Al Jazeera English Op-Ed: World idle as Sudan’s women raped, killed and bombed

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“World idle as Sudan’s women raped, killed and bombed
Claims 200 women, including 80 minors, mass raped not surprising in a country where women are systematically violated.”

Darfur no longer grabs the headlines as it falls out of favour as a cause celebre yet the atrocities, especially against women, haven’t stopped.

Last week a report emerged that some 200 women, including 80 minors, were mass raped by a Sudanese Army garrison in the village of Tabit, northern Darfur. Reportedly, the soldiers started their raping spree on Friday evening and went on until 4am the following day.

The special prosecutor for crimes in Darfur denied the mass rape saying they inspected and “verified the inaccuracy of what has been circulating in social media, and some of the local radio stations”. Initially denied and then granted access, the African Union-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) investigated and concluded its “team found no evidence confirming the claims and received no information regarding the purported acts”.

The depressing fact is that it’s not inconceivable for such a crime to have occured. The systematic degradation and violation of Sudanese women has been a trait of the regime’s 25-year-rule. Articles 151, 152, 154 and 156 of the criminal code “enforce restrictions on women and the way they dress and behave in public”. If they commit an act “deemed by an officer of the law to be in violation of these articles, they may face a lashing sentence [or] be forced to pay a fine”.

Systematic rape

The power and authority handed to officers to arbitrarily decide what they deem acceptable attire and to enforce the punishment is clear in a number of graphic videos of females being brutally flogged. In Darfur and the Nuba Mountains, women are the target of “systematic rape and other forms of sexual violence, such as threat of rape, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, sex trafficking, forced marriages, forced prostitution and sexual slavery”.

Female Darfurian students continue to face detention and harassment from officials. In early October, 70 female students were forcibly evicted from their dorms, with 16 held without charge and reportedly subjected to abuses

An Amnesty International report from 2004 documented how rape was used as a weapon of war: The testimonies “all describe a pattern of systematic and unlawful attacks on civilians in North, West and South Darfur states, by a government-sponsored militia [the Janjawid] … and by the government army”.

“Violence against women is occurring in a context of systematic human rights violations against civilians in Darfur. Women have been summarily or indiscriminately killed, bombed, raped, tortured, abducted and forcibly displaced… girls have, like women, been the particular target of rapes, abductions and sexual slavery.”

A decade later, the picture is the same for the people of Darfur. Female Darfurian students continue to face detention and harassment from officials. In early October, 70 female students were forcibly evicted from their dorms, with 16 held without charge and reportedly subjected to abuses, including sexual, and accused of supporting rebel Darfur groups.

How much more sexual violence against Sudanese women will the world tolerate? The UK Foreign Secretary released a statement regarding the alleged attack in Tabit, which is nice but what about the training of – and support for – the Sudanese military, police and security personnel by his own government?

What good is such a statement if officials continue committing their alleged atrocities with the tacit support of others who play the blind, deaf and ignorant cards? The UN isn’t innocent either – accusations of a “cover-up” and “failure to properly report crimes against civilians … in Darfur” is another example of abetting the Sudanese government.

Global attention

Gross violations against civilians will continue to occur unless more is done. Will global attention and campaigning keep Darfur and the Nuba Mountains in the headlines thereby putting pressure on the government? Possibly. But reform of legislature is paramount.

The Bill of Rights promises equality to all, yet the “legal code entrenches gross gender oppression and an environment in which violence against women can be perpetrated with complete impunity, especially by state and military personnel”.

Legally, rape is defined in Article 149 as “sexual intercourse by way of adultery or homosexuality with any person without consent”. This means the law itself “conflates rape with adultery, with serious consequences for victims of sexual violence”. Furthermore, “legal action cannot be taken against members of the military, security services, police, and border guards and immunity may only be lifted by the individual’s superior officer”.

There’s also the cultural drawbacks to contend with as women who do report a rape can be accused of committing adultery (zinna), a crime in the eyes of Sudanese law especially as the burden of proof lies with the victim. The social and cultural stigma of reporting a rape can also break the strongest of wills as evidenced in the case of Safia Ishag. A member of the youth movement Girifna, she says she was gang-raped and beaten by three officers from the notorious National Intelligence & Security Services (NISS) and after posting a video documenting her rape, the harassment she faced forced her to seek refuge in France.

