Weekly Press Columns Digest

Weekly Press Columns Digest

KHARTOUM (Sudanow) Following are picks from the most outstanding press editorials and commentaries of the week. The editor’s selections are a focusing of three issues tackled by the press. They are the weird demand by the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM/North) of Abdelaziz Alhilu from the government negotiators to replace the weekly Friday holiday with Wednesday, the second anniversary of the bloody breaking of the sit-in around the Army Headquarters (including recorded confessions by the then Military Council that it ordered the action) and the continued deterioration of the national currency (the pound), despite the Government move to adopt a flexible rate of exchange. 

About the Alhilu’s demand to move the official weekly holiday from Friday to Wednesday, wrote outspoken news analyst, Dr. Zuhair Alsarraj, in the daily journal Aljareeda (the newspaper):

The SPLM/N paper to the peace facilitators asking for the official holiday to be changed from Friday to Wednesday is demagogic, and an exaggeration.

What problem is there if the weekly holiday is Friday in keeping with the majority religion of Sudanese? Religion is a human right and (accordingly) allowing the citizen to practice his religious rites and enjoy the spirituality of his faith through the allocation of a weekly day off to let him do so,  is a human right, the same as Sunday for Christians. 

Of course there could arise the objection that there are religions other than Islam and Christianity in Sudan (and they are uncountable). Of course the issue of holidays and the state’s official language all of them should be based on statistics. For, if there were more than 130 languages in Sudan, can we practically print a school curriculum, passports, signboards on highways and towns entrances in all of these languages, if all of them are adopted as official languages as Alhilu is asking for?

Taking hard lines upon such issues will not prove the neutrality of the secular state towards religion. To the contrary, such a move will portray the state as an entity that hates religion and disdains its symbols. In all the countries where secularism had come into existence (both as thought and practice) we do not see such secular bigotry, many of the European countries draw the cross on their national flags. There are political parties that each carries the name “The Democratic Christian Party”. The expression “IN GOD WE Trust”  is printed on the U.S Dollar. The majority of the World countries have Sunday as official holiday, also adopting Christmas day as official holiday. Even an atheist country like China takes Sunday as an official holiday in harmony with the majority World countries and also for China’s economic interests.      

What the marginalized in Sudan are after is the provision of working opportunities, the enhancement of working conditions and allowing the workers days off to rest. I don’t think any of the marginalized Sudanese will be concerned whether the official holiday is Friday, Sunday, Monday or Wednesday. That is simply because the majority of them are deprived from work per se, or deprived from their right in days off, as part of their general deprivation.

It is sad that raising such distracting issues indicate the absence of seriousness to reach common grounds during the peace talks. Hunting for controversies, wasting time and energy in such fruitless demagogies is useless.

Suggesting Wednesday as official holiday may be a negotiation position on Alhilu’s part. In all cases it is an odd, funny and disgusting position. It reflects a misunderstanding of the interpretations of secularism.
By the way, Mr. Hilu, Wednesday is not a neutral day. It is the new year holiday of the Yazidis of Iraq  who call it “The Red Wednesday”, because it is the day when God pumped blood in Adam’s body, so they believe!

Now, do you still insist upon it? Or the next day you will come out with a day (a brainchild of yours) that realizes your demagogy and your shortsighted understanding of secularism?    

About the second anniversary of the armed clamp down on the civilian sit-in around the Army General Command and under the title “For Us Not To Forget, Texts, Recordings, Confessions" of the ruling Military Council (whose Chairman was the Current Chairman of the Sovereignty Council, General Abdelfattah Alburhan), wrote Mr. Bakri Alsayigh in the electronic publication Alrakooba (the shack):

The then Military Council had conceded at a press conference on Thursday 13 June 2019 to its full participation, in addition to the Chief Justice, and the Attorney General, to the planning of what had occurred on 3 June. Council Member, General  Shamseddin Kabbashi, the Council Spokesperson at the time, had disclosed that investigations in the sit-in breaking had revealed the killing of tens “a report on which will be announced on Saturday.”

Kabbashi also said they would not accept an international investigations committee on the matter “because Sudan is a sovereign state.” 

Kabbashi's press conference broadcast by the  Sudan TV Thursday night confessed that it was the Military Council that gave the orders for the sit-in breaking, on 3 June, claiming there were deviations in the course of action of the plan laid by the military command for restoring order to the place and that the result of the probe would be announced on Saturday 15 June.

The Aljazeera Net had on 27/7/2019 stated that the investigations committee in the sit-in breaking events disclosed the involvement of security officers and officers from the Rapid Support Forces in the attack on the protesters.

The committee said that security forces had gone out of course and attacked the sit-in zone. Investigations committee chairman Fath Alrahman had said that two offices who were among the force that was ordered to clean the Colombia area (at the Nile Avenue near the sit-in zone) had attacked the sit_in without any orders to do so .

Continues Mr. Fatharrahman: a joint force from the security had deviated from its job and stormed the sit-in, opening gunfire on the protesters killing and wounding protesters and breaking the sit-in. He said 87 persons were killed and 168 

For its part the Forces For Freedom and Change that led the protests had announced that it would not accept the findings of the Attorney General’s investigation committee and would adhere to an independent committee, with regional observation.

The Sudanese Congress Party said report of the Attorney General’s investigation committee was written for one purpose: To hide and bury the facts under the rubble.

Writing in his usual column in the daily newspaper Alsudani (the Sudanese), Dr. Abdellatf Alboony was highly critical of the  country’s commercial banks and their irresponsible attitude towards the ongoing economic reform:

The transitional government has taken the most daring of economic financial and monitory decisions in Sudan’s history. That is the floating of the national currency that jumped with the dollar prices to imaginary heights  beyond thinking even for the most pessimistic of citizens.

The reason for this attitude was that such a courageous policy should have required a healthy banking system, while ours is far from this. Our banking system is made up of interest groups (or say gangs) that nourish on the people’s blood, no matter if the country would collapse, groups playing with depositors’ money and directing it towards parasitic activities like brokering in hard currency and other speculations, far away from production and producers.

Groups that controlled the Central Bank and directed it to issue legislations that allow them to exhaust and play with the depositors’ money.

These banks were the number one supporter of hard currency traders, channeling depositors’ finance to them, a matter that strengthened these usurers who crept on those very banks and controlled them.

Consequently came the Central Bank’s decision for 2016 that allowed the shareholders (as individuals) to control the banks’ decisions, rendering these banks into a property of individuals and not  joint-stock companies.

The text in the banking law that limits the maximum share per individual was cancelled according to that 2016 law, thus allowing a single individual to control the bank board.

Now that the Sudanese pound is struggling for life, everybody has come to realize that these banks had exploited the liberalization measures and the tendency towards ending the country’s economic isolation for more control on the prices and speculation with hard currency (using the depositors’ finance). Some (I repeat some) banks employees became the dollar and euro emperors. The banks boards members became the actual popes of this feudal age. One can just keep wondering.

These banks have sucked the blood of this nation under the so-called Islamic banking system, while –in fact-their practices are even worse than usury.

These same banks have now prepared for the return of the second banking windows (traditional-interest-based banking) for more swallowing.

From this we can discern that the problem is not with the single-window banking system. The problem is in the structure of the banking system. And here comes the role of the Central Bank (the mayor). But tell me, my friend, how can the central bank help in this while it (in itself) is unsteady?


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