Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Women Under Attack: The Talibanization of Iraq

Iraq was once one of the most progressive countries in the Middle East for women. Since the invasion of Iraq, fundamentalism has grown and women are subjected to Taliban like restrictions and violence.
"The violence during Saddam's time was ... committed by the government, Saddam's family, people in power. Now the violence is ... being committed by everyone around you," says Salbi, who founded the group Women for Women International in 1993. That organization now operates in nine countries, including Iraq, to help women survivors of war and civil strife rebuild their lives.

But today, most of her friends have left the country. Women for Women International keeps its locations secret and takes all sorts of security precautions. Salbi herself stopped traveling back to her homeland two years ago. "At first I was able to say I knew 10, 20 women who had been assassinated," she says. "Now, I've lost count. ... They are pharmacists, professors, reporters, activists ..."
Our war of choice has left the women of Iraq vulnerable to violence, afraid to leave their homes and subject to harsh interpretation of Islamic law. Does this sound like liberation to you? This war has destroyed a country and its people, leaving them vulnerable to daily violence, high unemployment and a lack of basic services. Does that sound like freedom to you?

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