Sudan’s military may be trying to prevent word of its massacre of civilian protesters from getting out, but despite an internet shutdown, the word is spreading. To help draw attention to the cause, people on social media are turning their profile avatars blue and posting blue-themed artwork with the hashtag #BlueforSudan.
The color was chosen by friends of 26-year-old Mohamed Mattar, who was killed during an attack by security forces in Sudan at the beginning of June. Blue was his favorite color. The campaign gained traction thanks to Shahd Khidir, a Sudanese Instagram influencer and beauty blogger based in New York. In an Instagram post with a blue profile image, Khidir told her tens of thousands of followers about her friend’s murder and the campaign, telling the Cut that she wanted protesters’ voices to be heard in the face of the internet blackout in Sudan.
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It’s really hard being an influencer and sharing information that is “off brand” and not worthy of the “feed” but I cannot hold this in anymore. I am at my office crying because I have so many emotions in me and I feel horrible. There’s a massacre happening in my country Sudan’s and a media blackout and internet censorship for four consecutive days. There is no objective media sharing what’s going on expect for @aljazeeraenglish which had their offices shot down. My friend @mattar77 was MURDERED by the Rapid Support Forces. My best friend was in hiding on June 2 and that’s the last time I spoke to him. He was missing for 4 days and when I got in touch with him he said: “I was caught, beaten and abused and humiliated and arrested and had my phone confiscated from me. I am injured currently.” And all I could do this post this. I am sorry to all companies I am running campaigns with but my editorial calendar is currently on pause. I am willing to refund all and everything right away. Please, just send me an email. To my followers/supporters who this is too much for I am also sorry but my regularly scheduled content/reviews is also on pause. If this offends you, I am sorry. But I need to speak out and share this in a time like this. If you want to support me please share this information as widely as possible and don’t be silent. Be an ally because we need your help. And tune into my stories for more information. THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS BEEN SILENT. #sudanuprising #sudanese_protest #مجزرة_القيادة_العامة #عيد_شهيد #اعتصام_رويال_كير #اعتصام_القيادة_العامه #السودان @wawa_waffles @sudanuprising.updates #sudanrevolts #sudanuprising #iamsudan #iamsudanrevolution #sudanese #freesudan
The Guardian reports that the #BlueforSudan hashtag first started appearing in English on Twitter on June 11, and has quickly spread across Instagram and Twitter. Sudanese activists have been using social media as a rallying cry and to commemorate Mattar and others killed by the military or their paramilitary cronies—the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a group of Janjaweed militants best known for committing crimes against humanity in Darfur in 2003.
According to a report by Amnesty International, on the June 3 attack in Khartoum, the RSF “attacked sleeping protesters, firing live bullets and tear gas, setting tents on fire, and brutally beating protesters.” They are also accused of carrying out more than 70 rapes during an attack on a protest camp in the capital last week.
While the Sudanese military admits it ordered the June 3 crackdown that led to many deaths among nonviolent protesters—and promised that it will investigate—it shows no signs of relinquishing its hold on the government.
Spreading awareness is an important part of letting the military know that the world is watching, but there are other ways to help after you turn your social media profile blue. Start here.
The color blue, one of our martyrs (Mattar) favorite color, started as a tribute to him, now turned to a symbol of all our martyrs, and their dreams of a better Sudan.#BlueForSudan#IAmSudaneseRevolution https://t.co/3LMxrtBOvi
— Saad The Lion سعد (@Saad_Alasad) June 12, 2019
— Mohamed Abdelstar (@M_Abdelstar_12) June 13, 2019