Doctors, pharmacists, engineers, teachers, physicians, lawyers — in just about any country such professionals are among the privileged class. But in Sudan, they are not much better off than blue collar workers because only despot Omar al-Bashir and his inner circle of loyalists have any power.
Poverty — including among well-educated professionals — is exactly why protests broke out on Dec. 19 and haven’t relented. Medical professionals and trade unionists of other sectors have flooded the streets of about 50 cities across the nation. And despite at least 40 extrajudicial killings, thousands of hospitalizations, and thousands of detentions and kidnappings, the demonstrations continue to escalate.
This may be because protesting is actually the lesser risk. Trying to cope with the status quo has become impossible. ATM machines have long lines with wait times that are routinely over an hour, and — making matters worse — they only dispense around $25 per day per person. When the state cut subsidies to account for losses in oil revenues, the cost of basic commodities like bread tripled. Obtaining anything from antibiotics to gas immediately became an all-day affair, forcing people to find items on the black market at even higher prices.
War, genocide and kleptocracy are the tools Bashir has used for three decades to preserve his reign. Organizations focusing on human rights and social justice are raided and shut down. Dissidents are kidnapped, imprisoned and tortured. The only thing that’s different now is that this repression seems to actually be strengthening the revolution.