I originally wrote this diary and posted it on The Daily Kos on December 18, 2006 under my then name, notimportant.
It’s profoundly sad for me to write that the subject of women’s rights was urgent then and has devolved since into a global catastrophic situation. The denial of women’s rights has always seen a turndown in turbulent times. Sometime things do change – for the worse. Today we are seeing the raping of women not only as a form of genocide in certain parts of the world, but enacted more deliberately, more cruel and inhumanly than at any time in our world’s history. So my brothers and sisters, I urge, even beg you to read about the horrific acts taking place against women now following this 2006 diary in the form of a 2007 update.
Then please do something. I have posted numerous ways of doing so. I cannot think of a better gift for you to give the women in your life than to help secure the freedom of women across the globe while putting an end to their unbelievable suffering
I realize this diary is very long. If you don’t have the time – watch this very important video and you will get the message
Part One: The 2006 Edition
Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 03:32:30 PM PST
In this extraordinary time, forget the jewelry, the lingerie, the mall altogether. Women all over the world understand the daily eroding of women’s rights around the globe. We feel their unbearable pain.
Whether it be back to the stone age in Iraq or sex slave trafficking in Eastern Europe or genocide and rape in Darfur, women know other women are under siege.
If you want to show the women in you life – mother, friend, girlfriend, wife, sister, daughter – that you care about the rights of women – that you believe this world will only have peace when the vastly eroding rights of women stops – then take action.
Here is the most effective, but certainly not the only way:
The Global Fund For Women
I discovered The Global Fund for Women several years ago. I was impressed then with their unique model, and I have become committed to this organization and their work since. Simply put they are the leading international ‘4 star charity’ (which means the money gets to where it needs to go) completely run by women and committed to the right of all women to live safely, free from oppression and harm. They also work on behalf of all women to implement, through grants at the local level, the ways and means to help themselves through small business loans, legal services and outreach.
Their business model is to give small but healthy grants to women’s organizations on the ground in the worlds hottest spots where violence against women and increasingly children and infants are growing.
This Christmas, rather than buying my friends gifts they may or may not like, I am buying them something far more precious -the knowledge that they have donated to helping women under siege around the world. I am donating in their names to the Global Fund for Womens’ major initiatives and I encourage you to do so as well.
Here is a very small sampling of the work they do. The following is taken from their 2005/2006 Annual report which is a public document available at their site..
International Women’s Rights Action Watch, Malaysia
The International Women’s Rights Action Watch is a right’s based approach to the acquisition of knowledge and skills for the women of Malaysia.
IWRAWA acts as a motivator for women to become more motivated and community minded through the establishment of personal safety first. After this is in place, IWRAWA works to link domestic activism with international advocacy. It is also necessary that IWRAW Asia Pacific take on new roles to maximize our potential to trigger changes in law and policy. As such, the next phase of our work will build on the existing knowledge base to develop a new set of tools that further strengthens women’s rights activism.
Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women – Thailand believing cultural society do not consider themselves on par with men. They carry the weight of the caste system, the pressure of the dowry system,
The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) is a network of non-governmental organizations from all regions of the world, who share a deep concern for the women, children and men whose human rights have been violated by the criminal practice of trafficking in persons. GAATW is committed to work for changes in the political, economic, social and legal systems and structures which contribute to the persistence of trafficking in persons and other human rights violations in the context of migratory movements for diverse purposes, including security of labor and livelihood.
Pakistan Women Lawyers’ Association Pakistan
The horrendous conditions of women’s lives moved women lawyers to form the Pakistan Women Lawyers’ Association ‘PAWLA’. It was initiated by Mrs. Rashida Muhammad Hussain Patel, an eminent lawyer, a public figure, a writer. Realizing the critical needs of women in the legal spheres she banded together like-minded concerned women lawyers to form this Association ‘PAWLA’
Defense of Iraqi Women’s Rights
DIWR aims to investigate into the status of Iraqi women with a focus on Kurdistan of Iraq where the absence of supremacy of law resulted in giving way to ancient tribal practices against women encouraged by recent Islamist influences
Check them out.
