Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Image courtesy of the Guardian uk.

As I once again violate my promise to myself to avoid blogging about world events, religion, politics or other such news, I have been captivated since Saturday with the story of Eman al-Obeidi. Her wiki page says her family calls her Imam Atik Salih, and her name has also been widely written about by the media as Iman al-Obeidi.

According to her family, she's a 29 year old lawyer who has been interning with a law firm in Tripoli for two years. She is from the eastern part of Libya, in Benghazi, where her family lives. I, of course, have never met her, and other than our occupations, we probably have little in common in a cultural sense. Both she and I would feel like strangers in a strange land if we were to enter each other's worlds.

But the commonality of the human experience is such that her bravery, her courage and her fearlessness have moved me tremendously, as she has many others worldwide.

Eman has broken conventions in her world, and in some ways in our world, in many different ways. As a sexual assault victim. As a muslim women in a very different society doing something no one has ever done before on this worldwide scale. As a woman in an absolutely crazed man's world. And I submit, as a human being standing up for her rights and saying enough and she's not going to take it anymore and this is the real truth about this life in Libya.

If you don't know her story yet, or if like many of my friends and co-workers you have avoided watching the video of her courageous outcry to the world of her torture and brutal assault. It makes me proud that I am of the same profession as her, and usually that only happens with prosecutors and their deeds. There are many lawyers we are all ashamed of, and it seems these days, so few to be proud of. Eman is a lawyer we can be proud of.

Although even I agree about the sleeziness of many lawyers these days, let us not forget that many lawyers helped found the USA, devising the powerful rights and freedoms we possess to this day. There were many lawyers also involved in the forming of Texas and the same is true around the world. Lawyers can force change through their good deeds if they act with nobility.

I can't imagine the courage and bravery that Eman had to summon up to challenge the gate keepers a person of her education and intelligence would know would be guarding the foreign journalists. Her mother said Eman wanted originally to be a journalist, but became a lawyer instead because journalist in Libya have no freedom and as a lawyer perhaps she could do more for Libya.

That's pretty admirable. She's a rare hero in this world of people of dubious intent and actions, of politics and corruption, of war and peace. A normal person who shows bravery and nationalism and pure heartedness in extraordinairily bad situations that would wilt a person with a normal constitutition.

As we say here in Texas on occasion, that lady is some tough. God bless her and God bring her through this safely, as well as those family and friends around her.

Her final words about if we don't see her again, then we'll know. Those words are haunting, and although many are making efforts to locate her or her sister in Tripoli, Eman has not been seen since Saturday, March 26th, 2011 when she was drug away by the Libyan goon squad.

If you're the praying kind, I ask you to pray for the safe return of this woman and her other family and companions who were allegedly abducted from the roadside checkpoint. Regardless of your faith, your race, your political beliefs, your nationality or anything else, Eman is one of us. A normal person being repeatedly wronged in ways that should offend every good and decent person on God's green earth.

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