Statement of solidarity regarding Sudan, Zimbabwe and Kenya - January 18, 2019
To the Harvard community,
We ended 2018 in high spirits due to Ethiopia’s democratic triumphs. We hoped for a continuation of such wins in 2019. Lamentably, we have entered 2019 with heavy hearts.
Since the end of December, the people of Sudan have been revolting against the oppressive regime that controls the country, after being pushed by the ever-increasing prices of bread and fuel. Al-Bashir’s regime has been in power since 1989 and in this time, Sudan has witnessed incredible economic deterioration, a genocide in Darfur and the perpetuation of a war that led to the secession of South Sudan in 2011. Having been plunged into deep poverty, the Sudanese people went out into the streets to peacefully protest the regime. To this, the police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition. Further, the secret police launched a crusade against all protesters and notable activists to arrest and torture them. The death toll has risen beyond forty and continues to rise. Additionally, the government has cut off access to social media for several weeks now in an attempt to quell the people’s anger as well as their ability to organize with other Sudanese people and to broadcast their current plight to the world.
A few days ago, a similar situation arose in Zimbabwe. After Zimbabwe’s thirty-seven-year long dictator Mugabe was forced to resign in 2017, he was replaced by a similarly repressive government. Food and fuel shortages have led to civilian unrest, to which the government responded with an intense and violent crackdown on civilians. Additionally, the internet has been shut down to mask the government’s repression.
Just as well, a few days ago in a hotel called DusitD2 in Nairobi, Kenya, a terrorist attack was committed by extremist group Al-Shabaab. It is believed that at least 21 people were killed by men armed with guns and explosives. We strongly condemn the disdain for human rights and lives by the Sudanese and Zimbabwean governments and we hope to see a change towards democracy and respecting human rights across the continent. Moreover, in light of the DusitD2 attack in Nairobi, Kenya, the HASA board would like to urge the community to keep all victims and survivors in their prayers. This gruesome act of terrorism has broken apart many families and we only hope to see Kenya heal from this act of violence.
The HASA board would like to send out its thoughts and prayers to all Sudanese, and Zimbabwean, and Kenyan students, as well as to the rest of the African community in this trying time.
The Harvard African Students Association board