Part 2: What Women Who Give A Damn About The Rights of Women and AFRICA want For XMAS – 2007/Update
Over the last year I’ve often contemplated how it could be that things have actually gotten much worse for women all over the world. How, in the 21st century, is it even possible that women in many parts of the world have lost more ground in their struggle to live free from harm? . How is it possible that rape as an instrument of war, already imponderably bad, has become worse. It’s a complex world without one answer. In trying to make sense of what makes no sense I did come to one conclusion. There appears to be a connective tissue to this mass erosion of women’s right. Not surprisingly, it is what has enslaved all of us – although women far worse than men – oil….Oil truly is the root of all evil
I have segmented women whose rights have eroded into 2 groups:
(1)Those that are suffering violence on a daily, seeming relentlessly basis. These women are unfortunate to live in the areas of the world where oil pipelines are being built and/or managed and are primarily in Africa and Pacific Asia. The biggest crime these women have committed is living in the wrong place at the wrong time.
(2)The second group is harder to see. These women live in the countries thrown into chaos because of wars or the threat of war. These countries are primarily Muslim or in the current administration’s parlance, in danger of becoming completely led by “Fascist islamist regimes”.. They include countries with a history of women’s rights issues, issues that until the past 5 years were seeing positive change: Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Kurdistan and Afghanistan.
These women are the silent victims of US reckless international policy. In these countries the clock has been turned back to the age when stoning, honor killings, genital mutilation, all thought to be receded have been ushered back, Call it ‘fear of their getting nuclear weapons” or “fear that they have WMD’s” it’s nearly impossible to take oil out of the equation as the more accurate reason the countries they live in have been thrown into chaos.
And I haven’t even touched aids. But I do want to say a word or two about Africa.
I have been reading for days to write this diary. I thought I knew about conditions in Africa. Friends, I did not. It is for an entirely different diary but let me say that to not be paying attention now to the Niger Delta and the Congo as well as developments in the Central African Region is to be sleepwalking through an upcoming humanitarian disaster that makes Darfur look like a kindergarten school
Examples of Major Oil Operations in 2007(represents the women in group 1)
If there is an enemy of women it is Oil. And Oil has a close cousin named Chevron. Make no mistake about it as I will point out here, in its quest for oil, Chevron has played a very big role in spreading despair and misery throughout the world. They hire militia in countries that have had horrific standards for human rights for decades. The building up of these jauntas through oil royalty payments ( in some cases contributing over 50% to these nations GNP), has made Chevron irreplaceable to the tyrants and warlords who run these countries and a living hell for the women who live in these countries. I have come to believe, if the devil exists – it is Chevron.
Nigeria has 8 percent (11.5 trillion cubic meters) of the world’s proven gas reserves and 9.1 percent (90 billion barrels) of proven oil reserves, according to the Corporate Council on Africa. As reported at the West Africa Oil and Gas Forum in Houston in November, African continent growth of more than 57 percent is expected in the next five years to total more than 11 percent of the world’s oil production. According to a Chevron spokesperson, the West African sub-region will, in the near future, produce more barrels of oil per day than the current largest oil producer, Saudi Arabia
Source: Pipeline & Gas Journal, January 2003
The economy of the Republic of the Congo is a mixture of village agriculture and handicrafts, an industrial sector based largely on petroleum extraction, support services, and a government characterized by budget problems and overstaffing. The Congo’s growing petroleum sector is by far the country’s major revenue earner. In the early 1980s, rapidly rising oil revenues enabled the government to finance large-scale development projects with GDP growth averaging 5% annually, one of the highest rates in Africa. However, the government has mortgaged a substantial portion of its oil earnings, contributing to the government’s shortage of revenues. The Congolese oil sector is dominated by the French oil company Elf Aquitaine, which accounts for 70% of the country’s annual oil production. In second position are Agip, Chevron, CMS Nomeco, and Exxon Mobile, all companies active in petroleum exploration or production. Following recent discoveries and oil fields currently under development, Congo’s oil production is expected to continue to rise significantly in the next few years.
