„Military take-over is not the appropriate response to the challenges facing Sudan“

In an address on state television, the Sudanese First Vice President and Minister of Defence Lieutenant General Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, announced a two-year period of military rule to be followed by presidential elections. Ibn Auf said President Omar Al Bashir was being detained in a „safe place“ and a military council would now run the country. Ibn Auf will head the new Military Transitional Council.

The United States suspended discussions with Sudan on normalizing relations between the two countries. The State Department, while declining to declare the takeover a coup, said it supported a peaceful and democratic Sudan and believed the Sudanese people should be allowed a peaceful transition sooner than only in two years. „The Sudanese people should determine who leads them in their future,“ spokesman Robert Palladino said. „The Sudanese people have been clear that they have been demanding a civilian-led transition. They should be allowed to do so sooner than two years from now.“

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, is closely monitoring the ongoing developments in Sudan, in particular the announcement of Ibn Auf on the suspension of the Constitution, the dissolution of the National Assembly, the formation of a military-led transitional government which will rule for two years, and the arrest of President Omar Al Bashir, as well as the imposition of a state of emergency for three months.

Faki expresses the African Union conviction that the military take-over is not the appropriate response to the challenges facing Sudan and the aspirations of its people. Faki also recalls the 2000 Lomé Declaration on the unconstitutional change of Government and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance, which strongly condemn any unconstitutional change of Government and commit member states to the respect of the rule of law, democratic principles and human rights. In view of the ongoing developments, Faki reiterates these provisions, and looks forward to the Peace and Security Council meeting swiftly to consider the situation and take the appropriate decisions. 
In the meantime, Faki urges all concerned to exercise calm and utmost restraint and to respect the rights of citizens, foreign nationals and private property in the interest of the country and its people.
Faki further appeals to all stakeholders to engage in an inclusive dialogue to create the conditions that will make it possible to meet the aspirations of the Sudanese people to democracy, good governance and well-being and restore constitutional order as soon as possible. 
Faki expresses the African Union solidarity with the people of Sudan, and pledges its commitment and readiness to support Sudan during this period, in line with the relevant AU instruments and principles.

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called for national reconciliation in Sudan. Answering reporters’ questions following the press conference, President Erdoğan, in response to a question regarding the military coup in Sudan, said: „My wish is that Sudan should succeed in this calmly and I believe at this point that Sudan should resolve this issue in a peaceful and brotherly manner and allow the normal democratic process to work. It is my most important wish that Sudan gets over this process on the basis of national reconciliation and in peace.“

Erdoğan, who has deepened Turkey’s investments in Sudan recently, said the two countries had deep relations that Turkey wanted to maintain. “Sudan is a country that we have deep-rooted historical relations with, and we are certainly in favor of the continuation of these deep-rooted relations“, Erdoğan said.

“We are determined to further our cooperation with African countries on the basis of mutual respect”, Erdoğan said. Erdoğan became the first Turkish president to visit Khartoum in 2017, when Turkey signed several deals worth $650 million with Sudan as it emerged from two decades of U.S. sanctions. Al-Bashir also participated in the Islamic summit in İstanbul shortly before Erdoğan’s trip to Sudan.

On July 15, 2016 many Sudanese gathered in front of the Turkish embassy in Khartoum to express their solidarity and support with the people of Turkey after a bloody coup attempt.

Sudan was the first African country which closed all schools with ties to the Gülenist Terror Group FETÖ which was accountable for the 15 July coup attempt. Sudan has signed an agreement with the Turkish Maarif Education Foundation to hand over FETÖ-affiliated schools.

On 11 April 2019, Turkish Airlines wanted to open a flight connection from İstanbul to Port Sudan, capital of the Sudanese Red Sea state. Turkish Airlines will most probably postpone flights to Port Sudan until 2020.

Sudan has various economic potential and a good chance to find a way for a peaceful solution to present challenges. Now, the national dialogue may help to achieve unity and peace for Sudan.

The peace process in the neighboring country South Sudan is also challenged by the latest events. The Vatican press service Fides quoted an unnamed observer from Southern Sudan as saying that former Sudanese President al-Bashir had been the driving force behind the September 12 agreement between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his political rival, ex-vice-president Riek Machar.

Among other things, according to Fides, al-Bashir was interested in restoring crude oil production in South Sudan with a stable peace. If a change of power in Khartoum leads to internal insecurity and a weakening of the political pressure on the peace process in the South, new instability in South Sudan could result, according to the Fides analyst.

Today, the Vatican brought together South Sudanese leaders for 24 hours of prayer and preaching inside the pope’s residence. Pope Francis, in a dramatic gesture after an unprecedented retreat at the Vatican, knelt to kiss the feet of South Sudan’s previously warring leaders today as he urged them to not return to a civil war.

He appealed to President Salva Kiir, his former deputy turned rebel leader Riek Machar, and three other vice presidents to respect an armistice they signed and commit to forming a unity government next month.

„I am asking you as a brother to stay in peace. I am asking you with my heart, let us go forward. There will be many problems but they will not overcome us. Resolve your problems,“ Francis said in improvised remarks.

The warmth and the humanity of the Sudanese people are unique

Werner Daum is a retired university professor and a former German diplomat. Last December, he visited Sudan. In the following interview with German journalist Martin Lejeune, Daum speaks about his visit to Khartoum.

Martin Lejeune: You have been to Sudan, recently. Would you share some of your impressions with us?

Daum: Yes, in December last, I spent a week in Khartoum. I hadn’t been there for almost 20 years, but it was like coming home. As the saying goes: He who drank from the water of the Nile will always return! Well, I spent four whole years of my life in Sudan. In the late 90s, I was the German ambassador there.

