Social Media Influencer Cries out for Help on Instagram Amidst Civil Unrest in Sudan
Sudanese lifestyle Instagram influencer, @hadyouatsalaam, took to social media last week to inform followers about civil unrest in Sudan.
On June 6, Sudanese lifestyle social media influencer, Shahd (@hadyouatsalaam) informed her Instagram followers of the nation-wide media blackout and military violence against civilians in Sudan. “There’s a massacre happening in my country,” she wrote. “Sudan’s had a media blackout and internet censorship for four consecutive days. There
From her office in New York, Shahd explained she hasn’t lived in Sudan for over two decades but visits often. She shared that “there’s a revolution happening” in Sudan when civilians began protesting for a Democratic government last week, but the response was a violent military crackdown.
Shahd also said in her Instagram post that her friend “was MURDERED by the Rapid Support Forces. My best friend was in hiding on June 2 and that’s the last time I spoke to him,” she continued. “He was missing for 4 days and when I got in touch with him he said: ‘I was caught, beaten and abused and humiliated and arrested and had my phone confiscated from me. I am injured currently.’”
A handful of rape cases have been reported at two different hospitals in Sudan, following the violent militant response from Rapid Support Forces (RSF), according to The Guardian.
“My people in Sudan have been persecuted for the past 30 years and now they have had enough,” she said. “The Sudanese people are rewriting history. They held a 3-day civil disobedience in the whole country, the world has not seen anything like this since Gandhi.”
Many users on Twitter are using the hashtag #SudanMassacre to raise awareness of what their nation is experiencing, as many feel there has not been adequate coverage from mainstream media outlets. Some tweeted they felt that people should support Sudanese people the same way many supported efforts to rebuild the Notre Dame.
“The silence is deafening by the mainstream media and they should be embarrassed of themselves,” Shahd said. “But social media is taking over and is mainstream media literally.”
Until he seized power in April, Omar al-Bashir was the president of Sudan since 1989 – catapulting the country into numerous wars and maintaining a 21-year civil war between the north and south.
Beginning on June 3, “Sudanese security personnel raided the sit-in protest area in front of the military headquarters in Khartoum dispersing civilians with violence and use of excessive force,” according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) flash update on June 7.
Additionally, the Ministry of Health reported 61 dead, which includes 52 in the capital and nine in other provinces. The World Health Organization reported 784 people have been injured in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, and stated that “the actual number of people wounded could be higher as not all cases are reported or recorded.”
The pro-democracy protesters want to eradicate dictatorship in Sudan and replace it with civilian rule. Protesters want a longer period between elections so that their political system can adjust and give civilians enough time to prepare their votes. Initially, organizers from the Sudanese Professionals Association and the parliamentary military council agreed on a three-year transitional outline to become a democracy, however, the agreement fell through and the next election is scheduled in nine months.
On June 11, protesters called off their strike and agreed to resume the discussion of power with the ruling military council. Over 100 civilians have been reported dead after the strikes.
“The revolution is not over and there is a complete media and internet blackout,” Shahd said. “Share as much as possible. Spread as much awareness as possible. Be the voice of those who don’t have a voice.”