Amid headlines of NATO taking charge of air operations and CIA presence on the ground in Libya are headlines of three women in very different positions. Iman Obeidi, the woman who bravely told of her rape, is sadly still missing.
But the international press's seedier confines have become fascinated with another lady character — Aisha Qaddafi, whom The New York Post describes today as the dictator's "secret weapon, and it's a bombshell: his sultry, curvy, blond glamour-girl daughter, who the despot hopes will help his men rise up — against the rebel troops, that is." We see what you did there.
Aisha reportedly tried to fly to Malta last month, but was turned away. She subsequently announced, "I am steadfastly here," and has been making public appearances to rally the troops on her father's behalf. Previously she was known for volunteering for Saddam Hussein's defense (from afar) and pleading the case of the Irish Republican Army.
Presenting a third, distinctly different experience in the country is photojournalist Lynsey Addario, who has been discussing her experience being kidnapped and held in Libya with her Times colleagues. Here they are on the Today show, during which Ann Curry paid special attention to her experience as a woman in captivity.
In a Times piece based on a conversation with her, Addario disputed that she should be regarded differently from any other kidnapped journalist:
When I was in Libya, I was groped by a dozen men. But why is that more horrible than what happened to Tyler or Steve or Anthony - being smashed on the back of the head with a rifle butt? Why isn't anyone saying men shouldn't cover war? Women and men should do what they believe they need to do.
She added, "I don't think it's more dangerous for a woman to do conflict photography. Both men and women face the same dangers." That said, she noted that women aren't always treated accordingly: "In the last few years, people have treated me more as part of the gang. But I think that it is a chauvinistic profession. In every conflict I've covered, there's always been sort of a boys' club."