Iraq Women Silenced
"The advance of freedom in the greater Middle East has given new rights and new hopes to women. And America will do its part to continue the spread of liberty."
-Current President, March 12, 2004
Normally not the subject of news stories, Iraqi women made headlines in three sensational stories last month. First there was the Sunni woman who accused Iraqi police officers of raping her. Since most of the Iraqi police are Shia, the issue became a sectarian row, with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki firing a top Sunni official who had the audacity to say the rape charge should be investigated.
In the same month, a woman suicide bomber killed more than 41 people at a college in Baghdad, one of the largest attacks by a woman suicide bomber since the war began. And finally, there is the ongoing story of four women who face the death penalty in Iraq, at least one of whom could be executed any day now. Human rights groups, such as Amnesty International, have questioned these women’s trials for their lack of transparency and fairness, as well as a potential absence of legal representation.
Rapes, bombings, death sentences, and a discriminatory legal system; it is one of the unspoken facts of militarism that women often become the spoils of war. The Iraq war has been a disaster in many ways, but none so extreme as what it’s done to Iraqi women.