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Fate Turning Blue

by Deeksha Pandey
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As the inception of Independent South Sudan mainly belonging to Christians and Animist people were grappled against by the rule of Arab Muslim North. Sudan has tediously been beset by conflicts. Two rounds of North-South Civil War cost the lives of 1.5 million people from their homes and killed ore than 2,00,000. The initial protest pioneered in December 2018 against the rule of former president Hassan al-Bashir, who resigned on April 2019. The exemplifications were sparkled by the government by inflating the prices of everyday items like bread, fuel in a bid to improve economy, but soon spiraled into widespread discontent at Al-Bashir’s 20-year rule.

Omar al-Bashir

Mr Bashir was finally overthrown in April, when a massive sit-in camp outside military headquarters in Khartoum forced top generals to mount a coup against him. But talks between the Forces for Freedom and Change, representing the protesters demanding democracy, and the Transitional Military Council, the generals now ruling the country, soon hit a deadlock.On June 3, the last day of Ramadan, the generals sent in the Rapid Support Forces, a militia linked to atrocities against civilians in Darfur, to break the revolutionaries’ grip on the streets. It is widely believed last week’s massacre was encouraged by the authoritarian governments in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, who have no interest in a democratic revolution succeeding on their doorstep and tend to see dictatorial “strongmen” as the only reliable bulwark against political Islam in the region.

Mohammed Hashim Mattar was just 26 when he was gunned down by Sudanese security services last week. Now his favourite shade of indigo blue has become a symbol of the country’s embattled pro-democracy uprising. Thousands of social media users have switched their Instagram and Twitter Avatars to the same colour, using the hashtags #blueforsudan.  

social media going blue for sudan.

“It started off with the friends and family,” said Amal Amir, a British-Sudanese social media user who has taken part in the protests. “It’s his favourite colour and it was his display picture on all his social media accounts. Then it started being for all martyrs.” Mattar was one of dozens of people shot, beaten, and stabbed to death when Sudanese security forces brutally cleared a protest camp in central Khartoum in the early hours of June 3. No one knows exactly how many people died but the Sudanese Doctors’ Committee, which is part of the protest movement, on Wednesday released the names of 112 people confirmed dead.

The list did not include around 40 bodies repeatedly fished out of the Nile after the massacre. There have also been numerous and credible reports of beatings and almost systematic rape of protesting women by security forces.

Unknown gunmen have raped 125 women during a 10-day spree of violence in the northern town of Bentiu in South Sudan.

The murals and street art the protesters created over two months have been painted over. And Khartoum is now basically controlled by the Rapid Support Forces, who roam the streets in pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine-guns roamed the streets, arresting, beating, and symbolically scalping anyone they decided looked like a threat. But the revolutionaries say they are not giving up. When the country went back to work on Sunday, the first day after Eid, they called a general strike in a bid to make the country ungovernable, which effectively turned Khartoum into a ghost town.

And while the revolutionary movement is defiant, the brutal truth is that the balance of power lies with the men with guns.

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