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Barrett808 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 06:17 PM
Original message
Hidden victims of a brutal conflict: Iraq's women (return to Middle Ages)
Hidden victims of a brutal conflict: Iraq's women
Abduction, rape and murder are the punishments for any woman who dares to hold a professional job. A month-long investigation by The Observer reveals the terrible reality of life after Saddam
Peter Beaumont in Baghdad
The Observer

They came for Dr Khaula al-Tallal in a white Opel car after she took a taxi home to the middle class district of Qadissiya in Iraq's holy city of Najaf. She worked for the medical committee that examined patients to assess them for welfare benefit. Crucially, however, she was a woman in a country where being a female professional increasingly invites a death sentence.

As al-Tallal, 50, walked towards her house, one of three men in the Opel stepped out and raked her with bullets.

A women's rights campaigner, Umm Salam - a nickname - knows about the three men in the Opel: they tried to kill her on 11 December last year. It was a Sunday, she recalls, and 15 bullets were fired into her own car as she drove home from teaching at an internet cafe. A man in civilian clothes got out of the car and opened fire. Three bullets hit her, one lodging close to her spinal cord. Her 20-year-old son was hit in the chest. Umm Salam saw the gun - a police-issue Glock. She is convinced her would-be assassin works for the state.


After a month-long investigation, The Observer has established that in almost every major area of human rights, women are being seriously discriminated against, in some cases seeing their conditions return to those of females in the Middle Ages. In areas such as the Shia militia stronghold of Sadr City in east Baghdad, women have been beaten for not wearing socks. Even the headscarf and juba - the ankle-length, flared coat that buttons to the collar - are not enough for the zealots. Some women have been threatened with death unless they wear the full abbaya, the black, all-encompassing veil.


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tanyev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 09:49 PM
Response to Original message
1. Laura? Karen? Condi?
You got any solutions other than well-choreographed photo-ops?
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ninkasi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:54 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Good question
Tell us, Laura, while you stand with the Joker's smile frozen on your face, how much better off the women of Iraq are, now that your husband has destroyed their country, and the freedom they once had. Tell us how wonderful their lives are, now that your husband, and his administration of sociopaths have used their country in order to let Dubya indulge in some psycho-drama having to do with doing things that Poppy Bush didn't.

Condi, bobble your head, and lie, lie, lie. Spout any nonsense written for you, and swear that the world is better off with having your "husband" invade and shatter Iraq, which was no danger to us, while N. Korea and Iran armed themselves to the teeth. They learned from Iraq's example how foolish it would be to disarm, and wait for the invasions that Dubya would surely mount, if only the debacle in Iraq had not gone dangerously wrong.

Oh, and Karen, be sure to go galloping through the Mideast, talking down to people there as if they had only become civilized sometime in the last dozen years or so. Point out to them how misguided they are, and what glorious lives they could have, if they would only bow down to your boss, and his childish version of the way the world works. According to him, the world needs to just let him be the "decider", and if the world would only dance to his tune, all would be roses and chocolates.

While our sisters in Iraq suffer losing their men, and their freedom, and their dignity, all three of you remind them how lucky they are that we have managed to kill so many of their friends and relatives. After all, isn't losing everything you once had that let you use your minds, and pursue an education, and jobs, worth losing, for the glorious privilege of letting Dubya be a War President?

Well, ok, so you dare not travel without a male escorting you...even if your husband and sons and brothers have been "disappeared", and you can't make a living to support yourself and your children, and your daughters are in danger of being raped or beaten, just grovel, and give thanks to Bush, that he has given you the honor of being bit players in the cause of having the world revolve around him. Once your wounds have healed, tell us how grateful you are.
:sarcasm: :sarcasm: :sarcasm:
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madmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:34 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. This is good enough to send to women's Christian groups.
Seems like there would be unity in this. No?
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ninkasi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:53 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Thank you
I would think so, but these past six years under Dubya have been surreal for me, because it's a completely foreign idea to me that the U.S. would invade another country with no just cause, and cause the terrible amount of suffering we have caused. Torture, from America? God forbid.

