Il blog di Italians for Darfur

giovedì, ottobre 09, 2008

Youtube censurato in Sudan: "What my friends know about Darfur? I have to say nothing."

Nella genesi quanto nello sviluppo di un conflitto, la componente mediatica assume un ruolo di primo piano, ed è per questo che essa è sottoposta a un rigido controllo da parte dell’autoritas. L’informazione, ma soprattutto la disinformazione, svolgono il delicato compito di guidare e sviare le attenzioni dell’una e dell’altra parte e settori importanti dell’intelligence militare vengono ad essa destinata.

Non deve sorprendere, quindi, se anche in Darfur diffondere notizie, attendibili o meno, e celarne delle altre è parte caratterizzante il conflitto non solo a livello regionale, ma anche a livello globale, permettendo la creazione e la conservazione di una permissiva indifferenza mal celata dai provvedimenti sovranazionali, destinati a restare sulla carta di chi li propone, e degli interessi nazionalistici delle superpotenze in corsa per il primato mondiale, che incidono, al contrario, sugli equilibri delle forze in campo.

Un caso esemplare del controllo dell’informazione operato da Karthoum in Sudan è la chiusura di numerose testate giornalistiche indipendenti.

Più recentemente, lo è la chiusura di Youtube in Sudan, una notizia che avrebbe destato clamore per altre parti del mondo, come per la Cina e il Pakistan, ma che in questo caso passa in silenzio nei media mainstream italiani e internazionali. Ne abbiamo parlato nel nostro blog diverse settimane fa, con le conferme di alcuni operatori umanitari italiani presenti nel Paese, e vogliamo saperne di più oggi, grazie a Ahmad Mahmoud, blogger sudanese e promotore di un gruppo di denuncia su Facebook.
Ahmad Mahmoud, 21 anni, vive in Sudan, Khartoum. Frequenta la SUST, Sudan University for Science & Technology, e nel suo tempo libero lavora in un internet café.

Hello Ahmad Mahmoud, You are the promoter of a Facebook group against the shutdown of Youtube in Sudan, few weeks ago. Why NTC shut down Youtube?

No one knows for sure, but rumors are it was shut for moral issues, some sudanese users posted videos with sexual content, most people believes its the moral corruption that led to the blocking of the site. But I really think it was blocked for political issues, videos have been posted about the atrocities committed by the Sudanese Army against the children prisoners of JEM May 10th Attacks on Omdurman, documentaries about the early days of the “Salvation Revolution” and its “Ghost Houses” were posted, simple funny cartoon videos about Omar Al-Bashir, etc. these videos and many more are the real reason for blocking the site. Which by the way is back online now.

Is Youtube interesting for a sudanese youth?

Yes it is, for entertaining and as a learning tool.

How do you think new media can help people to spread the world about their opinions on sudanese problems?

The interesting thing about new media is that it gives regular people a chance to speak their minds, and usually regular people don’t have an agenda of their own so what they say won’t be bound by certain lines, unlike the mainstream media (both here in Sudan and the ones in what’s known as The West) which tend to hide facts and oppress opposition to the official story. I think blogs and video services like Youtube give a great opportunity to the masses to learn a side of the story that they might not get from the mainstream media, and knowing is always good.

Is it the answer of sudanese youths to your facebook initiative good or do you think they could do more?

It was really great, actually I have to admit I neglected the group after finding out that we can still view Youtube through other servers (i.e. Canada’s Servers “”), but having a 1000 member in less than a week made me realize that Sudanese people care about their rights.

How much do you use internet and especially youtube to read and see news?

Almost everyday, usually I use Youtube for music, I love that it gives me a chance to follow my favorite underground artists who we don’t see on TV because their message is opposed to the mainstream media, they use Youtube and services like Myspace to spread their art and message.

Can sudaneses in your city easily gain access to internet or is not so widespread among the people?

It’s easy to get online in Sudan, Net cafes are almost everywhere, and DSL connection are easy to have at homes, and Mobile Phone Corporations compete to present Mobile Internet services at lo prices. I went to Shendi (200 Km. north of Khartoum) last summer and I could easily get online using my uncle’s laptop and a wireless phone, or just go out to a net café.

Also you are one of the first sudanese bloggers reporting the censorship. A lot of youths in the West world type in a blog, easily, but we know it’s not so easy in other sides of the world, like in Sudan, where internet has been checked by the national security forces. What are your impressions about? How do you appraise the freedom of press and speech in your country today compared with the situation in past years? And abroad?

Well, in past years, Local journalists could be arrested for publishing articles that the government see as harmful, this stopped after signing the Peace Agreement, and many newspapers were allowed to be printed after being blocked for almost a decade. But The “Salvation Government” still enjoys the ability to censor and cut what they want. Being a pure corporate fascist regime, security of that kind is really important for its maintenance.

What do you know about Darfur crisis and what do you think about the International Criminal Court genocide incrimination of President Bashir?

I really hated what International Criminal Court, they gave the Sudanese Government a golden opportunity to polish its image and it’s President Bashir’s. Sudanese People are mostly simple people, after the ICC’s request to arrest Al-Bashir, the government went on and on about how this is a targeting of Islam, and how it’s an insult to the Sudanese Pride and how if this happened the US will surly have it’s clutches around Sudan, blah, blah. It wasn’t more than propaganda and a pethatric attempt to make Al-Bashir worthy of the coming elections, because honestly, before this, nobody liked this idiot. But suddenly I hear people in the bus talking about supporting him against the ICC. He became a hero.

Is the situation in Darfur explained in sudanese media ? What your friends know about South Sudan and Darfur?

Well, you can read an interesting article from time to time about the situation in Anti-NC (National Congress, The Ruling Party) newspapers, but it wouldn’t go further, TV stations don’t really seem to care to inform the people of anything other than praising the government. What my friends know about Darfur? I have to say nothing.

Would you like to see the UNAMID mission (UN and UA mission in Darfur) deployed in Darfur to guarantee the peace in all Sudan, or do you think is a treath to the sovereignity of Sudan?

Nobody wants to see foreign soldiers in his homeland, but if they’re going to provide help to those who need it and were let down by their own government, then It’s really important to have UN mission in Darfur, even though the UN proved it’s not trustworthy.

Darfuri are muslims as in Khartoum, but a lot of mosques are destroyed and many muslims killed and women raped. In persecutors opinion, Darfuri are not “good muslims”. In your opinion, religion should be a public or a personal matter in your country?

Darfuris are poor and the different governments that ruled this country have neglected them for decades. This is a racial and a class problem I think, it have nothing to do with religion. here in Khartoum, Darfuri people are known for owning small grocery shops that don’t sell cigarettes unlike other shops owned by “arabs” (Smoking is said to be forbidden in Islam but the only ones who seem to obey this are the Darfuris).

In my opinion, Islam has been misinterpret by many different powers to serve these powers, and it reflects only on the powerless, history tell us how Nimiri (former President/dictator) applied the Sharia laws to find an excuse to get rid of the Communists. Sharia laws which was one of the main reasons of the North-South conflict that broke out for a long time. I believe religion should be separated from the State, it is a personal matter and should not be forced, this is exactly what Quran says, but that doesn’t serve the rulers, so they follow their own desires which end up destroying them. I want to end up this with words of a great person, Jimi Hendrix: “The world won’t know peace, untill the power of love overcomes the love of power”.


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