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What Can Sudan Learn from Iran's Green Revolution?
There is much to be admired and learned from Iran’s courageous youth and middle class who are asking the very legitimate question "Where Is My Vote?"
However, I see few words or actions from the Sudanese people, political parties, or Sudan’s independent civil society in support of Iranians who have risked and continue to risk their lives for the truth under oppressive conditions and through the most peaceful and symbolic people-led demonstrations the Middle East has ever experienced.
The Iranian regime started to use violence against demonstrators and arrested prominent opposition members. . . . Still, I am sure that regimes in Africa, the Islamic and the Arab world are watching with fear, and wondering if what is happening "there" could happen "here."
What is happening in Iran is a window of opportunity for Sudanese civil society to show that it is part of a global movement that has universal values and aspirations. It is also a chance to start a renewed, creative, realistic, and inclusive dialogue on peaceful democratic transformation. Sudan’s independent civil society is often branded by the NCP as "communist", "secular", "un-Islamic" or simply "opposition." Iran’s Green Revolution shows that freedom and citizenship rights are universal and that even an Islamic regime that came through legitimate elections can be questioned and rejected by those who put it in power.
Recent events in Iran also show that power comes in numbers. Some estimates of the June 16 demonstration in Tehran say that 7 million people showed up (almost half of Tehran’s population). The first four demonstrations were mostly peaceful characterized by no riot police, silence, the color green, and strong slogans that captured the attention of the world such as, "Where is my vote", "Mousavi, go get my vote back", "God is great and truth will prevail", “Democracy does not equal Dead Student”, “Stop Killing Us”, “We are not rioters”, “Silence is not acceptance” and “The key to victory: Calmness, Hope and Patience.”
Those words and the powerful images that accompanied them were shared with the world mostly by Iranian citizens who tactically responded to their government’s ban on international media by using their own phone cameras and digital cameras and by posting images and words on You Tube, Twitter and other internet outlets. Although some have called this a “Twitter Revolution”, this is nothing but an Iranian revolution. Iranians wrote their own story, created their own history and shared with the world what their regime would have otherwise kept hidden.
from Dalia Haj-Omar, Sudan & FranceJuly 3rd, 2009
This first appeared in the Sudan Tribune, The author is a Sudanese living in France and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article also appreared in Voices from the Frontlines at Peace X Peace, a global network of women working to build peace across the cultures.