Monday, May 19, 2008

No Woman Zones

That is what some parts of Iraq appear to now have, after these years of liberation of the Iraqi people:

With US forces in Iraq now funding both Sunni and Shia tribal leaders in an effort to stabilise the country, conditions for women grow deadlier by the day. Islamist leaders have imposed new restrictions on women, including prohibitions on work, bans on travel without a muhram (male guardian), and compulsory veiling.

According to the Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), formed in Baghdad in 2003, women are harassed if they appear in the streets of most Iraqi cities and towns, educational institutions, or work places. Now there are even "no woman zones" in some southern cities controlled by Islamist parties and tribal leaders.

It's a lot like the rules here about dogs. Dogs must always be accompanied, cannot be off-leash and cannot enter certain places (supermarkets, restaurants) at all.

Did you find that comparison insulting? And if you did, why? Because I'm comparing women to dogs, unclean animals in many cultures? Because I'm judging a culture? Or because it is disgusting that women can be seen as deserving this kind of treatment anywhere on this earth?

Now, what would help the women of Iraq? Their country is all liberated, though not for their benefit, of course. Most Iraqis dislike George Bush and the American forces. What would the next step forward be for George Bush, on this field consisting of quicksand?

How about this:

After basking in a showy celebration of America's close ties with Israel, President Bush criticized other Middle East leaders on Sunday, prodding them to expand their economies, offer equal opportunity to women and embrace democracy if they want peace to become reality.

Now THAT will really make feminism look good in Iraq.