<\body> Stories in America: Iraqi Women in Their Own Words: Life is 'Just Like Being in Jail'

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Iraqi Women in Their Own Words: Life is 'Just Like Being in Jail'

On Friday, I interviewed Dahr Jamail, an independent journalist who has spent a total of eight months in Iraq over the past three years. He says it's too dangerous to return; to his knowledge, very few Western reporters leave the Green Zone for fear of being killed. The interviews in this story by the Washington Post's Nancy Trejos were definitely conducted unembedded and outside the Green Zone.

History doesn't mean much to the majority of the media, especially the war cheerleaders. In Trejos's story, she includes a very important piece of history that should not be forgotten:
For much of the 20th century, and under various leaders, Iraq was one of the most progressive Middle Eastern countries in terms of its treatment of women, who were encouraged to go to school and enter the workforce. Saddam Hussein's Baath Party espoused a secular Arab nationalism that advocated women's full participation in society. But years of war changed that.
What is life like today in Iraq?
In the days after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, many women were hopeful that they would enjoy greater parity with men. President Bush said that increasing women's rights was essential to creating a new, democratic Iraq.

But interviews with 16 Iraqi women, ranging in age from 21 to 52, show that much of that postwar hope is gone. The younger women say they fear being snatched on their way to school and wonder whether their college degrees will mean anything in the new Iraq. The older women, proud of their education and careers, are watching their independence slip away.
Here are a few quotes from Iraqi women:
"For a woman, it's just like being in jail. I can't go anywhere. We're suffering right now. The war took all our rights. We're not free because of terrorism."
-Zahra Khalid, 30

"There's no chance to build our future."
-Aseel Bahjet, 23

"I consider myself and my daughters liberated women. We go out and walk in the street. That was last year even. But this year, it's more difficult. Every day, it's worse than the day before."
-Muna Nouri, 52, a high school teacher

"It's become so bad that a woman who drives a car will be slaughtered, and a woman who doesn't put a scarf on her hair will be slaughtered."
-Bushra Shimirya, 42


At 12/19/2006 1:32 PM, Anonymous jack boo said...

Of course, we could withdraw from Iraq. It's not like we haven't done it before. And what were the consequences?

"The consequences were immediate and bloody. Insurgents assumed control of several towns and villages. They tortured and executed police officers, local politicians, friendly tribal leaders and informants. They murdered contractors who had worked with the Americans or the Iraqi government. They tore down American-financed reconstruction projects and in a few cases imposed an extreme version of Islamic law. Many Iraqi military units collapsed in the absence of United States support."


So life in Iraq is like "being in jail?".....Yeah, that doesn't sound good, but when we withdraw these might be refered to as "the good old days."

At 12/27/2006 5:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes but let's not forget who got us into this mess. GWB and the GOP. One of the reasons his dad didn't invade in '91 was because Saddam was a check against the fundamentalist Islam of Iran's govt. and the extremism of Osama Bin Laden. The very kind of people that now are the source of the problem in Iraq. Since he's been removed we have to do that dirty work directly. This is what previous US administrations sought to avoid. Paint it any way you want Jack, but some of us will not forget why we are where we are and whose fault it is.


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