LIBYAPROSPECT – London
The decision by the Chief of Staff of the House of Representatives (HoR) loyal to General Khalifa Haftar, Abdel Razek Al-Nadhouri, to ban women under 60 from traveling without ‘mahram’ or male guardian, which Al-Abraq Airport started to implement, raised different reactions. The journalist, Salem Abu-Dher, surveyed on Libya Al-Mostakbal website many Libyan women (as translated here by LIBYAPROSPECT).
The writer and lawyer, Azza Magur, said that “what we need in Libya, in this time, is using mind. Decisions derogating women’s rights as citizens, only escalate women suffering, undermine her respect, position, and justify insults against her.” She added that “those who disrespect rights and freedoms are like who puts his hand inside the snake hall, will open an endless path of legal demands and lawsuits, firstly the issue of jurisdiction and authority, and according to what the flawed decision is based, 51% of Libyans could be spies.”
The chief editor of Fesanya newspaper, Salema Bin Nuzha, confirmed her opposition to the military governor decision, saying that “I oppose the decision, as it is issued by the army which is not of its authorities. Besides, Al-Nadhouri’s claimed reasons are unconvincing. I fear the decision would be followed by other similar ones, which is against the personal and public freedoms, and it will return the country back to the restrictions and tyranny”. Bin Nuzha asked that “no similar decision was issued in Tripoli, rules by extremist Islamic militias, so how possibly such decision issued inside areas ruled by the army?” She urged women representatives in the HoR to move and deter the decision.
From her side, the media lady, Sana Elmansouri, fiercely denounced the decision. She wrote on her Facebook page that “we will fight and lead events without mahram or restrictions, free forever, on the land of Tamazgha, we are not the fuel for your desire, marriage.”
The business lady, Amal Al-Delawy, said that “it’s unfortunate that all economic, political, and security issues are put aside and neglected against hasty ill-considered decisions, either for religious or security reasons. The woman the only one to suffer.” Al-Delawy speaks of herself saying that “I am trying hard to coexist, participate, confront, and initiate to improve life conditions inside my country to get shocked with such decisions, that impede my normal life. Even if I travel for vacation, which is totally my right, no one has the power to deprive me of my civil rights. Personally, I was very frustrated by some activists’ opinions, do we need justifications to acquire our civil rights?”
Mayson Saleh frankly said that “either the decision is real or just a rumor, I utterly refuse to be used (as a woman) in your struggles, such decision doesn’t represent me, it clearly states that the woman needs a guardian, thus can’t move without her guardian, mahram. Travel ban without a mahram is an annoying issue. I will not allow anyone to undermine my civil rights, regarding me incomplete without a mahram.”
The journalist, Nahla Al-Mahdy, said that “I oppose the decision, and personally I know since I was young that it is my right to travel, my job has nothing to do with it, I don’t travel for work, the banning won’t impede my job. The principle I am discussing is the right, their decision is a violation, traveling is a fundamental right of humans, that abuse is entirely refused without justifications, either the woman is decent or not, according to their classifications, traveling is an authentic right guaranteed by religions and laws.”
The journalist, Suzan Ashour, said that “I wasn’t really surprised by the decision, but what shocked me is that it looked like a military decree. Here I won’t tackle the religious reasons, which if found banned women traveling without a mahram, nor when permitted it for primary reasons. I will not address Al-Nadhouri’s statements in details, in which he justified the decision for security considerations, which made matters much worse. But I was shocked with the dangerous retreat regarding physical and mental gains for women for Libya”.
Ashour added that “polygamy is a kind of violence against women, that’s why laws conditioned the approval of the first wife, as stated in the green document for human rights, article 21 promoting freedom and gender equality. I don’t know whether the document still valid.”
Back to Al-Nadhouri’s decision, Ashour said that “the same incident occurred in 2007 when the General Popular Committee issued a travel ban for Libyan women under 40, which of course caused huge controversy among woman communities, who regarded the decision violation against freedom, human rights conventions. I still remember my fellow women participating in rallies in front of the General Popular Committee.”
Ashour added that “the history is full of discrimination against women and restrictions against rights and freedoms, all were based on religious beliefs, social customs, and norms. Al-Nadhouri’s decision is a significant intellectual retreat thousand steps backward, indicates some future fears regarding women political, economic, and social gains. It will result in enormous challenges, and it requires fight so women could keep their rights.”
The journalist, Nahla Tarhouni, said that “we, women, are not against the application of religious laws, but what provokes me is that any application is always limited to women, without the other (man) who shares the same geographic space with us, especially with his huge influence on our lives. So, we, the women, want the full application of sharia, including the death of killers, so we women can live safely away from those killer men wandering streets threatening our lives; cutting thief hands so we could guarantee our living without the need to queue for hours in front of banks; and stone adulterers so we could feel safe, not being kidnapped day and night in front of men who do nothing. All of that happen daily, no man called for sharia to be applied. When you use sharia on yourselves, we will stay home until death, with no need for laws or decisions. But that is so unlikely.”