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Long ago, men were considered higher that the women. In todays generation men and women are valued equally everywhere, although there are some exceptions in some countries. In Hisham Matar's "In the Country of Men" the revolution in Libya in the late 1970s has been discussed.
According to Gaddafi and his rules Libya is only for men. More importance to men is given than women. Here the protagonist, Suleiman is been concern about being exposed and concerns him about growing up as a man in the upcoming future, and it also snatches his mother's freedom in her early age.
Najwa, Suleiman's mother is bonded in to a forceful marriage with a stranger man who was 24 years and was 9 year older than Najwa. The main reason of this marriage is to prove the doubts of his father and brother had that she was not seeping with other people and was not having a baby. Najwa was not allowed to take decisions on her own, whether to marry or not? The only option she had is to marry. He was not even allowed to argue. In her family the main decision was taken by the men who were the brother and her father who were also called as the "Higha Council". "Whenait comesato a women'savirtue, weaare a fierce."(147). The high council control all the women's and girl's activities whether what they can and cannot do. If they do something which is against them that they are the one who has the right to punish them and act aggressive towards them. Najwa is bonded in a forceful child marriage which is against the law nowadays. By forcing Najwa to Marry against her will indicates that here freedom has been snatched away. Her feeling of giving her body to a completely strange person is totally awkward. It is like trying to forcefully join to things. Najwa says that Faraj, her husband is executioner, who is a person with whom one has to live with the whole life. Moreover she diverts her anger on all the men and from here on she starts to hate all men. "Allayou men, Allayou men areathe same."(144). There were a majority of men in her house therefore she had to listen to them, she has been trapped and ordered to obey what every the men would order her to do. Therefore, Najwa was freedom less after the black day.
The cult of masculinity impels Suleiman in being a man. He wants to grow up and save his mom and does not like to be a kid. When Faraj is away, Suleiman is the only considered male in the house. As a man, he has all the responsibilities to care for is mother and to govern his house. "Takeacare of youramother; you are theaman of the houseanow." (61). In Faraj's absence, Suleiman tends to help out his mom and care for her as a man. In the beginning Suleiman envy his father and he wants to be like him, a real man. Suleiman feels sorry that he is small and cannot participate with all the adults matter like the anti-revolution. He also wants to be on his father's side. He tries to join all the pieces of information and tries to understand everything. He acts as if he is the only grown up in his family. "You aalways lie. I am not aa child and you aalways liee." (200). Suleiman hates whenever is considered as a small child. He is always excluded and has no chance to speak up. In the novel, Suleiman has a significant importance in being a man and want to gain more knowledge.
Suleiman desires to be a man but is unsure whether he will be able to fulfill all the requirements in being a man. He hesitates and is unsure if he can handle all the duties and responsibilities that a man is responsible for. In the beginning of the novel Najwa tells Suleiman everything about the black day. He tells him about the way Faraj punchers her veil in order to prove he is a man. He is not sure if he is capable of doing all this. "I don't know what mamaa meant, but I am feared that when theatimeacame I might notahave what it takes to 'puncture' aawoman." (13). Suleiman things whether he can do it to prove himself as a man. The time when the Revolutionary Committee men come's to his house, Suleiman want to help his mom as a man but unfortunately cannot since he was very small to defend his mom. He also gets scared went to revolutionary screams in their house. "Iaam wet beneath myaclothes andaknow what Iahad done." (63) Suleiman gets his pants wet by peeing in it, and at this point he does not feel like a man at all. He feels timid of being a man and thinks that he cannot handle all these duties.
Moreover, Najwa has been very unhappy about the marriage and feel like a slave when at home since Suleiman was home since, he was the only male and males were considered higher that women. In the absence of Suleiman she also drinks alcohol. These situations made her alcoholic. "The medicinesahad changed her eyes andamade heralose herabalance." (14). By drinking it as she is depressed and it's her addiction that joins the bond between her and Suleiman. "Shealay beneathahim, unmoving, lookingaawayâ€¦. her arms are stretchedabeside her, her handaopen and slackatoward theasky." (86). This shows that she has to do all this for a husband. She has been living like a body without a sole. Her life has been destroyed due to the power of men.
Therefore, the cult of masculinity has totally changed the lifestyle of Suleiman and Najwa. Suleiman had a hard time becoming a man and on the other hand Najwa's young life is been very sad and depressed. The inequality of sex has a huge impact in today world. Men and women are both human's, soawhy treat themadifferently?