Where is the global outrage at the massacre of the innocents in Sudan?

As of this writing, freedom loving, democracy building people, `civilians’, `protesters’ have been butchered by the so-called Rapid Support Forces, or RSF, under the leadership of Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo, also known as Hemeti, also known as the Frankenstein of Khartoum.The RSF are also known as the Janjaweed, the group that terrorized Darfur for years, with particularly brutal violence against women.Forty bodies have been pulled from the River Nilewhere they were dumped. Members of the RSF raped protesters, beat up clinic doctors and volunteers, and plundered and looted hospitalsMembers of the RSF violently kicked the injured and wounded out of hospitals and clinicsAll along, the pro-democracy freedom movement has been steadfastly non-violent. The RSF has locked down Khartoum. The atrocities continue, the massacre continues. The world largely stands by, watches passively or looks away and murmurs, “Oh shame.” Where is the global outrage at the massacre of the innocents in Sudan? How many murdered Africans does it take to draw the world’s attention and to promote supportive action? We may never know.

Meanwhile, the struggle continues, the struggle that was sparked by women years ago, and then again last year and thisProtesters have set up their own barricades across Khartoum and beyond, and are engaged in peaceful civil disobedienceProtesters have rejected any talks with military while the RSF is wandering the streets, wreaking havoc. This most recent wave of State violence lays bare the heartless evil at the center of Bashir’s regime, which continues to this day. We share in that heartless evil, through our complicit silence and avoidance. Where is the global outrage at the massacre of the innocents in Sudan? Where are the lead articles in major newspapers, rather than articles buried where only the usual suspects will read them? Where are the mass demonstrations and protests across the world? Where is the “Je suis Khartoum”? Nowhere to be seen.


(Image Credits: Enas Satir / follow the halō)

Chibok: Why is our outrage so muted?

1001 days ago, at least 276 young women were kidnapped from Chibok. It is not the first instance of kidnapping in the area and their return in ‘dribs and drabs’ is an exercise in agony. I spent my birthday weekend surrounded by love, family, safety and assurance of my place and value in this world. Surely that is the bare minimum of life and existence? And yet about 200 of this last group of young women and girls remain captive not only to Boko Haram but also to our silence. Our shared inertia. Our disinterest in stories that do not have fast and happy endings. Our appalling attention span that is further diminished by tweeting and Instagram and yes…Facebook.

I am so frustrated by my own lack of ideas and inability to make a meaningful contribution to bringing these young women home. The state seems to be sleepwalking, the AU seems to be disinterested and ECOWAS has seemingly not yet found the means to do something that ought to have happened 1000 days ago – find these women. How many more days? A 1000 more? Do Black lives and Afrikan lives have so little value even to us? Do Women’s lives and Black women have such little currency? Is this why our outrage is so muted?

I watched as these women were paraded by President Buhari recently, many of them so disoriented, distant and deeply haunted. Many have lost their families who moved away from the volatile Chibok area. Others have been so dislocated that they are unable to re-adjust. Nothing can ever be the same again. One cannot unsee, unfeel and unremember.

Many have come back with children, the product of rape and coercive sex. Few of us want to speak of the stigma and shame that accompanies their return. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, nightmares, shame, STDs, fear, paranoia and so much more. A pretty dress and a visit to the President do not erase all this. I suppose this is my own attempt to make sense of such a senseless event and to find balance in such a bizarre and violent context. #1000daystoomany.


(Photo Credit: TRT World)

Outrage: The dirty, filthy Soma massacre


A mine exploded in Soma yesterday. Close to 300 miners are now dead. The world media sees this as tragedy, disaster, accident. Prime Minister Erdogan sees it as just one of those “ordinary things.” It’s mining, and shit happens.


Across the country, through the haze of grief and sorrow, Turks are compelled by outrage and fury. They know. “This is not an accident, this is murder.” “We will not refer to it as an accident, we will call what happened a massacre.”

The ways of murdering miners are many. In this instance, it’s the crime of looking the other way, of refusing to inspect. For 19 years, Turkey has refused to sign the International Labor Organization’s No.176 “Security and Health in Mines Agreement”. The agreement places many responsibilities on the government and the employers. For 19 years of deteriorating mine conditions, the Turkish government said, “This can wait.”

Last year, a parliamentarian from the Republican People’s Party submitted a motion to investigate work-related accidents at the coalmines in Soma. All three opposition parties supported the proposal. However, the Justice and Development Party, Erdogan’s party, opposed the motion. Two weeks ago, it was rejected.

They knew the mine was a powder keg set to explode. But what are a few hundred miners in the big equation? And now, the keening women of Soma join the incandescent women of Marikana, in song and sorrow: “The love of my life is gone.”

