On 26 March 2011 Iman al-Obeidi, a 26 year old law school graduate from Tobruk,
burst into a Tripoli hotel full of foreign journalists declaring that she had been held for
and raped by members of Libya's security forces. Government agents took her away to an unknown fate, but women in Libya began to speak publicly about incidents of sexual
Bruises bloomed on my thighs
when I slipped from the bed,
my neck blue from strangling.
For two days the sun rose and set
in their stinking breath,
they came in threes laughing
and when exhausted using them
because I am from the East where the rebels fight.
Escaped, women in the street clothed me,
paid for a taxi
to the hotel of the foreign journalists where
I unveiled myself. But government minders
bundled me away in a flood of lies––
I tell you a tide is rising in the desert
and I dare you all to drink.