A New Spring in Sudan?
Alaa Salah represents the power of Sudanese women who are breaking every barrier, but still holding their traditions and culture close. They are playing the major role in these protests, i.e., about 70%!These women are tortured, harassed and arrested on various charges, but still, Sudanese women firmly believe that their voices are powerful enough to bring down Al-Bashir’s brutal 30-year reign – which, in fact,they did, writes SHAIMA ZAINAB.
“Religions say that men,
If they see something wrong,
Will not be quiet…
“The bullet doesn’t kill,
What kills is the silence of people…”
Thus sang Alaa Salah, a 22 year old Sudanese engineering and architecture student – standing on the rooftop of her car to which hundreds gathered around her chanted, in return: ‘Thawra‘ (which means ‘Revolution’).
Her photo – Alaa clad in a traditional Sudanese thoub and earrings standing on the rooftop of her car and her hand raised pointed to the sky in front of the heavily guarded military complex in Khartoum, capital of Sudan – taken by Lana Haroun and instantly shared on the social media captioned “The ‘Woman in White’ of Sudan,” became viral.
Wondering what could be so interesting about her..?
She,along with thousands of other Sudanese women, have been protesting since last year against the rise of bread and fuel prices, demanding the President Omar al-Bashir to step down from power. And, interestingly, men have been just a minority in these protests.
These protests have just led to Omar al-Bashir’s resignation on 10thApril 2019. But many other demonstrators, including Alaa Salah, say that the new President, Ahmed Awad ibn Awf, is just another one representing the same regime;and Alaa has been doing these protests in her own way – singing revolutionary poems to give hope and courage to the people of Sudan.
Even her outfit is symbolical and similar to the ancient Nubian queens – and the Sudanese women protesters of the 60s and 70s – who were all referred as Kandakas (meaning ‘Royal Women’).
Alaa Salah represents the power of Sudanese women who are breaking every barrier, but still holding their traditions and culture close. They are playing the major role in these protests, i.e., about 70%!
These women are tortured, harassed and arrested on various charges, but still, Sudanese women firmly believe that their voices are powerful enough to bring down Al-Bashir’s brutal 30-year reign – which, in fact,they did.
Alaa has been helping to fill Sudanese hearts will patriotism and rage while she recites these words from one of her revolutionary poems:
“My grandfather is Taharqa and my grandmother is Kandaka (a patriotic reference to the warrior kings and queens of ancient Sudan)
They have been killing us in the name of religion…”
Her words have been so intimidating to the supporters of Al-Bashir that she has been receiving many death threats recently and what does an undeterred and determined Alaa write on Twitter:
“I will not bow down. My voice cannot be suppressed. Will hold Al-Bashir responsible if anything happens to me.”#JusticeWillPrevail
Alaa Salah is also the most recent Muslim female icon from the Arab Spring, succeeding Tawakkol Karman, Asma Mahfouz and many others, all of whom powered revolutions against many dictatorial regimes in other Arab countries.
Now Alaa Salah is called ‘Lady Liberty of Sudan,’ and the ‘Modern Kandaka.’
Under Al-Bashir’s rule,Sudan has been known for its strict and patriarchal laws on women’s rights but Sudanese women go to protests anyway; and, of course, they are successful as we know after seeing Alaa’s symbolic and revolutionary pose.
Wondering how they are achieving all this…?
Well… I guess it’s because the Statue of Liberty isn’t just a statue anymore!!
YMD: While it’s too early to tell, the impartial observer will but approach these developments in Sudan with caution and hope. Alaa’s own developing affiliations, too, will be of seminal interest with respect to her understanding and awareness of the chaos and opportunity that surround her, and the way in which she chooses to respond to them.