Back in 2007, Bashir laughingly said to NBC News: “It is not in the Sudanese culture or people of Darfur to rape. It doesn’t exist. We don’t have it.”

This, from a head of state still wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes – crimes that include rape.

Debate on whether the alleged attack on the village of Tabit did or didn’t take place will continue but one thing is certain – these violations will also continue as long as the regime is given carte blanche to do so.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/11/world-idle-as-sudan-women-rape-2014111112378477268.html

World idle as Sudan’s women raped, killed and bombed

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Op Ed piece for Al Jazeera English on the abuse of women in Sudan

World idle as Sudan’s women raped, killed and bombed

Achrin Mapio claims she was raped by South Sudanese rebels [AFP]
Darfur no longer grabs the headlines as it falls out of favour as a cause celebre yet the atrocities, especially against women, haven’t stopped.

Last week a report emerged that some 200 women, including 80 minors, were mass raped by a Sudanese Army garrison in the village of Tabit, northern Darfur. Reportedly, the soldiers started their raping spree on Friday evening and went on until 4am the following day.

The special prosecutor for crimes in Darfur denied the mass rape saying they inspected and “verified the inaccuracy of what has been circulating in social media, and some of the local radio stations”. Initially denied and then granted access, the African Union-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) investigated and concluded its “team found no evidence confirming the claims and received no information regarding the purported acts”.

The depressing fact is that it’s not inconceivable for such a crime to have occured. The systematic degradation and violation of Sudanese women has been a trait of the regime’s 25-year-rule. Articles 151, 152, 154 and 156 of the criminal code “enforce restrictions on women and the way they dress and behave in public”. If they commit an act “deemed by an officer of the law to be in violation of these articles, they may face a lashing sentence [or] be forced to pay a fine”.

Systematic rape

The power and authority handed to officers to arbitrarily decide what they deem acceptable attire and to enforce the punishment is clear in a number of graphic videos of females being brutally flogged. In Darfur and the Nuba Mountains, women are the target of “systematic rape and other forms of sexual violence, such as threat of rape, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, sex trafficking, forced marriages, forced prostitution and sexual slavery”.

Female Darfurian students continue to face detention and harassment from officials. In early October, 70 female students were forcibly evicted from their dorms, with 16 held without charge and reportedly subjected to abuses

An Amnesty International report from 2004 documented how rape was used as a weapon of war: The testimonies “all describe a pattern of systematic and unlawful attacks on civilians in North, West and South Darfur states, by a government-sponsored militia [the Janjawid] … and by the government army”.

“Violence against women is occurring in a context of systematic human rights violations against civilians in Darfur. Women have been summarily or indiscriminately killed, bombed, raped, tortured, abducted and forcibly displaced… girls have, like women, been the particular target of rapes, abductions and sexual slavery.”

A decade later, the picture is the same for the people of Darfur. Female Darfurian students continue to face detention and harassment from officials. In early October, 70 female students were forcibly evicted from their dorms, with 16 held without charge and reportedly subjected to abuses, including sexual, and accused of supporting rebel Darfur groups.

How much more sexual violence against Sudanese women will the world tolerate? The UK Foreign Secretary released a statement regarding the alleged attack in Tabit, which is nice but what about the training of – and support for – the Sudanese military, police and security personnel by his own government?

What good is such a statement if officials continue committing their alleged atrocities with the tacit support of others who play the blind, deaf and ignorant cards? The UN isn’t innocent either – accusations of a “cover-up” and “failure to properly report crimes against civilians … in Darfur” is another example of abetting the Sudanese government.

Global attention

Gross violations against civilians will continue to occur unless more is done. Will global attention and campaigning keep Darfur and the Nuba Mountains in the headlines thereby putting pressure on the government? Possibly. But reform of legislature is paramount.

The Bill of Rights promises equality to all, yet the “legal code entrenches gross gender oppression and an environment in which violence against women can be perpetrated with complete impunity, especially by state and military personnel”.

Legally, rape is defined in Article 149 as “sexual intercourse by way of adultery or homosexuality with any person without consent”. This means the law itself “conflates rape with adultery, with serious consequences for victims of sexual violence”. Furthermore, “legal action cannot be taken against members of the military, security services, police, and border guards and immunity may only be lifted by the individual’s superior officer”.

