Women Under Siege in U.S.-Occupied Iraq
Interview with Nada Elia, Arab Women's Solidarity Association, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
As chaos and violence overtake Iraq in the wake of the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein's government, the fate of Iraqi women is little remarked upon. But the negative change in their status has been far reaching. Even before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, decades of war and harsh economic sanctions had sparked a revival of Islamic religious practice under the secular Baathist regime. Several factions of the long repressed Shiite Islamic religious majority of Iraq are now competing for power in a future post-occupation government, with many advocating the creation of an Islamic republic similar to that of Iran.
The Arab Women's Solidarity Association was founded in Egypt in 1982. It was established by a group of 120 women who declared that struggle for the liberation of Arab people must include the liberation of Arab women. By 1985, AWSA had 3,000 members internationally. The group promotes Arab women's active participation in social, economic, cultural, and political life.
Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Nada Elia, a representative of the Arab Women's Solidarity Association. A writer and teacher, Elia is a Palestinian who was born in Iraq, grew up in Lebanon, and has lived in the U.S. for the past 15 years. She discusses the status of women under Saddam Hussein's regime, the daily struggle for survival they now confront, and their hopes for a better future.
Contact the Arab Women's Solidarity Association at (425) 558-1006 or visit their Web site at www.awsa.net
"Shiites March in Baghdad Against U.S.," by Hamza Hedawai, The Associated Press, May 20, 2003 "US Post-War Effort Seen as on the Brink of 'Fiasco,'"Yahoo News, May 19, 2003 "Now They Tell Us: Postwar Truth and Consequences," by David Corn, The Nation, May 1, 2003
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