T: We already know you from the Oranienplatz resistance but can you introduce yourself a bit?
Adam Bahar. I am coming from Sudan. I’m born in Sudan but I’m in
Germany since 2012. Politically active in Sudan since 2002. I was in
university fighting for the right of the people of Sudan and against the
dictatorship. Also especially because I am coming and I was born in
Darfur, where there is war since 2003.
why my main motivation was to start something against the government.
Also when I was in this time in university and I was part of a group of
Sudanese students organizing themselves. We were organizing ourselves
for democracy and people of Darfur.
out of that is that we got in trouble with the government and I had to
leave Sudan. I came to Europe in 2008 and I was in different countries
of Europe. I lived in Greece, Italy, France for 2 years and in 2012 I
came to Germany.
Our first question is what is the actual situation in Sudan? There was
an agreement between Forces of Freedom and Change and the military. And
some organizations like Sudan Communist Party told we are getting out
from this agreement. Were there other groups inside Forces of Freedom
and Change that got out from the agreement?
Actual situation in Sudan right now: last week (17th of July, 2019),
they signed on the Sudanese constitution transition process. They signed
the first letter and it will be completed on 17th of August 2019.
the first form of the new cabinet there will be 6 people from the
opposition parties and 5 people from the military. They will form the
cabinet together and power will be hold first 18 months by military and
other 18 months by civilian government. New government is supposed to
initiate after the 3 years of transition.
it is just the first part of the whole constitution in Sudan. Second
part, there will be a president, there will be a parliament and 67
percent of the parliament will be from the opposition parties which the
people are inside and leading the revolution. 33 percent of the
parliament will be from the people who were not really taking
participation in the revolution but they were also against government
and they never worked with the old government of Omar al-Bashir. And the
third part of the constitution all the people like youth and women will
be the part of parliament.
in the future will have a parliamentarian government and ministries
will have the real power. It will not be like before with only the
president having the power. Like how we are having in Germany for
example. There is president but president doesn’t have so much power. In
Germany there is chancellor – in Sudan we will have prime minister.
Also there will be opposition parties.
problem between the Sudanese Communist Party and the other parties is
they don’t want to be a part of the government of the transition period.
5 people from army and 6 people from civilians. Because these 5 people
from the army that will take part in, are accused to committing crimes
against the people who were protesting in the streets. So Communist
Party will not participate in this. But the communist party will be part
of the future parliament, because there won’t be any army in the
parliament. At the same time they will continue to take part in local
politics. They will not just participate in the first level of
government where the army that are being accused.
has been all the time, since 1965, the time when it gained independence
from Great Britain, governed by the army. It means army is governing
Sudan more than 60 years now. And to take them out completely needs some
The revolutionaries around the world are curious about how this
revolution was being organized? In the neighborhoods – what were the people talking and discussing?
The revolution started in December 2018 and it started not because
changing of the political situation but started because of the price of
bread, which increased 3 times. It started in a marginalized area of
Sudan called Atbara where just students of a school went out to the
street and demanded to get a bread. Somehow police and security service
started reacting violently against the people and killed many students.
After that, other people joined this protests of the kids. And because
of that, they were really angry and burned the building of the party of
Omar al-Bashir, the National Congress Party. The next day people from
different cities also went into solidarity with Atbara. Thats how the
that, we have to also link it to the history. This is not the first
revolution in Sudan. But there were two revolutions, 1946 and 1958. And
all the time who were pushing for the revolution are the worker unions.
When Omar al-Bashir came to power, first thing he did is to crack down
all the worker unions. The idea behind it was that the worker unions
cannot take any position to fight the government. The Sudanese
Professionals Association (SPA) started in 2012 to create an autonomous
worker union and they first started with lawyers and doctors. Since
2012, they were just fighting for the worker rights like minimum wage
etc. By this way they organized many members inside.
had one demonstration register right of the workers and rise of the
minimum wage. 2 days before what happened in Atbara. When they see
what’s happening in Atbara they took the lead. And they changed the
demand of the demonstration. Not only for the minimum wage, they called
all the citizens to join them and putting down the regime of Omer
is how SPA took the lead. It was also an autonomous structure where no
one knows who they are. But somehow they have been existing since 2012.
