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Queues at Tripoli’s women-only petrol station highlight shortages


Summary of story from Washington Post, 2 June 2011

The scene at the Gurji Women’s Gas Station in Tripoli highlights the shortages faced by Libyans in areas ruled by Colonel Gadhafi, where fuel, medicine, some food and commercial goods are scarce and streets filled with idle cars resemble parking lots.

The gas station, which has always been just for women, is an anomaly in a country in which Gaddafi’s rule encouraged women to break cultural taboos.

Unlike their sisters in other Arab countries, women in Libya serve in the military and police force, and sometimes occupy high-ranking positions in government.

The women waiting in line are grateful for their own petrol station.  The queues seem to be shorter than elsewhere and there are no men losing their tempers or soldiers firing guns into the air to break up fights.

And while the lines are long here, they’re among the shortest in the city. Other gas lines stretch over bridges, around overpasses, clogging up main arteries as far as the eye can see.

“I’ve waited four days for fuel. It’s so tiring,” said Sana Njeim, a 26-year-old computer student.

She said her life revolved around gas lines. She leaves only to go to class, eat and sleep, leaving her car in neutral so the few dozen male volunteers can roll it forward.

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