“You women, be strong”, “This revolution is a women’s revolution” were slogans chanted at several protests that have trailed Sudan in recent times. These slogans were used to recognize the vital roles women have played in the quest for socio-economic advancement in the country.
Peaceful protests began in Sudan following the dramatic increase in the cost of living and the poor state of economic conditions at all levels of society. The protests soon took a sharp turn. What initially started as a clamor for urgent economic reforms soon morphed into demands for Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese President ( who has been in office for 30 years) to step down.
On 22 February, al-Bashir arrested all women who led the protests and later on sentenced them to 9 strokes of cane and one month in prison. He also declared a state of emergency and dissolved the national and regional governments, replacing the latter with military and intelligence-service officers. While these clearly oppressive measures taken against women have been met with frowns and criticisms on the international scene,Sudanese women are not relenting in their pursuit of a better living condition for themselves and for posterity. They have continued to lead the procession in the nationwide protests.
Many have taken to social media to commend the active role the women have played so far in leading the uprising.
There have been tons of photos and videos which many have termed as ”heroic” and ”courageous” further alluding to the strength, persistence and resilience of women and why many African countries need to empower its women as they are pivotal in driving social change.
This particular image taken by Lana H. Haroun, shows a woman, who has since been identified by Arabic Media as a 22-year-old student Alaa Salah.
Interfaith Educator, Hind Makki, further broke down the imagery and the symbolism behind Salah’s garments in a thread shared on Twitter. She says: “She’s wearing a white tobe (outer garment) and gold moon earrings,” wrote Makki. “The white tobe is worn by working women in offices and can be linked w/cotton (a major export of Sudan), so it represents women working as professionals in cities or in the agricultural sector in rural areas.”
BBC Africa reports that the women have remained insistent and unwilling to back down in their quest for change.
Meanwhile, social media commentators are saying:
It will be noted that over 5 protesters have been killed so far, 15 injured while 42 members of the security forces have been injured as well. The country’s interior minister, Bishara Jumaa stated this adding that almost 2,500 people have been arrested.