Tap through Instagram stories or scroll through Twitter and you are sure to see an angry comment, cry for help, or scam account talking about Sudan.
Sudan, or The Republic of Sudan, located in Northeast Africa, has been through drastic change in a short period of time, resulting in what now is considered a humanitarian crisis.
What started it?
In December 2018 protests in Sudan began. While at first about fuel shortages and the increased cost of food, the protests took a turn for the political and reached a head when the president, Omar al-Bashir, was arrested in April 2019.
Why was Omar al-Bashir removed?
Al-Bashir became the President of Sudan in 1989 after leading the coup that overthrew the previous government. He has technically been re-elected multiple times, but whether these elections were legitimate is unknown and a subject for debate.
Overall, al-Bashir’s public image is not that of an honored ruler. He has fallen under scrutiny in the past for what happened in Darfur, a western section of Sudan. Darfur saw political unrest beginning in 2003 when rebel groups alleged that the Sudan government was oppressing their non-Arab population. The Darfur War is referred to as a genocide, with the government viciously attacking their citizens. Following the war, the government of Sudan came under fire for war crimes, like the use of chemical weapons.
Why the protest?
Sudan is the third largest country in Africa and is home to approximately 39 million people.
When al-Bashir relinquished power, the announcement was met with celebration, but today there is no celebration.
This can be attributed to the “power” being turned over to the people; a transitory military council was put in place. There was talk of a three-year transition period, but the fear that the government would recycle the same people and fail to achieve change was enough to send protesters back into the streets.
Protests have again turned deadly for Sudan with civil disobedience (protesters have abandoned their jobs leaving large cities almost vacant) being met with bloodshed.
At least 118 people were killed in Khartoum in early June by Sudan soldiers and paramilitary groups, enraging people around the world. Protesters have been faced the entire time with live ammunition and tear gas.
Where is the U.S. in this?
It seems wrong to package the Sudan Crisis along with a new season of Black Mirror, the NBA Championship Finals, and a controversy with Fairlife Farms but all of these topics have dominated social media recently.
Social media is, without doubt, a way that many people access, whether in conjunction with or in lieu of, radio and televised news.
But for reasons unknown or unconfirmed, the Sudan Crisis has been avoided by much mainstream media and is instead circulating heavily through social sites.
The call to action and the condemning of the White House for its apparent lack of care is increasingly popular on Instagram and Twitter.
The State Department has Sudan listed as a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” country. Ambassador Donald Booth was appointed “Special Envoy” for Sudan and talks are expected to take place in the month of June.