Less than a week ago — after nearly ten years of continuous work — the Sudanese Writers Union was shut down:
I should have an interview with Sudanese poet and cultural activist Mamoud Eltlib, about this and other cultural shutdowns, appearing shortly. Meantime, a statement from the Sudanese Writers Union:
On 29 January 2015, the Sudanese Writers Union, the umbrella of Sudanese Writers, was dissolved and its cultural activities banned with a one and a half lines message issued by the Registrar of the Cultural Groups of Ministry of Culture, Sudan, under which SWU is registered. Obviously, no tangible reasons were given. As a result, the SWU is banned indefinitely from carrying out any cultural activities under the laws of the land.
This step comes as no surprise. Recently and in a calculated and orchestrated manner several civil society, not-for profit, non-partisan cultural organizations were banned. The ban included Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, Khatim Addlan, Salma and the Sudanese Studies Centres to mention a few.
Similarly, this is not the first time the ruling regime bans the activities of the SWU. The SWU was among the first victims in 1989. Then, it was not only banned but assets confiscated and venue reallocated to one of the ruling regime crony institutions. The last ban continued for 16 years. After the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005, the SWU was reborn for the second time in 2006.
At this historic juncture, the SWU would like to thank all civil society organizations, the press and respectable personalities inland and abroad who showed concern and solidarity and denounced this unlawful, unjustified ban.
The SWU would like to state clearly that it does not approve or accept this ban, and condemn the way it has been carried out. The SWU would like to assure its members, associates, partners and friends nationally, international and regionally that it would pursue all possible means to regain the rightful status the Union deserves. With your support and solidarity, we would prevail; we would triumph over oppression; we would eventually celebrate the third rebirth of the Sudanese Writers Union.
The Sudanese Writers Union
February 1, 2015
What a sorry, sorry state if affairs the Arabs are in at the moment. Honestly, I don’t want us to move forward but to go backwards, to the tenth century, I’ll accept that. It seems to me we were better off back then.
And in terms of literary life, I’m sure we’d all enjoy the 10th century!
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