Alaa Salah: The Woman at the forefront of Sudan’s liberation

Alaa Salah, “the woman in white”, became the icon of the Sudanese revolution after a photo of her on top of the roof of a car addressing thousands of protesters during a mass sit-in went viral this week.

Aged 22, this engineering and architecture student was captured in a traditional white thobe wearing gold earrings with her finger raised to the sky, an image that inspired the Sudanese nation and many other people in the world.

Alaa Salah has chanted ‘Thawra,’ meaning ‘revolution,’ and sang revolutionary songs this week outside the feared Sudanese military and intelligence headquarters, and even outside the Presidential compound.“Women have a voice…it is our revolution,” Salah told them.

Clad in white, Alaa Salah can be seen poised above the crowds in Khartoum, where demonstrators gathered to demand the military hand over power to civilians.

The ouster on Thursday of Bashir, 75, followed months of protests against his rule.

“I wanted to get on the car and speak to the people,” Salah, 22, an engineering and architecture student at Sudan International University, said on Twitter.

“We need international support, for people to be aware of what’s happening and to understand our demands.”

She praised the role of Sudanese women, many of whom have taken to the streets in protest.

“You cannot have a revolution without women. You cannot have democracy without women,” she tweeted. “We believed we could, so we did.”

Calling herself “very proud to take part in this revolution,” she said her life has been threatened since her picture and video went viral on social media.

“I will not bow down. My voice can not be suppressed,” she tweeted, adding that she would hold Bashir responsible “if anything happens to me.”

Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague and faces an arrest warrant over allegations of genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region during an insurgency that began in 2003 and led to the death of an estimated 300 000 people.

Sudan president Omar al-Bashir

He denies the allegations.

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