Throughout the last days, social media users around the world changed their profile picture to a simple blue pattern.
The #BlueForSudan has already reached around 30.000 contributions so far on Instagram, with the movement starting to grow day-per-day.
Before we start to look for why this hashtag has become an example for revelations of crimes in third-world countries, I‘d like to share with you the timeline of the Sudanese civil war to date:
For the last 30, Sudan was ruled by one man: Omar al-Bashir, founder of the National Congress Party that was dissolved after the military takeover on 11 April 2019.
Al-Bashir joined the military himself in 1960 and was active in the Yom Kippour War in 1973 against Israel.
In 1993, after rising through the ranks in the military, he led himself a military coup against then-reigning Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi which left him in full power of both military and executive as well as the legislative power.
As most dictators in this era, al-Bashir reformed the political system, restricted powers of potential forming of oppositional parties and held corrupted elections to legitimate his reign as a dictator.
Under his presidency, Sudan had ongoing issues between their numerous tribes, and in 2008, the International Criminal Court, or ICC, showed evidence that al-Bashir was behind plans to destroy tribes via genocide.
“For over 5 years, armed forces and the Militia/Janjaweed, on AL BASHIR orders, have attacked and destroyed villages. They then pursued the survivors in the desert. Those who reached the camps for the displaced people were subjected to conditions calculated to bring about their destruction. AL BASHIR obstructs international assistance. His forces surround the camps. One victim said: “When we see them, we run. Some of us succeed in getting away, and some are caught and taken to be raped — gang-raped. Maybe around 20 men rape one woman. […] These things are normal for us here in Darfur. These things happen all the time. I have seen rapes too. It does not matter who sees them raping the women — they don’t care. They rape girls in front of their mothers and fathers” (Press Release from the ICC in 2008)
Even after proving that al-Bahir was behind these war crimes, the African Union, League of Arab States as well as Russia AND China rejected these allegations made.
Fast forward to 2019: After multiple months of protests and civil uprisings, the military took over the government and al-Bashir was arrested and sent to prison between 11 and 17 April. Opposing parties in the Sudanese Coup d‘État are the Government of Sudan and the Sudanese military under orders of General Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf.
After the military took over, several Sudanese activists, including those of the Sudanese Professionals Association and the Sudanese Communist Party, denounced the military transitional council, regarding fears that the military would lead the country and its people in the same way, but with different people that are in charge. The activists demanded that power be handed over to a civilian government.
The military agreed in a first instance to make a transition to a civilian-led government, but the reality is: Protestors that want the process to speed up are being intimidated and eventually attacked by the military.
I will leave you a video posted by the BBC that explains the newest developments with images.
In order to raise awareness about the situation in Sudan, people started the #BlueForSudan movement which is circulating for a few days on social media.
Sudan has been in a state of emergency since the beginning of June. Although the freedom of the local press is enormously restricted, news about the violent clashes is spreading all over the world thanks to social media. More and more people are expressing their solidarity with the people in Sudan – and coloring the profile pictures of their social media accounts blue. It is not only a sign of support, but is also intended to draw attention to what is happening
Blue is said to have been the favorite color of 26-year-old Mohamed Mattar, who was shot by the military while trying to protect two women. According to media reports, his friends then colored their profile pictures blue and showed increasing solidarity with them. The Internet community now calls the color “Mattar Blue.”
Let‘s hope that a peaceful solution can be found throughout the following weeks and that the people of Sudan get what they deserve after years of tyranny and wars: Peace.