Women’s rights down in NATO’s Libya


This video from Britain says about itself:

25 August 2011

BBC Newsnight : Will the ousting of Gaddafi and the Arab Spring prove a good or bad thing for women? (08.24.11)

Mona Eltahawy and Amal Tarhuni discuss with Jeremy Paxman.

6 September 2011.

The United States bloody invasion of Iraq was supposedly ‘to bring democracy’. However, Iraqi women‘s rights became catastrophically worse under US military dictatorship than under Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship.

The United States bloody invasion of Afghanistan was supposedly for Afghan women’s rights. However, the present situation for Afghan women is in some respects even worse than under the misogynistic Taliban tyranny. Afghanistan today is the world’s worst country for women.

Now, the armed forces not just of the USA, but also of Sarkozy‘s France, Cameron‘s Britain, Berlusconi‘s Italy, and some of the other NATO countries, have supposedly “liberated” the capital of Libya, Tripoli.

Libya, where an originally peaceful pro-democracy movement was hijacked by militarism. Where popular anger about Gadaffi’s privatisations was hijacked by … err, Gadaffi’s privatisation boss. Where popular anger about injustice under Gadaffi was hijacked by … err, Gadaffi’s Minister of Justice. Where popular opposition in Benghazi against NATO intervention was drowned in torrents of bombs and blood. Where popular opposition to dictatorship was hijacked by the dictatorial monarchies of the Arabic peninsula and their NATO friends. Where hopes of a better position for the Libyan workers were killed because the majority of the Libyan working class, being Black African or otherwise immigrant, were and are massacred by “pro-democracy” “rebels” or had and have to flee for their lives.

Now, how about women in NATO’s brave new Libya?

From AFP news agency (close to the French pro Libyan war establishment):

Libya’s new leadership lacks women in its ranks

6 September 2011, 12:19 PM

TRIPOLI — Women in Tripoli are starting to voice concern that Libya’s government in waiting, the National Transitional Council, has too many Islamists in its ranks and not enough women.

‘I’m worried that Islamic brothers will come from Benghazi and decide that women have to wear the hijab,’ or Islamic headscarf, said business student Fatin Mohammed Al Nabi, 20.

NTC officials have repeatedly downplayed the presence of Islamists in its fold while pointing out that some council members, like much of the Libyan population, are observant or conservative Muslims.

But Nabi said Benghazi, the wartime base of the NTC, was always more conservative compared than the capital where women wore what they wanted under Muammar Gaddafi.

‘The capital Tripoli was always more liberal,’ she said.

Women were never obliged to wear the hijab, she said although it remained common practice. They enjoyed full freedom of movement and participation in the economy, if not political life.

‘Gaddafi loved women more than men in reality,’ she said.

In fact, the strongman often put his personal safety in the hands of women, surrounded by an entourage of female bodyguards, and his health was entrusted to a blonde Ukrainian nurse.

Several women were staunch defenders of the regime, like Hala Misrati, an anchor for state television who came on air waving a gun and vowing allegiance to Gaddafi when rebels were at the gates of Tripoli.

Others, like Huda Ben Amer, infamous for her role in the hangings of the veteran Libyan leader’s opponents, gave a sinister face to female participation in Gaddafi’s regime.

Hundreds of women graduated each year from Gaddafi’s military academy, where they were trained over three years to shoot and handle weapons, while also attending courses on psychology, law and security studies.

‘We had some rights under Gaddafi and got more freedoms in recent years,’ said Hanan Mohammed Ali Abusah, 29, among the first officers to report back for duty since the capital fell to pro-NTC forces in late August.

She was not overly concerned by a potential rise of conservative Islam because women were still ‘likely to have more opportunities than they had before’ under Gaddafi.

But others were quick to point out that the new authorities have only included one woman in the NTC and none serve as interim ministers in its executive office.

‘I criticise the absence of women in this council,’ said Samia Shamaq, who on Monday gathered her friends for a meeting on the role of women in the new Libya.

‘There should be women in the NTC because they are a vital link in society,’ said Aya Diribubri, 26, an employee at a wedding dress shop who does not wear a veil despite catering to conservative clients.

She said she would not hesitate to wear the veil if government or society became more religiously conservative. ‘In the end, Libya is an Islamic country and safety is more important than freedom,’ she said.

To paraphrase eighteenth century United States revolutionary Benjamin Franklin: “Those sacrificing freedom to safety will ultimately lose both”.

Farah Abushwesha is a Libyan-Irish supporter of the anti-Gadaffi revolt. This week, she writes in The Guardian daily in Britain:

At this week’s conference on Libya in Paris, the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) and the international community talk about “inclusiveness” in the new country’s future. It seems strange, then, that half of the population – women – seem to be excluded from the discussions on the future of their country.

Already in May this year, the New York Times in the USA reported:

Libya Revolt Sidelines Women, Who Led It

From the Feminist Peace Network in the USA:

In late 2001, we were told that one of the reasons it was imperative that we attack Afghanistan was to liberate Afghan women from the Taliban. And then a few months later we were told that we must also rescue Iraqi women.

