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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Women's rights disaster in Iraq

Baathist Iraq was, at least largely, a secularist society. There were certainly the typical gender issues of all Muslim societies but the situation has worsened a lot since the 2003 US invasion of the country.

That is at least what knowledgeable women denounce in this article in Gara (in Spanish). The article begins talking about women suicide bombers but soon turns to the awful situation of Iraqi females in all the country. US citizen Farhana Ali says:

Iraqi women have been marginalized slowly but persistently. They were in the forefront of society with he former Iraqi government and we have deprived them from all opportunities. Those who have not run away have been victims of rape, torture, kidnappings... They are doubly victims.

Shameran Marugi, president of the Iraqi Women Comitee says:

The "right to live" is a slogan we have began promoting because the lifes of women in Iraq are threatened from all sides. Laws are not applied egalitarily and society despises women. Before the invasion a woman could live with normality if she followed - as happens everywhere else - to the laws of the state.

The new Iraqi constitution allows (art. 41) clerics to interpretate what is acceptable or not in the domain of rights and duties of the individual. This has formalized legally the factual harassment of women in all corners of society: at home they are victims of their fathers, husbands and even their own sons, while in the streets they are coerced to wear veil. The so-called "honor crimes", of which women are almost invariably the victims, have become widespread in all the country. A study details that 64% of Iraqi women have suffered mysogynistic agressions, while 74% claim that their daughters cannot go to school at all.

Guess this is the freedom that the invaders have brought. Meanwhile they continue doing business as usual with extremely machista fundamentalist regimes such as Saudi Arabia and many others, while progressive countries like Syria are marginalized. It makes no sense unless the goal is to get all the Middle East (in its widest sense) under the dark cloak of fundamentalist fascism.

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