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
Security forces blocked Reuters correspondents from approaching protesters, and I watched them knock a BBC correspondent down to the floor while he attempted to report on the situation. They seized his equipment and deleted all his material before returning it. My camera was also eventually confiscated.
I was among 46 women and four men who were arrested and forced into NISS vans. All the way to the police department we sang national songs and shouted against unjust laws and humiliation. We maintained this attitude throughout our five hour detention.
The authorities opened a number of charges against us: public nuisance, illegal gathering, and threat to security and public safety. Then they released us on bail.
During questioning, investigators tried to impose concepts of tribalism on us and to classify us according to our cultural and ethnic identities. He asked each one of us to name her tribe. We unanimously refused to answer that question and insisted on being Sudanese.
We also refused to sign a commitment pledging not to participate in any future protests or demonstrations against the National Congress Party government.
Instead I told the investigator that I would demonstrate against public order laws that humiliate women, that I would continue to protest against the NCP Government, and that I would spare no effort to have my voice heard—even if that would cost me my life.
Because of my activities I have become a target to authorities. Today my actions are widely monitored and there have been several attempts to intimidate me into silence. I have had two recent break-ins at my house in the middle of the night and each time the intruder stole my laptops and cameras. Out of fear for the safety and well-being of my family I have changed locations. I am worried that as soon as South Sudan declares its independence from my country, the regime will step up enforcement of strict Islamic laws and I will have even more reason to fear.
It is only because of my supportive family that I am able to continue my work. My loving parents have always put me and my four sisters on equal footing with our brothers. I also have a wonderful husband and four children of my own.
Because I come from a family of so many women, I long to see all women, including my daughters, grow up in a healthy environment. They deserve laws that respect their humanity regardless of their gender, tribe, or ethnicity.
In pursuit of this vision, I have not and will not miss a demonstration—even if I am imprisoned many times, fined, and flogged. There is only one thing of which I am truly afraid: to have my children grow up in an atmosphere that suppresses their voices and reinforces gender inequality among them.