The warmth and the humanity of the Sudanese people – whatever their background or their political affiliation – are unique. As a diplomat and ambassador, I lived in many places – but the people of Sudan occupy a very special section of my heart!

Martin Lejeune: What is it what made you fall in love with Sudan?

Daum: Maybe the key is that I love everything connected with the Arab world. Not so much those Arabs who want to imitate us, those, who wish to behave like us, wish to live like us, but rather those who live in harmony with their traditions. 

With “traditions”, I mean: being part of, and participating in a great civilisation. That is the civilisation of Islam, and the civilisations that preceded the coming of Islam. Human beings are naturally endowed with a need to connect with the above, with the divine, and through the divine with all other human beings.

Umaya bin Abi Salt has expressed this in the immortal words of his poem: 

إذا كان أصلي من تراب
فا لارض كلها بلادي
وكل العالمين أقراب

This may well be the most powerful, the most human, the most beautiful poem of all times and of all languages.

Martin Lejeune: You just mentioned the Sudanese civilisations before the coming of Christianity and Islam. Can you be a bit more explicit?

Daum: Oh yes, but you must stop me at some point. I love this subject so much; I would not stop by myself! Sudan is the birthplace of civilisation in the Nile valley. This was indeed the subject of my lectures in Khartoum; I will return to it later. There are glorious remains of all these ancient civilisations everywhere in Sudan. I was happy to be able to visit the two Meroitic sites of Musawarat al-Sufra and of Naga again. Of course, I know them almost by heart, with their temples and beautiful reliefs, and their inscriptions in Meroitic, a language related to Nile-Nubian and Nuba-hills Nubian.

But the civilisations in Sudan also comprise a very rich oral heritage. For instance, the Dinka and the Nuer, many of them still at home here in Khartoum, they are a deeply religious people. Theirs is a monotheistic religion, a very ancient one. They believe in one God, who created heaven and earth, and who created the humans. They call him Nhialic, “The One Above”.

Martin Lejeune: Specifically, what did you do during your stay in Khartoum?

Daum: I had the great privilege of lecturing to students of the International University of Africa and of the venerable University of Khartoum. The students were keen, intelligent. I envy their teachers! I met with great intellectuals, such as Hassan Makki. When my car drove through a busy street, it was with great excitement and enormous pleasure that I noticed it was named after the late Abdallah al-Tayeb, the great intellectual, linguist, and collector of folktales. I had the privilege of being acquainted with him.

In my lectures, I focussed on the origins of civilisation in the Nile valley. This is connected with the once Green Sahara. When the Sahara became the desert it is today, about 7000 years ago, its inhabitants moved to the Sudanese part of the Nile valley. From here, civilisation moved northwards, into Egypt. The Semitic languages also have their origin in Sudan.

Martin Lejeune: Whom else did you meet?

Daum: I gave a talk at the Sudan Film Factory about Contemporary Art in the West. Many Sudanese artists were present, some of them agreeing with my argument, others disagreeing. It was wonderful and refreshing! Amongst the audience was Rashid Diab, who is no doubt one of the greatest painters of our time. A propos of “Film Factory” and the recent success of the Sudanese film at the Berlin Festival: I do hope that cinemas will soon open again in Khartoum. It happened now even in Saudi-Arabia. Islam encourages man to develop intellect and knowledge, and to enjoy the arts, music, paintings, and, of course, cinema!

Martin Lejeune: How do you see the current situation in Sudan?

Daum: Sudan obviously faces a difficult period. The economy is in very serious conditions. The reasons are manifold and I would not know how to fix it and how to provide the people with what they need. Compromises are necessary. In addition to this, the Sudanese are a people very much engaged in politics, and many strata of the society wish to be heard. Passions run high, as they always did.

I very much hope that courageous dialogue will help to address the grievances. If everybody speaks out in front of everybody else, this may help to clarify things.

Sensational victory of the Sudanese Art Film at the Berlin Festival

It was totally unexpected. The pundits had not anticipated it. Nobody thought that a film from Sudan would get a major trophy at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival! But it did! «The Documentary Award» winner 2019 is from Sudan. And, not enough, it won the most sought after award as well: «The Prize of the Public».

Such a thing never happened before, in the 70 years history of this film fest, one of the world’s major movie festivals.

The title of the film: «Talking about Trees», a movie about the love of cinematographic art and the passion for restoring old Sudanese films. Named after a line of the poem «To Posterity» by German poet Bertolt Brecht.

Written and directed by Suhaib Gasmelbari Mustafa (born 1979 in Omdurman) who studied cinema in France where he pursued an education in cinema history, critique and directing. He also gained expertise in graphic design, special effects, and broadcasting. Nevertheless, his main focus remains the true Cinema. In the past, he has concentrated on narrative films, but is now moving to documentaries.

The protagonists are four of the most well-known directors of the Sudanese cinema, Manar Al Hilo, Altayeb Mahdi, Ibrahim Shaddad and Suliman Mohamed Ibrahim Elnour.

All of them were present in Berlin and stood answering an admiring and enthusiastic crowd.

The movie is arranged on two levels: it shows how members of the «Sudanese Film Group» are busy trying to get one of the Khartoum’s once famous open-air cinemas back into service.

Their idea: showing the US-American revisionist Western film «Django Unchained», 2012, on the big screen.

Of course do they need the approval of the authorities. The whole thing is a walk through a labyrinth. We will not tell more now – but, it is obvious, the film has a message. And it presents its message with a smile, in a funny, entertaining and intellectual way.

On a second level, the film is about film: it shows the work of the German Government’s film restoration programme, which brings the faded old copies of Africa’s cinematographic heritage back, thus preserving it for future generations.

This is truly a great film, and it was more than merited that it won two major awards.

