OPINION: We need to help Sudan, but is turning your profile picture blue helping?


Social media users have been changing their profile pictures blue to raise awareness of the crisis in Sudan. Madelyn Powers

After months of killing and bloodshed, the Sudan crisis has just recently started gathering attention mainly due to a surge in Instagram-based activism.

But first, what is the Sudan crisis?

Sudan is one of the largest countries in Africa, and its dictator Omar al-Bashir was arrested and overthrown in a military coup.

Bashir was known to be a ruthless dictator for his killings; there was a warrant issued for Bashir's arrest for genocide in Darfur.

The Sudanese government has been responsible for supporting the Janjaweed, which is an Arab militia that has been backed by the Sudanese government. The Janjaweed are also responsible for the Darfur rapings and genocide, which led to an estimated 200,000-400,000 killings.

In response, civilians started protesting his leadership towards the end of 2018, and many died in the process. Eventually Bashir was overthrown in a military coup and arrested.

A transition of power was promised to the people, but that's not quite what happened. With tensions high and the death count rising, people are ready to start taking action.

Many Instagram users have been changing their account pictures blue, raising awareness of the crisis in Sudan.

Blue was the favorite color of Mohamed Mattar, who was an activist that was shot and killed while protesting for democracy.

However, there has also been a steep rise in fake Instagram accounts claiming that they will send a meal to Sudan for every person who puts the blue picture on their story.

“It’s incredibly difficult to send meals to Sudan,” said UNICEF communications specialist Joe English to The Atlantic.

It is essential for social media users to be aware of fake accounts just looking to draw in more followers. Additionally, it should be kept in mind that these accounts may not have any way of sending meals to Sudan.

The U.S. government has started to take action, too, by appointing a diplomatic veteran to help the Sudanese people gain political justice. Donald Booth is an envoy to help Sudan as much as possible. Booth has worked with Sudan by being an envoy from 2013-2017 within the country.

However, there are ways to help Sudanese people get the meals they need during this harsh time. People can also call their state representatives and voice their opinion regarding the Sudan crisis.

Additionally, there are a number of different verified organizations that can be utilized to help Sudan where people can donate.

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