As a woman, seeing what has happened to my sisters in Iraq pains me deeply. Regardless of what country we're from, or what language we speak, women have a deep bond in that we bring forth life, and are programmed to protect and nurture it. It must be an even more bitter cup to drink from for these women, because they had some freedom before, and have lost it now.
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madmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-10-06 12:03 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Seriously, why not join some Christian women's groups
Edited on Tue Oct-10-06 12:05 AM by madmusic
and post that? Maybe some Christian writing groups or anything. Ask for thoughts and feedback. It is something they could hear and you say it well. It wouldn't be "infiltrating" either because it would be genuine.

EDIT: It might become one of those Internet forward things that spreads like wildfire.

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IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 09:51 PM
Response to Original message
2. Solution? Put the Saddam and the Baathists back in power!
Saddam will take care of all the religious fanatics and do to them what we should be doing to our version of the Taliban.
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fujiyama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:22 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. For all his faults
Saddam was a secular thug. He allowed women to work and Christians were also able to practice their faith.

Iraq has now collapsed into several warring theocratic factions. The end result now is that women will ultimately lose out regardless of whether Sunnis or Shiites gain dominance.
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barb162 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-10-06 12:54 AM
Response to Reply #5
10. Unfortunately I believe you are correct
Islamic fundies will put women back in the Dark Ages
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Viva_La_Revolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 09:57 PM
Response to Original message
3. Will we ever hear from Riverbend again?
or has she been silenced by these thugs? :(
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filer Donating Member (444 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:53 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. I'm wondering the same thing.
I keep checking. No posts since August 5th. I pray no harm has come to her and that she's left the country, as have so many others.
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hollowdweller Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-11-06 08:15 AM
Response to Reply #7
18. Me too, prayers that' she is OK.
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-10-06 09:17 AM
Response to Original message
11. Question are these anti-women attacks or Attacks against the Government ??
WHat I mean by the title is simply, are these attacks against professional women, or are these attacks against Government employees who just happened to be women? Saddam educated the SUNNI women of Iraq, but did a lot less for the Shiites (and that includes men and women). THus a lot of Sunnis are being used by the occupational Government much like the US used ex-nazis after WWII, they have the expertise we need (I.e. the education and experience to help us rule IRaq).

A lot of educated Sunnis are women, and thus being used by the occupational Government. In a True CiviL war you try to gain control of the government apparatus i.e. all parts of the Government from the lowest bureaucrat to the President. Thus the Shiites may be attacking these women NOT because they are women, but because they are Sunni helping the Occupational Government (and the Sunni Insurgents attack them because they are helping the occupational Government).

Even in Western Europe you have "Pink Jungles" i.e. works ares and professions dominated by Women (Nurses, Teachers, secretaries, office staff etc). Many of these women who are attacked fit this description (i.e. a women in a traditional women profession) AND are educated Sunnis. Thus the attacks may NOT be because they are women, but because they are helping the occupational Government.

I fear that the US Government is seeing the support in the US for women rights in Afghanistan, where a completely different of tribal norms exits (And a completely different set of reasons for attacks on women in Afghanistan based on Afghanistan's tribal tradition then on Islam). THe US Government seeing hat Support decided to emphasis that these Government workers who have been attacked happen to be women and thus the attack is NOT an attack against the Government but Against women (and women's Rights group taking this information and demanding support for women's rights in Iraq, and thus, as far as the Government is concerned, more support for the War in Iraq).

I am sorry, the more I read of these attacks, there smack of attacks against government workers who just happened to be women, as opposed to attacks against women in Governmental jobs. The former is characteristics of ANY Civil War, you want your own personnel in those positions, the later happens more AFTER a group who oppose women in the Government wins a Civil War then something that Guerrilla Force does DURING the Guerrilla War.
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donsu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-10-06 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. well, you are wrong - all women in Iraq are in danger not just the ones

who work for the govt. or the US.

it's part of the Iraqi religiously insane's war against women.
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-10-06 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. While that is claim, I have a feeling it is not ALL OF THE STORY.
First, the Shiite have always had a higher regard for women than the Sunni (including permitting them into the Iranian Parliament and requiring the hair be covered instead of the whole face). Second, the reports I am reading do mention women fearing attack, but it is rare for the actual quote to be that the women fear being attack because they are women (The fear is more general in tone, just like the men fear being attacked).

