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A model of courage

July 29, 2009

Lubma Ahmed Hussein was recently arrested and charged with wearing “indecent” clothing in Sudan, her home country. What was indecent? Pants. If found guilty, she could be punished with forty lashes.Hussein

Her trial began today and was quickly put on hold, when the judge told her that because she works for the UN, she had legal exemption and did not have to stand trial. Hussein announced her decision to resign from her job with the UN, forgo her exemption, and go through with the trial, because she wants to change the law.

Given the Sudanese government’s patterns of oppressive tactics to silence dissent, as well as its willingness to abuse the guise of religious rule to oppress women, Hussein’s actions are especially courageous. She’s the picture of what it means to shed privilege to be in solidarity with the oppressed, while owning her status to garner media attention and international diplomatic support. I have tremendous amounts of respect for her decision, and I’ll be updating here about the trial as it proceeds.

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