Dateline: Omdurman, Training in Conflict Transformation
It’s 2010. Zafra explains her group’s role-play. Though she lives on Tutti Island, a delta created eons ago at the roiling intersection of the Blue and White Niles, she is from Darfur. She was part of the leadership of a group of Darfuri students and allies demanding that the Darfuris be allowed to write their exams with the same set of protocols that the rest of the student body enjoyed. It was discrimination, injustice, yet one more piled onto the heads of communities that had suffered since 2002 under the combined brutality of long-time dictator, Omar al-Bashir’s, military and paramilitary forces. The extended presence of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) had done little to decrease the number and intensity of the attacks.
Zafra’s group role-plays out student rallies, marches and class boycotts, shouting and holding signs stating their demands. As it wraps up, participants in this ten-day training in Conflict Transformation and nonviolent social/political change give them a round of applause and then want to know: what happened? Zafra lowers her head and says softly, ‘It failed.’ Or did it?