Throwing tradition to the wind
When I first came to Libya twenty-one years ago most women wore a farashia when they ventured out into public. A farashia is part of the traditional Libyan or north African costume. Basically it is a white sheet, often woven out of silk that is worn in such a way that it covers the whole body, usually leaving only one eye peeking out. It's a useful garment that can be used as a quick cover up when a woman wants to go out and also offers protection from the hot north African sun.
Nowadays you rarely see women wearing this traditional cloak, especially in the capital Tripoli. For some reason Libyans seem to want to shed their identities and throw off their own culture, and that means getting rid of the farashia. Either they head for a western style of dress or they face east and choose the all covering black abayah and niqab.
I suppose that there are plenty of women who think that its the Islamic thing to do. I guess there are all kinds of ways people interpret religious edicts and Islamic scripture. Who am I to tell anyone what to do or wear? But when I see women with loads of eye make-up peeking out I think that their intention is more likely not because they are looking for that proverbial ticket to heaven. Today I came across an image that made me laugh out loud:
Now I really wonder what is under those niqabs! I guess it could be quite surprising. Ok girls... go ahead and cover your beauty... but please don't drive while you are doing it! I really hate when I see that. The roads are treacherous enough without veiled women behind the wheel. Even worse are the veiled women who are holding BABIES in their laps while they drive. I see this ALL the time now in Tripoli. What are they thinking?