They called in Facebook all citizens of Sudan to participate and
organize themselves. At the same time there were local organizations
working in districts called “Sudanese Resistance Committees”. It was
created by people seeing themselves not a part of SPA but rather like “I
need to participate in revolution”. And they made small groups
consisting of 4-5 people. Those people know each other very well. By
this way, 15-20 groups are created in every district. And no one knows
who is inside of other groups. And they were going to demonstrations
the same time, more people were joining also autonomously structured
SPA and starting politically to have this demand. Then after 1 months of
beginning, on 1st of January 2019, SPA made a call for a paper called
Freedom and Change. In this paper there were suggestions how Sudan
should be governed in the future. They said we need a democratic Sudan,
this government has to go without any discussion. We don’t want Omer
al-Bashir, we don’t want his government anymore. We need Sudan to be
democratic country where people feel participating in politics,
autonomously deciding for themselves.
called all opposition parties if they agree on this paper to sign. For
example the Sudanese Communist Party, the Sudanese Umma Party, the
Sudanese Union Party signed it. And were part of the coalition. Also
different political groups and civil society groups signed this paper.
were 3 different groups who were working in revolution. One group SPA,
another group local committees doing practical work mobilizing people to
streets, tell them about the demonstrations. SPA was calling for the
demo and organizing it.
made this revolution successful is the local structure. You know,
structure is built in this way but no one knows who is inside the
structure. It was local in every place and it still exists until now. In
this period of transition time of 3 years nothing will stop their
mobilization and work. Every day they are doing different kinds of
activism. They go to the streets, visiting the local people in the
neighborhoods, visiting and supporting the people whose relatives or
friends are killed. This is the structure that remained until now. This
kind of structure is really helping because people will not rely on
political parties still they will have their own structure in a local
way. To guard the revolution and don’t let dictatorship to come again.
example, in the last two days, one political party opened new office in
Sudan and local people directly went there and asked where they took
the money from to open this office. Because it was a nice place, in the
middle of the country. Maybe it was funded by corruption and we don’t
want corruption anymore in Sudan.
A woman in the revolution said: “Not the bullets but the silence is
killing us.” How the people came to that point to sacrifice their life,
how they came to this point? We know also that women took an important
part in the revolution.
This has to do how much women were under repression from this regime.
Because this regime of Omar al-Bashir is since 30 years like Muslim
Brotherhood regime. Holding power in Sudan in the name of Islam, Sharia
law. Unfortunately, when there is Sharia law, first things they do is to
control woman. Women are not allowed to sit in public spaces, women are
not allowed to wear trousers or other clothes, or in an area they
cannot do this job because men are there. There were some universities
just for women or just for men. These were happening for a long time
since beginning of this government.
in 2002 there was a law called Public Order Law with laws inside that
were clearly against women. Since 2002-2003, women started to fight
against this law and organized themselves. This also made women more
experienced and have their autonomous structure. When this revolution
started, women were already ready. That’s why when we see women on the
streets it’s something normal.
in the new constitution paper that they signed, government has to
support the rights of women. For example, in the parliament women will
have a 40% quota.
still see it’s not enough, because we need to also change the old
structure of the opposition parties. Because in many parties women are
not really presented. In the negotiation group there is just one or two
women, the rest is men. Because of opposition parties who were not
participating political work since 30 years in Sudan. They had to only
work underground and that made it for women not so easy to participate.
By writing this in constitution and pushing the political parties to
change their structures, it will be possible for women to participate
equally in Sudan.
People participating in the revolution didn’t really use violent
methods. The reason was because they couldn’t obtain guns or was it a
decision from the beginning?
I think you have to look to the history of Sudan. In Sudan, there has
been war between North and South for 20 years. And the result of it is
that South Sudan was born into new country in 2010. There is war in
Darfur since 2003, there is war in Nuba Mountain and Blue Nile since
2011. And result of that more than 2 million people got killed, millions
of people had to flee. Since 20 years people are getting killed and
fleeing because of that reason.
had this idea in their mind that we can not change this dictator with
weapon anymore. Because also Darfur and in Nuba Mountain different
groups are fighting against the government with weapons since 2003 and
2011. But they haven’t achieved anything. Because government has always
more weapons. And people decided that the only method we can use is a
peaceful revolution. For this, we are not going to use any violence
against anyone. Because, if we use violence we are not stronger enough
than the government. The government has more power to use violence and
it gets supported by other countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, even
Egypt. All these countries also don’t want Sudan to become a democracy.
