Your Take: Leading Sudanese blogger reflects on danger and digital activism
Amir Ahmad Nasr speaks at the 2011 Oslo Freedom Forum about Sudan's failed uprisings in 1964 and 1985. (Oslo Freedom Forum/YouTube)
Amir Ahmad Nasr, also known as Drima and @SudaneseThinker, is Khartoum-born writer, blogger and speaker. His opinions have been referenced by media outlets like The New York Times and BBC News, and his writing has appeared in Foreign Policy magazine.
He is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Philosophy and has authored a book about Islam in the digital age, which will be published next year by St. Martin's Press.
Please note that the following is not a traditional news story. It is one person's perspective on the role of social media in events unfolding in Sudan.
Friday, June 29th was easily one of the most exciting yet anxiety-inducing days for me as a Sudanese, and for my generation of politically aware countrymen and women, especially from North Sudan, and Khartoum.
It was the day before the 23rd anniversary of President Omar al-Bashir's military coup, and anti-regime protests, unprecedented in size and intensity, broke out throughout Khartoum and numerous small cities and towns all over North Sudan.
Thousands of people, including students, women, and the elderly attended the demonstrations, which were in-part coordinated by three anti-government youth groups - Girifna, SudanChange, and Sharaara (the Spark).
These groups strategically and cleverly utilized social media to spread the call to demonstrate, mainly through Facebook and Twitter.
But these advocacy efforts are not without their constraints.
Within Sudan, a limited number of Sudanese have access to platforms like Facebook due to the low Internet penetration rate. Hence, there has been more reliance on mobile phones and word of mouth to get the news out inside the nation.
However, social media has been absolutely critical in keeping the outside world informed about what has happened in the country so far.
On Twitter, continuous updates keep flowing out under the hashtag #SudanRevolts, which since June 29th has thankfully grabbed the attention of international media outlets that picked up the story and began reporting more actively.
Unfortunately since then, the protest movement has been met by an increasingly violent and effective crackdown - for now.
More than 2,000 are reportedly in detention.
Activists who've been helpful in getting stories out via social media have been arrested, badly beaten and intimidated. Many were taken from their homes in front of their distressed families.
As a result of all those heinous repressive measures, the #SudanRevolts momentum has slowed down significantly, as evidence by the smaller "Kandaka protests" on July 13.
Despite all this, there's still reason to remain optimistic.
Sudan's economic, political and social problems are real. Bashir's incompetent, dictatorial, murderous regime can deny and minimize them all it wants, but people of Sudan face worsening poverty, staggering corruption, and raging wars against innocents and groups with legitimate grievances.
These serious, tragic circumstances must be addressed, or else, popular resentment will continue mounting to unsustainable levels.
In other words, while the regime has successfully slowed down the #SudanRevolts momentum, the circumstances that gave rise to the movement still abound unaddressed.
And while fear has admittedly spread in many quarters, a spirit of stubborn resistance has become more entrenched in places like Wad Nubawi in Omdurman, which witnessed some of the fiercest demonstrations.
Moreover, with the worsening economic situation and oppression, we can expect more dissent. How big, when, and in what form remains to be seen. But at the end of the day, the status-quo is untenable.
Something has got to give. And when it does, you can bet that digital activists and citizen journalists will be there doing their best to fight Bashir's predictable media blackout efforts.
Digital activists will get busy tweeting, YouTubing, Facebooking, and writing articles to get the stories out to the world, so that protesters on the ground know the world is watching.
- Your Take: A Canadian's account of Sudan's budding revolt
- Your Take: Protesters in the #SudanRevolts demonstrations face major challenges
- Your Take: Sudanese protesters fight to maintain momentum of a violent spring
- Police disperse Sudan's "Kandaka Friday" protest with tear gas, arrests
- #SudanRevolts build momentum as world catches on
Meet the Community Team
CBC News Community team, from left to right: Andrew Yates, Andrea Lee-Greenberg, Lauren O'Neil, John Bowman
If you're part of the CBC News community, you're likely to meet one of us: we're the folks working to produce and promote your stories. Read more about us.