Not a recluse intellectual thing, either, as the prestigious and very much sought after «Prize of the Public» showed. Congratulations!

This year’s Berlin film fest screened an astonishing number of Sudanese movies: a total of 9 films, produced between 1964 and 2019.

«Talking about Trees» was one of them.

«Khartoum Offside», 2019, by Marwa Zein El Abdin Seed Ahmed Fadl Arbab, was another one. It is a joyful documentary about putting together a Sudanese women’s football team for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The film is about friendship, the joys of sport, and of the role of women in society – and, incidentally: subtly challenges stereotypical perceptions of her country.

«Khartoum Offside» is Marwa Zein’s (a Sudanese filmmaker, born 1985 in Mecca) first long film. It was produced by the production company which she has established in Khartoum. Marwa is also one of the organizers and programmers of the Sudan Independent Film Festival.

«Of Dust and Rubies», 2000, by the late Hussein Shariffe, is a pictorial rendering of contemporary Sudanese poetry. Born 1934 in Omdurman, he worked mainly in Egypt. His work was presented by Talal Afifi, the director of the «Sudan Film Factory» which is a film culture platform and a production company in Khartoum. Talal Afifi is also one of the main actors in «Of Dust and Rubies».

«The Station», 1989, is a classic. Its author, Altayeb Mahdi (born 1951 in Omdurman), was personally present and spoke about his films to an enthusiastic audience. It portrays a nameless petrol station on the road between Port Sudan and Khartoum, where the big trucks of the modern world encounter the small life of the locals. The whole thing is a moving portrait of how «development» comes to Africa, and how it breaks and disrupts peoples’ lives. 

«The Wali’s Tomb», 1977, another classic by Altayeb Mahdi, is about the clash between traditional religious beliefs, and the modern mind. Human beings feel a need to connect with the above – this sometimes takes on forms which established religion or indeed the state regard with suspicion. The film asks to which extent personal freedom must be tolerated, even if it is in contradiction with the values of the elites, and indeed, government.

Altayeb Mahdi (born 1951 in Omdurman) graduated from the Higher Institute of Cinema in Cairo in 1976. He has won many awards, and is rightly regarded as one of the masters of the Sudanese cinema. He is currently working on the feature film «The Lantern and Darkness».

«Camel», 1985, by Ibrahim Shaddad is the portrait of a camel, gifted with thinking and dreaming, but condemned to working a sesame mill – a symbol of the struggle of nameless and countless humans struggling to make a living. Another film – «The Rope», 1985 – by the same director is set at the time of the Turkish-Egyptian punitive expedition to Sudan, in the 1820s. The film depicts the desperation of the people through the aimless stumbling of two blind men and their donkey.

«Hunting Party», 1964, was Ibrahim Shaddad’s graduation film at the German Film School in Babelsberg, near Berlin. Ibrahim Shaddad (born 1945 in Halfa) is a founding member of the «Sudanese Film Group» and a member of the editorial board of the magazine «Cinema».

«It Still Rotates», 1978, by Suliman Mohamed Ibrahim Elnour is a film about the hopes connected with socialism, in the former (Communist) Republic of South Yemen. It mixes the documentary style with theatrical performance, but its subject is the sometimes even comical clash between values: the values of the traditional local society, and the claims of a government that is intent on changing them. This master piece about opposing and irreconcilable longings of people was no doubt a highlight of the Festival.

Suliman Mohamed Ibrahim Elnour (born 1947 in Omdurman) studied Folklore, and African and Asian Studies at the University of Khartoum. He graduated at the «Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography» («VGIK») in Moscow.

The public followed the projections with great enthusiasm. In the discussion, many questions were asked. The Berlin fest was a unique occasion for the audience in Germany to get acquainted with Sudan’s contemporary cinema, and some of its classics (by the way: all of them restored in Germany and thus preserved for future generations).

During the panel discussion, Ibrahim Shaddad said that his wish was to see cinemas open to the public soon: Cinema as an art needs the big screen, he said, and a public enjoying the social aspect of cinema going. It also needs professional critics in the media. Reopening the cinemas would give a big impetus to quality production. This would, so he felt, also raise the standard of Sudanese TV productions. «There is no dearth of films in Sudan. Everybody is shooting videos – but cinema as an art needs directors who have studied it!» He is right, of course!

CIA delegation attends high-profile Sudan security meet

Directors General of Foreign Intelligence and Security Agencies of African countries participate in the 14th CISSA Summit which was held from September 27 until 30, 2017 in the Sudanese capital Khartoum. A high-ranking Delegation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Director General of the General Intelligence Presidency (GIP) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were invited to the session as guests.

The appearance of the CIA at a Security Agencies conference in Khartoum is interpreted by observers in the intelligence community as a sign of a possible normalization of Sudanese-American diplomatic relations. Recently, US President Donald Trump removed Sudan from his travel ban list and earlier this year, the United States lifted several economic and trade sanctions on Sudan due to cooperation with the Sudanese government in fighting terrorism, reducing conflict, and denying safe haven to South Sudanese rebels and improving humanitarian access to people in need.

US sanctions are however still in place. Sudan’s President Umar Al-Bashir said in his keynote address at the CISSA Summit: „The US trade embargo on Sudan is unjust and US sanctions have weakened my country and caused immense hardship for its people. Despite the sanctions concentrated efforts are being taken for achieving national security and stability and for countering extremism.”“ The Sudanese President’s speech in the presence of the CIA Delegation in Khartoum happened only two weeks before Trump will decide whether the USA will permanently lift its embargo on Sudan imposed more than 20 years ago based on the allegation of „supporting terrorism“.

