Sudanese protesters march towards the military headquarters during an anti-regime rally in the capital Khartoum on April 11, 2019. (Photo:/AFP/Getty Images)

The Fall of Omar al-Bashir

Al-Arab, London, April 14

The fall of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has been in office for 30 years, is the culmination of popular demonstrations that have been unfolding in the country for nearly five months. This movement began with demands for basic necessities, such as protests against the increase in the price of bread, and ended with calls to overthrow Sudan’s 75-year-old autocrat. While pundits speak of this recent uprising as a relatively recent movement, it does, in fact, trace several years back. Demonstrations against the Sudanese regime have been going on since then, but Bashir managed to eliminate them through repression. This year, however, Bashir found himself isolated after he exhausted all the methods he adopted in the past in order to stay in power. It is clear that the ousted president was unaware of what was happening on Sudanese soil. Bashir is ignorant on everything related to the Sudanese youth, who have different aspirations than those he and his generation had. These young people are between the ages of 16 and 35 years. Bashir does not know that their number nears 25 million, which means they constitute a majority in Sudan, which has a population of 43 million. There is no connection between Bashir and the young people of his country, who are aware of what is going on in the world. Even outgoing Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the 82-year-old leader who ruled his country for twenty years, had a better understanding of what is happening in his country than Bashir did. Like their Algerian counterparts, the people of Sudan demand greater representation. Both peoples deserve much better leaders who are qualified to run these countries and promote greater development. The funny thing is that Bashir, before his fall, was talking about the need for Sudan’s ministries to become more competent in what they do. He missed the fact that it was he who appointed ministers that lacked the basic qualifications necessary to promote a country like Sudan. Does it seriously take Bashir 30 years to discover this? One of the most important mistakes made by Bashir is to ignore the modern history of Sudan. In 1964, thousands of Sudanese people took to the streets to demand the resignation of Ibrahim Abboud, the military commander who ruled for 6 years. The protesters chanted in one voice: “to the barracks, you insects.” Abboud’s regime quickly collapsed. The experience of 1964 was repeated in 2019. The difference is that Bashir left without causing significant bloodshed. The question now is whether Sudan’s military officers will return to their barracks or seek to impose a military leader from their own ranks. The next fight in Sudan will be between the military and the people. –Kheir Allah Kheir Allah

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