Sudanese woman in iconic photo says she climbed on a car to declare, ‘Sudan is for all’
“I wanted to get (on the car) and speak to the people … speak against racism and tribalism in all its forms, which affects everyone across all walks of life,” Alaa Salah, who is also a journalist, said by phone. “I wanted to speak on behalf of the youth. … I wanted to come out and say that Sudan is for all.”
“Every time people responded with ‘Thawra’ (‘Revolution’), I would get more excited,” Salah said. “We need international support, for people to be aware of what’s happening and to understand our demands.”
In that moment, Salah was “representing all Sudanese women and girls and she inspired every woman and girl at the sit-in,” Lana Haroun, who snapped the image, told CNN. “She was telling the story of Sudanese women. … She was perfect.”
Salah was surprised by the viral reaction to the photos and videos, she told CNN.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” she said. “I’m happy that (the video) made people pay more attention to the protests.”
Her white garment reflects women’s power
The activist’s choice of attire has come to represent the protest movement in its own right.
“The white robe is a symbol of strength, purity and courage,” Salah said. “The women have a big role in these protests.”
“Sudanese everywhere are referring to female protestors as ‘Kandaka,’ which is the title given to the Nubian queens of ancient Sudan, whose gift to their descendants is a legacy of empowered women who fight hard for their country and their rights,” Makki added.
Her chant inspired the masses
Salah chanted these lines during Monday’s protest, as the crowd responded, “Thawra” (“Revolution”) after each line:
They burned us in the name of religion
They killed us in the name of religion
They jailed us in the name of religion
But religion is not to be blamed
CNN’s Nada Altaher contributed to this report.