More on Sudan
Dispatches from the front lines of the women’s movement in Sudan:
• Dive deeper into this story by reading an early account of this protest on PulseWire
• Refer back to the case of Sudanese journalist Lubna Hussein who was sentenced to flogging in 2009 for wearing pants
• Read female genital mutilation survivor Halima Mohamed Abdel Rahman’s plea to abolish this harmful practice
As voting on South Sudan's independence wraps up, look out for World Pulse coverage on women's emerging leadership in what is likely to become the world's newest nation.
My Camera and Me Against a Regime
Arrested during December's anti-flogging demonstrations in Sudan, Nagla Seed Ahmed and 49 other detained protesters recorded footage from within the jail walls—despite authorities' attempts to confiscate their cameras.
The first time I watched the video—footage that began circulating in December of a young Sudanese woman being flogged mercilessly in public—I could feel the whip cutting into the young woman’s flesh like a knife. Watching it triggered memories of my own painful experience.
Ten years ago, I was lashed for my participation in a protest. It was my birthday—a time when I should have been joyous and flooded with presents from my head to my feet. Instead I was punished because I refused to remain silent as high school students were sent to war zones in South Sudan to lose their lives for an ideology they had nothing to do with. I will never forget the sound of the whip as it went up and came descending down on my back.
As I saw this same brutality unleashed against another young woman, I knew I had to act. On December 14th I joined around 150 activists in a peaceful protest in Khartoum. Although we were beaten and 50 of us were arrested that day, we remained defiant. Before he was dragged away by security forces, one man exclaimed, “Humiliating a woman is humiliating the whole nation.” This is the reason we were all there.
Women have been subject to flogging under Sudan’s criminal code since 1991. In 2008, the director of police reported that 43,000 women were lashed in that year alone. It has not been determined what specific crime the woman in the YouTube video was accused of, but the officers in the video referenced a section of Sudan's public order law that deals with prostitution.
I believe that the government of Sudan plans to bring women back to the era of the Harem. Sometimes women in my country are beaten for demonstrating against the regime, and at other times they are targeted for wearing “provocative” outfits.
In 2009, the world took notice when journalist Lubna Hussein was arrested, charged with indecency, and threatened a sentence of 40 lashes—for the crime of wearing pants.
Flogging is a human rights abuse, and a specific violation against Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, a document that protects individuals from “All forms of exploitation and degradation,” and specifically prohibits “torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.” But the regime ignores this. . . .