The current Sudan crisis has made international headlines. Tensions between protesters and officials has boiled over resulting in a massive amount of violence, especially against women. The history of Sudan is a long and complicated one. In order to understand the protests, you must understand the history of their former President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
What happened back then?
Bashir himself became the president of Sudan by staging a coup and removing the former government. He ruled with violence and force. Although there are other reasons for the current Sudan crisis, Bashir played a key role in the damage done within the past 30 years.
Since 2009, the International Criminal Court has attempted to arrest Bashir for crimes committed in Dafur. The government-supported, Janjaweed militia killed more than 15,000 villagers in Dafur displaced more than two million. Although the ICC charged Bashir with war crimes and crimes against humanity and genocide, he evaded arrest.
What’s happening now?
In December of 2018, Bashir called for a rise in bread and fuel prices. ATMs caps were implemented, prohibiting people from having any access to their money. The people were not happy with this decision so they started protesting once again. With Bashir already losing favor among the general population, it was only a matter of time before the protesting resumed. Instead of negotiating, government officials used violence to try to quell the protest.
Earlier this year Bashir declared a state of emergency in Sudan and a few months later his own military overthrew him in a coup. Initially, protesters were happy that Bashir’s era of chaos was over, until the establishment of the Transitional Military Council. The military created this council to help the country recover and move into a new type of rule. However, the Sudanese don’t trust that the council won’t repeat the same actions as Bashir. So the protests continue.
What makes the Sudan crisis even more concerning is that it isn’t only official forces torturing and raping protesters. Paramilitary groups across the country have taken to harming civilians at alarming rates. Sudan doctors put the death toll at 118 and many more people are suffering from injuries. The government has also blocked all cell phone and internet signals, making it difficult to provide aid and relief to protesters.
How you can help?
Social media has once again, done an amazing job at raising awareness about Sudan. Users across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have changed their profile pictures to a blue photo to show support for Sudan. Mohammad Mattar had the blue picture as his Instagram profile photo when he was killed during a protest. Social media has also been the home of scams and cons related to the crisis so please make sure to verify an organization before giving any type of donation or personal information.
The protesters in Sudan want something that many of us Americans take for granted, democracy. A government ruled by the people is one that represents all and is good for the whole, not a select few. Even though it seems like a sudden occurrence, the Sudanese people have been fighting for this for decades. If you’re looking for ways to help, or wondering what you can do besides changing your profile picture, check out some of organizations below.
Donate to UNICEF which helps provide aid to displaced Sudanese children.
Call your local Congress member 202-224-3121 and tell them you support helping the people of Sudan.
Text RESIST to 50409 and tell them to help the people of Sudan
Donate to Save the Children
Give to the International Rescue Committee which has continued to help displaced families in Sudan since 1989.