I don’t really describe myself as a political/human rights reporter but the recent events in Sudan have led me to appreciate my platform in a slightly different way. The humanitarian crisis that is currently unfolding, and the severe lack of reporting by many major media networks, has prompted me to view my position – as a somewhat budding writer – as one of influence.
I’ve also learned that to have a platform to project your voice is an extreme privilege.
Whilst at times I’m scouring the ‘net for the latest dribble of pop-culture news, I’m now reporting on a humanitarian crisis in Sudan because no one else seems to be doing so. There’s room for me in the never-ending news cycle to add my two cents worth because the media deem this issue to be ‘un-newsworthy’ and well, I certainly don’t. I know you don’t either.
Calls For Nighttime Demonstrations Amidst Danger
On Monday, information was released on al-Jazeera that leaders of the demonstrations announced they would begin nighttime protests. Leaders confirmed the danger presented on Khartoum’s streets were far too high, and advised activists to take to the suburban streets of Khartoum to further the pro-democracy cause in less hostile (yet still risky) conditions.
Solidarity Campaign Hijacked
Following the massacre of pro-democracy protestors in Khartoum on June 3, Amnesty International urged people of the international community to show their support for the crisis by turning their social profiles blue. In a Twitter post, Amnesty announced the colour blue would honour the life of a 26 year old activist shot down in the June 3 demonstrations.
Protesters in Sudan have vowed not to give up. We stand with them.
PS. Why blue? It’s in honour of Mohamed Mattar, a 26-year-old fatally shot during the 3 June crackdown. His favorite color was reportedly blue. #BlueForSudan https://t.co/hPwDsyKD54 pic.twitter.com/Ijk4mkrjt6
— Amnesty International Australia 🕯 (@amnestyOz) June 18, 2019
Maybe #BlueForSudan won’t save the world, but it will raise awareness about a terrible issue that would otherwise go unspoken and *hopefully* let the people of Sudan know they are not alone.
Be their voice when they don’t have one. pic.twitter.com/EuhfDz7auw
— Ronza (@RaniaEssamAli) June 17, 2019
The #BlueForSudan solidarity campaign has been hijacked in recent days by a number of false Insta accounts claiming to raise funds for sufferers. @SudanMealProject accumulated over 400,000 followers before prompting users to share and follow other accounts that were found to have zero connections to any registered charity. Some profiles were converted into spam/porn accounts, others with amassed followers were used to sell clothes. It’s a bitter manipulation of peoples’ vulnerability – thankfully Instagram have acted on many of the false accounts.
Following the toppling of former President, Omar al-Bashir over 9 weeks ago, sources have confirmed that he is currently being held in a prison outside the country’s capital of Khartoum. Al-Bashir will be tried on charges of corruption and possession of foreign currency. He is also wanted on multiple other accounts, including genocide, after hundreds of thousands of Sudanese were killed in Darfur (Western Sudan) in 2003.
The Transitional Military Council (TMC) have assumed control of Sudan and are working towards having al-Bashir prosecuted. Despite the fact that many Sudanese condemn al-Bashir for the allegations held against him, it’s thought the prosecution is the TMC’s way of winning over the public. Pro-democracy activists believe the TMC are attempting to distract them from the atrocities occurring in Khartoum – including the rape, torture and murder of protestors.
Leaders from the US were sent to speak with Sudanese officials in an attempt to find a ‘peaceful political solution’ to the turmoil, yet it’s possible that this envoy is detracting from the situation. Many are criticising the very little media coverage of the crisis for cherry picking details that concern the US, and the prioritisation of US involvement over news of suffering and crisis which is the more pressing issue.
We, as humans, should feel empathy for other humans and deem their suffering worthy of our concern.
Government-imposed media blackouts were enforced nearly a week ago, and it appears people are no closer to gaining access to the Internet. Whilst a total eradication of Internet access is close to unprecedented in Sudanese history, they’ve certainly endured temporary blackouts in the past. It’s thought that as long as the protests continue, the media blackout will continue to make it increasingly more difficult for protestors to organise rallies.
An International Unification
In light of the blackout and the restriction of information flows in and out of Sudan, the international community is banding together. Many Sudanese diasporas across the globe are using the Internet access they do have, to show their support for Sudan. #SudanUprising and #IAmTheSudanRevolution are assisting people in sharing and disseminating information regarding the crisis.
— Enas (@pinesane_) June 13, 2019
Again – Here’s How You Can Help
There are a number of ways you can show your support for the Sudanese. Visit UNICEF for information on a myriad of development and emergency efforts in the country. In light of the huge stress on the country’s health resources, UNICEF revealed on Twitter that they’re delivering health supplies to Khartoum and Omdurman.
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) June 18, 2019
Even before the recent crisis in Sudan, over 5.5 million Sudanese were facing food insecurity. To assist Sudanese receive access to food and nutrients, you can visit the World Food Programme to donate much needed funds. Every cent counts.
Most importantly of all, engage with others. Show your support through the platforms your privileged to have access to.
Sources: @lana_hago, @UNICEF, @pinesane_, @RaniaEssamAli,@amnestyOz.