The Dead Don't Fight Back

Published on 19 October 2023 at 23:23

Ahmed El Tayib ElSharief
Omdurman- September 29, 2023


From the beginning to the end:

The Paramilitary have been shooting at people young and old. They have no prejudices, they’ll kill anybody. We don’t make eye contact. If you do, they threaten your life with guns and batons. “Why are you looking at me?” They shoot and kill. When we hear gunfire and bombs going off, we hide under our beds for safety. People sleep under their beds. The ones that got away left everything behind. They threaten to cut us, shoot us, beat us, break our legs. Their egos are strong and full of violence. The overhead planes, the curfews (which seem to be 24-7), throwing civilians down on the ground, threatening, the beatings and killings of innocent civilians, it’s become the norm. Anyone and everyone are targets.


The dead don’t fight back.

Some were torn from their homes by force. Some escaped. Most people tried to abandon their homes.
They leave all possessions and hope to escape the brutality of the war. The RSF members, they actively look for civilians. The civilians run and hide. When caught, they drag them through the streets, beat and break them. They break their bones, and they break their spirit. Civilians, innocent people are killed by them. People hide where they can; in the rubble, in their homes, and under their beds.


The bombs ‘rip’ the limbs off innocent people. I’ve seen it. Body parts, arms and legs detached. The Paramilitary members assault people, kick them on the streets. They take your possessions; anything of value, wallets, phones, whatever you have left of you, they will take. This has become the norm, a common occurrence. The planes flying overhead, the violence and abusive nature of the RSF is now expected. We are in a constant state of fear. IF you talk, you die. If you fight back, you die. When confronted, we warn the people to stay quiet and to keep their heads down. Your next word can be your last word. If you lose your possessions, WHEN you lose your possessions, you’re considered lucky, because when they take you, they beat you, whip you, torture you in numerous ways. They beat you so violently that from hundreds of feet away, you can hear the screams.


I have seen such things; such dark and gruesome things.


There is something I have yet to explain. You couldn’t believe it. I am among the dead. I should be dead but here I am, alive.

You find yourself up against the wall or in a doorway with no idea as to how you got there. The loud noises and piercing sounds of gunfire shock you so that you either don’t move, or you have no idea how you were able to. The feral animals (dogs and cats) and strays, we generally stay away from. If they’re on one side of the street, we’re on the other. Now, the feral animals cling to us in fear, seeking protection.

Even they are terrified. If they see you, they will run to you for help. It is strange for me to see. Even the animals are in fear. Even they fear death. And death comes for many civilians here in Omdurman. People are buried in their homes, some on the side of the street. The bodies have been collected by hand, but most cannot be easily retrieved. Because of the various bombs used, the remains are gathered with assistance, by use of shovel. They are taken wherever possible to be laid to rest. People are now buried in elementary schools. They can’t go to cemeteries to bury their loved ones. We can’t bury the bodies we find. We can’t give them the respect they deserve. When attempting to go to the cemeteries, the RST either kick us out or kill for trying to bury your fallen. We can only do our best. If we can’t use a car to move someone, we use whatever possible. I’ve seen dead bodies on the back of motorcycles being moved for burial. Even in the outskirts, if a Hearst is used, the casket is removed by the Paramilitary, the body dumped on the ground, the family threatened by firearms and other weapons, and then removed. People aren’t able to recover the remains. So, we find other places to put our families at rest. At least, the lucky ones do. Some bodies are consumed by the stray dogs.


Is this really mankind?


God was watching over us. If God wasn’t protecting us, we would be dead. I would be dead right now. I was in the house and while walking from one room to another, a bullet pierced through the walls and towards my head. It grazed my ear. There is a scar there now. I swear it happened. I didn’t tell my family at the time because they would be in such shock and terror. Unbelievable. They would believe me if I told them over the phone. They needed to see my face when I told them, so I waited until I saw them in person. You see, I was on my way to the bakery, to get a piece of bread to eat (that is the entirety of the meal). I walked out of one room to the next, and I was grazed by a bullet. I walked through the hall to another room and just where I was standing, more bullets. They barely missed me. I could not believe it.


As soon as I moved, another followed. Everyone is firing at civilians. You can’t tell anymore if the firing is from the Sudanese army or if it’s the RSF.


The streets are dangerous. It’s difficult to get out. Blockades to the east and west. Soldiers at every turn. It’s dangerous traveling alone. You can’t take any possessions with you, no supplies, no weapons. It’s hard being on your own on the streets during an active war. If I had a phone, I’d show you photos and videos. We hide our possessions, especially our phones, so that they are not taken from us. We only use phones while indoors, where we can hide them.


Ahmed finally made it to his sister, Surayah’s, house in a northern area of Omdurman.


They chant and are very proud to inform us that the reason they are here, is to bring forth a democratic world. Ahmed laughs at the irony.


The Sudanese government contracted the RSF to pressure the public (agenda). The RSF organized a coup and began recruiting from other countries for their own political gain. By the time it ends, there will be no one left. The camels, the sheep, goats, chickens, they killed them all. This land will be completely bare.

We hear the sound of two missiles flying overhead over the phone


What was that. Those are missiles. Those are the weaker ones. There are louder and stronger missiles that fly over us. The Paramilitary is trying to take another state (where we are now), so it is progressively getting more and more violent. The Sudanese army knows about the RSF’s plans and location. We are hearing their attack. We can tell where the missiles are going and where they are coming from by direction at this point. However, the Sudanese army fires blindly and end up killing innocent civilians. I can hear machine guns, missiles, and grenade launchers. They have a distinct sound. Every day, we hear them overhead.

I had a contact with someone to help me pick up my passport, someone my sister, Aisha (whom is now in Egypt) knew. Get out now and find a way to pick up my passport safely later. I can pick up my passport in Port Sudan or further north at the Egyptian border. In Port Sudan, it could take days or week to receive your passport which means spending $100/day for room and board. There are currently no visas to Egypt either. Thankfully they are letting us in now, if we can make it.

Two more overhead missiles are heard in the background


We can see where they are shooting the missiles to; over to the ‘Kabri’; the major highway. It’s loud. We hear it day and night, 24-7. In ‘Ashira’ (where I live), it is so much worse. It’s the area where missiles are shot into. It’s coming right towards you. We hear the loud explosions and tremble.

Two more missiles overhead


From Al Ashara (Ahmed’s family home) to Hinadi’s house (where he just arrived):

The trip was difficult. I had to walk. No money, no way to drive, and no one to transport me. I had to hide under rubble. It’s a two-hour walk, through an active battlefield in a treacherous city. Hiding under rubble, avoiding areas, being invisible in a place where villains hunt you, fighting the fears within you and all around, the trip ends up taking about five (5) hours. I heard militants, rioters, people on the streets...I hid. Being spotted is death. In some areas I could see the paramilitary blockades up or where they’d gather. I avoid these areas. It makes the trip daunting.


The phone line cuts off. By the end of the day, we hear he is still alive.

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