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5th April 2020

Sudan: Christmas Celebrated Publicly for First Time in Ten Years

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“This time is special, not like previous years,” Simon Kunda, a 16-year-old student from the Nuba Mountains, told Middle East Eye. 

“It’s peaceful, enjoyable and very special that Sudanese youth from different religions are celebrating together.”

Public Christmas celebrations had been cancelled by former President Omar al-Bashir since the secession of Christian-majority South Sudan in 2011. 

He was ousted in April after months of protests by a popular movement that advocated for greater equality in Sudan among ethnic and religious groups. 

Bashir was accused of building an Islamist-focused state around an Arab elite that dominated and sidelined other groups in the diverse country and faced resistance throughout his rule from rebel groups that advocated for a secular state. 

At Khartoum’s oldest church, St. Matthew’s, which sits by the Nile river, thousands of Christians celebrated by singing, dancing and chanting revolutionary slogans and praise for Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. 

Some said this was the first time they had been allowed to celebrate publicly since South Sudan’s independence. 

“I’m so happy today because the situation is improving, and it’s really good for us that it’s an official holiday for the Sudanese – not just for the Christians,” ​​​​​​said Nyaball Ezikel, a South Sudanese woman living in Khartoum, who described it as the best Christmas in the 30 years since Bashir took power.

“This is also a good step towards the unity of the Sudanese people,” Ezikel said. 

Source: Middle East Eye

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