Death to the dictator, and one more wife for me please!

I am happy for Libyans that they have toppled, with just a bit of help from NATO, the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi. Many Libyans have shown great courage and resilience which may serve as an example to other oppressed peoples in North Africa and the Middle East.

The end of a dictatorship however does not immediately result in a democracy, let alone one with human rights and rule of law. Today’s “liberation speech” by Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of the Transitional National Council, demonstrated that everyone in Libya must remain alert about which direction the country will head to:

Mr Jalil pledged to repeal all laws that didn’t conform with Islamic law, the Shariah. This not only overstepped the authority of the Transitional (!) National Council, but it was even more worrying because one of the two examples chosen was the marriage law. (The other was a populist promise to outlaw the charging of interest.)

“We don’t care about democracy, jobs or security. We just want to get married!”

Apparently, in the view of some Libyan revolutionaries, when you have just brought a 42-year dictatorship to an end and won a bloody civil war, when oil needs to be pumped, jobs need to be created, a constitution to be drafted and elections to be organised, one of the most important and urgent tasks is to make it easier for men to marry a second wife.

One minister of the temporary cabinet explained – without any intended irony, I assume – that this would happen in the interest of women: “A lot of young ladies lost their husbands in the battle” and they would want to remarry quickly. – So, it’s polygamy for the sake of women‘s rights? Because apparently Libyan women are just as crazy for a wedding as women all over the world, and they have no other problems to worry about.

Is this what Libyans fought for? Is this what Libyans died for? Is this what NATO bombed for?

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Family Law, Human Rights, Islam, Law, Libya, Politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Death to the dictator, and one more wife for me please!

  1. John Erickson says:

    I’m as much of a hawk as you’ll probably ever meet, and I thought ops in Libya were a bad idea from the start. Unknown rebels, undefined goals, untrained fighters, and all done from long-range aircraft aerially refueled, or carrier craft operating from a single aircraft carrier – and multiple countries working off THAT ship. And despite supposedly shooting anything that moved, an entire convoy gets out of Libya and halfway to Burkina Faso.
    I’m glad the Libyans are free – for now. I just hope the Brits and the French have a brilliant idea when Libya drops under Sharia law.

    • I actually disagree. I think it was worthwhile to help Libyans. After all, it’s not their fault that they live in a dictatorship, and it’s not our merit that we live in a democracy. Some are fortunate and some have tough luck in this “lottery of life” ( and I see a moral obligation of us to help those less fortunate.
      And Gaddafi WAS clearly threatening to massacre whole towns, so there was even an imminent threat.
      I wish more peoples would rise up like this and we would come to help.

      Sure it’s uncertain what will come next, but even some sort of democracy which wouldn’t quite resemble Germany or Sweden is still much better than the brutal dictatorship of a madman.

    • John Erickson says:

      I’m sorry, Andreas, I didn’t explain myself well enough. I meant I didn’t think it was a good idea for the US to try to lead such an adventure. Our military has already been badly stressed by the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the extra “load” on our forces stretched us VERY thinly in other commitments around the world.
      I do support the Libyans having revolted. I also am glad that NATO did eventually step up and take the lead – I just wish NATO’s response had been a bit quicker, and a lot more whole-hearted, especially in Italy’s case. I also wish both the US and NATO had worked harder to get more Arab involvement, so there was less chance the West would’ve been seen as invaders rather than liberators.
      My problem is with HOW it was handled, not that it was done. I was more than ready to see Qaddafi out back when Ronald Reagan was dropping bombs on him. I just felt sorry for overstressed military forces having to work at the end of such a thin and tenuous logistics line.
      Forgive me, I sometimes forget that the “we” on the other end of the Internet from me is NOT in the US. It’s a bad habit our country ingrains in us, and despite a lifelong attempt to overcome it, sometimes the habit sneaks back up on me! :)

  2. Ajay Kaul says:

    Unfortunate – because that was the exact logic behind polygamy when it was introduced in the Islamic law during medieval times. The Libyans have to push for democracy – where they decided what laws will govern them – not the ones based on the whims of one individual – because that would mean that they replaced one dictator with another.

  3. Uh-oh. In Islam, polygamy was allowed only in the case of war widows. Countries like Afghanistan and Iraq promote polygamy—they did cite the Islamic reasoning—but it is also just another way to control women and let men have more rights. That is not the best sign if the first thing on the NTC’s mind is polygamy. I hope that Libya, Egypt and Tunisia will bring about democracies.

    • I would like to add that I am actually not totally against polygamy because I see marriage just as a contract, which in my view might be entered by more than two people. BUT that would require that all parties, irrespective of their gender, enjoy the same rights concerning marriage, divorce, child custody, inheritance and maintenance.

  4. itesoridiamleta says:

    Oh, it’s not so strange. Men are the same in every part of the world. They all think about the same thing :P

  5. K@mmerjäger says:

    Indeed, one of the biggest atractions in case of this so-called Religion was right from the beginning that “legal” satisfyin of perverted Men-Dreams (in the name of Allah – of course!)
    There was no spiritual seekin’ for God or any esoteric Intressed at all – just a greed(Gier) to fertilize anything what couldn’t escape fast enough on a tree! In change for this kind of “freedom” they had to pray 5 times a day – in theyr’e opinion a good deal! So, what happens now in Lybia and Tunisia is just a kind of “Back to the roots” – and nothing else! (I call it ‘mentality’ – grown for at least 1400 Years – hard to get off from there genetic-pool!) And i guess – this is just a beginning
    of a really ugly part of human history! . . (It reminds me strongly at the movie “Planet of the Apes”)

  6. Arweelo says:

    I always found it funny that people automatically equate democracy with justice and stability. If people claim to be in support of democracy surely you will have to accept what the Tunisians decided for themselves? Is it only considered a true democracy when a country follows the ideologies of the west?

    I’m glad to see Tunisia choose it’s own path. Shariah does not mean everyone has to pray 5 times a day, or wear a certain clothing all the time. It is a sysem that allow islamic values to be upheld. Tunisians did not go through the radical extreme revolution Iran went through nor do they follow the wahabi intrepretation of Saudi Arabia. Instead of fear, hope should be the feeling amongst observers.

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  8. Lillian Smith says:

    Arweelo, but Islamic values, if upheld in the right way, would mean less democracy and human rights. No matter how you cut it, there is no way of getting around that one.

    The reason for polygamy, amongst many, is that it ensures that each male can produce the maximum number of offspring. Since Islam is a proselytizing religion, it stands to reason that a demographic advantage over your enemies will ensure more and more obedient Muslims and the Mullahs or Imams or whatever you want to call them (I call them the “Priestly Class) always have enough people subjugated to teachings which make them slaves and themselves as masters. Simple as that.

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