Now, you do have men who will attack women because they are women (even in the US), you have religious fundamentalist willing to attack women who are employed outside the home (even in the US) and such attacks do occur and are mentioned by the authors of the segments I have been reading, but the actual quote of the women the fear are more general than being attacked because they are women working outside the home. It is more a perception than stated fact (unlike the situation in Afghanistan where you have clear reports of women being attacked because they are working outside the home, or on the streets without a man, etc). I have also seen a lot of statements that are more vocal than real (i.e. a lot of men saying women should stay at home, but none of them following that up with any action, unlike the situation in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia).

My perception is supported by the fact most of the women being interviewed tend to be highly educated Sunnis, i.e. part of the ruling Sunni elite which Saddam used to help him rule Iraq. Furthermore you hear reports of people being attacked daily, and these tend to be MEN more than WOMEN and these attacks are clearly part of the Sunni-Shiite Civil War. If you view the attack on men NOT be be sexual discrimination, how can the attacks on women be Sexual Discrimination? No, while they are some attacks based on the sex of the Women being attack, most of the attacks on the Women (in my opinion) has more to do with the ongoing Shiite-Sunni Civil War then any sexual discrimination.

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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-10-06 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Did you read the whole article--not just the excerpt?
Sunni & Shiite extremists, both, have been responsible for attacking women. One woman was married to a policeman--she said the attack may have been directed against him. But government offices have also been segregating employees & instituting dress codes--for women.

Most of the women who were attacked were not interviewed. They were just found dead in the street.

Yes, quite a bit of this is sexual discrimination.

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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-10-06 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. Yes I did, and what caught my attention is one of the few quotes.
Yes I did, and what caught my attention is one of the few quotes int he story, "You will die, You will Die". It does not say "Women will die" just "You will Die". That is more an attack on ANYONE WORKING THERE more than just the women working there (and I note that the person citing the quote said the note went to the all the women in the office, but that does NOT exclude the possibility that the men also received that same note).

Are rapes up? Yes, are attacks against women up? Yes, but the issue is whether these attacks are part of an movement to "put women in their place" OR part of the overall general Civil Conflict. I am sorry, but the increase attack on women can be explained as part of the general Civil War. This is supported by other articles I have read about women being attacked.

Remember we are looking in many ways at tribal warfare, as the various tribes (Who just happen to be Sunni and Shiite) fight each other for overall Control of Iraq. This includes attack on other people (including their women) AND a tightening of tribal loyalties (Which means women, as while as men, have to follow the conservative rules of conduct that are inherit in such tribes. Do to the general inability of he Central Government ot protect its people, the people of Iraq are turning to their tribal roots (like most of the middle east) and with that return comes the requirements to confirm to tribal standard. One result of this movement back to the tribe is that each member of the tribe must confirm to the requirements of that tribe to get the protection of the tribe. While Conservative and on its face anti-women in viewing from our western outlook, it is their tribal history which reflects the needs of their society in its tribal days.

Thus the present problem of women in Iraq. Both men and women MUST seek protection from fellow tribal members, to get that protection they must confirm to the requirements of the Tribe, including less rights to women AND any member of the tribe (both male and female) willing to accept their position within the tribe. Furthermore it also means NOT taking jobs where your tribe or anther tribe objects to any member of your tribe being a member of.

There is an old saying, if you wish to join a group you MUST accept all of the requirements of that group. In the case of Tribal Iraq that means women and men must confirm to traditional Iraqi view on women and men position to each other and to the rest of the tribe. We may dislike it, but the US has done NOTHING to protect women in Iraq. The Central Government has done nothing to protect women in Iraq. Thus the tribes are the ONLY organization "protecting" women, and to get that protection women and men MUST follow what the tribe expects of them.

