Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Iman al-Obeidi – The Face Of Oppressed Women In Libya And Worldwide

Iman al-Obeidi is the woman that burst into a hotel in Tripoli, Libya and passionately yelled out what she said happened to her while she was being held by 15 soldiers for 2 days, before escaping. This was in full view of microphones and camera from around the world. In that moment, Iman al-Obeidi may have become the face of oppressed women around the world.

As she told of horrific acts of gang rape she was then berated and roughly dragged away by hotel staff and others loyal to Gadhafi’s regime. Foreign journalists were tackled, roughed up and camera equipment smashed in an effort to keep this event off the visual record. It was captured and broadcast worldwide. Images of incredible real drama unfolded as this woman had a cloth bag thrown over her head, she was pulled outside and forced into the back of a waiting vehicle and spirited away.

Some of her final words were, “If you don’t see me tomorrow, then that’s it.” An article titled “The silence is deafening: Where is Iman al-Obeidi?” by the Star-Ledger editorial board and published in goes into further detail.

Things like this are the family secrets and dirty laundry of a regime known for brutality. It also shows the gulf between the treatment and freedom of women around the world. Now questions abound of her location and condition. Her family says they have not seen her, but offers of bribes in exchange for a retraction of allegations have come their way. Iman al-Obeidi is supposedly a lawyer and student, but she is being called a whore in an effort to smear her name and reputation.

The images of a woman being berated, having her head covered and then whisked away in a vehicle to parts unknown seemed to be the most indelible symbol of this conflict. No orchestrated theatrical play could match the reality of what happened to Iman al-Obeidi in real life.

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