Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lubna Hussein: A Folk Heroine in Trousers

Lubna Hussein is a folk heroine of the truest order. This Sudanese journalist is standing up for her rights and the rights of other women in Sudan to wear pants.
She is so committed, she is willing to go to jail for her belief that women have the right to dress themselves as they see fit.
In case you've not been following this news story: Lubna Hussein challenged Sudanese law when she went out in public in trousers. According to Sudanese Shirah Law this is a crime and she was charged accordingly.
Today's story by Guardian Reporter Nesrine Malik, Hussein chose to go to jail rather than pay the imposed $100 fine. Wanting to avoid global disapproval, the judges decided to withdraw the 40 lashings that are supposed to have accompanied the fine. (Note: other women who were also charged did receive the lashings).
Malik described the tensions that existed during today's hearing and noted that already Hussein has made a heroic impact upon the women of her community:
More disturbingly, the end of the case has flushed out hardline elements allied with the government who appear to be relishing the opportunity to villify the women who have been protesting. The irony is that on the way back from court I witnessed several women in trousers freely walking the streets of Khartoum proving that it was never about modesty but about Hussein's refusal to capitulate to the authorities' temperamental and arbitrary invocation of public order laws.
Hussein has opened a door for others. For this she deserves to be remembered as a folk heroine.

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