civil disobedience has more success than using violence. That is what
people learned from the history of Sudan. Also learned from the outside,
for example what is happening in Syria. Using weapon against weapon
collapses the country, but not bringing the people to power. That’s why
we say all the time in Sudan, revolution is also about learning, about
learning internationally from each other.
same things happening in Rabaa al-Adawiya revolution in Egypt. All
dictatorships learn from one book, but the interesting thing is that
people doing the revolution they learn better than dictatorships. In
Sudan, the army evicted them with violence and the army had the idea of
people will be afraid, they won’t go to the street anymore and that we
can hold the power. People saw it already in Egypt and they didn’t
accept this. After the big massacre, people went to the streets more and
more. The last demo was 30th of the July and in every city there were
not less than 2-3 million people.
Sudan, violence is not something new for us, we have had it since 30
years. This government is killing people since 20 years but people don’t
talk about it. All other powers, especially Europe, because of
controlling refugees don’t talk about it because of their own interests.
you see how many people died in the revolution since 8 months maybe we
can say 500-600 people. But now, revolution succeeded to reach
something. But if people had used violence, maybe millions of people
would have died and there wouldn’t have been any success.
If there weren’tany street actions, would the soldiers do a coup
against the Omar al-Bashir regime? Is there is a big difference between
today’s military and the Bashir’s regime?
First, if people did not go to the streets, they would not do anything.
They are under pressure, because people are on the streets everyday.
And that’s why people made the sit-in in front of the army building.
This has to do for a long time with the history of Sudan, old
revolutions have happened here before. People are going to streets and
the army stayed on the side of the people and supported people and take
the dictators out. This was happening two times in Sudan already.
sure they would not do it, because for 30 years they didn’t do it.
Because of the pressure by people they are doing. Now the difference is:
people take their right on their hand. People are going to streets
everyday, everywhere in Sudan opposition parties are making events,
discussions and they don’t need to register. Even, it is better than
what is going on in Europe. In Europe you have to call the police and
ask for demonstration. In Sudan people are going to demo without telling
to police. People took their right in their hand.
in the constitution it will be written that people have the right to
demonstrate. Police will not have the right stop people without any
reason. Before, the Security service in Sudan had the right to do
everything. They could arrest you, they could kill you. They were taking
so much power from the president. But from now on it will be just an
institution to collect information and give to police under the law.
With the Arab Spring there were revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. But
the revolutions were stolen by the different powers inside the states or
by the international powers. Do the people who are doing the revolution
in Sudan have a prevention to stop this? Or can also Sudan revolution
A: I don’t think so.
Because, if you look at the constitution now, it will be built in a way
that the old regime will not exist anymore. I think the problem with
the all other revolutions in different Arabic countries is that they
change the president but they don’t change the constitution. That means,
people who are working for dictators still have the power and can bring
us new dictators. People in Sudan learned from it. They say they
need to change the whole constitution. That’s why there will be a new
parliament where only people who were doing the revolution will be
only way for the army or a dictator to come back again is to make a
coup again. But also people will not accept this, people will go to
streets again. Structures are not in the hands of the army anymore.
in Egypt people did the revolution they just took out the only Husnu
Mubarak, but the regime stayed. Exactly this is what’s happening also
now in Algeria. The President of Algeria is away, but the whole
constitution is there and the whole government is there.
Inside Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) there were different groups
like the Sudanese Communist Party, but also there were anti-capitalist
Muslims with the tradition of Mahmoud Mohammed Taha. What kind of groups
is there in FFC and what is their ratios as power?
There are really left, anti-capitalist groups like Communist Party or
Republican Party (anti-capitalist Muslims, Mahmoud Mohammed Taha). There
are also different communist groups like Movement of Right (Harakat
Haqq). They are also part of this coalition. Then, the other side, you
see also traditional parties like the Union Party and the Umma Party.
In the constitution any kind of discrimination like race, religion, gender won’t be accepted.
all agree on this and reached this point. Now, in Sudan, the left
ideology is more accepted in society, because Omar al-Bashir government
did everything in the name of Islam and Sharia for 30 years. That’s why,
in the future, when people go to the streets, the first things they
will demand that religion shouldn’t be a part of politics anymore.
