Eman al-Obeidi is Libya’s Tank Man in Tiananmen Square

A Point of View, Libya, Middle East & North Africa, Politics | | March 26, 2011 at 15:39

Eman al Obeidi and journalists fend off Gaddafi thugs. Photo by Jerome Delay AP

Her story has riveted everyone seeing the footage. Eman al-Obeidi (el-Obeidy, el Obeidi, al Obeidy), a Libyan woman from Benghazi was stopped at a checkpoint in Tripoli and detained for two days. Raped repeatedly by a group of 15 or so Gaddafi thugs, she was brutalized physically and mentally. Raping not enough, they resorted to defecating and urinating on her to complete the humiliation.

But they couldn’t break her spirit. She found her way to the dining room of the Hotel Rixos where foreign journalists are sequestered. The following footage tells the ensuing story far better than I ever could.


Tweeps are already comparing her courage to that of Tank Man (Unknown Rebel) who stood alone in front of the column of tanks in Tiananmen Square on June 4 1989.  Just as Wael Ghonim’s emotional TV appearance after his release from two-week custody turned Egyptian sentiment in favor of the Youth Revolution in Tahrir Square, there are many who hope the bravery of Eman al-Obeidi will show the world once and far all what Libyans endure under the Gaddafi regime.

Of course, she was smeared on Libyan State TV which claimed she did not behave like a woman who had been raped, that she was shaming her family etc etc etc. If you want to watch the actual telecast (in Arabic with English subtitles), go here:  YouTube – Gadhafi’s response to victim Iman Al-Obeidi http://bit.ly/fMIrvp.

And then more of this bizarre story. Here is a video of Eman in a police station, lying on the floor with a man and woman encouraging her to go on TV, go to hospital for rape kit, accusing her of wanting only to talk to Al Jazeera and a series of other very strange verbal exchanges. There must be heavy cultural undercurrents here. The final part with the Libyan state TV commentator talking about prostitutes and patriotism is beyond belief from perspective of an American. Where is Nancy Grace? Libyan State TV Follow Up On Eman | Alive in Libya http://bit.ly/h9mxWS

Nothing has been seen or heard of her since those last images of her being driven away in a white car from Hotel Rixos. We hope she is not another martyr like Mohammad Mo Nabbous who was assassinated by snipers for speaking the truth and showing the world the horror of Muammar Gaddafi and his regime. http://english.aljazeera.net/video/africa/2011/03/201132641516680124.html

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