Statement of Right to Nonviolence on nonviolent revolutions in Algeria and Sudan


RN hails the great achievement of the Algerian and Sudanese peoples in forcing, by a nonviolent struggle sustained with great discipline and courage over many weeks, the deposition of their respective dictators.


It was inevitable that, in both cases, the coup de grace would be delivered by the armed forces which, having kept the dictators in power and ruled through them, were at long last obliged to accept the reality of popular rejection. But that in no way gives those armed forces, and still less their leaders, the right to award power to themselves or to organize the next phase of the political process. Events in Egypt since 2013 have all too clearly demonstrated the fatal and foreseeable result of giving them any such blank cheque – and it is clear, from their continued resistance, that Algerians and Sudanese alike have understood that.


The next phase of the struggle will be the hardest, since the popular movements in both countries will need not only to maintain their unity and discipline, but to distil from among their own ranks a leadership in which they can have confidence, with structures to hold it accountable, so that it can faithfully represent them in articulating positive as well as negative demands – the end goal being, of course, the establishment without violence of genuinely democratic institutions and a regime that can retain genuine popular support even while managing the often frustrating realities of power.


If this can achieved, in two such important countries of the Arab west and south, democrats everywhere will celebrate 2019 as the spring not of one region only, but of the world.


13 April 2019

Edward Mortimer, Oxford          Chibli Mallat, Beirut            

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