Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sudanese Women Sentenced Forty Lashes for Wearing Trousers - Female Journalist Defies Court

We Americans need reminding from time to time that we are important role models to the rest of the world. Plus, we like to tell other nations how they should be governing themselves, especially on issues such as human rights.

As if we’re on top of our game in human rights.

Never mind Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, our dearth of women political leaders, the upsurge of sexism and misogyny during the 2008 presidential election... oh, that reminds me of President Obama’s head speech writer, Jon Favreau, otherwise known as Jon, the Groper. Nothing like a viral photo going global of tipsy Jon and his male friend sexually molesting a life-size cardboard cutout of our newly appointed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Hey, Jon, way to send a message to women in countries like Sudan where Islamic Sharia law is enforced. Never mind. In spite of the depraved mind of the guy who unbelievably continues to put words in President Obama’s mouth, brave women manage to stand up against the cruel oppression of their cultures wherever they happen to be.

Take Sudanese female journalist Lubna Hussein. The Huffington Post cites an AFP report that Hussein, who was arrested July 3 for wearing pants and is now standing trial, openly defied the court by wearing the very same outfit to trial that she was arrested for.

From the Huffington Post/Associated Press:

A Sudanese female journalist facing 40 lashes for wearing trousers in public in violation of the country's strict Islamic laws told a packed Khartoum courtroom Wednesday she is resigning from a U.N. job that grants her immunity so she can challenge the law on women's public dress code.

Lubna Hussein was among 13 women arrested July 3 in a raid by members of the public order police force on a popular Khartoum cafe for wearing trousers, considered indecent by the strict interpretation of Islamic law adopted by Sudan's Islamic regime. All but three of the women were flogged at a police station two days later.

But Hussein and two other women decided they wanted to go to trial and Hussein invited human rights workers, western diplomats and fellow journalists to Wednesday's hearing.

Some of her women friends showed up in court Wednesday wearing trousers in a show of support.

"This is not a case about me wearing pants," said Hussein, who works in the media department of the U.N. Mission in Sudan and contributes opinion pieces to a left-leaning Khartoum newspaper.

"This is a case about annulling the article that addresses women's dress code, under the title of indecent acts. This is my battle. This article is against the constitution and even against Islamic law itself," she said after the hearing.”

Did I mention earlier that Americans like to promote themselves as role models for the rest of the world? U.S. human rights activists would do well to look to Lubna Hussein and her supporters in Sudan for guidance. Our country's 51 percent female population must unite to make sure that never again will female candidates for the presidency or any other public office be treated with the blatant misogynist contempt experienced by Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin in 2008.

America can do better.

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