Paying Tribute to Salwa
By Hibaaq Osman*
Thursday, 26th June
Today is a dark day in my heart. Our dear friend and partner Salwa Bugaighis has been assassinated in her home in Benghazi, just after she cast her vote in Libya’s parliamentary elections.
Salwa was the embodiment of dignity, grace, and humanity. She fought fearlessly, persistently, and tenaciously not just for women’s rights, but the rights of her fellow Libyans to live free of oppression, persecution, marginalization, and torture. Her charisma, strength, and drive inspired others to follow in her fight to create real change, and her generosity and warmth built the trust and linkage that galvanized an entire movement in Libya.
Many have called today the day that Libya died. Salwa embodied the best of Libya. She was positive, hopeful, and forward-looking. She fought tooth and nail for human rights and women’s rights with equal parts dignity and veracity. She inspired so many to follow her lead, to speak the truth and fight for what was right and what was best for the future of Libya. Many thought she would be the president of Libya.
To me, she was a dear friend, a real, genuine human being who could touch people in a very special way from the very first moment they met her. She had a sharp wit and easy sense of humor. She was thoughtful and loving and kind, and leaves a legacy of hope behind.
My heart is heavy and the day feels as dark as ever in the wake of this news. My hope is that we can continue the work she had only just begun, and make her proud of what we are able to achieve together.
May God bless her soul, and may the angels lift her up and let her fly, as she was meant to.
*Hibaaq Osman is the founder and CEO of Karama, working to advance women’s participation, security and rights in the Arab world.