IRAQ: Erbil hosts a conference in support of Women

January 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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IRAQ: Erbil hosts a conference in support of 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.

 see video:
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:

 Abdel Hamid Zebair ( reports that members of Iraq’s Parliament and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Parliament are taking part in an international conference in Erbil which started today and focuses on “the role of women in peace-building, reconciliation and accountability in Iraq.” Aswat al-Iraq adds that the conference ends tomorrow and is being attended by “international female personalities and a number of world activists in women affairs and representatives of international organizations.”  No Peace Without Justice explains:

 The International Conference, which is the culmination of a long programme of reconciliation and accountability related advocacy and research undertaken by the organisers, both in Iraq and abroad, will be a major international event and represent a significant step towards securing Iraqi women an equitable voice within their country’s political, judicial, economic, and other public institutions. Achieving these aims, and thereby promoting and mainstreaming gender equality within Iraq’s ongoing reconciliation and accountability process, is one of the preconditions of its success. 

The Conference aims to provide a venue for high-level political discussions involving Iraqi politicians, policy makers, civil society activists, and other opinion leaders, as well as international experts from across the world with first-hand experience of promoting women’s rights and organising women’s organisations in the pursuit of positive social change.  

Most importantly, the Conference will provide a wide range of Iraqi women’s groups and participants with a very significant opportunity to work together and organise in pursuit of their common goals of protecting and promoting the rights of women in Iraq, and leading their country’s ongoing accountability and reconciliation process. The recommendations for institutional, legislative, and organisational reform that will emerge from the Conference will provide a crucial foundation for future initiatives promoting gender equality, and consolidate progress towards securing an inclusive democratic future for Iraq on the basis of comprehensive accountability and reconciliation.  The organisers aim to repeat this event in Baghdad next year.

Abdulla Sabri (AK News) notes that the conference comes as Nouri al-Maliki faces criticism over “the lack of women” in his Cabinet.  Iraq Daily Times points out,


 “Only one woman was named to Maliki’s 42-member cabinet, sparking an outcry in a country that once was a beacon for women’s rights in the Arab world and adding to an ongoing struggle over the identity of the new Iraq. Whether this fledgling nation becomes a liberal democracy or an Islamist-led patriarchy might well be judged by the place it affords its women.”

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. Excerpt:

Kelly McEvers: Um Salah says that with her husband now in jail and accused of being a terrorist, she has no money and no hope. While she talks, [her two-year-old son] Salah hangs on her shoulder.

UM SALAH: (Through translator) Sometimes, you know, when she is so much fed up with her situation, she would just pray for God: God, take my life. I mean, okay. I mean, let me die with my son, now.

MCEVERS: Aid groups say there are more than a hundred women like Um Salah in Diyala Province alone. With that in mind, the Iraqi government recently launched an anti-al-Qaida media campaign.

MCEVERS: A video showed authorities digging through a bomb-making factory, and it urged women not to marry insurgents. Marry a terrorist, and your children will have no rights, the campaign goes. Marry a terrorist, and you’ll be shunned by society.

The program, broadcast on state TV, featured two women who said they were forced to marry foreign fighters.

Unidentified Woman #2: (Foreign language spoken)

 MCEVERS: This woman says her uncle arranged a marriage with a Palestinian-born militant from Syria. The man was later killed in a raid by Iraqi troops. About 20 women who once were married to militants have recently been detained. Ministry of Defense spokesman Mohammad al-Askari says he finds it hard to believe that any of them are totally innocent.

So they deny these women social services ensuring 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 — which is a petri dish brimming with the potential for an endless cycle of violence

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

Iraqi Women as Survivors, not Victims:
Interview with Manal Omar, Author and Humanitarian Worker

Manal Omar is the author “Barefoot in Baghdad: A Story of Identity — My Own and What it Means to be a Woman in Chaos ».

 Starting in the 1990s, she has done humanitarian work in Iraq. 

 NGO Coordination Committee in Iraq interviewed  her this week about the status of women’s rights in the new ‘democratic’ Iraq:

 An intimate look at the heartrending struggle for freedom and identity in Iraq, from a female American Muslim aid worker who witnessed the chaos firsthand

 “Walk barefoot and the thorns will hurt you…” Iraqi-Turkmen proverb

 A riveting story of hope and despair, of elation and longing,

“Barefoot in Baghdad” takes you to the front lines of a different kind of battle, where the unsung freedom fighters are strong, vibrant—and female.


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