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Freedom Is Slavery (Doubleplus for Iraqi Women)

April 6th, 2008 · 1 Comment · Feminism, Foreign Policy, News, Peace, Politics

Newsweek on what life is like for women in Iraq in these days of the glorious surge:

The insurgents have been driven out of her southwest Baghdad neighborhood, but the 30-year-old shop assistant is still frightened. A year ago Al Qaeda in Iraq ruled the streets outside her home, and Mahdi Army militia units kept the area under relentless attack. Now the Iraqis who helped get rid of the killers are the ones who scare her. The Americans imposed order a few months ago by recruiting and paying local men to turn in the names of suspected jihadists. Similar armed groups have popped up all around the city. Each has its own bizarre rules; some threaten to kill women who don’t wear veils in public. The shop assistant is in mourning for her brother, who was killed last May, but she’s asking for trouble if she wears black more than three days running. According to the new enforcers in her neighborhood, anyone who dresses in mourning is committing blasphemy by questioning the will of God.

After years of trying without success to wrest Sunni areas from Qaeda control, U.S. ground commanders appear to have done it at last—but only by granting sweeping powers to sheiks and local leaders who can keep the peace. Now Iraq’s Sunni areas have been chopped into fragments, each one run by a different tribal ruler with different views on law and society.

… “We are becoming like Afghanistan was in the ’80s,” says Zainab Salbi, the Iraq-born founder and CEO of the activist group Women for Women International.

Saddam’s Iraq at least offered women the protection of enforced secularism; they were encouraged to study at universities and to pursue professional careers.

The women of Iraq are so very, very lucky that Bush and Cheney decided to liberate them.

Because that’s what war does: it sets people free.


One Comment so far ↓

  • Steve Sturm

    What utter crap these women have to go through. I thought religion was supposed to set everyone free. Just like Christianity dumped the legalism and restraint of the Jewish Law (what we now call kosher), only to have so many Christians replace it with their own nonsensical, non-Biblical restrictions.