MBendi reports that Angola’s oil industry and oil derivatives industry account for “91.92 percent of total exports. Petroleum and petroleum products generated nearly $9.7 billion in State revenues in 2004. Angola is a key player in Africa’s oil industry as both a major producer and exporter. It is the second largest producer of oil in Sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria and offshore Angola is recognized as a world-class area for oil exploration and production. Angola produces crude oils that have an API gravity ranging from 32 degrees to 39.5 degrees and a sulphur content of 1.12% to 0.14%. “Angola’s economy is highly dependent on the oil sector, which accounts for 40% of GDP and 80% of government revenues.” Sonangol, the national oil company of Angola, “was established in 1976 and manages all fuel production and distribution in Angola.”
Chevron was the first to produce in the Angolan deep water. The company is implementing, along with its partners, significant, multibillion-dollar investments in new developments, including the Angola liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, the Benguela Belize and Lobito Tomboco (BBLT) project, and the Tombua Landana project. Chevron is Angola’s largest foreign oil-industry employer, with approximately 2,500 Angolan national employees (88 percent of the company’s workforce in Angola). Chevron Texaco pumpes 60% of Angola’s oil, “more than half of which is exported to the United States–the company expects to double its oil production there by 2008.”
The French energy group Total partnered with Chevron said Thursday it planned to carry out work on installations in the Yadana gas field in Myanmar, where according to press reports the government is to establish a maritime exclusion zone.The newspaper The Mirror, controlled by the ruling military junta in Myanmar, said the fisheries ministry would impose an exclusion zone in the Gulf of Martaban, where the Yadana field is located. The paper said that from early December no vessel would be allowed to enter the zone. A Total spokesman described the move as “a precautionary measure and a temporary decision. He said plans to install a compression platform in the Yadana field were designed to allow Total to “maintain its production and to meet the demands of its contract.” Total/Chevron has been operating in Myanmar since 1992, employing 270 people in the Yadana field, where in 2006 it produced 17.4 million cubic meters of gas a day that was used in electrical power plants in Thailand
Source: AFP November 27, 2007
Sudan is the 7th largest oil producer in Africa after Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Angola, Egypt, and Equatorial Guinea. This is a very important point we will return to.
Sudan’s oil industry produces 500,000 b/d, having doubled its volumes in just two years. China controls 40 percent of the oil development activity in the Sudan while Malaysia and India each have 30 and 25 percent stakes respectively in the oil industry. Sudan has become particularly important to China, making up more than half of the worlds second largest oil consumer of foreign oil reserves. CNPC holds a 40 per cent stake in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, the biggest player in Sudan’s oilfield Diarists Note: Chevron does not operate in the Sudan
Pipelineistan (Represent the women who fall in group 2)
Pipelineistan is the golden future: a paradise of opportunity in the form of US$5 trillion of oil and gas in the Caspian basin and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. In Washington’s global petrostrategy, this is supposed to be the end of America’s oil dependence on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). This is of course the heart of the matter in the New Great Game – compared to which the original 19th-century Great Game between czarist Russia and the British Empire was a childish tin soldier’s diversion.
Afghanistan itself has some natural gas in the north of the country, near Turkmenistan. But above all it is ultra-strategic: positioned between the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia, between Turkmenistan and the avid markets of the Indian subcontinent, China and Japan.
Afghanistan is at the core of Pipelineistan. It’s enlightening to note that all countries or regions which happen to be an impediment to Pipelineistan routes towards the West have been subjected either to a direct interference or to all-out war: Chechnya, Georgia, Kurdistan (Iraq), Yugoslavia and Macedonia.
The numbers are clear. According to the United States Energy Information Administration, in 2001 America imported an average of 9.1 million barrels per day – over 60 percent of its crude oil needs. In 2020, the country is projected to require almost 26 million barrels per day in imports. So Pipelineistan, in the Caucasus and in Central Asia – for the West and Japan but especially for America itself – cannot but be the strategic-military No 1 goal.
