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Iraqis head to polls; women hardest hit

You've probably heard the old joke that says if Armageddon were upon us, the New York Times headline would read:


Women, Minorities Hardest Hit

But it doesn't take a natural disaster to put women at a disadvantage. In an International Herald Tribune article that veers perilously close to self-parody, Mona Eltahaway frets that women will "be the biggest losers" in Iraq's historic upcoming election:

NEW YORK Come election time in Iraq, remember Wijdan al-Khuzai. Her violent death is a brutal warning that although Iraq's Sunnis are said to have the most to lose, it is in fact women, from all sects, who could be the biggest losers of the Iraqi election.

The body of Khuzai, an election candidate running on a secular platform, was found near her house on Dec. 25. Khuzai was determined to overcome what she described as the strict social and religious curbs on women in Iraq.
Now, it's obviously tragic that Khuzai was killed -- even more so because she seemed to represent the sort of modern thinker that Iraq needs in its new government if it wants to avoid sinking into the mire of Islamofascism.

But insurgents have been killing men and women alike in large numbers, attempting to derail the elections or scare Iraqis away from the polls. In fact, men may be at greater risk, because men make up the Iraqi security forces who are so often the target of the insurgents' attacks.

Eltahaway continues:

The sons of two other female candidates have been killed to punish their mothers for their electoral ambitions, and another female candidate was kidnapped and released only after her family paid a ransom.
So female candidates' sons are murdered, and this is evidence that the elections are hurting women?

Even female candidates who have been more overtly religious have not been spared. Earlier this month, Salama al-Khafaji, a prominent female Shiite candidate escaped assassination when her bodyguards returned fire at gunmen who ambushed her car. It was the second attempt on her life since May, when her son and one of her bodyguards were killed in an ambush of her convoy.
Two more men murdered -- al-Khafaji's son and her bodyguard -- and again, the elections are cast as a blow against women. The fact that they will move brave women like al-Khafaji into positions of power is apparently irrelevant.

Chris Rock got big laughs in his 1999 stand-up performance Bigger and Blacker when he mocked Louis Farrakhan for blaming black peoples' troubles on the Jews.

"Black people don't hate the Jews," he explained. "Black people hate white people. We don't have time to go dicing them into tiny groups."

The insurgents don't hate women. They hate free people.


Anonymous said...

The argument that the elections endanger women sounds like the same type of paternalistic argument that antebellum slave owners used when they said that their slaves were safer and happier than they would be if they were free. 

Posted by marybeth

Anonymous said...

Excellent point, marybeth. Thanks for the comment. 

Posted by GaijinBiker

Anonymous said...

Let's think about this for a moment...

BEFORE: a woman in Iraq was at constant risk to be kidnapped by one of Saddam's sons, raped, and brutally killed...

AFTER: women in Iraq can run for political office, and face approximately the same threat as men who run...

Yes, clearly, women have been hardest hit by this.


Posted by LotharBot



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