AUGUST 29, 2003
FROM CHRISTIAN PEACE TEAM WORKER:
Andrew Courtney <email@example.com> wrote:
The following letter that follows was written by Yanar Mohammed of the
Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq to Mr. Paul Bremer, the chief American
administrator for the Coalition Provisional Authority, the official ruling
body in Iraq at this time. CHRISTIAN PEACE TEAN workers have
spoken to many Iraqi women who have the described the insecurity of women under the occupation. Many refuse to leave their houses due to matters of safety. The situation is now MORE DANGEROUS WITH THE USA'S INVASION AND OCCUPATION than under the previous regime. CHRISTIAN PEACE TEAM workers have worked with the author of this
letter and endorse its contents. You may want to share the main thrust of this letter with your legislative representation or seek wider discussion for this very serious matter.
Letter concerning Women's Abduction in Iraq
Aug. 24, 2003
The four months since your USA troops have taken over in Iraq, proved
to have exploded unprecedented violence against women. Hundreds of
women endured the pain and sufferings of being kidnaped, raped and sometimes
sold. This violence is still a daily occurrence,
especially in the streets of Baghdad without attracting the least attention of your USA troops.
One of the justifications announced by the US administration as a pretext
for the military attack was introducing a new era of freedom for women
and men in Iraq. Nevertheless, all the subjugation and
humiliation that we experienced since your arrival, expresses bluntly the falseness of your claims. One of the main aspects of these new times, similar to the Baath era, was the discrimination and assaults against women, whether organized by professional gangs or individual
crimes supported by male chauvinism unleashed and unobserved by your authorities, consequently turning the streets into no-women zone. The moment a women steps out to the streets, she is an immediate target to humiliation, sexual assault and abduction. The mere fact of her being a women is reason enough for all to invade her humanity
and pride unresistantly.
Moreover, hundreds of women and girls were subject to physical assault
to be followed by killing sometimes, in spite of devastating ordeal of
experiencing rape. This brutal discrimination against women is a
daily occurrence under your extensive military existence.
After many months of your administrative supervision for founding governmental institutions such as Iraqi police, we do not witness any importance given to the issue of women's insecurity.
We demand that you of the USA Government undertake your responsibility
of providing us with security as a basis for decent life for more than
half of the Iraqi
society. We demand the set up of security guards and patrols in every main street and community center on a twenty four/seven basis. We also demand heavy sentences and penalties against sex offenders,
on condition that we see concrete results on the streets and not only on paper We demand an administrative and legislative process that grants dignity and self esteem for women. We will not tolerate your compromise with misogynist reactionary groups that throw the blame on
women when they want to justify discrimination, thereby exploiting the violence to force women into historic religious dress code that defies freedom and humanity of women. In case the women do not respond, they are regarded as offenders rather than victims. In
other words, we find your cooperation with backward political groups such tribal heads or political Islamists outrageous as the first price paid being the freedoms of women. Women need a society that supports and empowers their pride and self-esteem. We expect an immediate response to our demand of deserving a secure environment
and will not accept continued deterioration of women's status in Iraq.
You must be aware that you are responsible for this situation. We expect a written answer to our concerns.
Yanar Mohammed of The
Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq