Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 4 June 2020

We neither Forget nor Forgive the 3 June 2019 Massacre

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By Mahmoud A. Suleiman

Today Wednesday, June 3rd 2020 comes as the great epic of redemption at the dawn of the third of June 2019, whose memory will remain immortal in the history book, separating between the boldness Sudanese people and cowardice of the dictatorial regime, and the fulfilment of a decent future in the face of the effects of the vile stab of insidious treachery beast. Together let us chant the slogan, “We will not forget and we will not forgive the crime of massacre and the breaking the sit-in on Monday the 3rd of June 2019 in front of the Sudanese army headquarters.”

Sudanese protesters will continue demanding justice for the mass killings of the 3rd of June 2019 in front of the Sudanese army headquarters. Today Wednesday the 3rd June 2020 marks the first anniversary of that atrocious tragedy when more than100 people were killed in cold blood. Not surprisingly, today June the 3rd 2020 it is expected tens of thousands of demonstrators will take to the streets of towns and cities across Sudan to call for justice for pro-democracy protesters killed by security forces in weeks of unrest. Thus, despite the Restrictions due to Coronavirus/ COVID-19 Pandemic, Crowds would be filling major squares and thoroughfares waving the national Sudanese flag, lighting candles and chanting: “The mother of a martyr is my mother; the blood of a martyr is my blood. The Demonstrators are “Recalling the events of the last year.

The political crisis in Sudan began last year and has lasted through the removal of the country’s long-term when Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was removed from power by the Sudanese army after popular protests demanded his departure on Thursday11 April 2019, a military takeover and the brutal killing on 3 June by heavily armed paramilitary forces of at least 128 protesters who were staging a peaceful sit-in, as well as the rape of many more.

Khartoum protests resume after Sudan military admits abuses and several officers arrested over protest camp crackdown in which more than 100 killed.
Crowds gather in Khartoum and other cities after deaths of over 120 peaceful demonstrators
Jason Burke and Zeinab Mohammed Salih in Khartoum
Sat 13 Jul 2019 15.59 EDT
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/13/sudanese-protesters-demand-justice-after-mass-killings
Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of towns and cities across Sudan on Saturday calling for justice for pro-democracy protesters killed by security forces in weeks of unrest.

Crowds filled major squares and thoroughfares waving the national flag, lighting candles and chanting: “The mother of a martyr is my mother; the blood of a martyr is my blood.”
The political crisis in Sudan began last year and has lasted through the removal of the country’s long-term president in April, a military takeover and the brutal killing on 3 June by heavily armed paramilitary forces of at least 128 protesters who were staging a peaceful sit-in, as well as the rape of many more

According to the independent report of the Human Rights Report https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/11/18/they-were-shouting-kill-them/sudans-violent-crackdown-protesters-khartoum

On Thursday, April 11, 2019, about four months after the protests started, al-Bashir’s first vice president and defence minister, Awad Ibn Ouf, announced on national television that a high-security committee, composed of commanders of security, police and military forces, had overthrown al-Bashir and his regime and that al-Bashir had stepped down. The announcement came just days after protesters staged a sit-in around the army headquarters in Khartoum, demanding al-Bashir’s resignation with chants of “tasgut bass” (“just fall, that’s all”).

Following al-Bashir’s ouster, a Transition Military Council (TMC) of army generals led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan took over the government, with Mohamed “Hemedti” Hamdan Dagalo, as his deputy. Hemetti, the commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), has been implicated by Human Rights Watch in serious crimes by the RSF against civilians in Darfur and elsewhere – including mass rape and burning villages. After April, RSF forces were more visible in Khartoum and led most of the subsequent violence against protesters.

Based on field research in Khartoum between July 28 and August 11, and interviews with more than 60 people in Khartoum and Omdurman including families of those killed, activists, staff-members of civil society organizations, and medical service providers, this report documents the most violent of these dispersals, including the attack on the June 3, 2019, sit-in, when security forces led by the RSF opened fire on unarmed protesters, killing scores, raping people, injuring hundreds, and committed a range of other serious abuses. The report also describes subsequent attacks on protesters including another violent crackdown on June 30, 2019, when protesters marched against the June 3, 2019 killings and again called for handover to civilian rule.

It was dark and rainy in the early hours of Monday, June 3, 2019, on eve of the last day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Sudanese protesters – whose months of protests prompted the ouster of Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s President for 30 years, on April 11 – were still at their sit-in near the army headquarters, despite rumours that the government would soon disperse them. They remained even after al-Bashir’s ouster to protest rule by the transitional military council that took power and call for a handover to civilian rule.

