According to one guy dressed in a blue and red superhero costume, violence and arrests will not stop Sudan’s youthful activists from confronting the military who “stole our revolution.”
“The ‘Spider-Man’ of Sudan,” who cannot be identified for his safety, has become a symbol of demonstrations that began in October, according to a new Guardian documentary. He and other activists face tear gas canisters, water cannon, and frequently live bullets while wearing his increasingly torn suit and mask.
Security personnel, who have also been accused of sexually abusing women and chasing down dissidents, murdered his boyhood buddy during the riots.
He took up the suit as a tribute to his friend, less as a disguise than as a symbol of both his loss and the story they had heard as children about the spider who protects the Prophet Muhammed and his companion by spinning a web across the mouth of a cave they were hiding in, preventing their enemies from looking inside.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in 2019 to demand the removal of dictator Omar al-Bashir and the establishment of a transitional government, which was overthrown in a military coup in October 2021.
“Sudan’s revolution was stolen by the military and counter-revolutionary groups.
They are just like the previous administration of 30 years – there is no difference between them and [Bashir’s] National Congress,” he claimed. “They are dictators who merely seek power.”
Spidey was videotaped both during the demonstrations and in his second profession as a self-taught scientist who teaches robotics to children.
Spidey and his fellow activists spoke about how they felt connected with Sudanese people in their objective to oust the military, whatever of the violence committed against them, during a covert gathering of a resistance group organising localised activities throughout Sudan.
“Every day is like this,” Spidey replied, “the night comes and the night departs.”
“By God’s grace, we are still alive. We are still trying to liberate the country, but we are not afraid. Sudanese people, all of them, will continue to confront security forces and gunshots.” According to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, a pro-reform organisation, at least 95 people have been murdered in protests since October, with security personnel increasingly deploying shotguns on crowds, resulting in large numbers of injuries.
Spidey has become a symbol of the country’s attitude, according to filmmaker Phil Cox.
His unusual clothing seemed to invigorate demonstrators and embody resistance, while his teaching career, like many other social and cultural activities, was propelled by the 2019 movement.
“What people were creating was quite great – digital start-ups, creative collectives – but they’re now under attack from the military,” Cox added.
Many of those young activists were furious and wary of individuals in authority, especially foreign negotiators, when the revolution in 2019 was overturned, he added.
“They believe the spotlight has shifted and they’re on their own, and they’re not backing down… They believed, tried, and believe the international community would disappoint them once more.”