Friday, January 28, 2011

Iraq's too often forgotten women

Alsumaira TV reports, "With the participation of Iraqi and foreign organizations and in the presence of Ambassadors to Iraq and officials from Kurdistan and Baghdad, Arbil hosted a conference on the role of women in building peace and reconciliation in Iraq. The conference criticized the political parties in Iraq and the central government over 'marginalizing' women in the new government." The conference ends today, it was a two-day conference. It was an international conference. And it says a great deal about the English-speaking press, or rather, the lack of coverage does.

Were this a business conference, there would be the financial press covering it as well as write ups in the general press. Were it on cholera or any of the illnesses that so frequently plague Iraq, the health press would cover it and the general press would do a few write ups. Were it on 'security,' the entire press would be ga-ga over it 'reporting' with advertising copy. But when the conference deals with women, where's the press?

(If you're late to it, we covered the conference in yesterday's snapshot.)

Today on Morning Edition (NPR), Kelly McEvers and Isra al Rubeii report
on Iraqi women married to 'terrorists' -- dubbed terrorists by the government of Iraq, a government that itself terrorizes its own people. Whether they're forced into the marriage by families or not, it's the women's fault in the eyes of the 'government' of Iraq. Their husband takes an action, well, the women are responsible because they should have known. It's a real damn shame that the US-government installed so many exiles to begin with but it's even more surprising how grossly ignorant the exiles are. Kelly McEvers notes, "What the government is not doing is providing any kind of social services to the women like Um Mohammed who've been left behind, whether they're guilty of collaborating with the insurgency or not. In a country with millions of orphans and widows, officials say it's tough to make a priority out of women who are seen as criminals. Which means they're basically ignored by everyone, says Hana Adwar, who heads a local women's rights group." Great, the women are punished for crimes they took no part in and the children are raised in situations that breed anger and create future strife. Again, it's a real shame that idiots were installed by the US government to run (and ruin) Iraq.

In related news, Michael Grossberg (Columbus Dispatch) reports:

An Iraqi-American actress and playwright developed an off-Broadway hit by creating nine diverse portraits of Iraqi women.
Heather Raffo is touring the nation with Sounds of Desire, a musical and theatrical piece inspired by the solo play 9 Parts of Desire, which in 2004-05 was presented for nine sold-out months in New York.
In a visit sponsored by the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, the Ohio State University Theater Department will offer the show tonight in the Drake Center's Thurber Theatre.

The following community sites updated last night and this morning:

And we'll close with this from John V. Walsh's "Obama's Chokehold on Left Antiwar Activists" (

The manifesto makes it clear that two thirds of Americans are now antiwar. And many of that two-thirds care little for the Democratic Party or for Obama. But the word “renomination” was chosen to keep the locus of antiwar activity within the Democratic Party. That is a losing strategy as we have learned over and over again. Such statements as this petition are not casually penned and their words not lightly chosen.
Would it not be better to reach out to the Right, both Libertarians like Ron and Rand Paul and Justin Raimondo at and Paleos like Dan McCarthy at The American Conservative or Lew Rockwell or the Future of Freedom Foundation? Some functionary in the White House sub-basement assigned to keep watch on antiwar intellectuals must have breathed a sigh of relief that no mention was made of that. But how can one refuse to develop such alliances with the antiwar Right and others? To fail at that will only lead to a smaller antiwar movement and the probability that Obama’s armies of Empire will continue to grind millions into the dust? Can that be justified morally?
Most of the signatories are principled women and men disgusted with war. But the action against Obama they call for does not match the crimes they cite – it does not even come close. Electoral action, among other forms of activism, is needed, and the considerable prestige attached to some on this list of signatories can help to initiate such action. On the other hand, some among the signers have always come down on the side of the Dems in the end, no matter what they do. Let us hope that the latter are not in the driver’s seat and that this manifesto is but one brief step on a determined and forceful march to field a badly needed alternative in 2012. The hour is late and lives by the score are lost every day at Obama’s hand.

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