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Revolutionary women in Libya consider post-revolution options


Summary of story from npr, October 4, 2011

Hundreds of people strolled through a charity event selling cakes and handicrafts, offering face painting for the kids, raising money for veterans in Libya’s capital city recently.

But the women organising the fundraising are revolutionaries who played a large but often unsung role in the uprising that toppled Moammar Gadhafi earlier this year.

Isra bin Mahmoud, 26, was part of a group called Flower of the Capital.This group specialised in undermining the loyalty of Gadhafi’s army in Tripoli.

They made a CD with videos of atrocities committed by the regime and passed it to the government soldiers.

“We gave them some CDs to show them the truth, to inform them that what they do is very wrong,” she said.

Fatima al-Gadrub, who worked for the revolution under the name “Samoud,” which means “steadfastness,” was part of a group which wrote and distributed a newsletter and helped smuggle weapons.

She also reported on what was happening in the capital by using a satellite phone to call outside news outlets. But she, like others, does not feel qualifed to go into politics.

Huda Abuzaid, who was a film-maker in Britain, and returned to help the new Transitional National Council, says the lack of women in Libyan politics is frustrating.

But it is not, she says, because there are no capable women available.Before the revolution most women refused any role in Gadhafi’s government, because, as architect Iqram abu Besh puts it: “We care about our reputations.”

Now, Besh Iman said, women have had successful roles in the revolution, and that has helped prepare them for the next step.

“Because now we have confidence in free Libya, we have confidence about people. Since we have educated women, since we have active women, there will be a lot of women in the election,” she said.

The Transitional National Council is still struggling to form an interim government.

A list of candidates for various Cabinet posts was leaked to the news media recently, and though the council insists that it was only tentative, it did include the names of three prominent women.


More and more, Libyan women are saying that is not enough.

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