Sudan has always denied these allegations. Al Bashir said at the conference under the theme of a comprehensive strategic partnership towards combating terrorism and realizing political stability in Africa: „It’s our conviction that our national security will not be complete unless we have security and stability in all our neighbor countries, especially South Sudan and we are hopeful that will get calm, stability and peace in a very short time.“

Terrorists recognize no boundaries. For example, the Daesh terrorist group had used established routes to bring foreign fighters into Libya from neighbouring countries including Sudan, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria. These transnational threats are main challenges for the security of Africa and not limited to National states. „The largest number of fighters had been brought in from Sudan and transited through the Libyan city of Ajdabiya, about 350 km (218 miles) east of Sirte“, Sadiq Al-Sour, head of investigations for Libya’s Attorney General’s office, said at a news conference in Tripoli on September 28th, according to a REUTERS report. A Senior Sudani intelligence officers declined to comment at the venue of the CISSA summit in Khartoum.

Sani Ibrahim Abani, the Acting Secretary General of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) who is also based in Tripoli emphasized at the 14th CISSA Summit in Khartoum that countering terrorist groups need joint task forces, cross-boarder actions and transnational collaborations. „This comprehensive strategic approach is necessary to establish region-wide security on the African continent in order to pave the way on the ground for political stability and economic development.“

Brigade General Joseph Nzabamwita, the Secretary General of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) of the Republic of Rwanda handed-over the CISSA-Chairmanship to Mohammad Atta Al Mula Abbas, the Director General of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) of the Republic of Sudan. The hand-over ceremony took place during the closed session of the 14th CISSA summit.

1st Intellectual Forum of the African Union chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi in Sudan

The 1st Intellectual Forum of the African Union (AU) convened this week in Sudan. The Conference under the theme „Political Stability in Africa: Constraints and Prospects of the Future“ was chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria from 1991 to 1993 and United Nations and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria until 2014.

Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, addressed the leader of several African nations at the Forum: „Africa gets the first forum that brings intellectuals together with intelligence officers to strategize together. Political stability and security are belonging together. You cannot have political stability if there is insecurity.“

Mohammad Atta Al Mula Abbas, the Director General of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) of the Republic of Sudan, highlighted in his keynote speech a vision of a new cooperative pan-African security architecture towards an effective Partnership strategic of the African continent. „The issue of political stability is the most important and common concern of all African countries today“, Moula Abbas said.

Bakri Hassan Saleh, Prime Minister and First Vice President of Sudan, stressed: „At all levels on our continent we focus on political stability to pave the way to economic growth of our countries. This Forum is a chance to realizes changes in a secure future of our nations to gain real stability which guarantees development.“

Ali Hassan Mwinyi, President of the United Republic of Tanzania from 1985 to 1995, spoke in the opening ceremony about the impact of conflicts on development. Africa has 29 ongoing armed conflicts and a large number of separatists movement which destabilize the continent.

Numerous peakers blast Western countries for rising external factors which destabilize African countries. A common view among theses panelists was to reject regime change attempts and support of separatist movements by Western countries.

Nigeria’s ambassador to Sudan, Mohamed Ibrahim, who is one speakers of the Forum, said at the venue at the High Academy for Strategic and Security Studies (H.A.S.S.S.) in Khartoum: „After the independency of 54 African countries, 10 foreign states opened military basses all over Africa. The US forces use African countries as bases for their drone attacks outside Africa without concerning the security of African countries.“

Joseph Chilengi, the Presiding Officer of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union (AU-ECOSOCC), presented the Closing Communiqué and Recommendations of the First Intellectual Forum: “After commending the experiences of the Sudanese National Dialogue, conferees call for organizing a Comprehensive African Dialogue that tackles issues of peace and building inter- and intra-state reconciliation as to eventually reach an African dialogue at the continental level.”

Sudanesische Frauen: Ihr Wissensdrang kennt keine Grenzen

Hoyam Abo Baker Yousif, Weltraumphysikerin am sudanesischen Institut für Weltraumforschung und Raumfahrt in Khartoum. Foto: Martin Lejeune

Reportage zur Lage der Frau im Sudan

An ihr ist nichts zu erkennen außer ihren schwarzen Augen. Gesichtsschleier, Gewand und Handschuhe trägt sie auch bei 45 Grad Celsius. Sie erforscht für ihr Land Sudan das Weltall, das so schwarz ist wie ihre Augen. Ihr Name ist Hoyam Abo Baker Yousif. Sie ist 25 Jahre jung und erst am Beginn ihrer beruflichen Laufbahn.

Sie forscht am sudanesischen Institut für Weltraumforschung und Raumfahrt, auf Englisch „Institute of Space Research and Aerospace“, abgekürzt ISRA.

ISRA ist die NASA des Sudans mit Sitz in der Hauptstadt Khartoum und Hoyam ist eine hochspezialisierte und top ausgebildete Mikrogravitations-Forscherin. Sie gehört zur wissenschaftlichen Elite ihres Landes, das Frauen prägen.

Hoyam jongliert mit Zahlen und Formeln. Sie widme ihr Leben der Weltraumphysik, weil sie ihrem Land dienen wolle. „Ich möchte immer noch besser werden auf meinem Fachgebiet“, erzählt mir Hoyam am Rande der ersten deutsch-sudanesischen Hochschul-Konferenz im Wissenschaftsministerium in Khartoum.

ISRA wurde 2014 gegründet und entwickelt bereits Satelliten. Bis zur bemannten Raumfahrt ist es im Sudan noch ein weiter Weg, aber durch solch fähige Weltraum-Physikerinnen wie Hoyam scheint eines Tages alles möglich.

Ich frage die naturwissenschaftlich rationale Weltraumphysikerin, was ihr Traum sei? „Mein Traum ist es, als erste Sudanesin in den Weltraum zu fliegen“, sagt Hoyam.

