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.

 

Zeina Zaatari in the Khaleej Times

"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.

 

Bringing Women into Cambodian Politics

Thank you for your very inspiring International Women's Day message from Nepal. What a gathering. Your message reminds me of the days when I was part of the grassroots women for change and the beginning of the women's movement in Cambodia.

We celebrated here with many speeches and many promises made for women.

As we are in the middle of our election campaign, my party president and I met with hundreds of women workers and we celebrated the gains made for our workers, but we do realize how much farther we have to walk in this struggle and fight to protect women workers in Cambodia.

I am very proud to share with you all that my party came as number one for fielding the most women for the upcoming commune elections. We placed our female candidates on the first positions of the party lists -- which guarantees them a sure win.

We raised over US$20,000 dollars which enable us to provide women extra money to run their own campaigns. We all know that female candidates are often left behind because there is that problem with money.

Our candidates have been involved in debates throughout the country, organized by the National Democratic Party and funded by the USAID. It is all about rural issues and the debates are so passionate. Our party sent one of the youngest speakers, age 24, and she was the best. She spoke from the heart and her age is actually an advantage to her. I coached her the night before and gave her a few tips on how to handle anxiety. I told her that I am also scared when speaking in front of so many people who might ask you questions that you have no answers to.

Then it came to my turn to debate with top women from other parties. I think I came as the winner as I also spoke from the heart, addressing the issues and paying tribute to women, rather than using my party line to make promises to women voters.

My party came out first also because we made history by having a woman as Secretary-General. I serve this position, being aware that my first priority is to bring women up in politics and to change politics for women.

Happy (belated) Women's Day to all!

Mu Sochua is on the board of the Global Fund for women. She is the chairperson of the Peace & Development Institute and the former minister of women's and veterans' affairs of Cambodia, She is the founder and former director of Khemara, the first local organization for women in Cambodia. She is the recipient of the 2005 Vital Voices Annual Leadership Award.
 
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