the Disillusioned kid
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Sunday, May 09, 2004

My focus on the situation in Iraq had tended to be on the 'sexy' stuff, the massacre at Fallujah, the 'abuse' (don't, whatever you do, say torture!) scandal and the resistance. Of course there is another side, that experienced by ordinary Iraqis, particularly women. Houzan Mahmoud of The Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq (Owfi) notes, "From the start of the occupation, rape, abduction, "honour" killings and domestic violence have became daily occurrences." She reports that Owfi "has informally surveyed Baghdad, and now knows of 400 women who were raped in the city between April and August last year", the real figure could of course be much higher. The situation is serious:
A lack of security and proper policing have led to chaos and to growing rates of crime against women. Women can no longer go out alone to work, or attend schools or universities. An armed male relative has to guard a woman if she wants to leave the house.
This reflects what Ramzi Kysia who spent time in Iraq during the war and in its immediate aftermath, talked about on his tour of the UK last year. While the perception in the western media is that the lawlessness which came with the collapse of the Ba'ath regime (expressed most obviously in widespread lotting) was over, the level of murder, rapes and muggings was in fact chronic.

Quite how all this is supposed to square with claims about the need for the US/UK to continue the occupation of the country in order to "maintain" security is unclear.

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