Eine sudanesische Astronautin im Niqab an Bord eines NASA-Space Shuttles auf dem Weg zum Mars. Als erste Muslima im Weltall. Das mag heute vielleicht noch kein realistisches Szenario sein, aber die Träume der Frauen des Sudans sind nicht unbegründet und so groß wie die Freiheit der Wissenschaft.

Hoyams Vision vom Erkunden des Weltraums ist nur ein Beispiel von vielen, wie hoch die Ambitionen sudanesischer Forscherinnen sind.

Vielleicht wird ISRA sogar einmal mit der NASA in den USA kooperieren – nach der Aufhebung der unilateralen US-Sanktionen.

Der Sudan ist ein Vielvölkerstaat mit unterschiedlichen Kulturen. Das ist auch an den verschiedenen Kleidungsstilen erkennbar.

Die Frau im Sudan entscheidet selber, ob sie Niqab, Hijab oder ihr Haar unbedeckt trägt. Für ihren Erfolg spielt es keine Rolle. Die Mehrzahl der Frauen im akademischen Milieu scheint nicht verschleiert zu sein, so mein persönlicher Eindruck nach einer Woche auf wissenschaftlichen Konferenzen und Besuchen in Universitäten.

Frauen im Sudan stehen (auch früher schon) erheblich selbstbewußter und sichtbarer im Berufsleben als in den meisten anderen islamischen Staaten Nordafrikas und Südwestasiens.

Ein Beispiel: Das sudanesische Ministerium für Hochschulbildung und wissenschaftliche Forschung wird von einer Frau geführt. Die Ministerin heißt Sumaya Abu Kashawa. Während eines persönlichen Gespräches in der Neelain Universität am 8. März, dem Internationalen Tag der Frau, antwortet sie auf meine Frage nach den Aufstiegschancen von Frauen im sudanesischen Wissenschaftsbetrieb: „Nicht nur für die Politik, auch für die sudanesische Gesellschaft ist gleichberechtigte Teilhabe der Frau in allen Bereichen Normalität. Es gibt keine Einschränkungen.“

Der Glaube ist den Sudanesinnen, wie den Sudanesen, sehr wichtig. Die fünf Gebete werden wenn möglich verrichtet. Offizielle Veranstaltungen beginnen mit der Rezitation einiger Verse aus dem Heiligen und Edlen Qu’ran. Und die Vorlesungen an der Universität mit den Worten: „Im Namen Allahs, des Allerbarmers, des Barmherzigen!“

Ich spreche die Ministerin auf meine Beobachtung an, daß bei weiten nicht alle Frauen im akademischen Betrieb den Hijab tragen, und nur wenige Niqab. „Solche Äußerlichkeiten wie der Kleidungsstil sind völlig unerheblich und spielen keine Rolle an privaten oder öffentlichen Hochschulen“, kommentiert die Ministerin die Frage nach dem heutigen Lebensstil der Akademikerinnen im Sudan und weist darauf hin, daß der Sudan schon vor 20 Jahren eine Frau zur Richterin am Obersten Gerichtshof ernannte, als dies etwa in Ägypten noch von der Verfassung verboten war.

2016 sind zwölf von 27 Richtern am Obersten Gerichtshof in Khartoum Frauen. Am obersten deutschen Gericht, dem Bundesverfassungsgericht in Karlsruhe, sind sieben von 16 Richtern weiblich. Da kann die Frauenquote am Höchsten Gericht des Sudans mehr als mithalten.

Der verfassungsrechtlich verankerte Mindestanteil von Frauen im Nationalen Parlament des Sudans ist seit 1992 von zehn auf 30 Prozent angehoben worden. Auch für die politischen Parteien und die öffentliche Verwaltung gibt es einen verfassungsrechtlich festgeschriebenen Anteil an Frauen von mindestens 30 Prozent. In Deutschland gibt es eine solche gesetzliche Regelung nicht. Von 709 Mitgliedern des Deutschen Bundestages sind lediglich 219 Frauen.

Ermöglicht wird die akademische Karriere sudanesischer Frauen durch die Vereinbarkeit von Beruf und Familie und durch das Engagement von Verwandten und Angehörigen. Bildung hat in der Gesellschaft einen hohen sozialen Stellenwert. Familien unternehmen große Anstrengungen, damit ihre Töchter studieren können. Die traditionelle Großfamilie des Sudans hilft bei der Kinderbetreuung. Wenn das nicht klappt, etwa, weil die Großeltern gestorben sind, gibt es an jeder Universität eine Kinderbetreuung und an vielen Orten des Landes Kindergärten.

Ministerin Kashawa hat zwei Kinder und sagt, die Gesellschaft, der Staat und die Großfamilie unterstützen sie, Beruf und Familie miteinander zu vereinbaren. Die Ministerin sagt: „Meine Work-Life-Balance stimmt!“

Im Sudan ist es für eine Frau nichts ungewöhnliches, mehrere Kinder zu bekommen. Die sudanesische Erziehungsministerin hat fünf Kinder, die Kommunikationsministerin vier, die Sozialministerin ebenfalls vier, die Gesundheitsministerin zwei. Viele Sudanesinnen fragen mich, ob es stimme, daß Angela Merkel keine Kinder habe. Wenn ich antworte, daß Merkel keine eigenen Kinder habe, reagieren die meisten Sudanesinnen überrascht.

Im akademischen Leben des Sudans haben die Frauen die Männer mehr als eingeholt. 52 Prozent der Studenten und Wissenschaftler sind Frauen. Mit Professor Siham Ahmed Bakhit ist zum ersten Mal eine Frau die Präsidentin einer Universität im Sudan geworden. Die Alumna der Freien Universität Berlin ist medizinische Biochemikerin an der Al Zaiem Al Azhari Universität. Die klinische Pathologin Nazik Elmalaika Hussein ist Vize-Dekanin an der Islamischen Universität Omdurman. Nur zwei der vielen Beispielen von Frauen in hohen Führungspositionen an Hochschulen.

