Women have been at the forefront of the uprising in Sudan, but can they translate that role into a more positive positioning in the country’s next chapter?
Written by Kelli María Korducki Open Canada
After months of nationwide protest, longtime Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir was ousted by military force in April. Since then, an image from the uprising has become synonymous with triumph itself: a young woman perched atop the roof of a car, beatific in white as she presides over a sea of protesters against the dimming Khartoum sky. She’s chanting and the crowd repeats. Together, they call for revolution.
As photos and video clips circulated of the April 8 demonstration, the woman — identified by several news outlets as 22-year-old Alaa Salah — became an instant viral sensation. On Twitter, observers mused that this moment was history in the making, the future of Sudan replacing its past in real time. Salah stood as both an arbiter of resistance and a reminder that women had become the prevailing force of the fight against al-Bashir, whose 30-year regime had been particularly devastating for women’s rights. But even with al-Bashir gone, the fate of women’s rights in Sudan remains uncertain.
“We’re fighting two regimes,” said 18-year-old Banan Salih, a young woman who had been active in Khartoum’s political protests since they began late last year, in an interview with NPR. “We’re fighting male dominance, and we’re fighting the [old political] regime.”
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