There’s also the cultural drawbacks to contend with as women who do report a rape can be accused of committing adultery (zinna), a crime in the eyes of Sudanese law especially as the burden of proof lies with the victim. The social and cultural stigma of reporting a rape can also break the strongest of wills as evidenced in the case of Safia Ishag. A member of the youth movement Girifna, she says she was gang-raped and beaten by three officers from the notorious National Intelligence & Security Services (NISS) and after posting a video documenting her rape, the harassment she faced forced her to seek refuge in France.

Back in 2007, Bashir laughingly said to NBC News: “It is not in the Sudanese culture or people of Darfur to rape. It doesn’t exist. We don’t have it.”

This, from a head of state still wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes – crimes that include rape.

Debate on whether the alleged attack on the village of Tabit did or didn’t take place will continue but one thing is certain – these violations will also continue as long as the regime is given carte blanche to do so.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/11/world-idle-as-sudan-women-rape-2014111112378477268.html

The Story of the Ritz Lounge, Khartoum.

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I was told** of this case only yesterday and it just struck me how in Sudan we enjoy no rights whatsoever. Zilch. Nada. Zero.

One’s age, gender, social status means nothing. It comes down to one simple fact – you’re either ‘with’ the ruling party and reap the (astronomical) benefits of such an association or you’re on the outer peripheries of whatever inner circle the NCP deems fit to fend for yourself and manoeuvre the myriad of obstacles put into place to ensure you cannot better yourself, cannot succeed, cannot function as a human on any level. So regardless of what your social, financial and educational background is, good luck in trying to make something of yourself.

The Ritz Restaurant/Lounge was a recent welcome addition to the Khartoum scene. Food was reportedly good, service was shit, great decor and location overlooking the Nile on the Garden City side of the river – you’re typical new ‘IN’ place in a city whose residents are starving for spots to escape the crap they face and deal with on a daily basis. 

The owner bought the pricey plot of land and proceeded to set up the lounge. For like a month or so things were going well, word of mouth was doing its usual excellent work of ensuring punters kept going and the tills ringing. All of a sudden during the last week of Ramadan we were told the place shut down, problems with the Mahaleya (the local municipality) regarding the land itself.

Turns out the realtor/agent sold land that wasn’t for sale nor did he have the permission of the owner to sell. Whats more, the real owner was allegedly someone high-up in the ruling party and they were livid. Word is the owner’s the First Lady – (in all actuality she’s the Second Lady but we won’t let such details bother us) who probably got the land for peanuts (assuming she paid in the first place) and was either going to make a killing with it or develop some gaudy, unnecessary, white elephant of a pseudo-government enterprise using public money.

Next thing we hear the Ritz was demolished. Broken into smithereens with nothing left but rubble and broken pieces of concrete. Turns out the Mahaliya gave the owner notice to vacate the premises in the morning, he asked for a ‘grace period’ so he could clear out the furniture and equipment, get his matters into order etc – the usual steps any business owner takes when they’re forcibly shut down especially as its clear he invested quite a bit in setting up the lounge.

By the end of the night there was no more Ritz. Bulldozers were sent in seemingly with the instructions to demolish everything which is precisely what they did. The owner allegedly only had time to save the printer everything else was smashed and broken. This was a hateful, vengeful act ordered by someone high up for the local authorities to act so swiftly as the only time they act in any way and with speed is when they need money from the people or when they have to – dignitary visiting, the tv cameras are coming to shoot something and so on. Warning in the morning, destruction by early evening.

True, end of the day the land was not his but not through his own fault. It’s not like buying plots is a matter of bartering there are legal paperwork and lengthy procedures one goes through before anything can be bought and sold. The Mahaliya should’ve given him to time to vacate but because someone high up was miffed they went in all gung ho like a crime’s been committed. The guys investment is now nothing but rubble. The time, effort and money spent on building & establishing something gone in a matter of minutes. Even if he takes the agent to court (assuming the guy’s still in town) or the mahaliya itself the probability of him getting anything back is minute. It’s just a depressing state of affairs.

If the land belonged to anyone else but a regime insider the matter would’ve and could’ve been dealt with better. But no, the Untouchables were hit and for that there’s a very high price to pay.

