When America heard Sudan: Why people are turning their social media profiles blue – Washington Examiner
If you lived in Sudan, you wouldn’t be able to read this.
The country is under a “near total” internet blackout now as its military government attempts to quell protests that have been rumbling since December. The country’s longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir was forced out in April, but Sudan has struggled to gain stability in the time since. Recently, things got violent.
Celebrities and citizens have been turning their social media profiles #BlueForSudan, as the military crackdown that reportedly left 100 people dead has received little media coverage.
Protesters in Sudan may not be able to check social media, but people in the U.S. are trying to make sure their voices get heard. Musicians such as Demi Lovato, Cardi B, and J. Cole all added blue to their social media profiles, and Brooklyn-based beauty blogger Shahd Khidir explained why.
“There’s a massacre happening in my country Sudan’s and a media blackout and internet censorship for four consecutive days,” she wrote. “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.”
Fast Company reports that the color blue “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 massacre in Sudan has received little media coverage, especially, some noted, compared to the burning of Notre Dame Cathedral, an iconic landmark in Paris to which many people felt connected.
Yet the toll on Sudan is heavy — at least 60 dead by the mlitary government’s reckoning, and at 118 according to groups linked to the protesters, according to the Washington Post.
Changing social media profiles may not do much, but when the news is filled with political drama and events that we, as Americans, readily understand, it’s worth doing something to make more people aware.
This isn’t the first time a moment from Sudan has run through social media. A powerful photo of a woman standing up among protesters went viral in April, and photos like this, as well as viral social media campaigns, can help people have a little more empathy for something they’d otherwise have known nothing about.
“She was trying to give everyone hope and positive energy and she did it,” Lana Haroun, who took the photo, told CNN. “She was representing all Sudanese women and girls and she inspired every woman and girl at the sit-in. She was telling the story of Sudanese women. … She was perfect.”