As the crisis in Sudan grows increasingly dangerous and efforts have been made to silence Sudanese people in the midst of the chaos, updates on the government crackdown are being shared by an unlikely source: Social media influencers.
On Thursday, Shahd Khidir, a Sudanese influencer and blogger who mainly shares beauty, fashion, and lifestyle content, went “off-brand” to raise awareness to her nearly 64,000 Instagram followers about the dire situation in Sudan. Khidir, who is based in New York City, posted a photograph of herself crying at her desk along with a heartbreaking story about her friend, who she learned had recently been murdered in Sudan.
“I cannot hold this in anymore. I am at my office crying because I have so many emotions in me and I feel horrible. There’s a massacre happening in my country Sudan’s and a media blackout and internet censorship for four consecutive days.” Khidir wrote.
Earlier this month, extreme acts of violence broke out between the Sudanese Military and pro-democracy protesters in favor of civilian rule. After Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, was ousted in April after a 30-year rule, many began peacefully protesting military leaders’ plans to hold elections for a new president within the coming months.
As the New York Times reports, the military recently started retaliating against those protesters with deadly shootings, sexual assaults, and more horrific acts throughout the nation’s capital of Khartoum. The government has also cut internet access in Khartoum, which makes it extremely difficult for those in danger to contact the outside world, and it’s become especially crucial for outsiders to help raise awareness. As of Sunday, the publication reported “just a handful of hotels and some homes are connected to the internet…”
In her post, Khidir went on to share the little information she knew about her friend. “My friend @mattar77 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. 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.’ And all I could do this post this,” she wrote.
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Khidir then apologized to the companies she’s currently working with as an influencer, declared she would be pausing her editorial calendar, and asked her followers for their help share the devastating news.
To my followers/supporters who this is too much for I am also sorry but my regularly scheduled content/reviews is also on pause.
If this offends you, I am sorry. But I need to speak out and share this in a time like this.
If you want to support me please share this information as widely as possible and don’t be silent. Be an ally because we need your help. And tune into my stories for more information. THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS BEEN SILENT.
In the Instagram post Khidir also included screenshots of text that further explain the apparent realities in Khartoum. “Khartoum is under complete siege. No one is allowed to move — if you see someone you know being shot to the ground you’re not allowed to pick up their dead body,” one image reads.
Khidir isn’t the only one to share updates on social media. Many are contributing by using hashtags such as
#IAmTheSudanRevolution, #SudanUprising, and #Sudanese_Protest to raise online awareness. Others are posting powerful art, changing their profile photos to blue in support, sharing helpful summaries of the events, and providing suggestions to anyone looking to help to Sudanese people.
Several celebrities, including Rihanna and Ne-Yo, have also shared posts about the massacres with their millions of social media followers.
Image: screengrab via instagram / badgalriri
As of Sunday, doctors in Sudan have “counted 118 deaths over several days, with 40 bodies dragged from the Nile,” and “the government admitted to 61 deaths,” according to the New York Times.
Mashable reached out to Shahd Khidir for additional comment and will update this article when we hear back.