Sudanese youth defy old line in Khartoum



Sudan has been something of a pioneer of revolutions. Since independence from Britain in 1956, the Sudanese have twice risen up: against the military government of General Ibrahim Abboud in 1964, and again in the face of the dictatorship of Gaafar Nimeiry in 1985.

The current protests - which young people in Sudan are already calling the "Third Sudanese Spring" - were started by people frustrated at the government's recent policies, especially its austerity measures. The protests have since escalated into something much more.

As in past uprisings, demonstrations at the University of Khartoum proved to be the precursor to a broader student movement spanning universities across Sudan.

Students have adopted slogans calling for the overthrow of the regime through civil disobedience, and on June 16 were violently confronted by police and riot forces for the first time. That increased tensions at subsequent demonstrations.

In the following days, police broke into the boarding houses of female students and arrested some for inflammatory acts such as using Facebook and Twitter. This provided a spark for more unrest in many universities.

The tone of the protests has also changed. Anti-government rhetoric has gradually escalated, until the Friday two weeks ago was proclaimed "Ketaha Friday" - "ketaha" being a Sudanese term meaning sandstorm. The day lived up to its name: it was a perfect storm pitting protesters against police in a number of neighbourhoods in Khartoum. Around the country, thousands of students took to the streets. By some accounts, half of the student population of Omdurman, the country's commercial capital, demonstrated in the streets.

But the biggest demonstrations were yet to come. A close ally of President Omar Al Bashir and a member of the ruling National Congress Party, Nafi Ali Nafi, warned protesters: "If anyone tries to hit the streets and remove the regime, the day they lick their elbows is the day they will topple the regime."

The protesters considered the statement (which alludes to a Sudanese expression of what is impossible) provocative and dubbed the next Friday "jomaa lahs al kouo", the Friday of elbow licking. Protests that day in the capital were forceful, and police attacked protesters with tear gas.

It is astonishing that the Sudanese media has almost completely ignored these movements. When media outlets do speak about them, they call them "gang sabotage" or use a phrase attributed to Mr Al Bashir: "shuzaz al afag", or vagabonds.

This attitude has pushed young people towards new media, especially Facebook and YouTube. Given that new media has demonstrated its usefulness in other Arab spring protests, it is foolish to underestimate the medium. Sudanese officials apparently share the sentiments of Habib El Adly, Hosni Mubarak's last interior minister, who is said to have told Mr Mubarak: "These are some young children, Mr President, and I swear I will get rid of them."

These social networking sites have become a breath of fresh air, an engine of change and a place to organise. Despite the information blackout attempted by Mr Al Bashir's government, it is clear that young Sudanese have finally decided to join their counterparts in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria in making a new reality and leading a new Middle East.

* Omer Mahmoud Salih and Mohamed Osman Makki. Mr Salih is a documentary filmmaker based in Khartoum.

'Morbius'

Director: Daniel Espinosa

Stars: Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona

Rating: 2/5

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home. 

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League, last-16, second leg (first-leg scores in brackets):

PSG (2) v Manchester United (0)

Midnight (Thursday), BeIN Sports

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

About Takalam

Date started: early 2020

Founders: Khawla Hammad and Inas Abu Shashieh

Based: Abu Dhabi

Sector: HealthTech and wellness

Number of staff: 4

Funding to date: Bootstrapped

Match info

Uefa Champions League Group C

Liverpool v Napoli, midnight

SPECS

Toyota land Cruiser 2020 5.7L VXR

Engine: 5.7-litre V8

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 362hp

Torque: 530Nm

Price: Dh329,000 (base model 4.0L EXR Dh215,900)

SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre 4-cylinder
Power: 101hp
Torque: 135Nm
Transmission: Six-speed auto
Price: From Dh79,900
On sale: Now

Napoleon

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Vanessa Kirby, Tahar Rahim
Rating: 2/5

What should do investors do now?

What does the S&P 500's new all-time high mean for the average investor? 

Should I be euphoric?

No. It's fine to be pleased about hearty returns on your investments. But it's not a good idea to tie your emotions closely to the ups and downs of the stock market. You'll get tired fast. This market moment comes on the heels of last year's nosedive. And it's not the first or last time the stock market will make a dramatic move.

So what happened?

It's more about what happened last year. Many of the concerns that triggered that plunge towards the end of last have largely been quelled. The US and China are slowly moving toward a trade agreement. The Federal Reserve has indicated it likely will not raise rates at all in 2019 after seven recent increases. And those changes, along with some strong earnings reports and broader healthy economic indicators, have fueled some optimism in stock markets.

"The panic in the fourth quarter was based mostly on fears," says Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. "The fundamentals have mostly held up, while the fears have gone away and the fears were based mostly on emotion."

Should I buy? Should I sell?

Maybe. It depends on what your long-term investment plan is. The best advice is usually the same no matter the day — determine your financial goals, make a plan to reach them and stick to it.

"I would encourage (investors) not to overreact to highs, just as I would encourage them not to overreact to the lows of December," Mr Schutte says.

All the same, there are some situations in which you should consider taking action. If you think you can't live through another low like last year, the time to get out is now. If the balance of assets in your portfolio is out of whack thanks to the rise of the stock market, make adjustments. And if you need your money in the next five to 10 years, it shouldn't be in stocks anyhow. But for most people, it's also a good time to just leave things be.

Resist the urge to abandon the diversification of your portfolio, Mr Schutte cautions. It may be tempting to shed other investments that aren't performing as well, such as some international stocks, but diversification is designed to help steady your performance over time.

Will the rally last?

No one knows for sure. But David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, expects the US market could move up 5 per cent to 7 per cent more over the next nine to 12 months, provided the Fed doesn't raise rates and earnings growth exceeds current expectations. We are in a late cycle market, a period when US equities have historically done very well, but volatility also rises, he says.

"This phase can last six months to several years, but it's important clients remain invested and not try to prematurely position for a contraction of the market," Mr Bailin says. "Doing so would risk missing out on important portfolio returns."

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

Part three: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

Ramy: Season 3, Episode 1

Creators: Ari Katcher, Ryan Welch, Ramy Youssef
Stars: Ramy Youssef, Amr Waked, Mohammed Amer
Rating: 4/5

PROFILE BOX:

Company/date started: 2015

Founder/CEO: Rami Salman, Rishav Jalan, Ayush Chordia

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Technology, Sales, Voice, Artificial Intelligence

Size: (employees/revenue) 10/ 100,000 downloads

Stage: 1 ($800,000)

Investors: Eight first-round investors including, Beco Capital, 500 Startups, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Hala Fadel, Odin Financial Services, Dubai Angel Investors, Womena, Arzan VC

 

Company profile

Company name: Suraasa

Started: 2018

Founders: Rishabh Khanna, Ankit Khanna and Sahil Makker

Based: India, UAE and the UK

Industry: EdTech

Initial investment: More than $200,000 in seed funding

Martin Sabbagh profile

Job: CEO JCDecaux Middle East

In the role: Since January 2015

Lives: In the UAE

Background: M&A, investment banking

Studied: Corporate finance

UAE central contracts

Full time contracts

Rohan Mustafa, Ahmed Raza, Mohammed Usman, Chirag Suri, Mohammed Boota, Sultan Ahmed, Zahoor Khan, Junaid Siddique, Waheed Ahmed, Zawar Farid

Part time contracts

Aryan Lakra, Ansh Tandon, Karthik Meiyappan, Rahul Bhatia, Alishan Sharafu, CP Rizwaan, Basil Hameed, Matiullah, Fahad Nawaz, Sanchit Sharma