But the truth is that women’s human rights were never a priority, merely an excuse for exerting military domination.

From The Times in Britain, owned by scandal-ridden Rupert Murdoch, who never met a war he did not like:

UK ignored my torture: rebel commander

Martin Fletcher

September 06, 2011 10:03AM

THE Libyan rebel commander at the centre of the storm over Britain’s collusion with the Gaddafi regime accused UK intelligence agents of ignoring his claims that he was being tortured.

“I have no doubt, not a single doubt, they knew,” Abdel Hakim Belhadj, an Islamist who led last month’s rebel assault on Tripoli, told The Times yesterday.

He added that he clearly signalled his suffering and distress during questioning by British agents while he was imprisoned at the infamous Abu Salim prison.

Mr Belhadj, who now heads the Tripoli Military Council, demanded the truth about Britain’s involvement with the CIA in his forcible repatriation to Libya, where the regime locked him up and tortured him for seven years.

“Britain has things to answer,” he said as David Cameron announced in the House of Commons that the allegations would be investigated.

“A full inquiry must be set up there to see if MI6 and MI5 are ruled by UK law or not,” he added.

Mr Belhadj, 45, a bearded, soft-spoken man who dresses in military fatigues, spoke mostly about how British intelligence agents flew to Tripoli to question him for two hours a few months after his repatriation.

Talking at the Radisson hotel in Tripoli, he said that guards ordered him to change out of his filthy prison uniform and dress in traditional Libyan robes for a “family visit”. He was instead taken from Abu Salim to an external security office in Tajoura, an eastern suburb of Tripoli.

He was questioned there by three British agents who he assumed were MI5 and MI6. They were a woman and two men, one very fat. He said that they were experts in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an anti-Gaddafi movement, and knew all its members and their codenames.

Mr Belhadj said that his Libyan captors had told him: “If you want your freedom, you have to say that members of the LIFG based in Europe are linked to al-Qaeda and support terrorism so they will be sent back to Libya”. …

Despite the risk of being caught on hidden cameras he seized the chance to indicate through sign language that he was being tortured. He showed the chopping motions and crossed-wrist gestures that he made. “They moved their heads and agreed … They got my message.” But the torture continued, he said. “Nothing changed after that. The situation never changed.”

He said he was “very, very angry” with Britain and America and was considering suing both governments. …

Mr Belhadj fought the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and later became the leader of the LIFG. The organisation was crushed in the late 1990s and he fled abroad.

Security documents discovered in the newly liberated Tripoli show that by 2004 MI6 and the CIA were working hand-in-hand with Libya’s intelligence service in their efforts to combat Islamic terrorism.

Early that year Mr Belhadj tried to fly from Malaysia to London via Beijing using a French passport but was turned back at Beijing airport and returned to a detention centre in Kuala Lumpur. When someone approached the British Embassy, seeking help or asylum on his behalf, British agents revealed his true identity to the Malaysian Government and the CIA.

He was released from the detention centre, and on March 7, when he tried to fly to London a second time, he was seized by the CIA during a stopover at Bangkok airport. He says that he was tortured by the CIA then dispatched in a private plane to Tripoli where he was locked in solitary confinement, hung up, beaten, denied a shower for three years and daylight for one.

Linking MI6, BP, LSE and Libya: here.

The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday ruled that Italy violated human rights principles by spurning African migrants and asylum-seekers on the high seas, a judgment hailed as historic by Amnesty International. In the case, Hirsi Jamaa and Others v. Italy, the Court considered the plight of 24 people from Somalia and Eritrea who were among more than 200 people intercepted at sea by Italian authorities in 2009 and forced to return to Libya, their point of departure: here.

Ramzy Baroud, The Palestine Chronicle: “Listening to upbeat statements by rebel military commanders, and optimistic assessments of National Transitional Council members, one gets the impression that the future of Libya is being entirely formulated by the new Libyan leadership. Arab media, led by Al Jazeera, seemed at times to entirely neglect that there was a third and most powerful party involved in the battle between freedom-seeking Libyans and the obstinate dictator. It is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, whose decisive and financially costly military intervention was not charitable, nor was it a moral act. It was a politically and strategically calculated endeavor, with multifaceted objectives that simply cannot be scrutinized in one article”: here.

Former News Corp. Executives Challenge Murdoch Phone Hacking Testimony In Parliament Appearance: here.

12 thoughts on “Women’s rights down in NATO’s Libya

  1. Marco on September 6, 2011 at 5:44 pm said:

    At least now they are free to do what the West tells them to do. Time will tell if the people will be better off. Don’t expect hearing much of it though. The West and media will have moved on to another ‘liberation’ war. Sorry, don’t mean to sound cynical…

    Like

    • Administrator on September 6, 2011 at 5:53 pm said: Edit

      Very possibly, the big corporate media will do that. That means non-corporate media, like this blog, will have to report about Libya etc.

      Like

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