In Sudan, the whole populace is adversely hit by the government. Your ethnicity, your gender, your religious faith, your business decisions and choices, your political affiliation, your line of work and business, your attire even make you a target. for anything and everything. The only bracket immune to such violations are those “with them”. George W. Bush said it best: you’re either with us or against us. 10294247_666812690060297_7055158338927882473_n 10383578_666813200060246_8062341218682362124_n 10428571_666812733393626_667016749250649684_n 10422560_666812820060284_4452695104128795473_n

** What I’ve written on this case is based on what I was told, if there’s incorrect or missing info my apologies.

all the pictures are from the Ritz page on Facebook

fruits of the earth – Khartoum’s Souq el Markazi

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Went to one of Khartoum’s fruit and veg markets, سوق المركزي Central Market, this morning with my mum. I sometimes feel and act as a tourist and today I kinda was as I’ve never been to this particular one. Khartoum is renowned for its markets: Saad Gishra which is home to beauty products, fabrics and clothes; Souq Omdurman where you can pick up local artisans work, artefacts, carved ebony pieces, beaded jewellery, carpets, silver items, food items etc and spices; and el Souq el Shaabi (which literally means popular but can also be used to mean something is vulgar) is where you can pick locally made string beds (3angareb عنقريب) and chairs (bambar بمبر) , upholstery and haberdashery, household items… whatever one is looking for, name it and most probably you’ll find it in any of the souqs dotted around the city.

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This is Nabil, one of many young boys operating a wheelbarrow where you place your purchases and continue shopping. He’s beautiful and with the biggest smile ever though he was striking a pose here…

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me dad’s favourite fruit – we were under strict instructions not to come home without his babies ie bananas

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grapefruit, we love them. nothing better than a cold glass of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice when its a scorching outside. along with sweetened lime and hibiscus juices they’re the number one choice for most.

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the men in the background are separating the lemons (aka limes) & more grapefruit

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one of the numerous mango varieties on sale…

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oranges, oranges and more oranges

For the fruit and veg, all the produce is local with some imported items and generally the prices are much lower than in most high street grocery shops & super markets; plus you can ‘negotiate’ the price down and you buy in bulk which you later divide amongst yourself, sister, aunt etc

The mango varieties alone were confusing, so many and as for the grapefruit its one of our best kept secrets – succulent pink and very sweet.

Ramadan Kareem to y’all

Alsarah & The Nubatones: The Sudanese singer carving out a slice of East Africa in Brooklyn

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Another Sudanese female making waves in a very hard industry to crack is Al Sarah, of Alsarah and the Nubatones, a musical group that reverts back to its Nubian roots to create sounds that’s familiar, funky and just pure nostalgia with a twist of modern tastes. She also performs with the musical collective The Nile Project, an amalgamation of artists from all the African countries that call the River Nile ‘home’. Check them out as well, some great sounds coming out of that project. 

She did a fashion shoot for Brown Book magazine, showcasing her eclectic funky style.

The Guardian newspaper did a piece on her last year, as did Spin magazine (twice actually), and while you’re at it check them out on Soundcloud.

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‘Alsarah and her band, The Nubatones, came together out of a collective love for the hazy sounds of 1960s and 1970s Nubian music – the traditional sounds of her native Sudan. Mixing the soaring vocals and pentatonic arrangements of the genre with Arabic influences, the band have crafted a sound they call ‘East African retro-pop.’

Alsarah often finds her clothes while travelling in East Africa, combing through the Maasai Mara street markets of Nairobi for jewellery and trawling Zanzibar for fabric and tailors to create one-off garments. Styled by her friend Zola Zakiya, Brownbook spent a day with Alsarah in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights for our latest fashion shoot.’Image

 

Finding Filigree

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time for the good Sudanese stuff. 

Maya Antoun is a St. Martin’s school of design educated jewellery maker. Currently residing in the UK, her aim is to continue the long tradition of filigree jewellery making. Gorgeous stuff. I want every piece.

Lovely interview with her in Brown Book magazine.

“Sudanese jewelry designer Maya Antoun chooses filigree as her craft in an effort to keep the tradition alive in her homeland

Every day, Sudanese craftsmen emerge from their workshops and set up their market stalls in the heat of the African sun. The traditional jewellers create amazingly intricate, delicate pieces with nimble hands – each as individual as the last. However, the future of the craftsmen’s fine-spun works is in jeopardy and this is something that jeweler Maya Antoun aims to correct.

