Libya's Poster Girl

Nisreen in Gaddafi's army

It was only a matter of time before Libya found a totem. The psychological semantics are beautifully laid out. A 19-year-old girl. Attractive. Murderer? Victim? The shadow-play is potent.

Libyan’s leader Muammar Gaddafi always had a female army alongside the traditional male one. So, what sets Nisreen Mansour al Forgani apart? Have the rebels not taken others captive, those who massacred the dissident forces? Why do all such movements feel the need to use such ‘human shields’ to drive home a point that is ironically against the debasement of the human used as shield to prop up dictatorial regimes?

It is essentially the idea of “Gaddafi's girl executioner” that has the appeal of bondage. It is essentially vicarious. Her being shackled to a bed now is a wry comment on how both sides will use an individual, especially if she happens to be an eyeball-grabbing young woman.

The rebels have taken her after she killed 11 of them, many at point-blank range. Her story, as recounted now, is about a girl who enjoyed “dance music”, which the media seems to emphasise, quite forgetting that in Gaddafi’s Libya it was not forbidden. The leader himself was given to many pleasures.

Nisreen who lived with her mother was initiated into the army by Fatma. Besides training in guns, she was also sent off by the lady to a room where military officers raped her and other young women. So, why is Fatma not being held out as the ugly face of the regime? The rebels will make the most of Nisreen. The gut-wrenching account will be for an international audience as they too like to put their best victims out.

Nisreen recounts about Fatma: “She told me that if my mother said something against Gaddafi that I should immediately kill her. If I said anything about the leader that she did not like I would be beaten and locked in my room. She also told us that if the rebels came, they would rape us.”

The rebels did not sexually exploit her, but she is being flashed around in the media. There is pity for her as she gives the details: “The rebel prisoners were tied up and kept under a tree outside. Then one by one they were brought up to the room. There were three Gaddafi volunteers with guns also in the room. They told me that if I didn’t kill the prisoners then they would kill me.”

Wasn’t she trained as a sniper? What did she expect? Weren’t most of the rebels people who opposed the regime? There were many who supported Gaddafi right until the revolution. It is a bit hard to digest that Nisreen now says her family were not supporters of the Gaddafi regime. Are these her political views? What is the genesis of it?

Was she forced to do it, or is she now claiming to be anti-Gaddafi because she fears the rebels who took her prisoner? “I told them (the rebels) what I did. They are angry. I do not know what will happen to me now.”

This is the crux. No one quite knows. If many who followed Gaddafi’s laws had been forced into doing so, then they were victims as well. Do the rebels then have the right to hold them responsible? How will the alternative powers deal with these contradictions?

In a rather macabre conversation, a rebel fighter asked her, “Do you pray?” She said she used to.

“What time of day did you kill them?”

“In the mornings.”

The rebels?
Are the rebels going to base their decision on her devotion? What does the fact that she “used to” pray convey – that she has lost faith, or that she cannot do so physically now? Is the timing important for religious reasons?

The rebels seem to be on a trip of their own. It happened with Nida in Iran, a martyr by default. It will happen with Nisreen. Where did they get the photograph of her before being tied to the hospital bed from? There are others of her weeping. These will be flaunted as part of the victory over Tripoli. The rubble from Gaddafi’s mansion with its joy rides and zoo don’t work as well as a young woman killer in tears.


  1. EID ki hardik shubhkamnaye.
    Allah aapko duniya ko appriciate karna sikhaye.

  2. VM:

    Shukriya/dhanyawaad! Aur aapko bhi mubarak ho...bhagwaan aapko sahensheelta de taaqi aap iss blog ko jheil sakein :)

    Allah ne aaina banaya hai, tau appreciation ho hi jaata hai...

  3. kabhi kabhi jhelte hain kabhi kabhi interesting. :)
    carry on. All the best.


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