Besieged: A 360 Experience In Sudan

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Besieged: A 360 Experience In Sudan
March 11, 2017

It’s the dry season in the Nuba Mountains, a time when the Sudanese government usually renews its offensive against the rebels holed up in the rocky fastness.

 

This season though, despite sporadic clashes, a ceasefire seems to be holding.

 

For Khartoum, there is an incentive to keeping the peace. The outgoing US administration of Barack Obama lifted economic sanctions in January, and a key condition of the six-month probation period until their permanent removal is a cessation of hostilities.

 

The rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) also have a point to make. They are keen to demonstrate to the international community their commitment to talks, and to the clearing of obstacles to aid access to the impoverished South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

 

Peace can’t come soon enough for the people of the Nuba Mountains. The conflict has disrupted farming in rebel-held areas, and, along with poor rains, has resulted in sharply reduced harvests. Food prices are sky-rocketing, and the crisis is forcing more and more people from their homes in search of aid.

 

Besieged: A 360º experience in Sudan's Nuba Mountains

 

The origins of conflict

 

The people of the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan live on the fault line between Sudan’s largely Arab north and its predominantly black African south.

 

Political and economic power in Sudan has historically been in the hands of a northern, Arabised elite. Since independence, the country’s marginalised communities have tried to resist that domination. The Nuba, numbering around 1.5 million, are a group of majority Muslim peoples, proud of their “African-ness”. They have faced long-standing discrimination as a consequence.

 

 

When the Second Sudanese Civil War erupted in 1983, the alternative message of equality and inclusion of the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and its charismatic commander-in-chief John Garang resonated with Nuba leaders. By 1987, an alliance had formed. Garang took the fight north through South Kordofan. The Nuba Mountains became a key rebel stronghold, and the government responded with a scorched-earth strategy that bore hallmarks of genocide. Jihad was declared, and a fatwa made it clear that Nuba Muslims were not to be spared either.

 

 

A fragile peace took shape between the north and the south in 2005, which led to a referendum and independence for South Sudan in 2011. But the contested areas of Blue Nile and South Kordofan were left under Khartoum’s control. Promised consultations on greater autonomy failed to materialise. As the world applauded South Sudan’s independence in July 2011, bombs were once again falling on the people of the Nuba Mountains. The conflict that still grips South Kordofan today was well under way.

 

About the project

 

This 360º film project was a collaboration between local Nuban organisations and foreign media. 

 

Directed and produced by London-based production company TFMdigital with support from Pax Christi, the film gives voice to the lived experience of people besieged in the Nuba Mountains.

 

The narration of Besieged: A 360º experience in Sudan's Nuba Mountains is composed of interview excerpts from more than a dozen civilians. You can download the full transcripts here.

 

The narration was recorded by the South Sudan Theatre Organization in Juba, South Sudan involving Sudanese and South Sudanese actors.

 

The scenes themselves are of real civilians in real situations and were filmed on location by Transformedia near the front lines of the conflict in the Nuba Mountains.

 

Virtual Reality at the Highest Level

 

Footage from the film Besieged: A 360º experience in Sudan's Nuba Mountains was used to provide high-level officials around the world the opportunity to take a "Virtual Reality Human Rights Mission to Sudan".

 

More than 600 officials took this Virtual Mission at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in New York, the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva (UNHRC), the African Union Commission on Human and People’s Rights (AUHPR) in Banjul, and in parliaments around the world. This work was partially funded by Amnesty International.

 

Virtual Human Rights Mission to members of the Bureau of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

 

How to watch in VR and 360

 

360º video allows you to be immersed in a scene, almost as if you were there.

 

You can watch 360º videos in three ways: by simply altering the position of your phone or tablet or by using your mouse to drag around the scene on your computer. To really bring the content to life, you can use a virtual reality headset.

 

You can experience Besieged: A 360º experience in Sudan's Nuba Mountains by using the YouTube app on headsets such as Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear. You can also use Google Cardboard.

 

How to watch on your phone without a VR headset

 

  1. Open the YouTube app on your smartphone and search for the IRIN News channel.
  2. Once you’ve selected the IRIN 360º video you would like to watch, turn your phone horizontally so it becomes full screen.
  3. Select the three vertical dots in the top right corner of the screen, then select ‘Quality’. Choose the maximum resolution for the best viewing experience.
  4. Now you can physically move your phone around or use your fingers to shift the perspective of the camera.

How to watch on your desktop

 

  1. Open YouTube on your internet browser and search for the IRIN News channel.
  2. Once you’ve selected the IRIN 360º video you would like to watch, select the ‘Settings’ icon in the bottom right corner, click ‘Quality’ and choose the highest resolution.
  3. Select the ‘Full Screen’ icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.
  4. Now use your mouse or trackpad to shift the perspective of the camera by clicking and dragging.

How to watch on your VR headset

 

  1. Open the YouTube app on your smartphone and search for the IRIN News channel.
  2. Once you’ve chosen the IRIN 360º video you would like to watch, select the ‘Settings’ icon in the bottom right-hand corner, click ‘Quality’ and choose the highest resolution.
  3. Click on the three vertical dots in the top right corner of the screen and select the 'Cardboard' icon. You’ll see the layout of the screen split into two circles.
  4. Turn your phone horizontal and place it into your headset.​

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