Born and raised in Khartoum, Antoun attended Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London and has since made a home in the south of England with her British husband. The designer works with Sudanese craftsmen to bring their ethereal filigree accessories to the rest of the world.

‘I concentrate on filigree because it’s a difficult craft to accomplish and it’s a work-intensive technique – basically not a lot of people are doing it any more. One of the main reasons I started working with the craftsmen in Africa is that it’s a technique that’s dying out; you don’t really see it [filigree] a lot in contemporary jewellery,’ tells us.

Filigree is a time-consuming technique that often takes years to master. The pieces form their shape when hairline strips of twisted silver and gold thread are manipulated and shaped into varying patterns. The meticulous, time-consuming metalwork is occasionally teamed up with delicate beading that adds both variation and detail.

Antoun, who champions this technique in her own jewellery, relies heavily on the use of traditional African shapes to grace her designs, which while delicate are also striking. Fan shaped pieces sit in juxtaposition, creating splayed effects. Antoun’s pieces aim to bring traditional techniques into the modern age, thus bringing their appeal to a wider audience.

‘The pieces I make use very traditional techniques but are more contemporary so that people become interested. Usually, the craftsmen make very traditional pieces which are quite boring and repetitive; the idea was to use a very traditional technique but make something very modern, very contemporary,’ she says.

In order to master the difficult skills, Antoun teamed up with craftsmen from her homeland. She learned from them and is now trying to repay the favour by opening up more collaborative efforts between the African craftsmen and global designers. As well as trying to develop new markets in Africa, she also brings the work to Western markets.

With family still living in Sudan and her upbringing in the country, Antoun says her homeland has definitely influenced her designs.

‘A lot of people hear a lot of bad things about Sudan – it’s one of those countries that get a lot of bad press; the same as the Congo.’ Antoun, who initially started her career training to be a fashion designer, but later found her niche in jewellery, also spent a year living in the Congo working with local craftsmen to create and exhibit her work.

While the war in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo continues, the rest of the country goes about their daily business, she explains. ‘They are not affected by what goes on around them.’ This was also the case during her childhood in Khartoum, which she describes as ‘idyllic’ and very much separate from the conflict in the rest of Sudan.

‘There’s war in eastern Congo, but in Kinshasa they’re just going to their jobs, going to school, getting on with it and are quite unaffected by what’s happening in the rest of the country,’ she explains. ‘That was what it was like for us.’

‘I decided while I was there I wanted to learn a traditional craft, so I hooked up with a craftsman in the market and asked to come to his stall every day for a few hours and learn – he was very happy to teach me. I got a hands-on experience of what was going on, what they were doing and how they were marketing their products. That’s when I realised something had to be done because they all had incredible skills, but the craft was dying out,’ she says. Learning the technique originally stemmed from a project she was undertaking for her Master’s Degree, she explains, but then it turned into something of a passion.

It was also quite a novelty for a woman to be learning the filigree technique at the markets of Kinshasa as the metal-working industry in Africa is male-dominated; which includes the wire work featured in Antoun’s filigree jewellery.

However, the designer has been using the technique now for some years now and has made friends in the market, ‘people are very friendly and protective of me now.’

It works well for the designer to be based between her home country and her adoptive country despite the fact she has to overcome some logistical problems.

‘It’s a bit of a struggle because I’m dealing with a lot of different aspects that constitute the craft of the trade; Sudan is a country with a lot of political problems at the moment,’ she says. ‘I’m not only dealing with trying to make jewellery, it’s a bigger struggle than that.’

She has also found opportunities to collaborate with fellow Sudanese designers in London. After meeting Omer Asim through mutual friends, Antoun has fused her jewellery designs with Asim’s fashion. Together the designers create pieces that place a contemporary twist on a traditional and more ethnic aesthetic.

Having grown up in the same country, Antoun says, they create an ideal sounding board for each other and often run new designs by one another before they go public.

‘We collaborate here together in London and so I do tend to have input in what he’s doing and we do work on the same projects but not necessarily designing – more to support each other,’ she explains. ‘It just so happens that our sensibilities are similar; we work very well together.’

Antoun’s creations were coupled with Asim’s pieces for the On/Off Event in London, 2010. On/Off is a platform that aims to promote up-and-coming fashion designers and creatives through a multimedia format that takes place twice a year at London and Paris fashion weeks.

