Darkest Before Dawn: Ramadan in a Time of Disillusionment

Salwa Bugaighis. [Source].

On June 25th, Salwa Bugaighis was shot dead at her home in Benghazi. A human rights activist and lawyer, Bugaighis was a charismatic figure who played a leadership role in the uprising and in the women's movement, supporting a campaign which sought to establish minimum quotas for female lawmakers in parliament as well as being vice-president of a preparatory committee for national dialogue that travelled around the country holding town hall meetings – one of the few post-2011 initiatives in L … [Read more...]

“Woman vs Islamist” – Duelling Protests, Flag Switching and Zero Sum Games

Libyan women at a protest in Benghazi.  Via Associated Press.

The last few weeks in Libya have been tragic, depressing and hopeful by turn.  For months the militia situation in the country had been brewing, with increasing calls for disarmament and unification under a national army on the one hand, and on the other, calls for patience by those making the argument that the armed groups are needed to keep order and security. This simmering tension exploded on the 11th of September with the devastating attack on the US embassy, which took the life of the … [Read more...]

Smultron for Suhur: Nomadic Memories of Ramadans Abroad

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I like the long dark winter months in Sweden. This is something that tends to make people question my sanity. But even I will admit summers here are special, as everything seems to burst into exuberant life, Mother Nature in a hurry to her work done before the cold weather returns. Though the summer is short, the days are long: in the north, the sun never sets. Where we live, there were about four hours of night on the first day of Ramadan. That is hardly enough time to fit in two meals, so I … [Read more...]

The Libyan Woman’s New Libya

Screen shot of an interview with Dr. Iman Farhad, via Voice of America

This piece was written by a Guest Contributor, Summar Shammakhi.The interim Libyan leader, Mustapha Abdul Jalil declared Libya liberated on the 23rd October. The content of his twenty or so minute speech was a tribute to the February 17 revolution. He thanked all the brave men and women, all the martyrs, all the injured and all who suffered not only during the eight months of fighting for freedom but for forty two years of extreme imprisonment and oppression.Jalil’s speech, however, w … [Read more...]

Libya’s Girl Executioners and Gun-Brandishing Newscasters

Nisreen Mansour al Forgani, centre, with fellow Gaddafi female militia members. She is now under armed rebel guard in a Tripoli hospital. Picture: AFP Gender roles are nowhere more prominent than in war, as we see male political and military leaders taking the most visible roles in armed conflicts, promoting the tendency to see the capacity to inflict violence as inherently male. During the six months of Libya's revolt, amid stories of women working in hospitals and sending food to the fighters, … [Read more...]

Updates: Amina Abdullah and Eman al-Obeidi

Two important updates on stories that we have covered over the past couple months!First, Sara Yasin wrote recently about a blog called "A Gay Girl in Damascus," where Syrian-American blogger Amina Abdullah Arraf has been writing about the revolution in Syria.  Amina Abdullah Arraf was allegedly abducted on June 6, and has not been heard from.  Many news organizations have since questioned her identity, especially the pictures assumed to be hers were discovered to be of another woman, Jelena Lec … [Read more...]

The Symbol of Eman al-Obeidi

On March 26, Eman al-Obeidi burst into the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli and told reporters that fifteen of Gaddafi's militiamen had detained her for two days and raped her. She named one of them as the son of a high-ranking official, and pleaded for her friends, who she said were still held captive. After a scuffle with journalists who tried to intervene, government security forces bundled al-Obeidi out of the hotel against her will and drove her away. At this time, her whereabouts remain … [Read more...]


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