Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The Cost of Liberty (Reposted)

Thanks for Dave for locating this erased post. I copied the comments thread as well, so everything is now beautiful!

Halla is a prostitute in Iraq. Before the war she was happily married, with two sons and a job in her mother's beauty salon. Now she is a widow with two sons and several younger brothers to feed, and the $5 per month she could earn at the beauty salon is not enough.
So she has become a prostitute. The money is good, and she can feed her whole family. But there are disadvantages to this job:

But as the U.S. occupation draws to an end, and more conservative Islamic clerics gain power, the fate of prostitutes like Halla is uncertain. In recent months, attacks on people and establishments accused of promoting vices have escalated. Masked gunmen have shot at liquor vendors, according to Iraqi police officials. Religious leaders have run renters of racy videotapes out of town. And anonymous vigilantes have kidnapped, beaten and killed prostitutes in several major cities. Women's rights groups, including the Organization of Women's Freedom, have decried the killings, saying the women are in need of help, not punishment.
Maybe there is an order to kill all the prostitutes," Halla would recall thinking that day. "If the Islamic parties arrive to power maybe even the Americans can't stop them." As she made her way through the rubble, Halla wondered what it would be like to have a real job, of being a receptionist at a hotel, a laundry woman or maybe opening a boutique for used clothes. She was 23 years old, healthy and a hard worker. There was a chance she could start anew. Wasn't there?

The rubble Halla is described as walking through is the rubble that remained after the extremists destroyed the windows of her mother's beauty parlor as a warning to her.

Read the whole thing. It's well worth the time.