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It's the NPR comedy hour!

Can I just say ... GOD, we have fucked things up in Iraq! Just the reduction in the position of women is enough to make me want to curl up in a ball on the floor and cry. I could go on and on and on about how much worse it is over there now than it was before the invasion but it all seems so pointless.

Democracy, my ass. I don't live in one and we're not building one. ("We." Harrumph!)

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
inanna
Dec. 13th, 2005 05:50 pm (UTC)
Ummm... the US is a republic, not a democracy.
webcowgirl
Dec. 13th, 2005 05:56 pm (UTC)
I know, but in terms of control by the people I feel like it's completely lost. And we're building a republic in Iraq, but you don't hear Bush talking about "building a republicancy" in his speeches. (Though, seriously, I can imagine that word coming out of his mouth.)
scottscidmore
Dec. 13th, 2005 09:25 pm (UTC)
a Republicancy

Yes, that does sound like W, and would be a good label for his Administration.

The difference between a republic and a democracy is import. In the past a large true democracy would have been impractical to impossible; now it might be possible but likely would prove impractical in the long run.

ajva
Dec. 14th, 2005 10:02 am (UTC)
I'm really not trying to stir up an argument about the ins and outs of the war, but I just wanted to say that I think we should be careful in making assumptions about the position of women in Iraq before the war. Of course with the rise of the mullahs to further political prominence we will get more Islamo-misogyny. However, Saddam was notorious for using women's rights as a political football. In the 1980s, the position of women was pretty good, with pretty much all the economic and social freedoms you would hope - but this was because it became an economic necessity to emancipate women temporarily to keep the country going during its long, drawn-out war with Iran.

Notably, Saddam reversed this position in 1990, shortly after the war, in order to curry political favour with the mullahs, whose support he now required for internal stability. In that year he made a presidential decree exempting men who killed women for "honour reasons" from prosecution. This was the start of a new drift against women's rights, which has continued since. I really don't think we can blame our own leaders for that particular evil. Granted, the instability of wars exacerbates problems for women, but this was a process that was happening anyway.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the war - and I for one find the whole issue to be fraught with ethical difficulty - at least there is a glimmer of hope in that there are at least some women involved in the political process in the new Iraq. OK, so they may not be hugely represented in the higher echelons of government, and OK, they may be facing a mountain to climb in terms of sexist attitudes and religious nutters. However, these things take time and it is encouraging that they seem to be having some small effect even already. How about the overturning of the Iraqi Governing Council’s Resolution 137, which would have "cancelled" Iraqi family laws and moved family issues from civil to religious jurisprudence, where they would have been governed by Sharia law? And, although it may not seem to mean much yet, achieving that 25% goal for women’s legislative representation enshrined in the Transitional Administrative Law? In June 2004, six women were on the 30-member transitional cabinet and two on the nine-member Electoral Commission.

In fact, when the government was elected in January 2005 it exceeded the target: women made up 31% of the new National Assembly. Of course there are problems with religious nutters, but they were always there in the background anyway, and without some kind of political process other than tyranny, it would never have been possible to even attempt to push for change in the status of women. Women's rights would have remained no more than a mirage, appeared and disappeared at will by Saddam Hussein for his own reasons of political expediency.

Of course it is possible that everything will go tits up still, but now that what's happened has happened, let's support the positive and look to the future.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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