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For Her Country Athena wu, WSS Intern

On June 3, 2019, the Khartoum Massacre took place in the capital city of Sudan.

Protestors were dispersed with tear gas, and paramilitary forces opened fire on a sit-in in front of the Ministry of Defense. Residents shared videos of soldiers looting stores and raping women. Over 100 people were killed and their bodies thrown into the Nile. Rawan Ibrahim ‘24 and her aunt were protesting in another section of the city, just 2.5 miles away.

“Rawan isn't very open about what she believes in. But whatever it is that she believes in, she tends to support it very strongly.” says Kamakshee Kuchal ‘24, a close friend. Rawan wears a hijab, speaks perfect English, and is from Sudan. She fights for the rights of her people and freedom for her country.

Rawan was born in Sudan and immigrated to Philadelphia, then moved to Iowa. She is proud of being Sudanese and American.

“I feel like I’m different. Not everyone is part of two cultures. My biggest influence on me was when I came to America. Because it helps me live a better life. Because everyone that I know their education is like, really bad,” Rawan said.

According to Rawan, Sudan is wracked by problems, such as corruption and inflation. Rawan’s aunt, Randa Elmobark, protests these injustices.

“My role model is my aunt from my mom's side [...] She inspires me to think bigger. Since she's an engineer, I want to be a doctor. I want to be more like her because she wants better for her and her family,” Rawan said. “She loves her home. She loves her parents. She loves everyone,” Rawan's brother, Ibrahim Ibrahim '27 said.

Rawan's aunt frequently went on protests in Sudan. "[Elmobark] fights because there’s too many problems. It’s not just one or two problems. There’s several problems and she wants them to get fixed so they can have a better country. Sometimes people can’t afford to eat since everything is too expensive,” Rawan said. Sometimes she goes with her aunt to protest. “If we don’t do anything about [the problems], they’re gonna get worse” Rawan said. Her family often worries for Elmobark’s safety, but she keeps protesting anyway. “She never gives up when someone tells her not to do that thing. It doesn't get in her mind. She takes it away,” Ibrahim said.

"[ELMOBARK] fights because there’s too many problems. It’s not just one or two problems. There’s several problems and she wants them to get fixed so they can have a better country."

- Rawan Ibrahim '24

Corruption and inflation came to a head on June 3rd. A few months earlier, Omar al-Bashir, president of Sudan, was ousted by his generals after peaceful protests over cuts to bread and fuel subsidies that caused prices to skyrocket. His generals took power and wanted to keep control of Sudan instead of changing to a civilian administration. Protestors and the military tried to compromise, but meetings broke down shortly before June 3rd.

Ibrahim and her aunt headed to Burri, a section of Khartoum away from the Ministry of Defense where the main protest was. “It was really loud because everyone was yelling. And then the more people yelled, the more people came and joined us in the protest. . . . I felt proud to be doing this because it’s for the country and the country needs better things to it. But at the same time you felt unsafe because I knew there were some people being shot,” Rawan said. Ibrahim, who initially described Rawan as 'mean' said, “[She’s like my aunt] only when she protests.”

"I FELT PROUD TO BE DOING THIS BECAUSE IT’S FOR THE COUNTRY AND THE COUNTRY NEEDS BETTER THINGS TO IT."

- Rawan Ibrahim ‘24

The parties have since reached an agreement with power-sharing to last for 39 months with an equal number of civilians and military on the ruling council. This is another victory for Sudan and its people, and it could only have been possible through protesters like Rawan and her aunt. “Always fight for your rights,” Rawan said. “Because a lot of people don’t have any rights, but we should fight for them so we can get them.”