Omar al-Bashir : “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred in their bones”

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If there is one thing about history, it is the fact that often the evil acts of human beings are more easily remembered than their good deeds. Secondly, human beings have repeatedly failed to learn from history or use it as a mirror of correction, despite this obvious reality that human’s bad deeds are often judged harshly by history. How true is this in Mark Antony’s speech in William Shakespeare Julius Caesar? A lot. Even though William Shakespeare wrote his classic play in 1599 the plot of the masterpiece, still bears resemblance to our today’s world. Sadly, it is difficult to see what has changed in human behaviour today since the year 1599.

Welcome to our present world, full of ambition, conspirators, praise singers, sycophants, tyrants, ruthless power-thirst and attempt to remain in power indefinitely. It has been often the dictatorship that gives rise to manipulation, coercion, intimidation, all which help write history. Often, victors (re)write history; we see this immediately after Caesar’s assassination, and in most cases, victors try to re-write history to their advantage. 

Follow me to Sudan. When Sudan’s Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir took power in 1989 in a coup, to become the seventh President of Sudan, he had the chance to re-write the history of Sudan and correct the past ills so that his “good is oft interred in their bones.” But Omar al-Bashir preferred rather, to create a situation and rewrite the history of Sudan so that his evils shall continue to live after him. While an average Sudanese was mercilessly dying of hunger, former President al-Bashir was busy stocking his bedroom with millions of dollars of State money. Neither lamentations, appeals, warnings, sufferings and deaths of Sudanese could change the heartless heart of President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir. Those who meant good for Sudan and tried to tell the President the truth were regarded as enemies. Opponents were either bought over, incarcerated or eliminated, depending on one’s level of fastidiousness or threat to the authority of al-Bashir.  

But nothing lasts forever. Often, dictators, conspirators, traitors, get their rewards because their treachery deeds remain unforgotten. Following the alleged atrocities committed in Darfur, the unwelcome legal hammer of the International Criminal Court (ICC) would soon knock at Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir’s door. But the former President of Sudan knew how to play the African politics, otherwise, how could he have managed to stay in power from 1989 till 2019? Yes, that “blood is thicker than water” politics. The politics of nepotism. The divide and rule politics game. Suddenly, African leaders had all become “brothers” in the eyes and vocabulary of al-Bashir. You must be your brother’s keeper” – especially in the hands of “imperialistic” ICC, which allegedly targets only African leaders to achieve the western control over Africa. Soon President al-Bashir could move around and visit many African countries unhindered, un-arrested, untouched despite the ICC warrant of arrest on his head. But sometimes, the law is thicker and stronger than blood.  

It took a protest against the high cost of bread – a staple food – in Sudan to dismantle the once feared and brutal regime of al-Bashir. Who could have convinced al-Bashir that a mere protest over the high costs of bread could end his long reign? For a once fearless fox who had fought and won all giants and survived many years of the western sanctions, such a thought would have been unthinkable. But when death is about to kill a dog, it does not allow it to perceive its poop. All is now history. Now that the brutish Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir is placed in a cage like a bird and denied freedom, as he did with many of his opponents, history is being written and his deeds are remembered.

Back to Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Anthony warns Caesar’s murderers that their acts will be remembered in the history; it is up to the murderers to look back to the history and do good so that their actions shall be judged well and remembered after their death. Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir is gone; he has left a bad legacy behind. Will the new leaders in Sudan learn from history and make corrections? Do they know that their actions will be judged by Sudanese who love their country? Whatever legacies the new leaders leave behind, their deeds will follow them to their graves. It is time for the Sudanese leaders to grab this historic moment and correct the past. For sure: those who have committed evil deeds are often remembered for their evil deeds.

“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred in their bones”