Feminist Philosophers

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Lubna Hussein September 8, 2009

Filed under: appearance,human rights — Jender @ 9:56 am

Lubna Hussein has now been convicted for wearing trousers. Hussein, a UN worker, resigned her post so that she would be tried as an ordinary Sudanese citizen, and also refused a presidential pardon. Her goal was to call attention to Sudan’s repressive law, and also to the hideous punishment of 40 lashes for the offense. Presumably in an effort to reduce worldwide attention to the case, she was sentenced only to a fine, rather than to a fine and a flogging (as is customary). But Hussein is not letting the Sudanese government divert attention in this way. She’s now refusing to pay the fine. And she’s still wearing those trousers.hussein_090709_mn (Thanks, Hippocampa!)

 

21 Responses to “Lubna Hussein”

  1. Ruwayda Mustafah Says:

    Hi,

    I believe (regardless of our western views of Sudan and their treatment of women) that when outsiders enter a country they should respect their customs and traditions, esp when they are there for a different purpose.

  2. Monkey Says:

    What about customs of, e.g., female genital mutilation? Do you think such a custom should also be respected? If you don’t then you might wonder how and where to draw the line between customs that should be respected and those that shouldn’t. It might also be worth bearing in mind that the customs and traditions of a country may not be customs and traditions that all citizens of that country think are worth respecting. They may be customs and traditions upheld by the powerful, which the powerless do not like. Respecting those customs and traditions would then mean respecting the views of the powerful rather than the powerless.

  3. Monkey Says:

    I was also under the impression that Lubna Hussein is Sudanese herself. Although please correct me if I am wrong.

  4. Jender Says:

    Yes, Hussein is Sudanese, and so not an outsider: Sorry if calling her a ‘UN worker’ gave the wrong impression.

  5. Rachel McKinney Says:

    There’s a really interesting interview with Hussein from France 24 where she describes her arrest experience, including being forced to walk a “catwalk” for the police:

  6. Vishal Says:

    This woman (Lubna) is extremely strong and brave. (This is not to suggest that other women are not!) But, I think what she is doing is really exceptional. I am very much aware of the unpleasant consequences (which is really an understatement) that she has to face over all this from a conservative society she is a part of.

    And, I beg to disagree with Ruwayda, who earlier wrote a comment on this thread. Human rights and human freedom have nothing to do with the “outsider vs insider” dichotomy that detractors seem to employ every time the issue of women’s rights vis-a-vis conservative cultures are brought up.

  7. Ruwayda Mustafah Says:

    Monkey – I think you make a good point on where do we draw the line between what’s tradition and what’s not tradition and whether all traditions should be respected. Obviously Lubna should be permitted to wear jeans but if she was asked to do otherwise, then it seems more reasonable for her to follow the regulations of such country. To compare this to female mutilation is patently false because one harms the body of women while the other is just in reference to clothing. While both of these are tradition one has long lasting effects to the well being of women. So you are right I don’t believe all traditions should be respected… Hmmm just my opinion currently.

    I would like to hear more Sudanese women speaking about this and what their views are.

  8. Ruwayda Mustafah Says:

    … There are implications to not permitting women to wear jeans i.e. lack of freedom/expression etc.

  9. Vishal Says:

    Ruwayda,

    Please allow me to respond to a few of your comments.

    Obviously Lubna should be permitted to wear jeans but if she was asked to do otherwise, then it seems more reasonable for her to follow the regulations of such country.

    Lubna stated in her TV interview (to which a link was provided by Rachel, earlier) that hers is a legal battle. In addition, she stressed on the fact (if I heard well) that last year alone around 43,000 women were castigated in Sudan for “breaching” rules related to public wear. I would say that’s a pretty insane number. Clearly, she is also fighting for other women who may not be able to fight themselves owing to so many factors. So, more power to Lubna!

    To compare this to female mutilation is patently false because one harms the body of women while the other is just in reference to clothing.

    You are completely missing the point! Physical harm/injury (or lack of it) isn’t (or rather, can’t) be the basis of human progress. One can easily use your argument to come up with any number of insane conclusions. Let me furnish a few myself. “All women should stay indoors because it doesn’t lead to physical harm both in the short term and long term.” How about another one? “All women (non-Muslims included) should wear burqas because doing do doesn’t lead to injury.”

    While both of these are tradition one has long lasting effects to the well being of women. So you are right I don’t believe all traditions should be respected…

    All traditions (irrespective of their origin, divine or otherwise) should be discarded if they lead to the mutilation of human freedom. One must, I strongly believe, respect persons, not traditions.

  10. J-Bro Says:

    This is not a “tourists should follow local customs about dress if you don’t want to offend people” issue, like not wearing shorts in Morocco or something.

    Number one, Hussein is in fact a local, even though she happens to work for the UN. So it’s definitely her battle to fight if she chooses to.

    Number two, the Sudan actually has a law about this, so it isn’t just avoidance of offense, it’s avoidance of state action.

    Number three, the law carries a ridiculously harsh penalty; if it were the local equivalent of a $5 fine, this wouldn’t be such a big deal. (And no, I don’t feel any need to be respectful of Sudanese Islamist mores, so I’ll stick with “ridiculously”.)

  11. zahratein Says:

    Excuse me? This is ALL that matters in the world? What’s wrong with the people. Muslim women wear trousers ALL over the Muslim world. So WHAT?

    Stupid goverment. Shows they have nothing better to do, such time wasters.

  12. [...] “Lubna Hussein” and related posts Read The Full Article…“Lubna Hussein” and related posts [...]

  13. libhomo Says:

    Religion is so crazy.

  14. hippocampa Says:

    Religion does nothing, it’s people abusing religion who are crazy. That’s exactly what Lubna is saying.

  15. J-Bro Says:

    I’m not so sure. I think any belief system that makes certain claims immune to critical evaluation — as religion often does — tends to lead people toward not critically evaluating *any* claims made by people they see as being in authority.

  16. hippocampa Says:

    That’s still people doing that then. Religions have no agency.

  17. Sarah Says:

    There are such courts in the world Lubna, They are in the Islamic Republic of Iran. They are the same although with some difference in integrity of violence…

  18. tina Says:

    hey lubna. i really envy your guts. You know what you want. just go for it lady!

  19. Anonymous Says:

    is to wear traoser i its not as eriouse crime that she has coomit , but there was another political objective that she had has giribed

  20. Anonymous Says:

    I have just read about Lubna’s plight.I salute her bold defiance of the oppresive govt. of Sudan.


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