Before dawn, a large number of government forces, including the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) – the paramilitary force established in 2013 which carried out highly abusive counterinsurgency campaigns in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile – surrounded the sit-in area. After an initial attempt by men in police uniforms to move a barricade, witnesses said RSF soldiers opened fire on unarmed protesters, instantly killing many. The soldiers rounded up and beat protestors, subjecting them to various abuses and humiliation, burned tents and looted and destroyed property. They also raped protesters and committed other acts of sexual violence. Three days later, the African Union (AU) suspended Sudan’s membership.

Initially, the protests in Sudan were Triggered by price hikes following austerity measures imposed by al-Bashir, nationwide protests started in December 2018 outside Khartoum, in the southern town of Damazin, in Blue Nile state; Atbara, in the northeastern River Nile state; El Obeid, in the central state of Northern Kordofan; and al-Gadarif, in the east. Women, who have challenged patriarchal policies and practices by al-Bashir’s government, joined in and provided leadership for protests. The sexual violence some of them faced should be understood in light of Sudan’s history of security forces using sexual violence to silence female rights activists.

From the beginning in December, government security forces, particularly the National Security and Intelligence Service (NISS), responded to the protests with excessive force, using live bullets to disperse unarmed protesters. They rounded up thousands of protesters, opposition leaders, organizers and activists, often violently, and detained hundreds without charge for months, beating and abusing many. They censored the media by confiscating newspapers, arresting journalists, blocking social media, and shutting down or expelling foreign media.

Today, Wednesday the 3rd of June 2020 marks the First Anniversary of that atrocious event of killing of unarmed peacefully demonstrating Sudanese civilian citizens. One has browsed the Broad Newspaper headlines today. They are as follows:
• Sorry, martyrs of the revolution, for we have not improved the fulfilment of your pure souls
• A statement from the gathering of the families of martyrs of the Sudanese revolution on the first anniversary of the massacre of the military headquarters
• Professionals gathering and details to commemorate the first anniversary of the massacre of the General Command
• Speech of Dr Abdullah Hamdok, Sudan’s Transitional Prime Minister, on the occasion of the first-anniversary dismantling of the sit-in in front of the Military Headquarters

After greeting the people of Sudan, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok said:
I stand before you today to address you on the memory of one of the saddest and most painful moments in our contemporary history, which is the first anniversary of the crime of breaking up of the Revolutionary sit-in site that was held in front of the General Sudanese Military Command in the Capital Khartoum people from the various states of Sudan since April 6, 2019.

The mass sit-in represented the climax of the revolutionary movement that started in December 2018, drawing inspiration from all our people’s struggles to restore democracy since the dawn of the June 30, 1989 coup d’état. The word of our people met with all its social, trade union, and political components and its living demanding forces echoing the brave revolution’s cry (Freedom, Peace, and Justice) and when the honourable people and soldiers of the armed forces sided with this unit, and together we succeeded in bringing down the National Congress Party (NCP) regime and opening a new page in the history of the homeland. In the midst of the sit-in, the greatness and beauty of the Sudanese people appeared, and the energies and creativity of young women and men exploded in symbiosis, organization, planning, rejection of racism and acceptance of the other, art, music, formation, murals, the Republic of the high tunnels and other scenes that will not be forgotten from the memory of our people, and as well will paint a great revolution that dazzles its beauty and peace along with its boldness shown to the whole world. And all of that beauty reflected how the Sudanese people resisted the project of ugliness, mutilation, and destruction that had been trying to reshape the Sudanese personality during the lean thirty years of corruption and tyranny.

At this very time came the great epic Redemption at the dawn of June 3, 2019, whose memory will remain immortal in the history book, separating between boldness and cowardice, and fulfilment for a decent future in the face of the stab of the insidious treachery.
https://www.alrakoba.net/31403088/%d8%b4%d8%a7%d9%87%d8%af-%d8%ae%d8%b7%d8%a7%d8%a8-%d8%af-%d8%b9%d8%a8%d8%af%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%84%d9%87-%d8%ad%d9%85%d8%af%d9%88%d9%83-%d8%a8%d9%85%d9%86%d8%a7%d8%b3%d8%a8%d8%a9-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b0%d9%83/

And during these moments, one finds that he/she is an integral part of the Sudanese public, an educator of the people, in their rejection of the dictatorship, and they rose up and made popular revolutions on October 21, 1964, and in April 1985 which overthrew military regimes beginning with General Ibrahim Abboud, then Jaafar Muhammad al-Numayri and now against the genocide criminal Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it was not able to ascertain the total number of those killed during the attack on June 3, 2019, and in the following days. Independent doctors’ groups reported credible estimates of over 120 protesters killed between June 3 and 18 and over nine hundred injured some severely. They also reported bodies were pulled from the River Nile, two of whom were tied to bricks showing gunshot wounds, pointing to possible execution. Dozens were reported missing. The official death toll, 87, was widely rejected as too low.

