Sudanese women: you can beat us but you cannot break us

Published on Pambazuka News, by Hala Alkarib, Oct 03, 2013.

Political Islam in Sudan remains very strong and manifests itself in floggings of Sudanese women that are justified by the constitution in the Indecent and Immoral Acts. Yet, Sudanese women remain defiant and resist these unjust and misogynistic laws.

While the anger is accumulating in Sudan and peaceful demonstrators are being injured and killed by the Sudanese regime forces, this comes as a natural result of years of injustices. Sudan has been exposed to the brutality of the dogmatic ideology of political Islam, and the people have been stripped of their dignity. The story here is just a tip of the iceberg. Sudanese women are the mirror of the cruelty and disparity imposed by the ruling regime.  

For 25 years now, women in Sudan have been flogged publicly. The current Sudanese regime’s ideology was clear from day one; terrorizing women – which amounts to paralysing a whole nation. Like all dogma in political Islam, the regime sat and agreed that the road to secure their position was through controlling women’s bodies, minds, existence and interaction in public. Their misogynistic ideology is based on women being problematic and in need of being disciplined and controlled: that women are both dangerous and the main instigator of immorality, equally responsible for all evil in society, hence the need to be told how to behave in public.



  • Forty-four year old Halima brews alcohol locally and sells it to men from all over Khartoum. She is the breadwinner of her family of six children and two elderly parents, all of whom depend on her for their care. She said she has been flogged and jailed many times, ‘every time they come they take away the alcohol, re-sell it to consumers or they drink it, and beat me for making it.’


  • Amena, 56 years old, sells tea next to a private hospital. She says, ‘they keep taking my kettle and cups all the time, sometimes they flog me, or if I have some money I give it to them. These days I have found a place next to the graveyard to sell my tea. I still get customers, but the police rarely come close to me – I think the dead in our country are more powerful than the living.’
  • The tales of these women reflect more or less how millions of Sudanese women are living.


  • Hundreds of women flocked to court to attend Amira Osman’s trial, a Sudanese activist who was charged under Article 152 for not covering her hair with a scarf. Her trial has now been postponed until 4 November 2013. These women will not give up their humanity and dignity, despite the whip being held to their heads.
  • The battle against Sudan’s public order regime, which has been infused within the criminal code of the country, has been going on for years across the country. This regime has been utilized to repress women, to compromise their livelihoods, to impoverish them, to limit their participation in public life, sport, cultural activities and mobility, as well as to limit their political participation. The Sudanese discriminatory laws and the public order regime are affecting communities for generations to come by imposing the subordination of women in the mindset of the younger generation, and hence taking away any potential for progress and peace.

(full text).

(Hala Alkarib is the Director of the Strategic Initiative for women in the Horn of Africa SIHA).


US: Unprovoked police attack against peaceful protest by CUNY students and faculty against ex-Gen. David Petraeus, on Dissident Voice, by Paul Haeder, October 8, 2013;
David Howell Petraeus on en.wikipedia with it’s External Links;

(see also: Welcome to our new blog: politics for the 99%).

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