Monday, March 21, 2005

"George Bush, Uncle Sam, Iraq will be your Vietnam"

They really, really want that to be true, don't they ?

"The sun shone and banners waved ..." says the Guardian, as an anti-American march took place in London.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, the gallant Vietnamese are struggling against US hegemony, expressed as it is in the vile form of educated, independent women who don't wear the right clothes.

In Latifiya, to the south of Baghdad, radical Sunni insurgents have pasted leaflets on shop walls warning women and girls not to appear without a hijab to cover the head and face and prohibiting the use of make-up. Anyone who failed to adhere to these laws “would be punished by death”.

Some die because their work brings them into contact with American or Iraqi officials, others because their advocacy of more rights for women offends certain religious fundamentalists.

A few seem to have been singled out for failing to conform to an extreme Islamic code of dress and for abandoning traditional lives at home.

Zeena al-Qushtaini, a divorced mother who owned one of Baghdad’s best known pharmacies and had contracts with coalition forces, dressed in western clothes and mingled with women activists.

“Lady Zeena”, as she was known, was wearing a diamond necklace and ring when she was shot twice in the head after being abducted. Her body was found dressed in a full-length black abaya that she would never have chosen to wear, the headscarf covered in blood.

Tawheed wal-Jihad, the group run by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Al-Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, released a film of her murder and that of her business partner, Ziad Baho, who was beheaded.

Islamic militants have killed 20 women in the northern city of Mosul and a dozen more in Baghdad. The victims shared a common desire to live freely and a vision of a better role for women in Iraqi society.

A better role for women - that would never do, would it now ?

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