Following al-Bashir’s ouster, a Transition Military Council (TMC) of army generals led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan took over the government, with Mohamed “Hemedti” Hamdan Dagalo, as his deputy. Hemetti, the commander of the RSF, has been implicated by Human Rights Watch in serious crimes by the RSF against civilians in Darfur and elsewhere – including mass rape and burning villages. After April, RSF forces were more visible in Khartoum and led most of the subsequent violence against protesters.

Based on field research in Khartoum between July 28 and August 11, and interviews with more than 60 people in Khartoum and Omdurman including families of those killed, activists, the staff civil society organizations, and medical service providers, this report documents the most violent of these dispersals, including the attack on the June 3 sit-in, when security forces led by the RSF opened fire on unarmed protesters, killing scores, raping people, injuring hundreds, and committed a range of other serious abuses. The report also describes subsequent attacks on protesters including another violent crackdown on June 30, when protesters marched against the June 3 killings and again called for handover to civilian rule.

Human Rights Watch was not able to ascertain the total number of those killed during the attack on June 3 and in the following days. Independent doctors’ groups reported credible estimates of over 120 protesters killed between June 3 and 18 and over nine hundred injured, some severely. They also reported bodies were pulled from the Nile river, two of whom were tied to bricks showing gunshot wounds, pointing to possible execution. Dozens were reported missing. The official death toll, 87, was widely rejected as too low.

International and regional actors condemned the violence, calling for impartial and independent investigations and accountability for grave human rights violations by armed forces. The TMC’s initial response was to deny attacking the sit-in, claiming they only targeted an area across the street from the sit-in that they said hosted “illegal activities.” The TMC spokesman then expressed regret for “mistakes” made by officers while attempting to disperse the sit-in. Authorities sought to suppress information about the violence by restricting international media’s access to the country and completely shutting down the internet for over a month from June 10. But within weeks, protesters in the capital again took to the streets, demanding civilian rule and justice for the June 3 killings. In response to the “millions march” in Omdurman on June 30, government forces again used live ammunition to disperse the protests, killing at least ten.

In early July, political negotiations between the TMC and the opposition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), a coalition of political parties, professional associations and civil society groups, which had stalled for four weeks, resumed. On August 17, the parties agreed to a transitional government, headed by a sovereign council that will be led by the military for 21 months followed by 17 months of civilian leadership. They agreed to make reforms and ensure accountability for crimes committed under al-Bashir’s regime, and to form a national independent investigation into the June 3 violence.

The use of disproportionate, excessive force to disperse protests in violent repeated crackdowns, without ensuring that security operations pose a minimal risk to life, according to many people Human Rights Watch interviewed, was a deliberate attempt to intimidate the movement and break the resolve of protesters. These crackdowns have involved serious violations of domestic and international law, including some crimes that may constitute crimes against humanity. The crackdowns also violated basic freedoms of assembly and expression, protected in Sudan’s constitution and international obligations that guarantee Sudanese people the right to protest.
The abuses, and lack of transparency and accountability from authorities, have clearly fueled ongoing calls for justice by the protesters. The families of “martyrs” killed since December and families of the missing continue to demand justice for the crimes against their loved ones.

To begin the process of undoing Sudan’s long history of entrenched impunity, there should be meaningful and genuine accountability. This will require a process that can effectively establish facts, preserve evidence and prepare for criminal prosecutions in a system that is truly independent. Such a process is only likely to be established if it has a significant international component, through UN involvement and support.
https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/11/18/they-were-shouting-kill-them/sudans-violent-crackdown-protesters-khartoum

Dr. Hamdouk concluded his address to the Sudanese people, saying:

“I assure you all, that achieving universal justice and retribution for the souls of our hero martyrs in the massacre, and in the crime of the eighth and tenth of Ramadan that preceded it, for the wounded and the missing, is an inevitable and irreversible step, and it is absolutely necessary for building a Sudan of justice and the rule of law What we seek, and in order to break the evil cycle of political violence and the use of weapons against citizens.

