A Blue Profile Picture Has Become A Symbol Of Solidarity With Sudan
The Mattar Blue movement started after the death of Mohamed Hashim Mattar, a 26-year-old engineer and graduate of London’s Brunel University, who was killed in the crackdown on June 3.
You may have noticed that people on social media have been changing their profile pictures to this specific shade of blue.
They’re doing it to raise awareness for the ongoing violence in Sudan.
Last week, Sudan’s security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters holding a sit-in outside military headquarters in Khartoum. Doctors and activists said that more than 100 people have been killed since.
The deaths mark the deadliest incident since Omar al-Bashir, the country’s dictator for 30 years, was forced from power and arrested by the military in April following months of mass protests.
According to the Guardian, hospitals in Khartoum have also reported 70 cases of rape following the attack on protesters.
However, protesters said their demonstrations will continue until the transitional military council hands over power to a civilian government.
There’s been a blackout on almost all telephone and internet services, which has made getting information in Sudan difficult.
Blue profile pictures first started to appear after the death of Mohamed Hashim Mattar, a 26-year-old engineer and graduate of London’s Brunel University, who was killed in the crackdown on June 3.
Mattar’s profile picture at the time of his death was blue.
And this old tweet from 2013 belonging to Mattar has been circulating.
Two days ago, Instagram user @reresolve_’s photo went viral for her post encouraging people to change their profile pictures in solidarity.
The account belongs to Remaz Abdelgader, 25, from Washington, DC, who told BuzzFeed News: “I came across the Mattar blue movement on Instagram the day after Eid. I saw that it was being shared within the Sudanese community calling all Instagram users to change their DPs to that shade of blue in an effort to paint Sudan blue.”
Although Abdelgader’s photo went viral two days ago, Mattar’s family and friends had already changed their photos to blue on the day he died. His WhatsApp and Instagram profile photos were the same shade of blue.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to the internet user who appears to have started the campaign. However, we have heard nothing back — possibly due to the blackout.
Abdelgader said since Mattar's death, the blue profile pictures have become a visible way to stand in solidarity with people in Sudan and pay respect to those who were killed.
“When I read up on it, I found that it was started by the family and friends of one of the martyrs, Mohammed Mattar,” she said. “However, this shade of blue has now turned into an international symbol of solidarity.”
She said that some people are adding a blue heart to their profile pictures to show they’ve donated money to help causes in Sudan.
To date, thousands of people have changed their profile pictures across all social media platforms.