I'm not heroic, women have always led change, Sudanese icon Alaa Salah tells Euronews

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By Mariam Chehab
Alaa Salah
Alaa Salah   -   Copyright  Reuters

Wearing traditional white dress and standing on the top of a car in the centre of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, Alaa Salah became a symbol of the revolution that overthrew president Omar al-Bashir

The student who had dreamed of gaining an engineering degree in order to build houses, instead brought down one of the world’s longest-serving presidencies.

In doing so, she put a new perspective on the role of young people, and women in particular, in shaping the future of Arabic nations.

Euronews’ Mariam Chehab asked Salah about her role in recent events in Sudan and what she would like the world to learn from her experiences.

"Nowadays a woman can change systems by going out on the street but it's not only today," Salah said. "The historical role of a woman was making changes and she was always alongside men since the beginning of time. But there are perceptions that are entrenched in societies, which hide the role of women and describe it in certain terms which suggest that a woman going out on the street, standing against injustice is ... heroic. However, it is normal because a woman is a creature with responsibilities and she takes part in building and changing."

Salah said that nevertheless, her actions could have a positive impact on others by showing that the desire for change was shared across borders.

“My message to young Arab people is, don’t give up because of the attempts to try to steal the Arabic revolutions and from the changes taking place in Arabic countries. Also know that you are not the only one longing for freedom and changes. If injustice remains too long its power will break at the end of the day just like if the night stays for too long it has no choice but to yield to dawn.”

She pointed out that while the events in Sudan cannot be compared with popular uprisings in any other country, for instance, Algeria, where Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been forced from power after 20 years, she did see a renewed impetus across the Arab world to replace “tyrannical dictatorships and outmoded governmental systems”.