Introduction

October 8, 2019

Sudanese native and resident of Khartoum Fatma Mohamed, eighteen, remembers when she first heard that protests had broken out in her home country against reigning president Omar al-Bashir’s regime.

“I had just come home from my last day of school before winter break and my mom told me there were protests happening in this city called Atbara and that they were due to start in Khartoum at any time,” said Mohamed.

She recalls that by that time, political conditions were quite poor. The banks were out of money and new bills were being printed at extremely high rates. There were long lines of people waiting to get bread. The people of Sudan were ready for change.

“The protests gave everyone a bit of hope that things could change,” Mohamed said. “Everyone was participating. My initial thoughts were, ‘Finally,’ because it seemed like the country was just about to stop moving and working before the protests started. People had been more desperate than ever for food and money and living conditions were just really hard, but these protests seemed to bring everyone together.”

When the demonstrations finally began taking place in Khartoum, Mohamed and her friends were active participants. 

Around that same time, 7,116 miles away, Feda Elbadri ‘21 walked downstairs in her home in Iowa City to find news of protests breaking out in her parents’ hometown: Khartoum, Sudan. Elbadri remembers feeling shock, excitement, and hope, back in those early moments, when she first began seeing media coverage of the events in Sudan. 

“I feel excited that Sudanese people are now on the world stage,” Elbadri said. “Now, it’s become this constant in the background, but when it first happened…I was like, ‘Oh! I’ve never seen this before.’ Scholars and people who are Sudanese get to be on these talk shows and they get to be interviewed by these news sources. They get to go to all these countries and talk about what’s going on and their opinion. I haven’t seen that in my whole life.”

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