Remembering Iraqi Women on Thanksgiving
From Code Pink:
As we gather with our families and friends this Thanksgiving, let us take a moment to acknowledge how much we truly have to be thankful for. Love, health, an abundance of food on the table, a brand new Congress--all are worth cherishing and celebrating. At the same time, let's not forget how lucky we are to have our basic needs met--clean water, electricity, access to medicine and education. Let's remember that our sisters in Iraq are not always so fortunate.
In March, 2006, CODEPINK organized and sponsored a delegation of Iraqi women--women from all walks of life, from many of the religious and ethnic groups in that country--to come share their stories with the American public, to tell us what it's like to walk in their shoes. Dr. Rashad Zidan, a pharmacist and mother of four, was part of this delegation. Horrified by the devastation wrought by the war, Rashad founded the Knowledge for Iraqi Women Society to, in her words, "relieve the suffering of Iraqi women by providing financial, occupational, medical, and educational resources." K4IWS currently has 70 staff and more than 300 volunteers throughout Iraq.
In a recent note to CODEPINK's Gael Murphy, Rashad writes:
You know Gael, before the war I was having my simple life with my family. I was having just humble wishes to educate my children, to see them married, to see my grandchildren. I wanted to help poor people and to take care of my parents. You know all these things evaporated with this war.
I pray every day to God to keep my children alive. Education and marriage are now luxuries. And even when we do go to school or get married, it is colorless, as is everything in our lives. I am thinking day and night about those poor widows and orphans that were created by Bush's bringing his democracy to our country and I am doing my best to help them. (click to read the entire letter)
You can read learn more of her story in this interview, which includes these wise words: "In these last three years, the U. S. has just listened to its own voice, but I think it is time to listen to authentic Iraqi voices. If you listen to the people who are in the midst of the conflict, they will help you better understand how to end the violence and suffering because they have firsthand knowledge and experience."
This Thanksgiving as we count our blessings, let's also remember to listen to Iraqi voices like Rashad's, and acknowledge the suffering of the Iraqi people under US occupation, a horrible repetition of the aggression and violence that marked the first Thanksgiving. Let's use this time of gratitude to pledge anew to work for peace.