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Why some Sudanese back lecturer who beat students

Why some Sudanese back lecturer who beat students
From BBC - January 22, 2018

In our series of letters from African journalists, Yousra Elbagir looks at the reaction of Sudanese to a video of a male lecturer assaulting his students, and what it says about the state of women's rights in the country.

The New Year has started off with a bang in Sudan.

Civil unrest spread like wildfire across the nation. Protests have raged in cities from Khartoum to Port Sudan, sparked by the removal of subsidies, and other economic measures contained in the 2018 budget.

The price of bread and sugar has sky rocketed, the Sudanese pound is in free-fall following its devaluation by the country's central banks and there is a widespread fuel shortage.

Security forces have been accused of brute force, with dozens of protestors injured and reports of more than 200 detained. One student in West Darfur, Al-Zubair Ibrahim, was even killed.

Despite all of this, one incident has inflamed the popular imagination in Sudan, dominating conversations between family and friends.

Videos have circulated of Gasim Bedri - the prominent president of the first all-women university, Al-Ahfad - physically assaulting protesting female students on his campus on 10 January.

One particularly shocking video shows the university head walking in front of the demonstrating girls, then suddenly diving into the crowd, grabbing one by her headscarf and repeatedly striking her on the head.

The jaw-dropping video spread like wildfire, shared on Whatsapp, Twitter and Facebook and eliciting an astonishing response.

While many expressed anger and disapproval of his violent approach, others condoned his actions.

Some incorrectly stated that the video was three years old, in an effort to reduce its impact.

Some cited Gasim Bedri's illustrious career furthering women's rights and his family's famous legacy of educating and empowering Sudanese women.

Others said that he simply had the right to do what he wanted on his campus and that the girls needed to be disciplined.

Yousra Elbagir:

Some students and parents even argued that the girls were better off being struck by Gasim

Infantilised women

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