ArtsDear Sniper

Dear Sniper

A journalist & academic with a Ph.D. in applied linguistics. He works in various fields; teaching, translation, editing, writing for digital newspapers, and human rights defense.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The poem by Dr. Ahmed Gumma Siddiek

“Snipers were everywhere on the rooftops and we could not stay there.”_ A resident of Khartoum.

I am so fond of your high skill
The way you shoot and kill
How can you aim at my very head”_
A Sudanese university professor and poet.

Snipers on the rooftops of Khartoum have been an important feature since the first day of the outbreak of fighting in Khartoum. They are critical in the months-long conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). These warring parties are using the tactics of sniping to gain the upper hand with minimal losses. However, the civilians are the hardest hit in these military tactics, and the deployment of snipers in residence buildings forces them to flee their homes. The warring parties invade hospitals, government buildings and civilian homes and use their roofs for sniper attacks.

Different sniper rifles are being used, namely: Dragunov rifle, a Russian semi-automatic designated marksman, the G3, a German selective-fire automatic weapon that employs a roller-delayed blowback operating system and M16, a family of military rifles adapted from the ArmaLite AR-15 rifle for the United States military.

The SAF has a sniper unit in the Special Operations Brigade, numbering hundreds. The RSF appears to be superior to the snipers of the SAF, with thousands of soldiers. Their background lies in the peripheries in nomadic areas where they were brought up, their strategy of fighting is to hunt and rob.

RSF snipers made a big difference in its control over the camps of the armed forces’ military base Al-Shajara. While the SAF made remarkable progress in Omdurman by using snipers in the neighborhoods of Wad Nubawi, Al Omda and Abourof. Civilians stand as targets for snipers. Many civilians were wounded and killed by the snipers of both warring parties.

 Tarig Abdulrahman(not his real name), a 25 years old member of Khartoum Eastern Dame resistance committee tells his story of how they fled Khartoum with his family because of snipers as:  “My family and I lived in a house in Alkalakala. But then my brother was shot in the head by a female sniper of RSF. We left our area because of airstrikes and bombing, but in particular because of the snipers who were everywhere.”

Targeting and forcing the civilian residents to leave their homes and then use their residences for sniping as a military tactics are war crimes in international law. Both warring parties have put civilians in harm’s way by establishing bases and operating weapons systems in populated residential areas, including schools and hospitals. Like Tarig and his family, many Sudanese were forced to leave Khartoum and other towns. Nearly 7.1 million people are internally displaced or left the country.

Dr. Ahmed Gumma Siddiek, a (77) years old Sudanese university professor and poet writes a poem entitled “Message to A Sniper” and it goes as:

Why do you disguise in
that disgraceful mask
Hiding on the rooftop
To do your hateful task
And carry out your dirty job

Why don’t you come down?
And shoot me on the ground
In the muddy streets of my town
Come down

Then your shot will go straight
to the right place
to my head or my face
Or you can aim your gun to my chest
And report your boss with the case!
Then take some rest
For another round
But just come down to the ground

You may have another choice
Where you can raise your gun and your voice
When you come down,
We’ll meet face to face
Then you can send your gunshot into my eye
To make me die
But on the muddy streets of my town
So, please come down
You can aim at my head
come down to the ground and shoot
And tread on my feet with your holy boot
And I will not run
But kiss the mouth of your gun
Then  we can play the game of cat and rat
I will never run or give my back
So, you will never miss my track
To kill me with cold blood

I am so fond of your high skill
The way you shoot and kill
How can you aim at my very head
from such a distance?
And make your shot rest
between my eyes or my chest?

Do you have any idea about the guys
You put your shot between their eyes?
Do you know their names?
Have you ever played with them any games?
Have you ever been acquainted with her or him
Do you know your victims
That you shoot from that place?
Or you just guess!
Then trigger and press
Your gun and randomly kill anyone,
Then you report the “mission is done”

I am really fond of your high taste of selection
Killing doctors at a time or terminating teachers
Are they human beings or they are mere creatures?
Those who you pick out their souls
With a five-pounds bullet of ammunition
Do you have any idea of their education?
Where they went to college
To study science and gain the knowledge
In teaching or medicine
Some treat your kids,
others help them learn and read
And move from stage to stage
And develop through the age

I know how you have been trained
To use the Kalashnikov
Or shoot with the Molotov
But we know of Pavlov
His theory of Classical Conditioning
Through which you have been trained
Like a dog to bite or kill
In cold blood but with high skill

We know how you have been conditioned
Not to say YES or NO
Because you don’t know
But trained to shoot in the eye
And make a laugh of victory when someone will die
But you are not aware of the curse
That is sent at your face
And despite your gun, spider
your victims remain the winners of the race

Dr. Ahmed Gumma Siddiek

Dr. Abdelmonim Ali
Dr. Abdelmonim Ali
A journalist & academic with a Ph.D. in applied linguistics. He works in various fields; teaching, translation, editing, writing for digital newspapers, and human rights defense.

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