BEIRUT: The Sudanese diaspora in Lebanon is hopeful that protests in their home country will bring change and an eventual transition to democracy in the African country.
More than 60 protesters have died in Sudan amid clashes with security forces, but the Sudanese community in in Lebanon is hopeful that “change is coming.”
On Oct. 25 last year, army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan led a coup that overturned a power-sharing transition between the military and a civilian administration that had been meticulously formed in the wake of the ousting of Omar Bashir’s regime in 2019.
Unable to participate in the protests with their compatriots, Sudanese in Lebanon have expressed their solidarity with the demonstrations taking place in their homeland, which are aimed at the military rulers of the country.
Yehya Mohammad, a watchman in Beirut since 2012, said that mass protests should lead to a “new and comprehensive constitution” for the country.
Last week, Abdalla Hamdok, Sudan’s civilian prime minister, resigned and warned that the country was at “a dangerous crossroads threatening its very survival.”
He had only just taken his position back on Nov. 21, having originally been ousted along with his government in the October coup.
“The military rule will be toppled just like it did to Hamdok. We want a completely civilian government to rule and that’s why we strongly support the protests,” Yehya told Arab News.
While the expat does not see the protests bringing about a quick fix, he believes that Al-Burhan’s military council will collapse under the pressure of the protests.
“We hope that they step down peacefully, but under the current situation, I doubt it. The military rule will collapse with a loud bang,” he said.
“Through support groups on social media, we try to support the protesters, both morally and financially,” he added.
Hamed Adam, another watchman, agreed that the demonstrations will bring change to Sudan, either this year or in the near future.
“The revolution won’t develop an instant change, but it will bring about a gradual one,” he told Arab News.
The 55-year-old, who has lived in Lebanon for more than 20 years, said that he is confident that the Sudanese people will “have the final say.”
He added: “The power of street demonstrations will bring us change, just like it did when the street protests in 1985 toppled the late president Jaafar Nimeiry. The current military rule will collapse sooner or later under the mounting protests.”
But Abdul Salam Al-Mukhtar, a 48-year-old laborer in Lebanon, is more skeptical about the effectiveness of the protests.
“What is happening is clear degradation and embarrassment. The civilians and the military won’t agree,” he said, adding that he regrets the deaths caused by recent protests.
Al-Mukhtar believes that things are “hopeless” because of the “greed and hunger” of the Sudanese military in maintaining power.
“The people want the civilians to rule. The military have been ruling for more than 40 years and they are corrupt, incompetent and unsuccessful.”
He added that military rule has pushed “educated and competent” citizens to leave the country. “It is an obvious brain-drain strategy,” he said.
His colleague, Ebrahim Ismail, is more hopeful that civilian protests will eventually topple military rule and “put the country back on track.”
Ismail believes that 2022 will be the “year of change” in Sudan.
“The military rule cannot last forever in the administration. We will throw them out, regain power and our uprising will bring freedom, peace and justice to Sudan.”