Thus my point, the attack on women can be better explained as part of the on-going Civil War in Iraq more than attack on the rights of women per se.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-11-06 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #16
20. So--should all the women just shut up?
Let their tribal chiefs handle it?

Don't take this so defensively--I don't think that All Men Are Beasts.

But I believe the status of WOMEN in Iraq is worth discussing.
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-11-06 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. My point is that the problem is TRIBAL not anti-women.
In Iraq right now you have an on-going Civil War, women as while as men are the victims of that War. Some people are justifying their actions based on anti-women rhetoric, others are using the Civil War to put "women in they place". My point is the MAIN problem is the on-going Civil War, not some ill defined attacked on Women's Rights. Parts of that Civil War is manifesting itself in attacks on women, but my suspicion is the attacks have more to do with the on-going power struggle than any attack on the Rights of women.

On the other than, do to the on-going Civil War, women are LOSING RIGHTS (The decision to use Islamic Judges instead of Secular Judges is an example of that), but this lost of Rights is more a by-product of the Civil War then an aim of the Civil War. The article this discussion started is trying to show that an AIM of the Civil War is reduced rights for women, my point is that the attack on women has less to do with keeping women down as opposed to groups circling the wagons and demanding ALL of the members of the groups accept certain tenets (and in the case of Iraq, a more traditional "islamic" view of women's rights). Failure to accept those tenets will put you outside the tribe and thus no longer under the protection of the tribe, DURING A TIME WHERE THEY ARE NO OTHER GROUPS PROTECTING ANYONE IN IRAQ (Remember people are Social Animals, we MUST work with others, thus the basic Human need to belong to some sort of higher organization then one's self or even one's family).

Thus our disagreement may be only of degree, I see the MAIN problem as the war itself as opposed to the reduction of women's rights do to the war. You see the reduction of Women's rights as part of the REASON for the Civil War (i.e. conservative elements use the Civil War to impose traditional "Islamic" rules of conduct for Women). My objections to the article was the failure of the Article to address the issue of Women's Rights within the larger issues of the Insurgency and Iraqi Civil wars themselves. You can NOT separate them, both issues are connected. Thus the issue is one of degree, and in the Case of Iraq I just do NOT see the Shiites or Sunnis wanting to reduce women's rights INDEPENDENT of other changes within Iraq Society.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-11-06 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Then find an article that expresses YOUR views.
Or write one.

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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-10-06 02:56 PM
Response to Original message
15. and yet all these killers were grown inside a woman..

I have a sneaky feeling that this all has to do with the inadequacy of these hyper-macho (is there a middle-eastern equivalent of macho?) men. They desire women, and at the same time, they fear them..

Perhaps a lifetime of "war" and "manly-endeavors" , mixed with significant doses of religious zealotry has irrevocable changed these men.

It must be pretty terrible to be born female in societies like these..

My friend grew up in Kuwait and Beirut, and when she was little she asked a Kuwaiti guy why all the men were always "fondling" prayer beads.. he told her that it was to help them NOT think about women..


They seem terribly conflicted. Their culture make them separate from females at young ages, so women are a big mystery to them. women are culled from the herd, and turned into baby factories and household servants..and men are "selected" for them..

How sad for them all..
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Raine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-10-06 08:50 PM
Response to Original message
17. Thanks chimp
you are a roaring success with your "plan" to democratize the ME. :sarcasm:
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Amonester Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-11-06 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. Yep. Quite the same success he had with his "plan" to manage...
Arbusto Energy Inc., to Bush Exploration, to Spectrum 7, to Harken Oil and Gas: to the ground.

Now he's doing the same with Iraq, the Divided States of America (he divided), and Planet Earth.
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-11-06 12:37 PM
Response to Original message
23. The occupation of Iraq is a success. A brutal conservative state
is in full bloom, repression and brutality are the norm.
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Iris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-11-06 04:51 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. well, yes. And the whole idea from the beginning was to set Iraq up
as an experimental state that adhered to all the right-wing Republican ideas that that party holds so dear. Guess they didn't get their way with the free market, but at least they are setting the women straight.
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