The XX Factor

Free Iman al-Obeidi

Rachael, thank you for posting on Iman al-Obeidi, the courageous law student who burst into the hotel holding Western reporters and told the world the story of her gang rape by Qaddafi thugs. Unfortunately, although the regime says al-Obeidi has been released, her family has not seen or heard from her. Watching this CNN interview last night with al-Obeidi’s mother, Aisha Ahmad, it’s easy to see where the young woman gets her bravery. Ahmad sits stoically in her home in Tobruk and says dryly that she’s not afraid of Qaddafi and that, “If I were to see his face, I would strangle him.” For added emphasis she says that when her family goes to Tripoli, “We’ll cut his head off and bring it here.” Imagine what it takes to speak such words in a country run by a murderous maniac only too happy to shed the blood of his citizens.

In this chilling story in the Daily Beast about the uses of rape in Libya, Eliza Griswold writes that rape victims are at risk of being killed by their families (because of the dishonor) or their attackers. Some Libyan judges have mandated that rape victims marry their attackers. Fortunately, al-Obeidi’s family is standing by her, even as the regime concocts story after story about her – the she is a prostitute, that she is mad. Let’s hope that al-Obeidi is released soon and that her mother is prescient about Qaddafi’s life expectancy.  If this is a just world, al-Obeidi will be able to continue her studies in a country where the law isn’t what springs from the mind of a madman.