My friend and I spend all of our free time on FaceTime while scrolling through our Instagram feeds. Like any other Friday night, yesterday was spent the same way when suddenly, she broke the silence. "What's going on in Sudan?" she asked. I was surprised she didn't know about the situation despite being very active on social media, as the news about the events had blown up on Instagram. A few days later, I asked my parents the same question, and they had no idea what I was referring to.
What is the problem?
The people of Sudan were relieved when their president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, was ousted by the military junta due to countless protests against him. Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan, an enforcer of al-Bashir's policies, replaced al-Bashir with a military government. This led civilians to engage in lengthy pro-democracy demonstrations, in turn displeasing the militia. Since June 3, 2019, Hamdan's Rapid Support Forces have been killing and raping protestors, destroying homes, and reportedly dumping corpses into the Nile River, causing the number of casualties to be unknown.
What has been done so far?
Sadly, not much has been done to help those suffering the attacks. Sudan has been suspended from the African Union, and the military has taken over news channels, preventing any media coverage of the violence to be publicly broadcasted. The country's access to the internet and social media has been cut as well. Only about seven percent of Sudan's population uses social networks and their efforts to broadcast the massacre have been rendered useless because of the lack of internet.
Government intervention seems like a reasonable attempt at a solution to this issue. Certain Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been advised not to get involved and to end ties with Sudan's Transitional Military Council as the influence of these powers may harm Sudanese citizens even further. The prime minister of Ethiopia visited Sudan in an attempt to mediate between the military and the opposition, and he was credited for doing so due to his successes in diplomatic affairs in Ethiopia. One of the reasons the United States has not taken action yet because Sudan has been included in the nation's list of State Sponsors of Terrorism and until this is undone or resolved, they will not extend a helping hand.
What can we do to help?
A group of Sudanese people in Manchester, UK is collecting funds to donate to the Sudanese Doctors Union on GoFundMe.com.
A petition has been created demanding the UN to investigate the numerous human rights violations that have been made since the attack.
Many Instagram users have changed their profile pictures to a solid blue to spread awareness. While some may argue that changing one's profile picture will not directly help the victims, it indicates the support that humanitarian efforts are receiving from social media users.
Contacting Congress and letting them know you support efforts being made to help the victims is another way to help. It is important for the government to realize that Americans are looking for ways to reduce the violence and bloodshed taking place in Sudan.
The extent to which human rights violations are being performed should be brought to light. As of now, this problem is only being discussed on social media platforms. But by spreading awareness, hopefully, its significance will reach the eyes and ears of someone who may be able to make a substantial difference.