Religion has to stay in mosques and churches. There has to be a clear
we shouldn’t forget that Sudan is an African country where the
structure is not really strong. There is big movements that don’t want
capitalism anymore, at the same time there is a big group of people
thinking we need to develop the country, we need to have nice buildings,
like thinking in a capitalist way. The next step is to not allow
capitalism get power in Sudan. This is our next fight.
example, I’m part of different groups doing politics since 2002, now
also in Germany since 2012. But we are kind of a capitalist group,
thinking Sudan has to be like Europe, like Germany. An important part of
us saying no to it. We say now, until revolution maybe we are friends,
but after the revolution we will be enemies. We will fight against
capitalism, because we see what capitalism have done to the people. We
don’t want capitalism to be strong in Sudan.
People who are on the streets leading and joining the revolution, what
are the people’s professions? Were they workers, villagers or
unemployed? What are their ages, what are their classes?
In the beginning it was generally young people who were in the street.
First 3-4 months so many young people were on the streets, especially
students and workers. I can put inside the workers from the doctors till
the unemployed. Also, unemployed people organized themselves and making
their own block. Also women did their own block.
the interesting thing is that the whole society participated in it. Who
was not going to streets tried to organize safe places for the people
when they got attacked by the police and army. When there was a demo
going on and a attack happened by police, old people stayed in front of
their doors, opened their door and hid young people.
who are out of Sudan, for example in Europe, were preparing themselves
from the beginning, spread the information, did info events, organized
money, did demonstrations, talked about the involvement of imperialist
countries and how they don’t want revolution to be successful.
T: How was the interest to the Sudan revolution from the left wing or opposition movements in Europe?
Unfortunately, there was not such a big interest in it. For example, in
Berlin, we were fighting hard to just bring the voice of revolution to
different groups, even to the streets. We were not really supported by
any group. After 3-4 months, when the revolution was getting violent by
the army, different left parties tried to lighten the issue but it was
not really what were hoping for.
shouldn’t also forget that Europe has a big interest in not changing
Sudan, because the Bashir regime was working for Europe since 2014, for
example in Khartum Process, a deal between Europe and African countries
to stop African refugees to come to Europe. For that deal, the Sudanese
old government got so much money, got training from European countries
to control the borders.
was writing everyday press releases about the situation in Sudan and
was sending them to all parties from SPD to the Left Party (Die Linke)
and I didn’t get any answer from them. After 2 months we could get an
answer from Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung to make an info event about Sudan.
months before, when revolution was almost successful, we had a talk
with one Left Party member from Germany Bundestag. We worked together
and she held a Bundestag sitting where she asked about Sudan revolution
and the money Germany gave to the Sudanese old government. But not more.
made a sit-in in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany
and we went inside the ministry and handed over our demands. We had also
a demo in front of EU and we made a call of Sudanese people living in
Europe. There, we also gave our demands to stop this deal with Sudan.
Our work succeeded to put pressure in government of EU. EU stopped to
give money for training the police of Sudan.
new government will come and they will try to talk again about the
deal. This is also our next step to work in Germany as Sudanese
community here. Because we are sure to face deportations in Germany or
in Europe. Because they will say now, Sudan is democracy then you have
to go. They will try to activate the Khartum process.
there is no international solidarity from left groups or even from left
parties. From my side, I wouldn’t focus on leftist parties – I would
focus on leftist groups. But leftist groups, they are not interested.
Maybe it has to do with the fact that Sudan is far away. They never
called for demo revolution in Sudan until now. And I was really thinking
like: Is this about racism? This has because African people are not
worth it? Are they not equal in the mind of leftists? They are really
far away and cannot have any contact with African revolution?
me, what’s happening in Sudan now, is really politically close to the
leftist scene. A revolution hold by people, starting with autonomous
structure, where people succeeded to kick out the dictator, where women
take the lead. There was not really an interest in these issues. I’m
questioning myself from time to time to understand the reason. And I
couldn’t see a reason until now. But maybe we have to wait for the
activists of the leftist scene to tell us why they don’t have any
interest in the revolution of Sudan.