Randa Abdel Hadi Diab, 40, hat sieben Jahre in Schweden geforscht und kam in den Sudan zurück, um an Sudans erster und ältester Frauenuniversität (gegründet vor 100 Jahren!) zu unterrichten.

Die Ahfad Univrsität ist eine private, also regierungsunabhängige und auch nicht gewinn-orientierte Hochschule mit 6000 Studienplätzen ausschließlich für Frauen aus allen sozialen Schichten und geographischen Regionen, so Universitätspräsident Gasim Badri, dessen Großvater Babikr Badri die Ahfad Universität einst gegründet hat. 50 Prozent der Studentinnen bekommen hier Stipendien. 20 Prozent bekommen die Studiengebühren erlassen. Unterrichtet wird auf Englisch. Wie uns Professor Badri sagte, seien die Studentenverbände im Sudan generell hoch politisiert und sehr aktiv.

Aus der Sicht der sudanesischen Hochschulverantwortlichen sind Frauen ein wesentlicher Faktor für die Ausschöpfung der Entwicklungspotentiale des Landes. Deshalb versprechen sie sich auch viel von der geplanten akademischen Partnerschaft zwischen Deutschland und dem Sudan. Sie begrüßten es, daß auch der DAAD in der internationalen Hochschulkooperation einen derartigen Schwerpunkt setzt, und die Karriere-Chancen von Wissenschaftlerinnen fördern möchte.

Derzeit unterstützt der Deutsche Akademische Austausch-Dienst (DAAD) 22 deutsche Studenten und Wissenschaftler im Sudan, sowie 220 Sudanesen in Deutschland. Die durch die soeben zu Ende gegangene erste gemeinsame Hochschulkonferenz geknüpften Kontakte sollen diese niedrigen Zahlen wieder in die Höhe treiben.

Vor zehn Jahren seien doppelt so viele Sudanesen durch den DAAD gefördert worden, so DAAD-Direktor Roman Luckscheiter, der sich mit großem Einsatz für die Sudan-Kooperation engagiert und zusammen mit der Ministerin Kashawa schon Pläne für eine zweite deutsch-sudanesische Hochschulkonferenz im nächsten Jahr schmiedet.

Die unilateralen Sanktionen der USA gegen den Sudan waren ein erhebliches (obwohl so vermutlich gar nicht beabsichtigtes) Hindernis für die akademische und wissenschaftliche Entwicklung im Sudan. Dazu Ministerin Kashawa: „Wir können an unsere im Ausland studierenden Stipendiaten kein Geld überweisen, obwohl die Mittel dazu bereitstehen, weil der Sudan vom internationalen Zahlungsverkehr abgeschnitten ist. Hier im Land selber können unsere Universitäten viele für Forschung und Lehre benötigte Produkte nicht anschaffen, wie zum Beispiel dringend benötigte Lern-Software, IT-, Medizin- und Labortechnik.

Produkte, die dennoch ihren Weg in den Sudan finden, sind überteuert. Wissenschaftliche Verlage (selbst nicht-amerikanische, wie etwa Elsevier) akzeptieren keine Artikel, die von sudanesischen Autoren eingereicht werden.“ Die Ministerin wünscht sich deshalb erst einmal mehr ausländische Studenten und Forscher, die im Sudan arbeiten wollen. Das hilft dann auch gegen Vorurteile, sagt sie: „Es ist immer besser, erst dann zu urteilen, wenn man sich zuvor einen eigenen Einblick verschafft hat.

Mein Eindruck als Journalist, der den Sudan besuchen durfte, lautet: Die sudanesische Frau darf sich frei entfalten zwischen Tradition und Moderne und ist eine treibende Kraft des blühenden akademischen Aufstieg ihres Landes. Wer dem Sudan die Unterdrückung der Frau unterstellt, sollte noch einmal genauer hinschauen. Es lohnt sich!

A Friday in Darfur

Under the blistering sun tens of thousands of villagers, tribal leaders from Northern Darfur came in droves for a glimpse of their President Omar Al Bashir. These thousands of people were waiting in incredible heat for hours.
The President was greeted in a large open field complied with a raised and covered dais flanked by two tented large segregated seating areas, one for women, one for men.
Initially a sandy patch separated the President from the crowd that allowed his entry atop a Pick-Up Truck decorated with rose flowers and a red carpet.
They crowd shout „Long Live Al Bashir!“ and “Salam, Salam, Darfur”.
People were waving banners saying “The Higher Committee of the Organisation of the Visit of the President welcomes Al Bashir to Darfur”.
Bashir stood atop the Pick-Up Truck with a traditional stick greeting those who came from miles around to see him.
Buoyed by the exuberant crowd, he encouraged the security to lift the barriers between him and the people. He urged the people “Come closer to me” and thousands ran forward hoping to get close to the leader of their country. The sand of the desert ground is kicked up into the air. It looks like a short sand storm.
President Al Bashir was on his first trip to Darfur in a over a year. President Al Bashir came to Darfur to encourage peace, unity and stability in the war zone region.
Darfur, as the world knows, is an area plagued by desertification. The struggle for water has pitted the subsistance farmers against pastoral headers. As global warming continues to encroach upon once fertile lands now enlarging vast African desserts.
What little the world knows about Darfur consists of indiscriminate killing, accused genocide and brutal mass rape. The contrast between what I believed and what I saw shook me. I experienced the opposite to what the media and public reception is.
What I saw was thousands of people passionately cheering, women ululating, tribes’ men on horses and camels and fighters dressed in black masks for war. The Rezeigat tribe brought multi coloured tents, perched atop camels with women hidden somewhere underneath the ornate caravan of fabrics boarded in gold French complete with red flags and yellow desert flowers woven into the carpets that hid the female riders from the view.
To the right of the President came an additional two camels, one encapsulated in green, the other in blue. With the camels wearing counts of gold and their Sultan owners atop.
For a man who is accused of killing around two hundred thousands Darfurians, this rally and welcome for the President seemed unbelievable.
There were three speakers before the President Al Bashir who all spoke in formal Arabic but when President Al Bashir took the podium and spoke without notes in colloquial local language of the people he was addressing and the crowd responded accordingly whereas they politely listened to the previous three speakers, but when President Al Bashir took the podium it was as if the Rolling Stones had just let loose.

