Are Instagram Hashtags Saving Lives In Sudan?

There is a new trend emerging where Instagram hashtags are used as bandaids for wounds, where simply posting a hashtag on your feed or story, absolves you from all guilt or further responsibility. Everytime a crisis occurs the hashtag mafia becomes rampant with their use, and that’s their job done – or so they believe. Are we as a society so disconnected to each other that our responsibility starts and ends with our Instagram feed?

Don’t get us wrong we’re all for social media giving people a platform to raise their voice and spread awareness, but when the matter is of such great intensity – a simple post will not suffice. We owe it to our fellow Sudanese brothers and sisters who are living in unendurable conditions to do more – something beyond our Instagram.

What’s Happening In Sudan

For those who don’t know what’s happening in Sudan and are confused with why your Instagram feed is filled with blue icons, allow us to give you a Spark Notes version of the atrocities occurring. Sudan is a country in the Northeast Africa, with a population of 40.3 Million, with 97% of its population adhering to Islam. Omar Bashir, a dictator who ruled the country for nearly 30 years, stepped down in April. It was decided that Sudan would have a transitional government for 2 years led by the Transitional Military Council until a new leader is elected. Ever since then, there has been a two month long massive peaceful sit in for civilian rule, until the RSF (Rapid Support Forces) militia, locally known as ‘Janjaweed’ violently attacked and shot demonstrators, during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Ever since then there has been 500 killed, 54 raped and over 118+ bodies bumped into the River Nile, the body count increasing as we speak.

International Response

Selective empathy is a thing and is often practiced, As Khaled Beydoun on Instagram, fiercely wrote: “3 reasons why the Sudan massacres and humanitarian crisis aren’t receiving the global attention it deserves:

  • The victims are Africans
  • The victims are Black
  • The victims are Muslims.”

It is hard to dismiss the startling disparity with the coverage of the Sudan crisis when merely two months ago, the Notre Dame fire elicited a louder global response. Within days, $1 billion dollars were raised for the restoration of the building, while crickets are heard for the human life that’s being lost per second in Sudan. Notre Dame had great cultural and religious resonance that is hard to ignore, but is that comparable to the women and children that are being raped and attacked in Sudan right now?

What You Can Do To Help

Raising awareness by circulating #IamTheSudanRevolution and #BlueForSudan is important but it’s not enough. How many Africans children have to die for the world to hear the cries of the young and innocent that are martyred? When will people realize Sudan doesn’t just need our blue Instagram icon it needs our red rage, our pink for compassion and most importantly our help. It is no longer an African, Muslim problem but a humanitarian crisis and we are all accountable for it.  We can start by donating to:

change.org petition is just 15,000 signatures from completion. Though it may not feel like significant change, the petition will go to António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, and is calling for the UN to investigate the Sudanese government. They need 200,00 signs for it to reach to the UN and create change 191,213 people have signed already. Signing takes 2 minutes out of your time but creates a massive change.

A GoFundMe campaign was created in December by a group of Sudanese people living in Manchester, England. According to the description, the funds will be used to buy medical supplies for victims. The £250,000 goal, about $315,000, has almost been reached. You can donate as little as $10 to save a life.

Save the Children has been working in Sudan since 1984 by providing for children and families affected by conflict. They are continuing to work now during the crisis. Click here to donate whatever you can.

The Take-Away

Social media is important for raising awareness and creating change, but it is not where our responsibilities end. We urge you to donate and spread awareness to people around you, as there are many who don’t even know the extent of what is happening. Our prayers are with the people of Sudan. As the Quran firmly states “O you who believe, stand firm for justice even against your own selves” (4:135)

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