By: Mishaa Khan, Peak Associate
You may have seen a lot of talk surrounding Sudan in the past two weeks, particularly in profile pictures turning blue and the #IAmTheSudanRevolution and #SudanUprising hashtags. You may have even seen the occasional news article being shared. However, with how explosive and violent this internal conflict is within Sudan, the mainstream media and global politicians have been relatively silent. This reflects a pattern of general Western apathy to the struggles of small, distant nations.
To the people of Sudan, however, this revolution is nothing short of a fight for their rights and their lives. To understand why, we need to go back to April 2019.
After years of protest, the Sudanese people successfully rid themselves of their president, Omar al-Bashir, through a military coup. Bashir and his government had been accused of war crimes, genocide, and chemical weapons usage, among other things. The plan was to have a temporary military council to help stabilize the region while the country prepared for democratic rule. However, in May, the military began to oppose the idea, resulting in resurging protests including sit-ins and other civil disobedience campaigns.
This is what led the Rapid Support Force (RSF), a paramilitary group, to target civilians by killing, raping, and torturing them. On June 3, the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors claimed that at least 129 have died, many more were injured, and 70 have been raped. Hospitals have been shut down, and about 40 bodies were recovered from the Nile River.
Currently, there is an internet blackout in Sudan, and coverage within the mainstream media has been buried under pages of the latest Trump scandals. The Sudanese diaspora have drawn awareness to the situation by urging the use of hashtags and changing social media profile pictures to blue to honour Mohammad Mattar, who was recently killed by security forces. Celebrities like Demi Lovato and Rihanna have also taken part in the online solidarity.
However, this does not negate the fact that the media has a problem with selective empathy. Events occurring in poorer countries like Sudan are not given as much coverage as those in Western countries, where acts of violence on much smaller scales are talked about for days. This not only increases public apathy when it comes to the lives of those in more distant, less economically robust countries, but also causes a lack of aid and support being delivered to those affected.
If you want to help the Sudanese people out, you can raise awareness, donate money (through organizations like UNICEF, Save the Children, Doctors Without Borders), and/or call your local MP. By doing this, international organizations, such as the UN, along with the African Union, can be directed to step in and attempt to resolve the situation by negotiating peace talks, deploying peacekeeping forces, providing medical aid, and preventing the RSF from harming civilians any further.