There was no accident, disaster or tragedy. Instead, there was murder and massacre, and it was dirty and filthy. And there is outrage.


(Photo Credit 1: CNN) (Photo Credit 2: New York Times / Uriel Sinai)

On outrage

I cannot write about Anene Booysen. Many others are, and are doing so eloquently. But I do wonder about outrage. The national response to the horrible violence against Anene Booysen has been described as outrage. When does outrage occur?

How many women and girls must suffer violence and abuse to cross the threshold of outrage? How many men must engage in violence and abuse before the horizon of outrage is breached?

I ask this because I don’t recall outrage being expressed when both the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust and the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children faced imminent closure last year. Yes, there were individuals and groups who jumped and organized, but there was no great surge of outrage at what would surely follow the simultaneous closure of the two most successful and most important resources in the Western Cape for those seeking help, support, community in the midst of suffering violence.

Remember, Rape Crisis is the oldest center of its kind in South Africa. In a recent two-year period, it served over 5000 rape survivors. And when it served the survivors, it served their loved and loving ones, their friends, their communities, and their neighborhoods. It served the whole of South Africa, one healing empowering person at a time.

Likewise, Saartjie Baartman has been working out of Manenberg to change the world by changing the area. The Centre, open for ten years, is a one-stop service shop: 24-hour shelter, short and medium residential care, childcare, counseling, legal advice, education and mentoring, and more.

Both Rape Crisis and Saartjie Baartman have played lead roles in research, advocacy, and mobilizing around women’s rights generally. They offer a place for women to hear their own voices, to have their voices heard, to have their voices joined and amplified, to have their voices translated into action.

Both Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust and the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children are indispensable, and not only for the women and children, and men, who come in looking for help. For the entire country and beyond. Who leapt to organize when the two, in one fell swoop, faced closure? The usual suspects. Not `the nation,’ not the State, nor was Twitter alight with outrage.

Along with protests and uprisings and expressions of outrage, all of which are terrifically important, let there be outrage for the condition of those people and organizations that have worked and are working now to change the world, to transform society, to create a place in which women and children and men can live in peace and joy. Support Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust and the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children. It’s never too late. Do it now.


(Photo Credit: Local Media Unpacked)

Indignant women and girls ignite the Chilean Winter


Hunger strikers at a secondary school in Buin, near Santiago.

For two days this week, the streets of Chile filled with indignation … and indignados. These protests are the latest event in a movement that began over three months ago, with a scattered series of classroom boycotts and protests. Since then, students from secondary and tertiary institutions have led teachers and professors, parents and custodians, trade unionists and government workers in protest, in action, in song and dance, in hunger strike, in organizing. The State has responded by arresting 14,000. Already one 16-year-old has been shot and killed. And now, after waves of protest, after State-sponsored bloodshed and belligerence, the State claims it wants a dialogue.

The students began their protests to challenge and change the inequalities within the educational systems and structures, inequalities that are funded, or better de-funded, by mass privatization, on one hand, and a tax structure that sends relatively little money into the schools. Most students attend grossly underfunded public universities while the wealthy few attend the very few exclusive and exclusionary private universities. At present, Chilean university education is one of the most expensive in the world. Students assume extraordinarily high debts, with 50% of them considered heavily indebted. The schools are both expensive and lousy.

As inequality has grown in Chile, so has segregation. According to some, Chile is the second most socially segregated country in the world. The rich study – and play and live — only with the rich, the poor with the poor.

Students began to see the inequality gap as well as the increasing barriers and increasingly high walls as the State condemning them to a slow death sentence. Rather than roll over, they responded with outrage.

Women and girls lead the student movement. 23-year-old Camila Vallejo, for example, is the president of the University of Chile’s student union and the principal spokesperson for the Confederation of Chilean University Students. 18-year-old Francia Gárate is on hunger strike. So are 17-year-olds Johanna Choapa and Maura Roque. María José Zúñiga is spokeswoman for secondary school students at Liceo A-131, high school in Buin next to the capital, Santiago. Pictures and articles show innumerable unnamed women and girls on the front lines, at the bullhorns, on the various stages, in the hunger strikes.

Why are women leading the charge? For almost four decades, Chile has “manufactured modernity” by relentlessly pursuing a neoliberal economic policy: privatization, free trade, the works. And who “bears the brunt” and who literally does “the dirty work of neoliberalism” in Chile? Women. Who looks at the promises of an `emerging’ first world national economy and sees that the money goes for teargas canisters rather than books, for corporate palaces and hotels rather than classrooms? Who looks at the gap and sees who’s making those decisions? Women.

Indignant, insightful women and girls are igniting the Chilean Winter with their outrage.


(Photo Credit: Fernando Fiedler / IPS)