In this geostrategic grand design, the Taliban were the proverbial fly in the ointment. The Afghan War was decided long before September 11. There was a crucial meeting in Geneva in May 2001 between US State Department, Iranian, German and Italian officials, where the main topic was a strategy to topple the Taliban and replace the theocracy with a “broad-based government”. The topic was raised again in full force at the Group of Eight (G-8) summit in Genoa, Italy, in July 2001 when India – an observer at the summit – also contributed its own plans The Bush team now does not even try to disguise that the whole game is about oil. The so-called brand-new American “Afghan policy” is being conducted by people intimately connected to oil industry interests in Central Asia
Everybody in the ruling plutocracy knows the rules of the ruthless game: Central Asia is crucial to Washington’s worldwide petro-strategy. So is a “friendly” government in Afghanistan – now led by the always impeccably dressed and fluent English speaker Hamid Karzai. It does not matter that independent minds from Central Asia in exile in Europe unanimously ridicule Karzai as nothing else than a Taliban himself, and his Northern Alliance ministers as a bunch of crooks.
As for US corporate-controlled media – from TV networks to daily newspapers – they just exercise self-censorship and remain mute about all of these connections.
Excerpts from Asia Times Series: THE ROVING EYE
Pipelineistan, Part 1: The rules of the game
By Pepe Escobar 2002
And so it comes to pass….from an article dated November 8, 2007
As a Caspian littoral state, Azerbaijan is capitalizing upon the Sea’s sizeable, but still mostly untapped, hydrocarbon resources.
Azerbaijan’s real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by an impressive 26 percent to $13 billion in 2005 as foreign investors pushed ahead with major projects in Azerbaijan Foreign direct investment in the country contracted from $2.3 billion in 2004 to just under $500 million in 2005 largely due to the completion of construction on the BTC pipeline in Azerbaijan. In the next couple years favorable real GDP growth is expected, but maintaining low inflation rates as energy and transit revenues flow into the country represents a major challenge.
Azerbaijan’s increase in oil production since 1997 has mainly come from the international consortium known as the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC), which represents over 70 percent of Azerbaijan’s total oil exports. AIOC (partners: BP, Chevron (an early leading partner),SOCAR, Inpex, Statoil, ExxonMobil, TPAO, Devon Energy, Itochu, Delta/Hess) operates the offshore Azeri, Chirag, and deep water Guneshli (ACG) mega-structure (see Map 1), which is estimated to contain proven crude oil reserves of 5.4 billion barrels according to the field’s operator and largest stakeholder, British Petroleum. In 2005 SOCAR raised its assessment of the field’s recoverable reserves from 5.4 billion barrels to 6.9 billion barrels.
So life is perfect. Well not if you are a woman.
Part 3: The Consequences to Women of OIL
It was not until recently that I was overwhelmed with a sick sense of revulsion tinged with anger when I realized that millions of women have paid with their very lives so that the US and other countries can have their precious oil. Even more than the environment, women have paid the steepest price for man’s insatiable thirst for oil.
Why were they victims? Why are they still? Simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We are now going to look at what women are enduring broken out by the two groups discussed earlier;
Group Number One; women living in Nigeria, the Congo, Angola, Burma
Group Number Two; women living in Pipelineistan
Women and the Niger Delta conflict
The exploitation of oil resources in the Niger Delta has resulted in particular economic and environmental conflicts. Oil provides over 90% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings, yet the people of the Niger Delta are among the poorest in Nigeria. In the upland areas where agricultural activities are high, crop yields have greatly declined. Farmlands have been taken away from women, who are the main farmers, for laying oil pipelines which criss-cross the land and contaminate it. Food shortage within the region has led to importation from other parts of the country leading to high costs of food and higher poverty levels. To make matters worse, Nigerian women do not have access to the technology or information to improve agricultural production.
Women suffer great hardships in times of conflict. The women of the Niger Delta are no exception. During the conflicts with oil companies and the Nigerian government, women are subjected to all kinds of violence – sexual violence such as rape, physical violence such as beatings, maiming and murder, and destruction of properties. Niger Delta women suffer unimaginable human rights abuses for which redress is unattainable because the agents of government who perpetrate the abuses “cannot” be subjected to the rule of law. Husbands, fathers and sons have been killed or maimed in the conflict and women have had to assume burdensome responsibilities as the heads of households.
With all this suffering, women have found their capacity to fight. They are no longer passive in issues affecting their communities. The massive non-violent protest by women from several communities in the Niger Delta in 2002 serves as a reference point. The women demanded the cleaning up of oil spills, environmental protection, jobs, education and health services and economic investment in their communities.
