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Articles and ViewsThe role of diaspora in revolution BY Amal Hassan Fadlalla

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The role of diaspora in revolution BY Amal Hassan Fadlalla

08-13-2019, 04:33 AM
Amal Hassan Fadlalla
<aAmal Hassan Fadlalla
Registered: 03-11-2014
Total Posts: 3






The role of diaspora in revolution BY Amal Hassan Fadlalla

    05:33 AM August, 12 2019

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    Sudanese living abroad are key to the uprising: raising awareness and
    support for political and social transformation back home.
    The uprising thattoppled Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir on April 11 is unique
    in thatitis both a national and transnational movement. In previous Sudanese
    revolutions,the capital Khartoum was the epicenter of protests. This time,
    however,the protests emerged from all cities,towns, and rural areas in the Sudan.
    Moreover, many Sudanese living abroad are playing important roles in supporting
    this revolution and making the voices of protesters heard globally. No longer only
    an economic force sending remittances back home,the diaspora community is a
    powerful social and political asset with which Sudan’s rulers have to reckon.
    As an immigrant myself and a professor of anthropology, I have studied the
    connections thatimmigrants in general make between their new home countries
    and their former ones. The notions thatimmigrants constitute a brain drain from
    their countries of origin, and burden their new host countries can easily be
    debunked. With vastincreases in global connections and fast routes that enable
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    easy monetary and ideologicaltransfers, immigrants have been playing important
    roles in their home countries from afar. The World Bank consider the remittances
    immigrants send to their countries of origin an important contribution to
    development eorts. Butthe various political, moral and social contributions made
    by diaspora Sudanese are priceless.
    Rising anti-immigration sentiments in the United States and elsewhere are built on
    nativist conceptions entirely innocent of any knowledge of why immigrants are here
    in the first place. Nativists failto recognize how immigrants struggle to make both
    host and original countries better places. If we take the case ofthe Sudan as an
    example, we first need to understand that mostimmigrants’ choices to leave their
    home countries were not at all easy. Many Sudanese were forced to leave because of
    the political instability in the country. Disagreements among dierent political
    elites led to situations of wars and conflicts, as we have seen in the case of South
    Sudan and Darfur. This political instability created new waves of Sudanese
    immigration to many parts ofthe world, including to the US.
    In myriad host countries, Sudanese have created unique communities called jalias.
    Immigrants in general often find solace in these small communities, especially
    during times of rising xenophobia and islamophobia. In most cases,these diaspora
    communities also play important roles in the economic and political
    transformations in their countries of origin.
    Sudanese diaspora activism is not new. Such communities mobilized around the
    civil war in South Sudan before it became an independent nation-state in 2011.
    They also raised awareness aboutthe Darfur conflictin 2005 on university
    campuses and among the public in the US and elsewhere. They mobilized many
    human rights and civil society organizations and engaged various celebrities,
    politicians, and other political representatives to pressure the al-Bashir
    governmentto haltits military oensive and reach a series of peace agreements.
    12/08/2019 The role of diaspora in revolution
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    While previous activism was framed around divisive identity politics, ethnic and
    religious belonging,the current revolution confirms that dealing with questions of
    equal citizenship rights in the Sudan need not splitthe nation further along gender,
    ethnic, and racial lines. These important questions of equal citizenship rights can
    only be achieved through a peaceful democratic transformation and power-sharing.
    Such a transformation must also engage armed movements still fighting in Darfur,
    Blue Nile, and the Nuba mountains to form a new vision of diversity and inclusion
    in a united Sudan.
    Since the beginning ofthe current revolution in December 2018, protesters in the
    Sudan and their allies in the diaspora have consistently expressed this vision of
    national unity. Diaspora Sudanese have been atthe forefront of raising awareness
    about protesters’ demands in the US and elsewhere. In February this year, for
    example, Washington, DC witnessed unprecedented demonstrations by SudaneseAmericans, who came in large numbers from dierent states to make their voices
    heard and to supporttheir counterparts in the Sudan. After the violent crackdown
    on protesters’ sit-in in front ofthe military headquarters in Khartoum in early June,
    diaspora Sudanese again organized protests in many cities in solidarity with
    activists protesting at home.
    Solidarity cuts across the diaspora and draws people from all sectors and
    professions to the work of global citizenship. Physicians, in particular, have played
    important roles—both in and outside the Sudan. Dr. Seif Saeed-Elasad, a dual
    citizen of Sudan and the US, is a long-time diaspora activist and one ofthe
    leaders ofthe Sudanese American Medical Association (SAMA) established by
    diaspora physicians in 2008. SAMA is a humanitarian NGO, whose goal is to share
    medical knowledge with Sudanese doctors. In an interview in late June 2019, Dr.
    Saeed-Elasad told me:
    We donate money to help medical eorts in the Sudan… Our
    meetings bring doctors from dierent states within the USA and
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    sometimes from Europe.We give medical advice about cases in
    Sudan where specialists may not be available…We are also
    involved in treating victims of rape in Sudan and dealing with the
    psychological trauma.
    More recently,the Sudanese Physician Association became one ofthe strongest
    forces under the umbrella ofthe Sudanese Professional Association (SPA), which is
    now supported by many branches in the diaspora. When the current revolution
    began, doctors in the US established the Sudanese-American Physician Association
    (SAPA), which is also helping on medical fronts in the Sudan.
    Diaspora activism has transformed the burden of being away from home into a gift
    of giving, alliance, and moral supportfrom afar. The experiences of Sudanese in the
    United States, similar to the experience of many refugees and immigrants, help us
    to understand that giving back to both countries is a priority for many
































                  

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