Helft uns die illegale Migration übers Mittelmeer zu stoppen

In der vergangenen Tagen war der sudanische Aussenminister Ibrahim Ghandour zu einem offiziellen Besuch in Berlin und Warschau. Nach einem Fachgespräch in der Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, dem Think Tank der Bundesregierung, sprach er zu Martin Lejeune in seinem Berliner Hotel über Sudans regionale Aussenpolitik, und über die illegale Migration nach Europa.

Minister Ghandour weist darauf hin, daß der Sudan von sieben Ländern umgeben sei und er als Außenminister die friedlichen Beziehungen zu all seinen Nachbarstaaten pflege: “Wir können nur miteinander leben, wenn wir nicht auf Konfrontation setzen, sondern auf Kooperation.”

Die Tatsache, daß der Sudan als zweitgrößtes Land Afrikas an sieben unterschiedliche Staaten grenze, sei auch der Grund dafür, daß er ein Transitland für viele Flüchtlinge Afrikas sei. Sudan ist ein Durchlauferhitzer für Migranten. Schätzungen internationaler Experten zufolge leben drei Millionen Flüchtlinge im Sudan. Noch mehr Millionen Flüchtlinge nutzen den Sudan als Transitland. Die genauen Zahlen der Flüchtlinge im Transit sind nicht bekannt, da viele illegal einwandern.

“Helft uns die illegale Migration übers Mittelmeer zu stoppen!”, apeliert Minister Ghandour während seiner Besuche in Polen und Deutschland an die Regierungen der Europäischen Union. “Wir haben eine Hunderte Kilometer lange offene Grenze zu Libyen, die wir als einzelner Staat nicht optimal alleine schützen können. Wir brauchen die Unterstützung unserer europäischen Partner, um einen Grenzschutz aufzubauen, um die illegalen Migranten aufzuhalten und um uns vor Terroristen zu schützen. Helft uns unsere Grenzen zu sichern und die Migrantenflut über Libyen nach Europa zu stoppen.”

Minister Ghandour ist der Ansicht, daß eine Impfung besser sei als eine Operation und drängt daher auf präventive Maßnahmen als auf militärische Interventionen. Bezüglich der Koalition im Jemen, zu welcher der Sudan gehört, ist Ghandour pessimistisch: “Es gibt keine militärische Lösung für den Jemen.” Man sei aufgrund der engen Freundschaft mit dem Königreich Saudi-Arabien aber selbstverständlich immer dazu bereit, dem Königreich zu helfen, wenn dieses die Hilfe des Sudans brauche. Ghandour schätzt das saudische Königshaus sehr als Hüter der Heiligen Stätten des Islams.

Sudan is a safe country for tourists from all over the world

Sudan is a safe and great tourist adventure escape with scenic beauty, rich diverse culture, and historical sites to visit.

The International tourism fair Berlin (ITB) is the world’s leading travel trade show hosting 10,000 exhibitors from 180 countries. Sudan had a colourful presentation that got a lot attention by the visitors from all over the world. As Africa’s second largest country, Sudan is bordered by seven countries: Egypt, Libya, Chad, Central Africa, Eritrea, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Dr. Mohamed Abuzaid Mustafa M. Gameel, Minister of Tourism, Antiquities and Wildlife, who sees European countries as important markets for out-going tourism to Sudan, was visiting the ITB to highlight the rich and great potential of Sudan. According to the 58 year old Minister, “the Sudan as a tourist destination is unknown outside the country because most foreign media provide only a bad image of Sudan. Foreigners who live in Sudan know that the allegations against Sudan are not true. Sudan is a safe country.”

Indeed, Sudan is one of the safest countries of the Arab world and of the African continent. Sudan is much safer than Egypt, Tunisia and Libya and as safe as Morocco.

Sudan has a cultural diversity including a pentatonic music scale, rhythm and accompanying dances. There is an ethnic and linguistic conglomeration consisting of about 500 tribes speaking 60 languages.

Sudan is the place of the whole story of mankind from its first beginning millions of years ago until today with its contemporary friendly people of worm hospitality. The archaeologists Jacques Rein Old and Lech Krzyzaniak wrote: “The Sudan plays a direct role in the earliest stages of human evolution.”

Sudan is most famous for its eight national parks and many archaeological sites that present the ancient times of Nuba, Napata, Kerma, Meroitic and Kush civilizations and include hundreds of pyramids of the third millennium B. C.

The mountainous areas of Marra, Barkal, El Kurru and Nuba are great spots to hike and trek with clean air and breath-taking sceneries.

The Governor of the Red Sea State, Mr. Ali Ahmed Hamid, also visited ITB Berlin along with Minister Gameel.

Governor Hamid is highlighting Sudan’s 750 km shore and sensational beaches that are not overcrowded yet. “Along the Sudanese Red Sea coastline there are fantastic coral reefs and diving resorts”, Governor Hamid says and he is also pointing out the old Suakin Island from the mid-fifteenth century as a worthy tourist destination in this state. The buildings at Suakin Island are made of coral stones washed with lime and having a Turkish or Egyptian style. Suakin Archipelago host a wealth of marine biodiversity and species that are only endemic to the Red Sea.