The tactics and determination of the women forced the Chevron Oil Company to send their senior executives to negotiate with them. The parties agreed to a deal that meant Chevron-Texaco was supposed to employ local people, fund schools, electricity provision and other infrastructure projects and also assist women in setting up poultry and fish farms. Unfortunately for the women, the Chevron Oil Company did not implement their Memorandum of Understanding.
Unfortunately for the women, the Chevron Oil Company did not implement their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Instead the company chose to use divide and rule tactics to destabilize the women. The success of their protest against the Chevron Texaco did not elevate their political status in society nor has it given them more participation in community development decision-making
The reality of the situation in the Niger Delta shows that women gaining political power is considered a threat to the male-dominated political structure.
On the eve of Nigeria’s presidential elections, multinational oil companies investing in the Niger Delta are failing to respond adequately to serious human rights abuse in that region, Human Rights Watch charged in a report released today
Prepare to get mad:
Having read many articles like the one above, I ran across this advertisement yesterday. If this does not sum up the hypocrisy of everything we have been living through I do not know what does. Lookie here, there was a conference held just recently – September 24, 2007 in Nigeria entitled: Turning Challenges Into Opportunities;
Nigeria Meets The world. There were quite a few speakers but the once who had top billing included:
Dr. Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State*
Dr. Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State
Dr. Lawrence H. Summers, former US Treasury Secretary
Believe me, I know that the knot in your stomach just tightened with the realization that Condi has never for one day stopped working for Chevron.
I read over 50 articles about what is happening in the Congo. Although this source may not be the most upstanding, it truly represents the most thorough and concise dose of information out there:
If stopping genocide in Africa really was on the agenda, why the focus on Sudan with 200,000 to 400,000 dead rather than Congo with five million dead?
“The notion that a quarter million Darfuri dead are a genocide and five million dead Congolese are not is vicious and absurd,” according to Congolese activist Nita Evele. “What’s happened and what is still happening in Congo is not a tribal conflict and it’s not a civil war. It is an invasion. It is a genocide with a death toll of five million, twenty times that of Darfur, conducted for the purpose of plundering Congolese mineral and natural resources.”
More than anything else, the selective and cynical application of the term “genocide” to Sudan, rather than to the Congo where ten to twenty times as many Africans have been murdered reveals the depth of hypocrisy around the “Save Darfur” movement. In the Congo, where local gangsters, mercenaries and warlords along with invading armies from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Angola engage in slaughter, mass rape and regional depopulation on a scale that dwarfs anything happening in Sudan, all the players eagerly compete to guarantee that the extraction of vital coltan for Western computers and cell phones, the export of uranium for Western reactors and nukes, along with diamonds, gold, copper, timber and other Congolese resources continue undisturbed.
Former UN Ambassador Andrew Young and George H.W. Bush both serve on the board of Barrick Gold, one of the largest and most active mining concerns in war-torn Congo. Evidently, with profits from the brutal extraction of Congolese wealth flowing to the West, there can be no Congolese “genocide” worth noting, much less interfering with. For their purposes, U.S. strategic planners may regard their Congolease Model as the ideal means of capturing African wealth at minimal cost without the bother of official U.S. boots on the ground.
Caution: excerpts from this doctor are a tough and graphic read
BUKAVU, Congo – Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynecologist, cannot bear to listen to the stories his patients tell him anymore. Every day, 10 new women and girls who have been raped show up at his hospital. Many have been so sadistically attacked from the inside out, butchered by bayonets and assaulted with chunks of wood, that their reproductive and digestive systems are beyond repair. “We don’t know why these rapes are happening, but one thing is clear,” said Dr. Mukwege, who works in South Kivu Province, the epicenter of Congo’s rape epidemic. “They are done to destroy women.” Eastern Congo is going through another one of its convulsions of violence, and this time it seems that women are being systematically attacked on a scale never before seen here. According to the United Nations, 27,000 sexual assaults were reported in 2006 in South Kivu Province alone, and that may be just a fraction of the total number across the country. “The sexual violence in Congo is the worst in the world,” said John Holmes, the United Nations under secretary general for humanitarian affairs. “The sheer numbers, the wholesale brutality, the culture of impunity – it’s appalling.”
