Saturday, July 23, 2005

Changes in Iraq Will Set Women Back 50 Years

Many of the war's sponsors, though historically challenged, believed they could bring democracy to Iraq. They believed they could white-out all of Iraq's history with their good intentions (and a lot of not-so-good intentions, as well). As the primary symbol of their "goodness," they would make sure that Iraqi women (and soon, Saudi women, and Egyptian women, and Syrian women) would be equal to men. That would be the Washington war-planners' gift to the world.

And what has happened THERE?

In fact, Iraqi women's rights are about to be set back by nearly 50 years, The New York Times reported this week, "because of new family law provisions inserted into a draft of the constitution at the behest of the ruling Shiite religious parties."

Koranic law -- the harsh Sharia best known for keeping company with the Saudi Wahabis, the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Taliban in Afghanistan, where women are stoned to death for adultery -- would come to Iraq. Shiite women, even secular ones, would no longer have the right to choose their own husbands, to inherit property or to seek court protection if their husbands declare them "divorced."

But the writer continues to say "Under Saddam Hussein, Iraqi women actually DID have total equality with men," which I find somewhat suspect. Then again, I know little of gender issues in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

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