This vicious circle, which opened a deep wound in the social fabric of Sudan, has been bleeding since the events of Torit in 1955, passing through the civil war in the south that expanded to include Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan, Blue Nile, Eastern Sudan, victims of massacres such as Jabbar, Port Sudan, the martyrs of the student movement, the martyrs of September 2013 and others, from daughters and Sons of the Sudanese people who paid their lives for the absence of a state of justice, equality, citizenship and law in Sudan.

All this bleeding was due to the extraction of Sudanese blood in the midst of the political process and the absence of the national project that brings us together. I stand before you today to say from the position of the executive authority that these sacrifices came, that Sudanese blood is expensive and that Sudanese blood is the same, and that the real criminals behind the crime of breaking up the sit-in must be exposed and held accountable. We are awaiting the completion of the work of the Independent Investigation Commission, which will be followed by submitting all those found guilty of participating in the massacre of unfolding sit-ins for fair and public trials. This is in order to stop this bleeding and ensure that justice is done in its comprehensive sense and build sustainable social peace in Sudan.

Here, I cannot fail to salute and pay tribute, once again, to the families of the martyrs and the wounded. Every grieving mother has a heartbreaking father in the metals of their livers, and those who succeeded in raising them to go out into the world with this nobility and draw with their blood this timeless painting of redemption, valour and sacrifice. Perhaps our only consolation and our true loyalty to the blood of our heroic martyrs is represented in the payment of all efforts and continuous work tirelessly and without boredom, for the sake of Fulfilling the duties of the revolution for the sake of which they sacrificed their lives for its victory.

The battle to consolidate democracy in Sudan and push the locomotive of development to build a homeland befitting our great people is the true fulfilment of the blood of the martyrs. We are able to overcome all the challenges we face in all fields if we stick to the unity that brought us together in the phase of the revolutionary movement, which is the era on which we lost our righteous martyrs, and we have to overcome our small and petty political differences and unhelpful skirmishes and turned to the greatest concern, which are the duties and obligations of building a state of development and democracy in Sudan that All of us wish and are eager to see in the years to come.

Many countries in our surroundings and around the world, such as Rwanda, South Africa, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Brazil, Chile, and other countries, have succeeded in overcoming bloody pages in their history through transitional justice approaches and social reconciliation programs, but these steps begin only to reveal the full truth in order to reach. Therefore, we must unveil everything that happened and what happened, and hold true criminals accountable and say with the loudest voices and the rest of the actions: We will never allow these crimes to be repeated again before our eyes and in our country, in order to build a state of the rule of law. What I pledge to all of you in the niche of the homeland, which I have been working on from the first moment to assume the presidency of the transitional cabinet, is to do my utmost to stop the bleeding of the precious Sudanese blood. Sudanese blood is more expensive and more precious than we can do to preserve, take care of and maintain it. The blood of the martyrs will not go in vain, but rather are lamps of light, which give us a path towards justice and comprehensive peace and lay the foundations for justice, democracy and balanced development.

We will stand, pass, and win
Glory and eternity to our hero martyrs
God save Sudan and the people of Sudan
Peace be upon you and the mercy of God be upon you
Cabinet Announcement 03/06/2020. https://www.alrakoba.net/31403088/%d8%b4%d8%a7%d9%87%d8%af-%d8%ae%d8%b7%d8%a7%d8%a8-%d8%af-%d8%b9%d8%a8%d8%af%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%84%d9%87-%d8%ad%d9%85%d8%af%d9%88%d9%83-%d8%a8%d9%85%d9%86%d8%a7%d8%b3%d8%a8%d8%a9-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b0%d9%83/

Martin Luther King Jr. the American Christian minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968 has been quoted as saying: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

George Carlin the American stand-up comedian, social critic, philosopher, actor, and author and who was widely regarded as one of the most important and influential stand-up comics of all time, he was once dubbed "the dean of counterculture comedians" has been quoted once as saying: “The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Carlin

Hector Hugh Munro, better known by the pen name Saki and also frequently as H. H. Munro, was a British writer whose witty, mischievous and sometimes macabre stories satirize Edwardian society and culture, has been quoted as saying: “Whenever a massacre of Armenians is reported from Asia Minor, everyone assumes that it has been carried out "under orders" from somewhere or another; no one seems to think that there are people who might like to kill their neighbours now and then”. https://quotes.yourdictionary.com/massacre

Dr Mahmoud A. Suleiman is an author, columnist and a blogger. His blog is http://thussudan.wordpress.com



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