Samer Muscati and Hanan SalahMay 31, 2013 08:02
Commentary: Gender discrimination still permeates Libyan laws and institutions.
A Libyan woman shows her ink-stained finger after casting her vote to elect Libya's General National Congress in Benghazi on July 7, 2012. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)
“I have waited my whole life for tomorrow, which will be a new day for Libya,” an elated Haja Nowara told Human Rights Watch on the eve of Libya’s first democratic national elections in July 2012. “We sacrificed a lot to get here.” We met Nowara as she held a lonely vigil in the square outside the courthouse in Benghazi, where she had spent many evenings supporting the revolution since early 2011. She proudly displayed her voter registration card around her neck and waved Libya’s new national flag while people approached her to pay their respects. She had become an icon due to her steadfast participation in the protests that started the revolt that eventually led to the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi.