a report that around 10,000-15,000 people were killed during the Geneina Massacre alone in mid-2023 (source: Sudan in the News, Le Monde). It is thus more realistic that the UN-reported estimates are extremely conservative, and that the true total death toll for the war overall is much, much higher. As with all ongoing mass atrocities that are being underreported by popular news outlets, we must stay sceptical of ‘officially’ reported figures. Further, ‘official’ death tolls also often fail to account for the deaths and overall suffering caused by disease, lack of access to healthcare, brutal violence (e.g. sexual violence), and starvation. Most of all, it is with the most marginalised people - such as women, children, and disabled peoples - facing the most severe impacts.

This war is a result of continued political instability since 2019, and before, even after hopes for resolution after the fall of the al-Bashir regime. It is evidence that freedom is a constant struggle, and that the hard-fought deposition of one oppressive regime does not necessarily stop another oppressive regime from replacing it. 

‘Success’ for liberation movements is not always linear; liberation movements must evolve, grow, and continue sustainably. It is thus important for the international community to support the Sudanese people and stand in solidarity with them, to amplify their demands for freedom.

Take Action: Stand in Solidarity with the Sudanese People’s Movement

Educate yourselves. Most of our formal educational institutions have failed us and our global relatives of marginalised identities.

Not sure where to start? Follow Sudanese on-the-ground and diaspora creators, journalists, artists, and educators:

  • Sara (@BSonBlast on IG)

  • Tysir (@Red_Maat on IG)

  • Yasmin (@kandakat_alhaqq on IG)

  • Almigdad (@almigdadhassan0)

  • Women of Sudan (@womenofsudan)

  • Nas Al Sudan (@nasalsudan on IG)

  • SAPA (@sudanese_american_physicians on IG)



We also encourage all to always think critically about the news and information sources you consume, especially those created with the input of powerful political stakeholders and state authorities (e.g. is the news I am consuming coming from a Western mainstream news outlet that might have political interests in spreading a one-sided narrative?). 

Donate to evacuation, emergency aid, rehabilitation, and other funds to support those affected by the violence in Sudan. Nas Al Sudan has compiled a helpful list of different funds to support:

Amplify Sudanese voices, and share these resources with your community! Educate your loved ones and share all the above resources with them, to multiply your impact.


#WeAreManushyan ♾️ Equal Human Beings 


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