Beside the shore, the Niles and other rivers are a major attraction and also provide a wide range of activities such as cruises, sport fishing, white water rafting, and bird watching. The Nile is surrounded with wonderful wetlands, which are inhabited all year round with thousands of bird species including some migratory birds.

The capital has several sights to offer such as the Camel Marekt Soug Abu Zeid held every Wednesday and Saturday in West Omdurman, Horse Racing at a trak in the Southern Part of Khartoum every Friday afternoon between November and July, and traditional folklore Wrestling Tournaments on Fridays in the Nuba community In the Al-Haj Yousif district.

Wider den Sanktionen: Für eine strategische Partnerschaft mit Sudan

Fluchtursachen können langfristig nur bekämpft werden, wenn Peripherie und Zentrum auf den Sektoren der Bildung und Forschung auf Augenhöhe kooperieren. Eine strategische Partnerschaft zwischen dem Sudan und Deutschland aufzubauen und Kooperationen zwischen deutschen und sudanesischen Universitäten zu entwickeln, sind die Hauptziele der Sudanesisch-Deutschen Konferenz für Hochschulbildung und wissenschaftliche Forschung, die am 7. März in Khartum durch den sudanesischen Vizepräsidenten Hassabo Abdelrahman feierlich eröffnet wurde.

Vizepräsident Abdelrahman lobte in seiner Eröffnungsrede die Bereitschaft Deutschlands, den Friedensprozeß im Sudan zu unterstützen. Die US-amerikanischen Sanktionen gegen den Sudan andeutend, betonte Vizepräsident Abdelrahman, der wissenschaftliche Austausch kenne keine Grenzen und solle allen Teilen der Gesellschaft offenstehe. „Der Sudan hat viele natürlichen Ressourcen und braucht die Unterstützung Deutschlands“, lautete Vizepräsident Abdelrahmans Schlußbemerkung.

Sumaya Abu Kushnawa, die sudanesische Ministerin für Hochschulbildung und wissenschaftliche Forschung, sagte anläßlich der Eröffnung der Konferenz: „Wir leben in einer Zeit, in der wir intensiv miteinander kooperieren müssen.“

Ismail Saed, Staatsminister für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten, lobte Rolf Welberts, deutscher Botschafter im Sudan, für seine aktive Arbeit im Sudan.

Ein sudanesischer Akademiker nennt in einem Gespräch am Rande der Konferenz Israel als Grund für die Ursache der US-amerikanischen Sanktionen: „Wir werden bestraft, weil wir die Palästinenser unterstützen.“

Hans-Ulrich Stork, Lehrbeauftragter an der Freien Universität Wiesbaden und Mitglied der deutschen Delegation erklärte am Rande der Konferenzeröffnung seine Solidarität mit dem sudanesischen Volk: „Der Sudan ist durch die US-amerikanischen Sanktionen in seiner wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung sehr stark behindert worden. Der Sudan in seiner religiös-gesellschaftlichen Struktur ist ein ausgesprochen friedfertiges Land. Die Konflikte in den vergangenen Jahrzehnten wurden in der Regel von Außen in den Sudan hineingetragen und hatten den Zweck, Rohstoffinteressen zu verfolgen.

Die Basis einer intellektuellen Zusammenarbeit als Keim dafür zu entwickeln, daß Ökonomie zwar wichtig, aber nicht nur entscheidend für eine friedlich demokratische Entwicklung eines Volkes ist, will diese Konferenz erreichen. Eine breit angelegte Ausbildung der Bevölkerung ist Basis für ein friedliches Zusammenleben und die Entwicklung der wirtschaftlichen Potentiale.

Es ist zu beklagen, daß in der Vergangenheit akademisch ausgebildetes Personal unter anderem auch aus wirtschaftlichen und auch aus beruflichen Interessen bessere Chancen im Ausland gesucht haben. Wenn wir hier im Sudan die wissenschaftliche Basis verbessern, haben wir dadurch die Chancen, diese Emigranten zurückzugewinnen.“

Stefan Böttinger, Professor für Grundlagen der Agrartechnik an der Universität Hohenheim, einer der fünf führenden landwirtschaftlichen Fakultäten der Welt, besuchte anläßlich der Konferenz erstmals den Sudan. Professor Böttingers Fakultät beteiligt sich bereits an landwirtschaftlichen Entwicklungsprojekten in anderen Ländern Afrikas und will nun auch im Sudan Forschungskooperationen eingehen. Professor Böttinger möchte sich im Sudan für die landschaftsökologische Bewahrung und Förderung von Biodiversität engagieren. „Die schonende Trocknung von Heilkräutern hilft die Inhaltsstoffe zu bewahren und somit das Einkommen von lokalen Produzenten zu verbessern“, beschreibt Professor Böttinger beispielhaft sein Tätigkeitsfeld.

„Sanktionen schaden dem Wissenschaftsbetrieb. Uns hilft der freie Austausch. Wenn wir helfen, Länder zu entwickeln und Perspektiven für die Ausbildung zu fördern, gibt es weniger Gründe wegzugehen“, kommentiert Professor Böttinger den Zusammenhang von Sanktionen, Ausbildungsqualität und Fluchtursachen.

Gastgeber der Konferenz, die bis zum 9. März andauert, sind das sudanesische Ministerium für Hochschulbildung und wissenschaftliche Forschung und das Sudanesisch-Deutsche Forum für Hochschulbildung und wissenschaftlicher Forschung.

Die deutsche Delegation umfasst 48 Teilnehmende.