Other Your Community Entries
- 2012 (1519)
- July photo contest: Red sheds
- Dunkin' Donuts fills buses with coffee smell to boost sales
- Your Take: Leading Sudanese blogger reflects on danger and digital activism
- Would you audition for an interactive 'social' film?
- Are the Olympics blocked from your work computer?
- Would you side with Redford or Clark on the Northern Gateway pipeline?
- Scientists seek 'ZomBee' hunters to combat undead honey bees
- Expelled Greek Olympian apologizes for racist tweet
- Twitter praises Batman star's visit to Aurora
- Sally Ride celebrated as first lesbian astronaut
- iPhone's 5th birthday prompts loving tributes
- Show us your colours through photos of gay pride
- PETA slams Olsen twins as 'Hairy Kate' and 'Trashley'
- June in Tune photo contest: The winner!
- Should we learn to love the unibrow?
- Is the loonie as important a symbol of Canada as the maple leaf?
- CBC readers dish on 'Canadian food' and Maple Syrup
- Are you financially prepared to live past 100?
- Should alcohol flow freely across Canada?
- Will you wait for BlackBerry 10?
- Do you avoid disturbing news coverage?
- Would you grow your own shoes from 'genetically manipulated stingrays'?
- Dozens of Justin Bieber fans injured in Norway
- I [Heart] NY logo revamp? Fuggedaboutit!
- Musical grill blasts beats through your teeth
- Reaction to Canada's 'unique strain of Dutch Disease'
- New York sugary drink ban bubbles over on Twitter
- Mountain Dew + Orange Juice = Taco Bell's new breakfast drink
- Dr. Ruth to launch low-alcohol line of wines
- Reaction to census data on seniors and toddlers
- Should government seek clemency for Canadians on death row?
- Ugly Meter app worries cyber bullying activists
- And the winner of our April showers photo contest is...
- What would you add to Avery Canahuati's bucket list?
- Who is Titanic II backer Clive Palmer?
- Trending April 30: Titanic II, Conrad Black
- Should Conrad Black regain his Canadian citizenship?
- CBC's David McKie on investigative reporting
- Should rooftop missiles be installed for London Olympics security?
- Obama and Kimmel high-five at White House Correspondents' Dinner
- March photo contest: the winner!
- Shatner-hosted 2012 Juno Awards inspire fanfare
- 10 readers share their Katimavik stories
- Katimavik defended 26 years after Hébert hunger strike
- Earth Hour, Mega Millions, angry 'Beliebers' in morning trends
- Maple syrup hoarders prepare for shortage
- Top 5 at 5: CBC North
- Would bigger tax exemptions encourage you to shop across the border?
- What were your happiest years?
- Should charities lose their status for protesting?
- Community reaction to the Pierre Poutine revelations
- Top 5 at 5: Business stories
- Lady Gaga and Oprah Winfrey launch anti-bullying foundation
- Davy Jones honoured by fans on social media
- February photo contest: the winner!
- Women take the leap and propose marriage on Feb. 29
- Community reaction to closing of high Arctic lab
- Would you freeze-dry a deceased pet?
- U.S. storm watchers swap stories on social media
- Should Canada create an asbestos registry?
- January photo contest: the winner
- Top 5 at 5: Montreal stories
- Should Peru's uncontacted tribes be left alone?
- Is Ashton Kutcher right to block journalists from his Twitter feed?
- Would you wear Dress Pant Sweatpants in your workplace?
- Where do you donate your used clothing?
- Could a UN resolution help end Syria's unrest?
- Top 5 at 5: Politics stories
- Do you trust a camel that predicts Super Bowl winners?
- Community reaction to the Shafia trial verdict
- July (132)