You might have noticed people on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have changed their profile pictures to a specific shade of blue. It’s a sign of solidarity with the people of Sudan.
The military crackdown also resulted in the death of 26-year-old engineer and Brunel University graduate Mohamed Hashim Mattar, whose favorite color was blue. His death sparked the profile picture as well as the hashtag #BlueforSudan.
Mattar posted this tweet in 2013:
According to The New York Times, the death toll makes the attack the deadliest incident since April, when Omar al-Bashir, the country’s dictator for 30 years, was forced out of power and arrested by military forces.
Doctors in Khartoum reported in the aftermath of the raid there were more than 70 rapes, according to The Guardian. In addition, at least 700 people were reportedly injured.
There has also been a blackout of nearly all internet and telephone services in Sudan, making it very difficult to spread necessary information, BuzzFeed News reported.
Regardless, pro-democracy demonstrators plan to continue protesting their government.
Who started it?
The effort to encourage people to turn their social media profile pictures blue was started by 25-year-old Remaz Abdelgader from Washington, D.C.
She told BuzzFeed News she came across Mattar’s social media accounts and noticed he had posted photos of that specific shade of blue. Though it was her post that ultimately went viral, Mattar’s family and close friends had already changed their profile pictures to match Mattar’s social media accounts.
“When I read up on it, I found that it was started by the family and friends of one of the martyrs, Mohammed Mattar,” Abdelgader said. “However, this shade of blue has now turned into an international symbol of solidarity.”
Christian persecution has also been prevalent in Sudan, as Faithwire has reported. Converts to Christianity have been targeted, while Bibles (until recently) had been restricted from being imported into the nation.