The sea of blue display pictures on both Instagram and Twitter have caused much confusion over the past couple of weeks, and with the UK media reporting the absolute bare minimum on the Sudanese crisis, it’s easy to understand why. The particular shade of indigo was the favourite colour of 26-year-old Mohammed Hashim Mattar, who, on the 3rd of June, was shot by security services in Sudan. Although it began with just close friends and family, the colour has now become a symbol of the country’s pro-democracy revolutionaries and the tragic massacre of over 100 peaceful protestors.
The tragedies of the 3rd of June stem from the Sudanese economic crisis of December, during which the price of bread tripled, and a mass movement for the resignation of the country’s dictator, Omar al-Bashir, was instigated. Al-Bashir was a strict military ruler who was Islamist backed and had ruled since 1989.
Then, beginning on the 6th of April, hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protestors organised a sit-in outside Khartoum’s military headquarters, resulting in al-Bashir finally being overthrown, and initiating discussions between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Forces for Freedom and Change (representing pro-democracy protestors). However, discussions soon reached a standstill, and on the final day of Ramadan (June 3rd), Rapid Support Forces (RSF) were sent onto the streets to regain control. Although numbers are uncertain, 112 people have been officially reported dead, not including the 40 bodies pulled out of the River Nile. There have also been reports of RSF members raping of both women and girls, which have unsurprisingly been denied by the TMC.
The RSF is now essentially in control of Khartoum, and are arresting, beating and ‘symbolically scalping’ any potential threats to power. Additionally, all signs of revolution have been eliminated, with murals and street art being painted over. Following the massacre, the TMC also shut down the internet across the country in the interest of ‘national security’, meaning that many of the pro-democracy activists are now completely cut off from communications. It is for this reason, that so many public figures, and likely your peers have been spreading awareness, via arguably the most significant platform today, social media, and why I would urge you to do the same, and not let this devastation go unheard.
Words by Charlotte Bresh