Online videos showed violent clashes in Sudan one street over from my parents' house

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Audio Transcript:

Marco Werman: Hana Baba is a Sudanese American journalist living in San Francisco. She's been following social media to see what Sudanese are saying about the unrest in their country. So what are you seeing from inside Sudan, Hana?

Hana Baba: Well, what I'm seeing is really frustrating. You know, I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is go on Facebook, go on Twitter to find out what's happened overnight. And every morning it seems that things are getting worse. People are frustrated, including, you know, members of my family and my friends, their statuses have been constantly, you know, we're done with this regime, we want freedom. It's overflowing with photos of people who are injured and people who have been killed. And to the extent that I really have to kind of make sure my kids aren't around kind of thing, my father's family is in a neighborhood called Burri, which is where the pharmacist Salah Sanhouri was killed and that's where his family is from. So that part of town, where my grandmother's house and my aunts all live there, has just been really chaotic. They've been out in the streets almost every day and therefore, you know, security forces and the police have been there since that day when he was killed. I had a cousin who just like opened the door and left to get some bread or something and as security guy stopped him and hit him on the head, what are you doing here, what are you doing out this time of night? It was like 8:00. So you know, it's just really starting to touch the lives of people who are like me, expats or Sudanese Americans or Sudanese British people in Britain or wherever else, in a very personal way.

Werman: Hana, you're going online to see this stuff, on Facebook and Twitter. I'm just curious, who's got online access in Sudan? Are the people who have it middle class?

Baba: Right, middle class, upper middle class and definitely the upper class, which a lot of Khartoum is. See, the interesting part is that Sudan's crises in the past have been kind of far from the center, you know, all the way in Darfur or in the south. And for example, me, my American friends would ask me, you know, whenever I go to Sudan for vacation, they would be like are you sure you want to go there, is it safe? And every single time I would have to explain no, we're in the capital city, it's safe place, the problems are far away from where we are. And this time I can't say that anymore.

Werman: I mean aside from the kind of inauguration of South Sudan as the world's newest nation and the headlines from Darfur some years ago, it isn't really in the US consciousness all that much. Hana, are you finding that people here understand what's going on in Sudan?

Baba: I am in public radio. I work at a public radio station in the bay area in California. I think that's as, you know, cultured and progressive and global as it can get, and still many, many people have no idea what's going on in Sudan. So you know, part of my job as kind of the only Sudanese, Arabic speaking Muslim woman in my newsroom, is to kind of take on that role of ambassador. I find myself in that role and just helping people understand what's going on, unpacking the headlines. So yeah, I mean even here in the bay area I'm having people, I'm having trouble.

Werman: Hana Baba, a Sudanese American journalist based in San Francisco, thanks so much for your time.

Baba: Thank you, Marco.

Werman: Hana has also written a blog about how the recent news from Sudan really hits close to home, how the news affects her and other Sudanese expats. You can read it at pri.org.

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