Published on Countercurrents.org, by Cyril Mychalejko, 11 March, 2008.
March 8 marks the 99th celebration of International Women’s Day, a day to commemorate the political, social, and economic struggles and achievements of women globally.
This year we should use the holiday to observe and reflect on the suffering of Iraqi women, who have become invisible “collateral damage” in our country’s war in this now defenseless Middle Eastern nation. A good place to start would be by picking up and reading Haifa Zangana’s book, City of Widows: An Iraqi Woman’s Account of War and Resistance. Zangana is an Iraqi woman, journalist and activist, who was also a former prisoner of Saddam Hussein’s regime. She dedicated her book to A’beer Quassim Hamza al-Janaby.
Who is al-Janaby?
She was a 14-year-old Iraqi girl who was gang raped and set on fire by five U.S. soldiers in March 2006 (while her family was murdered as well). This is just one extreme case. But while this horrifying crime received some attention in the media, though not nearly enough (think JonBenet Ramsey), there have been countless others which have gone uncovered. Zangana points out in her book there have been 1,053 cases of documented rape between 2003 and 2007 …
… But any Iraqi woman could be used an example. Just getting out of bed, taking care of self and family, and living in a country with a wrecked medical system, where electricity is available for only a few hours a day, where clean water is inaccessible for over 70 percent of the population, and where armed militias and mercenaries run rampant – is a heroic act.
By pointing out the hardships Iraqi women face is not an indictment of this war in Iraq—it is an indictment of war period. Each of us needs to ask ourselves, what is the responsibility we bear as citizens of the country which has executed this war?
Ignorance is not an excuse, and apathy is acquiescence. (full text).