Are You Still Blue for Sudan

by Ashlene Charles

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Sudan, the largest country in Africa, located in the northeastern part of the continent is well known for its Camel Market and archaeological sites has found itself facing lots of tensions with its government. Sources imply that the Sudanese government has been increasing the prices of their bread and fuel and restricting them from taking out barely enough money to survive a whole day. The Sudanese people decided to protest civilly however, this planned peaceful protest turned into a tragedy where hundreds of lives were lost. 

There’s been a trend on instagram where people began changing their profile pictures to blue. Several people began changing their profile pictures and they posted on their stories and even their pages a brief thread along the lines of “Innocent Sudanese People are being killed and the news is not covering the full details, change your profile pictures blue for awareness.” However not many people posted about what had truly happened and the reason why blue was the color selected out of all the colors in the rainbow. 

According to an article “Why is social media turning blue for Sudan?”, Mohamed Mattar, a 26 year-old was shot and killed on June 3rd, 2019 while trying to protect two women during the lethal activities occurred. To honor Mattar’s memories, his friends and family began changing their profile pictures to blue because it was said to be his favorite color. In Melissa Locker’s article “The campaign gained attraction thanks to Shahd Khidir, a Sudanese Instagram influencer and beauty blogger based in New York.” Ever since the incident, hundreds of thousands of people  have changed their profile pictures to blue, raising awareness which I applaud. 

I was one of the people who participated in this movement. All of a sudden myself, as well as thousands of other people seemed to have changed our profile pictures. Some of us changed our profile pictures to bring awareness to ongoing issues in our community and some of us changed our profiles because we’ve decided to become entrepreneurs and we want to make our faces the brand of our companies. I did a poll on my personal instagram account asking viewers if they were still blue for Sudan. 62%  of the viewers voted that they were still blue for Sudan however none of them had their profile pictures blue. Dana Hirsch from Student Involvement is someone who does not have social media who mentions that she wasn’t aware of the whole trend. She says “ I think people are shocked when they first hear about things and if they don’t have a connection to the news somehow, they lose interest quickly within the topic. A lot of people choose not to what the news because they have this perception that the news will always bring bad news embedded in their minds. 

In this digital age, where international affairs are constantly overwhelming our newsfeeds, it can be hard to sort through what we think is important. Alerts about the Kardashians, the Royal Family and the Trump administration enforcing new rules dominate our notifications, hardly allowing room for social or political uprisings in countries far, far away. At the same time, it is our responsibility as consumers of content to be aware that there is a lot more going on than what meets the eye. 

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