One small request: Aisha Qaddafi

August 26, 2010

Earlier today I went with Yusra to one of Tripoli's largest banks. Most of the employees were women - including the branch manager. In fact, I didn't see any men employees. Later that day I put in a press request to interview the women at the bank. These are the kinds of stories that I've been researching and looking for in Libya. In some ways, they may not sound that extraordinary, but I think the Western image of Arab women is completely distorted. Women are allowed to drive in Libya. Women here serve in high-ranking government posts and in parliament. Women work, some even after having a family. There are doctors, lawyers, artists. No, I don't have to be covered from head to toe during my visit. Just no cleavage or miniskirts. There is a conservative Islamic culture in Libya, but women are quick to tell me that Libyan law supports their rights. There's one particular woman I'm requesting to interview: Aisha Qaddafi, the leader's 30something daughter. She's a Paris-trained lawyer who is sometimes referred to as the "Claudia Schiffer" of North Africa because of her blond good looks. Aisha Qaddafi heads Libya's main charity group, and she has served as Libya's National "ŽGoodwill Ambassador for the U.N. Development Program. But she rarely gives interviews. Check out this column Yusra did about Aisha Qaddafi last year.

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