Again I write this not to be sensationalist but because these things are happening each and every day and the word has to get out there. Here are several other conditions the women of the Congo are enduring as you are reading this – again these are the norm:
After gang rape, women’s vagina’s are filled with rotting earth and twigs
Shooting women in the vagina after raping them is extremely common
The practice of making a woman drink the urine and eat the feces of her rapers
before the gang rape occurs
Lastly and most horrifically, a new trend is rising whereby before women are raped, if their parents or children are killed, they are forced to cook and eat them.
UN releases gruesome Darfur rape details
THE UN’s top human rights office has released gruesome new details of rapes of Darfur women, reportedly by soldiers and government militia, and accused the Sudanese government of failing to investigate.
“The abuses may also constitute war crimes,” said the report by the office of Louise Arbour, UN high commissioner for human rights.
Members of the Sudanese armed forces and allied militiamen allegedly subjected around 50 women to multiple rapes and other forms of violence in an attack on the village of Deribat in late December, it said. They also abducted many children
“Interviews indicate that abducted women are systematically raped,” said yesterday’s report, which was compiled by a team of UN human rights investigators.
“Some children were beaten by their abductors and they were exposed to the traumatic scenes of rape,” it said.
Testimony from victims indicated that the attacks were committed by members of the Sudanese armed forces and affiliated groups, the report said.
The office said in a report last April that the military and its allies have been using rape as part of a wider assault on people belonging to the same ethnic group as some Darfuri rebels.
Darfur has been the scene of a bloody four-year conflict between government-backed militias and rebel forces that has so far seen more than 200,000 people killed and at least 2.5 million driven from their homes, according to UN estimates
The Total/Chevron Pipeline is adjacent to the rural area of Karen. The people of Karen have always been seen as less than equal to the main Burmese population, but until the pipeline came along they lived in peace. Much has been written about the women of Karen and the daily hell they are living. To avoid being sensational, I’ll be brief:
The militia that guards the Chevron pipeline routinely raids the rural area when the women hide in daily fear. Gang rape has become the norm, replacing individual rape. It is not unusual for a woman (or girl) to be raped by 12 men over and over again. No member of the militia has ever been prosecuted for rape.
Both men and women are used for forced labor. Pregnent women – sometimes as much as 8 months – are slaves that are forced to carry heavy loads and walk for miles a day. Slowing their step results in severe beatings.
Whatever food they find is routinely stolen, leaving them to starve. They sleep in the woods without shelter or blankets out of fear to sleep in their huts. Its critical to keep in mind that this is done with Chevron’s awareness and consent
The latest gang rape assaults have been on children and infants.
Indirectly, through submerging countries into war and chaos, oil has played a role in setting women’s rights back to the stone age where unthinkable atrocities are bring committed each and every day upon women separate and apart from the living hell the people of these counties are already enduring
Analysis: Iraqi refugees forced into sex
UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 23 (UPI) — From the sharp decline in civilian and U.S. soldier deaths to the notable drop in rocket and mortar attacks, the good news coming out of Iraq has left many optimistic about the improved security conditions inside the country.
However, by simply speaking to the displaced women inside of Iraq, or glancing outside of the country and into Syria, one would find a starkly different picture.
The sparse availability of public health services for women is also reflective of this trend and remains one of the primary concerns regarding the deteriorating condition for women both inside and outside the country.
Numerous women’s NGOs have reported on the scarcity of gynecologists, and recent attacks by Islamic extremists groups on male gynecologists have exacerbated the already dire situation. Claiming that these doctors invade the privacy of women, extremist groups are sending threatening letters to doctors who may provide any services.
As of late, it has been reported that four doctors were killed for refusing to circumcise young girls.
Whereas the prevalence of widows and single-mother households in Iraq led many to turn to prostitution as a means of survival, a practice actually called SURVIVAL SEX.
Weekend marriages, where young girls in a family marry men willing to pay for a traditional marriage ceremony, only to divorce them by the end of the weekend, have become a resurgent problem.
“Such arrangements are not labeled as prostitution, but as marriage, though in reality it is ‘survival sex,'” Feller said.
