KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - These are the editor’s choices from the week’s press columns and commentaries. The three picked articles have tackled: the marches staged by the elders of the country in solidarity with the young men and women who continue to challenge General Burhan’s military coup, the controversial decision by the government to demarcate the tribal boundaries in the states of Eastern Sudan and the growing incidences in the smuggling of goods and minerals through official documents.
On the landmark massive processions staged by throngs of senior citizens in support of the country’s youngsters’ resistance of dictatorial rule, what came to be known as: “The Fathers’ and Mothers’ Processions”, wrote Mr. Mohammad Ateeq in the electronic publication Altaghyeer (Change):
The senior citizens’ demonstrations have profoundly drawn the features of a new era in Sudan.
The people of Sudan, young and old, men and women, have gone out in the streets (in Khartoum and elsewhere around the country) to give their say in what is going on.
They were “marches of light and illumination” which we saw, when fathers and mothers made these wonderful, lofty outings. They went out to tell their revolutionary sons and daughters that “you are not alone in this confrontation with the dictators. You are not alone in the building of the future of our dear homeland. We are with you…All of us are with your demands and your objectives.”
Those august processions of the senior citizens have drawn a dividing line between two eras: The era of recklessness and indifference, an era when parasitic social classes, the selfish capitalism with its alliances and local and external connections became the country’s masters. It was the era for wasting time and the dissipation of the country’s natural resources.
Conversely, what the young generations are for at the moment is an era of seriousness, the mobilization of energies, the era of scientific programs and precise plans. It is an era for a complete separation of the legislative, judicial and executive powers. It is an era for the citizens’ equality before the law the rules of which should be put above everybody, above all Sudanese. It is an era for noble human values dressed in a democracy embroidered in (responsible) liberties.
Democracy cannot flourish and go forward without the progress of its pillars: the political parties.
It is certain that the Resistance Committees who spearhead this struggle, contain within their ranks elements from the political parties.
It is also sure that the idea of these senior citizens’ processions were the brain-child of a political party. The good result was an inauguration of a new era when all of us stand behind the idea that best represents the national interests.
We have delved into a new era in terms of terminology and the language of communication among the political parties, where there is no accusations of treason, no insults and no diatribe.
We have left the past with its groupings and its nomenclatures behind us and chanted (all of us): “The revolution is for the people, for the authority of the people, the military should go back to the barracks and the janjaweed militia should be dissolved.”
The announcement is clear: It is a revolution of the people..for the sole purpose of a wholly democratic civilian authority.
The General is still at a loss what to do..to backtrack from his coup?
He speaks about the need for “national concord” among the political parties or “elections”, which he insists to describe as “free and fair”. These are his conditions for stepping down.
It is with these senior citizens’ demonstrations that came the “national concord” General Burhan knows nothing about.
About the recent decision by the authorities to draw and demarcate the administrative border lines between the tribes of Eastern Sudan’s three states, wrote Ms. Madeeha Abdalla, the Editor of the Almaidan newspaper, the mouthpiece of the Sudanese Communist Party.
Voices coming out from Eastern Sudan have been opposing this tribal border demarcation decision.
These voices have, instead, called for the demarcation of the borders as three states, not tribal borders.
This is an issue of utmost importance which I expect to busy the minds of the civilian forces of the country, the civilian forces that continue to struggle for the creation of the state of citizenship. That is because Sudan is the property of all Sudanese. Every part of it is allowable for every Sudanese citizen to live and work in and to own property without any discrimination based on tribe, race or religion.
That is an objective which should not be postponed (until after the collapse of the coup authority!)
This coup authority is striving to reshape the state of affairs in the country in a manner that consolidates it domination, relying in this on the dark legacy of the defunct Salvation Government that sought to perpetuate tribalism.
Tribes have always been influential social elements in the country. But, sadly, this tribalism was used to mobilize against the ousted civilian government, by the barricading of roads that deprived the country from the proceeds of the sea ports, entailing economic and social hardships that still affect the lives of Sudanese.
The re-demarcation of tribal border lines is not just signs to be put on the ground. It is a matter directly tied to the issue of land ownership.
It is, further, directly tied to the ownership of national facilities.
Here we can imagine how dangerous the situation would look like if feuding erupts over the ownership of Port Sudan Harbor, the other Red Sea ports, the tourist and archeological sites, the mineral wealth, livestock, fisheries etc.. That would not pose a threat just to the unity of the East alone, but the unity of all Sudan. The backlashes from such a decision will extend all over the country, which is already suffering deep bloody wounds that erode its unity in the name of (the property of our forefathers and our tribe), and what this could entail in terms of the address of hate and racism as opposed to the address and motto of the state of citizenship.
About the growing phenomenon of the smuggling of goods across the sea and air ports in which official papers are used, wrote Ahmed Yousif Altai, Editor of the daily Alentibaha (the Awakening) newspaper:
Official reports have revealed fearful data about the magnitude of the smuggling of goods and gold through the country’s sea and air ports in which official papers are used.
The reports, compiled by the general smuggling combat administration, have revealed that a total of 86477 smuggling operations had taken place in a single year. The administration has cited an increase in the smuggling traffic through the air and sea ports in which official government papers were used.
All of this is happening with the help of official bodies within the state machine and from professional smugglers inside the government bodies, said the administration.
This same administration has revealed that security elements and elements from the rebel movements exploit their positions to pass smuggled commodities outside the country. It said certain countries actually depend on the smuggled goods from Sudan in the covering of their daily expenses.
Not far away from all this gloom was what was expressed by the member of the livestock exporters union, Mr. Khalid Mohammad Khair, who said eleven billion dollars are lost due to smuggling through official documents.
How horrible is this. The state with its awkward policies is encouraging, in fact helping, the smuggling of goods. It motivates the smugglers, giving them the tools with which to destroy the nation and its economy.
Here we have to put a critical question: Who is responsible for this doom?
The answer to this question is not difficult and contains no puzzles. They are those who are in charge of the state.
The government officials who write official documents to facilitate smuggling, some security elements and adherents of armed rebel groups cited by the smuggling combat administration are the tip of the iceberg in the ongoing operation to destroy the economy.
These can also make the lead in case serious action is taken to stop smuggling.
But who wants to stop this iceberg and who wants to seize this lead. Nobody wants to take anybody accountable.
The military and the senior politicians are busy competing for government positions, each weaving conspiracies against the other. And everyone is busy fortifying himself from the malice of the other. This is how Sudan is driven towards the abyss.
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