As the director of women and gender studies at Montclair State University, Professor Khan is presumably a champion of women’s rights. Yet she seems unfazed by all the reports of what she conceded to be Qaddafi’s “bizarre” relationships with women. Khan is also ambivalent on whether Qaddafi was an “anti-imperialist hero and women’s libber, or rabidly repressive tyrant with a rapacious lust for women.”
If the “distinguished scholar” in women and gender studies had done some research before writing her memoriam to the idol of her teenage years, she might have come upon Freedom House’s findings of widespread gender discrimination against women under the Qaddafi regime.
On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 representing the lowest and 5 the highest level of freedom women have to exercise their rights, Freedom House gave Libya the following ratings:
- Nondiscrimination and Access to Justice: 2.3
- Autonomy, Security, and Freedom of the Person: 2.1
- Economic Rights and Equal Opportunity: 2.3
- Political Rights and Civic Voice: 1.2
- Social and Cultural Rights: 1.8
Professor Khan’s CounterPunch article would be almost funny but for what it says about the low threshold of critical thinking that passes for scholarship at many of our colleges and universities today. Adolph Hitler may have been responsible for great progress in Germany’s autobahn construction, producing many jobs, but he was still an evil dictator who caused untold suffering. Whatever charisma Qaddafi may have exuded to Khan as an impressionable teenager and no matter the extent of his economic largesse, Qaddafi was a brutal tyrant who caused his people untold suffering. He deserves eternal hell, not a eulogy.
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