One area that we hardly talk about at all with respect to the occupation and control of Iraq is the dire situation that womyn* in Iraq are currently facing. They are especially troubled because not only do they have to worry about the "regular" security issues that you hear about on the news (violence, bombings, raids, etc.) but they also have to worry about other security threats that they face b/c they are womyn (such as kidnappings, rape, pressure to veil, etc.). They played the voices of Iraqi womyn explaining the situation and the way the plight of Iraqi womyn is often buried under what are considered to be more important concerns (setting up an official "figurehead" type of government and then addressing "womyn's" issues later). These issues that fall through the cracks of news coverage and our discussions about the way things are going on in Iraq. I see news coverage on Iraq still leaving out many of the issues that are just as important to the future of Iraq as who runs the country. The fate of over half of the population of the country we destroyed for a few million more barrels of oil will more than likely once again fall through the cracks of the powerful government officials and the major (read corporate) media. I often find myself wondering what we as mere individuals stuck in the throes of the richest country in the world can do to help those who are falling through the cracks as we speak. Sometimes I feel so powerless w/ the way that our political system goes b/c we're told that we should make our voices heard on election day, as if every other day of the year is for us to shut up and deal w/ the crap that those elected (or selected, depending on how you see certain recent election results) by a minority of us dish out. Voter turnout in our elections is usually between 25% and 35%, and a majority of that slim constituancy decides who makes the laws that tell you and me what to do. I feel that we should do more than just go to a voting booth on one day and pick from the handful of people that are set there for us to pick (this isn't to say don't vote, but don't just vote and do nothing else). So, I found a way that you can help the womyn of Iraq without lifting your fanny off your chair in front of your computer (this, of course, depends on if you have to get up to get your wallet/purse). I found the website for the Iraqi Womyn's Rights Coalition, and they have a link so you can donate directly to them online to help them build shelters and provide supplies to help womyn in Iraq forge productive lives for themselves in this uncertain time. I'm sure that however much you would want to donate would be appreciated. Here's the link:http://www.equalityiniraq.com/english.htm
Sorry for sounding preachy. Donate if you want to. Don't if you don't. I just figured that I would provide people the opportunity to help those whose lives our government has destroyed.
*I use "womyn" instead of "woman" or "women" as a discursive attempt to disassociate womyn's identity from that of men. It's a part of Simone De Beauvoir's argument about womyn's identity being seen only in terms of what they aren't (they aren't men, so they're womyn).
Saturday, April 09, 2005
Two full years after the statues toppled in Iraq, tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets to protest the continuing occupation of their country by American forces. They want the US out of Iraq, and they want it now...and who can blame them? Bush himself said he wouldn't like being occupied. What's even more interesting than the protests themselves is how the US media is trying to spin them. NBC is basically saying, "keep in mind that they were told to do this by that bad guy, Al-Sadr...so don't really think of this as the will of the Iraqi people. It just means that Al-Sadr is trying to exert his political power to the new government." This excuse is not only wrong (tens of thousands of people taking to the streets to protest the presence of the occupying force is NOT just a shouting cry from the radical cleric--it's the very voice of the Iraqi people!!), but it is dangerously misleading. It's an attempt by the media to prevent an honest discussion of the presence of American soldiers in Iraq two years after they did what they were called to do, beat the crap out of Iraq. They are there longer than they were told they would have to stay. Many of them are still dying, and they're not helping the Iraqi people!! The US's response (of course) is that they aren't leaving until they get the oil...er, um...I mean, until it's secure. The problem with this security claim is that the only reason that the insurgents are fighting and making Iraq a dangerous place is because the US is still there!!! Is it that hard to see?!? If the US leaves, then there is no reason for the insurgents to attack people. US and Iraqi lives will continue to be in danger over there until we realize that it's time we left and let them govern on their own. The US government and media are totally unwilling to consider the possibility that we might still be part of the problem in Iraq. Once we consider that possibility, then it'll be much easier to start coming up with real solutions to the violence and crap that's going on over there. I would say the best and easiest solution to the problem is to leave. We need to realize that Iraq is not the US's property, and we have no right to assume that it is or that we can just stick around as long as we are.
The mass media in this country just doesn't get it...