On Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms, people are changing their photos to the favourite colour of a protester slain as he reportedly tried to protect two women.
A wave of blue is sweeping social media in solidarity with the Sudanese revolution. Social media users are changing their profile pictures to the colour as part of a campaign to raise awareness about a Sudanese protester killed by a notorious militia.
Mohamed Mattar, a 26-year-old engineer and graduate of London’s Brunel University, was shot by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on 3 June 2019, reportedly as he attempted to shield two women from harm. He was killed in the peaceful sit-in demonstration that had massed outside the military headquarters in Khartoum demanding the armed forces hand power over to a civilian administration.
The hashtag #BlueForSudan has spread across social media platforms as a tribute to the protester, as blue was believed to be his favourite colour. Both the profile pictures and the hashtag have begun to be used as a symbol of solidarity with all Sudanese protesters, not only Mattar.
One user Tweeted, “The colour blue, one of our martyrs (Mattar) favourite colour, started as a tribute to him, now turned to a symbol of all our martyrs, and their dreams of a better Sudan.#BlueForSudan#IAmSudaneseRevolution”
Sarah al-Amoudi, a Yemeni Instagram user, told Middle East Eye: “The blue profile pictures alone make people inclined to read why so many of us are blue. There is minimal news coverage for a country that is bleeding.”
Instagram’s story feature has been a key tool in raising awareness, with many people sharing details of the protests, particularly as internet access has been intermittent in Sudan. However, there has been very little coverage about the Sudan massacre on social media and international media prior to the blue wave.
One Sudanese social media user, who wished to remain anonymous, told the press: “Since there are internet cuts, we as humans have to tell the world about Sudan.” Sudan has experienced a “near total blackout” of internet services in recent days as the military has cracked down on protesters.
For the past several days there have been calls for social media users to speak up also pray for Sudan like many social media users have done in the past when there have been tragedies happening in other parts of the world. These include the Notre Dame fire on the 15th of April 2019, attacks in Paris, London, New Zealand and Manchester just to name a few.
Since a military coup in April that removed longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir, a Transitional Military Council has held power and entered into sporadic negotiations with protest leaders about transferring control of the country.
According to a report by Aljazeera, the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said hundreds of people had been killed, many brutally beaten and injured, and some were raped. Dead bodies and some of the wounded were thrown in the Nile River.
Protests began in Sudan in December, when citizens in the northern town of Atbara, exasperated by a surge in living costs, burned down the ruling party’s headquarters.