The Sudan humanitarian crisis, which we recently reported on, was under reported until charities and celebrities started spreading awareness on social media, with the #BlueForSudan movement. But it has been revealed that some have used it to raise their own profile.
The humanitarian crisis in Sudan has come to the attention of many across the world, with awareness being spread through the social media platforms Instagram and Twitter. The #BlueForSudan movement and accompanying blue profile picture have spread across the internet quickly over the past few weeks. Many celebrities including Rihanna, Halima Aden, J Cole and others with large social media followings changed their profile pictures in solidarity with the movement.
According to a tweet by Amnesty International Australia, the color blue is “in honor of Mohamed Mattar, a 26-year-old fatally shot during the 3 June crackdown. His favorite color was reportedly blue.”
Unfortunately, the rapid spread of this campaign has been exploited by some in order to get more followers, likes, and shares.
One Instagram account, @SudanMealProject, went viral and gained a following of almost 400,000 in just a week after a post that claimed “For every person who follows and shares this on their story we will provide one meal to starving Sudanese children”. However, this profile lacked any connection to established aid agencies or charities that have been operating in Sudan. Instagram has since removed the page for violating the platforms policies, but many similar fake profiles still exist and are being shared.
Although most Instagram and Twitter users across the world have likely seen someone they follow change their profile picture to blue, Sudanese people have not been able to see this show of global solidarity. The new military government, in an attempt to stifle protests calling for civilian rule of Sudan, has turned off the internet in almost the entire country. According to NPR, The Impact Hub is one of few internet cafes in the capital city of Khartoum with access to internet.
If you want to help the people of Sudan, legitimate charities include:
- Save the Children has been working in Sudan since 1984
- UNICEF is working to help children who have been displaced by the conflict
- Emergency Medical Aid for Sudan GoFundMe is associated with the Sudanese Doctors Union
Illustration by @JailiHajo on Twitter
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