Promising Democracy, Imposing Theocracy

One of our partner organizations, Madre, released a report earlier this month on gender-based violence in the war in Iraq. The in-depth report includes much research by the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq, a group which is also a Global Fund grantee. The introduction to the report reads:

 In spring 2003, as the smoke began to clear from the US invasion of Iraq, a wave of kidnappings, abductions, public beatings, death threats, sexual assaults, and killings gripped the country. The targets were women. US authorities took no action and soon the violence spread. Killings of Iraqi men and foreigners became commonplace as Islamist militias launched a campaign of terror that mushroomed into the civil war now raging across Iraq. While the militias were taking to the streets, their political leaders were taking their seats in a new Iraqi government. With money, weapons, training, and political backing from the United States, Iraqi Islamists have put an end to 85 years of secular rule in Iraq and established an Islamist theocracy. As Yanar Mohammed, director of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI, a partner organization of MADRE) said, ''We used to have a government that was almost secular. It had one dictator. Now we have almost 60 dictators—Islamists who think of women as forces of evil. This is what is called the democratization of Iraq."

The report can be read online or downloaded on Madre's website.


Women's Rights During Wartime

"Several countries in the Middle East have signed international treaties on human rights protection, including women's rights. However, unfortunately, most of these agreements had remained on papers and have not been really implemented," Zeina Zaatari, Program Officer for the Middle East and North Africa told the Khaleej Times. Read the whole article about our recent trip to the United Arab Emirates.


What Has Changed in Iraq?

Yesterday was the 4th Anniversary of U.S.A. invasion to Iraq. 48 months or 220 weeks or 1461 days. In Iraq we count the time like prisoners do.

What has changed between the 3rd and 4th Anniversary? A lot has changed! Thousands of Iraqis were alive breathing air in March 2006 while in March 2007 they are no where. Even there are no graves in their names! In March 2006 there was no displacement for families in Iraq, while in March 2007 there are thousands of Iraqi families live as refugees in their country!

In another 365 days we will have the 5th Anniversary of invasion. May I ask each one of you, please draw a picture in your mind how do you vision Iraq in one year, or how do you vision America in one year, or how do you vision the world in one year!!!?

After one year let us share what our drawings look like?

Naba S. Hamid is the Executive Director of New Horizon for Women, a Global Fund grantee in Baghdad. Founded in 2003, the group works to increase women and girls' participation in the legislative process.


Home and Exile in Queer Experience

While most of us here in San Francisco won't be able to attend this event in Haifa, we wanted to let you know about a conference one of our grantees is hosting. Aswat - Palestinian Gay Women, celebrates its fifth anniversary this week with a conference entitled, Home and Exile in Queer Experience. The group also just published a book of the same title, Home and Exile in the Queer Experience: Collection of Articles about Lesbian and Homosexual Identity, which is one of the first books to be published in Arabic on the subject.


Outer Voices

Earlier this week one of our staff members excitedly reported that she had heard a report on NPR about one of our grantee groups, the Cambodia Women’s Crisis Center. It turns out that the program was produced by a local media organization called Outer Voices, and organization focusing on sharing the voices of women activists in the Pacific Islands and Asian Pacific Rim.

The piece on Cambodia Women’s Crisis Center dicusses the problem of sex trafficking and shares the stories of girls who have been sold into brothels. To listen to the feature visit Outer Voices.

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