Why Isn’t Anyone Talking about the Women in Libya?March 22, 2011
As I watch the United States and a broad, international coalition begin military strikes against Moammar Gadhafi’s assets in Libya, I’m looking for details, however sketchy, that average Libyans are safe — safe from Gadhafi and safe from collateral coalition damage.
Most of all, I’m looking for signs that women, who have been second-class citizens in Gadhafi’s Libya by any measure, are safe. Instability such as what we’re seeing in Libya has historically been connected to increased violence against women; as the U.N. force commander for the Democratic Republic of the Congo put it, “It is now more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in modern wars.” Unfortunately, all I’ve seen on TV and the Internet are rockets in the night, explosions, and men running with guns.
These are the familiar sights and sounds of modern military conflict, and yet I hold out hope that the members of the U.S. media on the ground in Libya — who are putting themselves at risk to bring us the truth of the conflict — begin to report on the relative well-being of the Libyan revolution’s most vulnerable people.