“The Voices of Innocents Caught in War” CNN addresses suffering of women in Iraq

CNN posted an article today by correspondent Awar Damon on the strength of Iraqi women in the face of nearly paralyzing hardship. She begins the piece with the sentence:

The pain here is choking — it’s a dark, suffocating sorrow.

Bombs, kidnapping, torture. The stories are so numerous they masquerade as normalcy in a country whose past five years have seen little but successive and overlapping turns of oppression, anarchy, occupation, and war. The CNN piece pays close attention to four women. One woman lost her husband when he was abducted, tortured and killed. When she retrieved his body the following day, she discovered his eyes had been gouged out.

In another case, Nahla’s husband was a doctor. After the fall of Saddam Hussein, determined to help rebuild his country, he returned to Iraq with Nahla and their six year old autistic son. Soon after, he was killed by a roadside bomb. She describes her husband’s flesh as melted and his charred body melded with those who died around him.

Although her 8-year old son lives outside the city for his own safety, a pediatrician named Dr. Eaman remains in Baghdad by choice. She wants to do her part to re-establish the city she recalls from before the war. She misses her son but will not be swayed from her mission.

Yanar left a tranquil life in Canada to move to Iraq with her 9-year old child. In 2003 she founded The Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI). It’s the only organization of its kind and has since developed Iraq’s first women’s shelter and an activist newspaper called Al Mousawat (Equality). She changes her address often because of constant death threats. She explains her decision to uproot her life and return to her country of origin:

What brings me here, it is that everybody that I love, all the people that I love have been crushed…This cannot happen, should not happen, cannot be allowed to happen.

This weekend CNN aired Damon’s searing documentary, On Deadly Ground: The Women of Iraq. Click for the full transcript.

For more information, see my earlier post “It Wasn’t Supposed to be this Way” The Plight of Women & Children in Occupied Iraq

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