An Iraqi women’s group, Women’s Will, estimates that at least 50,000 Iraqi women refugees have turned to prostitution. They range from young adolescent girls to professional and educated women.
Wile UNHCR has been working with community members to institute programs aimed at ameliorating such resurgent complications, the problem has become endemic as the refugee crisis expands
BAGHDAD, 20 November 2007 (IRIN) – Anti-women violence in Basra, Iraq’s second largest city, about 600 km south of the capital, Baghdad, has increased markedly in recent months and has forced women to stay indoors, police and local NGOs have said.
“Basra is facing a new type of terror which leaves at least 10 women killed monthly, some of them are later found in garbage dumps with bullet holes while others are found decapitated or mutilated,” the city’s police chief Maj. Gen. Abdel Jalil Khalaf told IRIN in a telephone interview.
“The perpetrators are organized gangs who work under religious cover pretending to spread instructions of Islam but they are far from this religion. They are trying to impose a life style like banning women from wearing western clothes or forcing them to wear head scarf,” Khalaf said.
“We do believe that the number of murdered women is much higher as more cases go unreported by their families who fear reprisals from extremists,” he added.
The Crisis Facing Iraqi Women-Honor Killings, Suicides and Misogynist Passport Rules
The Taipei Times reports on the mind-boggling number of honor killings and suicides in Kurdish Iraq. According to one of their sources, Aso Kamal, there have been 12,500 women murdered for reasons of honor or who have committed suicide in three Kurdish provinces since 1991. There were 350 such deaths so far this year
In ConclusionL some thoughts
I stated at the beginning that it was hard for me to believe things could get worse for women. Yet nothing prepared me for what I have read. One might think that after reading well over 100 articles/reports a person would become used to the graphic nature of what has been written. I haven’t. I sit before you and write this today as sick to my stomach as I was when I started this essay over a week ago. I wish I knew what could drive people, men, to such acts of depravity that are unmatched by any other period in this earth’s history? Is it truly the end of the world we are witnessing? I don’t know. I have to leave that to the dedicated experts at Amnesty International and The Global Fund for Women to do that work they do so well.
I am asking for your help. To sit and do nothing in the face of what today’s women are enduring is in itself a crime. I have a list of organizations at the bottom of this about to end essay. But there is one more thing I have to say, and I respect that some here won’t like it. In order for me to respect myself I must put it out there.
Several months ago I stopped posting on The Daily Kos because, as a woman, I could not, can not, continue to support any organization – especially a self-proclaimed – progressive organization that promotes one of the top reasons (if not THE top reason) the systematic brutal treatment of women is growing unabated. That reason is CHEVRON and their pipelines across Africa and South East Asia. Its time for me to ask the hard question. How can you?
Some things trump having a big audience for your diaries and comments. To me, it is deplorable, unforgivable and the utmost in hypocrisy that Markos Moulitsas is a party to what I have described here. Make no mistake about it. Make no excuses to yourself – he is. Every dollar he has taken from Chevron to support their efforts has the blood of savagely raped and even murdered women upon it. That makes The Daily Kos, in my opinion, no better than the brutal men who shoot a gun into a woman’s vagina
Again I ask How Can You? For those of you, like me, who simply could not stomach it anymore I say Bless You and Thank You for standing tall for all women. Amen
The list of charities follows
If you have made it this far, you will always and forever have a place in my heart.
Ways to Give
The Mothership -the USA branch of Amnesty International
AIC – INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHARITIES, www.aic-international.org – is
an international catholic non governmental, non profit organiza tion. Founded in 1971 it unites
250.000 local female volunteers working in the social field. They are organized in 52 national
associations, 41 of them in developing countries. Newest members are Mozambique, Vietnam,
Haiti and Ghana. In all regions AIC grass -root volunteers respond to specific local needs, especially
of women, one of them being domestic violence. The following contribution is due to their experience
Ending Violence Against Women
Violence against women is a universal problem and one of the most widespread violations of human rights. One in three women will suffer some form of violence in her lifetime, becoming part of an epidemic that devastates lives, fractures communities and stalls development. Despite some progress on this issue over the past decade, its horrendous scale remains mostly unacknowledged. New dimensions include the global trafficking of women and girls