Friday, April 16, 2004

On Liberation and loss there-off.

Sorry, I haven't posted much about Iraq blogs for a few days. There are, unsurprisingly, no new ones to count. If I were living in a war zone, I would probably be too pre-occupied to start a web site too.

I have been here though, reading Iraq blogs that already exist from people who are busting their backs to shed light on their circumstances for the rest of the world; Faiza, Raed, Khalid, Riverbend and Zeyad. See sidebar links for more.

Most of the boys (young men) seem pretty mobile and move around quite a bit, reporting scenes from all over Baghdad, and also reporting gossip from other young mobile men friends.

Women's freedom of movement seems more restricted, by safety concerns if nothing else, although Faiza does report quite a bit from traveling to work and also hears regular news from her customers. Riverbend does not seem so fortunate. She writes last month of a rare trip out, to Karrada - a shopping area. She writes that this area used to be full of women, but that they are now a startling minority. She describes the subtle pressures she now feels in visiting the area as one of the few woman in the street not wearing the Hijab.

Others (if you click on that link, be prepared for the WWII propaganda posters at the bottom of the page) have written about the changing roles of women during and after war, but this seems to reflect the experience of western women. I am not sure that much has been written about the experiences of middle eastern women during and between wars. I don't have the experience to give such a topic fair coverage and am only making distant observations. If anyone is reading this who has something to add, or thinks I am off mark, would like to disagree, or has valuable personal experience - please, feel free to comment. The comments facilities on this blog are fairly safe. No-one will be edited, discussion, experience sharing and dissent is welcome (although insult slinging and intimidation is not). It would be very interesting to hear from anyone who has anything to say.

War in western countries, WWII especially, has been credited, in an unexpected twist of fate, with increased freedoms for woman. Women who filled the roles of absent conscripted men, providing the labour force for western countries during previous periods of conflict, acquired a taste for working outside of standard domestic roles. When these wars were over, women in western countries sometimes continued to work outside of the home, probably as many of their husbands simply did not return, and those who did were not neccessarily capable of work. Women became workers, mothers and nurses for their own broken men.

In middle eastern countries the opposite seems to be true, there is a sense that liberties are clamped down on, probably because of safety fears, as well as other politic-religio reasons which I do not feel qualified to talk about. Women begin to wear traditional forms of protection - the Hijab and full body covering garments seem almost in this sense to become a form of armour in order to move outside the home. Remember this old post from Nawar?


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