When the Passion is for the Regime, Not for the Women it Oppresses

Oh, could this be true?

Abdel Bari Atwan, the chief editor of Al Quds al Arabi newspaper, devoted his "Opinion" column today to object to the Sudanese government's decision to put Lubna al Hussain on trial for wearing pants. If convicted, she will receive up to 40 lashes. (see my post yesterday for details about the case).

I welcome this stand, of course. I can't help noticing, however, that he seems more concerned about how the case is being used in the Western media to conspire against the Islamist Sudanese regime, which Atwan supports, than about the rights and dignities of Sudanese women.

He also has nothing to say about Luban al Hussain's courage in standing up for herself and for other women. On the contrary, he sneakily tarnishes her by saying that the Sudanese government has allowed her to become a hero for western media. Predictably, some of his readers picked up on this slight and ran away with it.

What they don't want to see is that Lubna al Hussain is no Ayaan Hirsi Ali and that her efforts to challenge injustice should be supported by us all, mainly because it is the right thing to do and secondarily so she does not become another Hirsi Ali.

So I would say: Try again, Mr. Atwan. Try harder to feel more for the individual and less for the regime that oppresses her.

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