#BlueForSudan: What You Must Know & How You Can Help

Rashmi Bhosale , 18 Jun 2019

If you spend any time on social media you would have recently seen #BlueForSudan spreading like wildfire. This movement was sparked in reaction to the current political and humanitarian crisis in Sudan, which started as a pro-democracy protest against the autocratic rule but has alarmingly turned into a militia-led massacre. The Sudanese government imposed media ban and complete internet blackout in the country has made it essential for others to bring the situation to the limelight and to create awareness about the crisis. Here are a few key pieces of information about the movement, why it matters, and how you can get involved to make a difference.

How did it all begin?

The current situation trigger is stated to have begun in December 2018 with protests against former President Hassan al-Bashir, whose government was in charge for about 30 years. The pro-democracy protests were focused against his autocratic rule and demanded the immediate resignation of al-Bashir. During this protest, state forces took to violence like firing live ammunition at the protesters and police using tear gas. Early accounts also showed brutality by soldiers to curb the women protestors by beating them up in public and even raping them. Dozens were killed in these atrocious acts against the protestors.

It was reported that the protest reached its peak on 6th April 2019, when the demonstrators put pressure on the army by protesting in front of the military’s headquarters in Khartoum. On 11th April 2019, it was declared by the military that the president has been overthrown and arrested.

What happened next?

The Transitional Military Council (TMC) took control after al-Bashir resigned from his post. But even after his downfall, the protests continued in front of the military headquarters that demanded a civilian government. On 15th May 2019, there was an agreement between the military and the protestors that a three-year transition period is required for a fair election and a new civil administration and government to be established.

What went wrong?

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On 3rd June 2019, the TMC suspended the negotiation and announced a fresh election to take place in nine months. Violence against the protestors ensued in the capital, and since then has intensified by extreme acts that have led to the death toll reaching the hundreds and rising. The pro-democracy demonstrators reportedly announced civil disobedience with a general strike. Markets and even some hospitals are now closed in an attempt to put pressure on TMC.

What’s #BlueForSudan?

The hashtag #BlueForSudan started gaining traction on social media. The story behind the colour is associated with a 26-year-old named Mohammed Hashim Mattar. As reported by CNN World, Mohammed was martyred during the crackdown that took place in Khartoum on 3rd June 2019. Blue being Mohammed’s favourite, in his honour, his family and friends put it up as their profile picture. The colour soon was associated with all Sudanese martyrs.

Why is it important to speak up?

Because of the media ban in Sudan, people took to social media to talk about the Sudan uprising and the current situations like the highlight posted by Amnesty International. So, awareness through social media has become utmost important. The voices of the people from Sudan can now only be heard through our collective efforts and correct information dissemination. It is also essential to keep the conversation going so that an issue like this one doesn’t remain unresolved.

Here’s how you can make a difference

Awareness is the key when it comes to a global crisis like this one, and it’s important to seek out the right kind of information while avoiding internet hoaxes. We recommend following the news from reputable media sources like CNN World, BBC Network and Al Jazeera who have journalists present on the ground.

You can donate via UNICEF to help out the children in Sudan and also via the World Food Programme. There is also a fundraising campaign started by the University of Khartoum Alumni Association in North America to provide food, water, and medical care for the people of Sudan.

Be extra vigilant of social media gimmicks that are taking advantage of this situation. An Instagram account, @SudanMealProject, was one such instance that asked followers to repost their stories to send one meal to Sudanese children. The only result it achieved was that it gained more followers. Later the profile removed the post and changed its bio. Be aware, and report pages and profiles immediately if you find them evidently unconvincing.

We’re joining in the #BlueForSudan social media movement to create more awareness and changing our profile pictures across our social media platforms for 24 hours.

#BlueForSudan
#BlueForSudan

Please do let us know in the comments below if you know any other authentic way in which we can all help out.

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