Washington Post | Sudan’s protests brought the nation to the brink of change. Now the U.S. must help.

Azaz Shami is a Sudanese American human rights advocate.

The peaceful revolution currently taking place in Sudan is not the first attempt to free the country from the grip of the military junta. It is part of a series of attempts over three decades that have been crushed by bullets and met with bloodshed, leaving citizens heartbroken and bereaved.

But not without hope. The Sudanese people are resilient. Time and time again, we have stood up, dusted ourselves off and learned from our mistakes. We have organized and drew from our heritage of collaboration, communal values and civic action. We have built our networks tirelessly and pushed back against one of the most notorious regimes in the region, eventually taking us to the brink of change.

The recent uprising, too, was met with a crackdown and live ammunition. Protesters were taken to detention, beaten and tortured — some even died as a result. Yet we continued demonstrating, and after months of popular protests, the Sudanese military toppledauthoritarian President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Awad Ibn Auf, a Bashir ally, then became head of state — but only for a day. On April 12, Ibn Aufbowed out as the protests continued, and another military leader, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, assumed power.

This change in leadership, however, does not mean that the battle for freedom and democracy in Sudan is over yet. The old junta has been replaced by a new one that could hold us hostage yet again.

The country is currently led by a transitional military council that contains members who have previously been implicated in atrocities in Darfur and other human rights violations. Though the council had promised to name a civilian prime minster and cabinet, it has clashed with protesters over the terms of a draft constitution, warned against demonstrations blocking roads and suggested that Islamic sharia law must be the basis of new legislation.

The new Sudan that my fellow Sudanese and I envision is democratic and prosperous, a source of stability in the region and a source of security for its people. It is a Sudan that utilizes its resources for development rather than for sale to the highest bidder. A Sudan that is an ally for global efforts toward development and international peace.

Yet it is becoming increasingly clear that the military leaders in power are not in favor of this true democratic transition.

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