Currently working on a new collection she is hoping to collaborate with other artists and introduce new materials. Selling her pieces online and at various outlets, the designer hopes the Western world will learn to love and appreciate the filigree skills from Africa so that the craftsmen at home will be continue to practice their trade.”ImageImage

What We’re Getting Wrong About the Sudan’s Infamous Apostasy Case

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my latest piece on Meriam Yehia’s apostasy case for Policy Mic

 

Once again it seems Islam is in the middle of another contentious matter. A Christian mother of two, found guilty of apostasy, was sentenced to death in a Muslim country.

At least that’s the narrative you might believe if you’ve been piecing together the tragic story of Meriam Yahya Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman facing possible death after being accused of apostasy. Her case has incited a slew of the tweets featuring the #SaveMeriam hash tag, and online petitions that have garnerned hundreds of thousands of signatures.

But this is not a story about religion or apostasy. This is a story about about Sudan’s particular brand of corruption.

Of course, the charges faced by Ibrahim are no light matter. But there’s a deeper issue at play here. The Sudanese regime, led by Omar Al-Bashir, is known for its underhanded tactics and dirty dealings. In April, right before Ibrahim’s case came to light, the office of Khartoum’s governor was facing accusations of widespread corruption. Perhaps that is no coincidence.

Leading a disgruntled nation that has seen popular protests in recent years, Bashir’s regime is no stranger to diverting attention from the country’s long list of troubles — unemployment, rising costs of living and the depreciation of the Sudanese pound, to name a few — by fixating on politics.

In January, for example, amid widespread reports of internal party splits, Bashir announcedreconciliation talks with the opposition, of which the Umma Party, one of the largest political parties in the country, was a part. In early May, the leader of the Umma Party, El-Saddiq El-Mahdi, was arrested on charges of “defamation” after he accused paramilitary forces, the Rapid Support Forces, of abuses including rape and murder in the conflict-ridden Darfur state. The National Dialogue initiative is now left in tatters. Right now, all eyes are on Ibrahim’s case.

Ibrahim’s case has, most certainly, sparked a discussion within Sudan. As any political strategist will tell you, any story that combines “defining values” and religion will lead to a polarizing national debate.

And what dominates the national conversation in Sudan has a thing or two do with the government: After all, Bashir’s regime keeps the media on a short leash. He goes to great lengths to muzzle any independent publications, including confiscating issues of newspapers from printing presses, a tactic that uses economic pressure to silence dissent.

While the motives behind pursuing Ibrahim’s case are unclear, there are lessons to draw from the victim of the country’s last death verdict for apostasy in 1985, which was politically motivated.

Mahmoud Mohammed Taha, a religious Sufi thinker and leader of the now-disbanded Republican Brotherhood party, was hanged for “sedition and apostasy” for vocally opposing the imposition of Sharia law in Sudan, a change for which the country’s president at the time, Jaafar al-Nimeiri, strongly advocated.

Unlike Taha, Ibrahim is not a political threat to the government. She is, however, political fodder. Just as Taha’s death was Nimeri’s way of flexing his political muscles, Ibrahim’s case could very well be nothing more than a tactic to further promote the ruling National Congress Party’s (NCP) political ideology and agenda, which he achieved through the “Islamization” of society.

It’s a debate from which the ruling party stands to gain politically, whether that involves using it to flex a muscle over the country’s more left-leaning and secular opponents, including the country’s popular youth movement, or creating a debate designed to pit Sudan’s religious conservatives against more secular segments of society. Either of these scenarios are carefully constructed attempts to deflect attention away from the ruling party’s catalogue of failures and troubles.

A report did surface saying that Ibrahim was to be freed, after a presidential pardon. ButSUNA, the state-run news agency, said that overturning a verdict can only be done by the court, and that was dependent on the outcome of the appeal.

If the aim of this case is an elaborate game of political chess for Bashir’s government in order to further their own agenda, it’s the topic of the year in Sudan, and Ibrahim is the sacrificial pawn. All other matters — the failing economy, the rising inflation, the continuing bombings of civilians in the Nuba Mountains, the spiralling crises in Darfur, the student protests, etc. — have taken the back seat as many continue to discuss and dissect the case that undoubtedly will be dragged out for a while, or until another “issue” pops up and dominates.