Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The 2nd. half spoke today.

This morning, there was a meeting and a public conference for Iraqi women in Al-Firdows Square.
The crowd was actually small, something around 150 ladies from different ages, jobs, political trends and ethnic groups, but all came for one reason (women rights in the new, free, democratic Iraq) Anyway, the reporters and journalists were almost more in number than the women who held the meeting.
The speeches made there focused on the demand that the Iraqi women must have their appropriate representation in the coming national council and in the local administrative councils in every city in Iraq, and that representation should be no less than 40% of the seats in each council, relying on the fact that women make up about 60% of the population in Iraq. This demand was also supported by Mrs.Ssongol (GC member) who also showed her complete refusal to the 137 announcement stating that suspending that announcement is not enough and that they will work hard in the council to cancel it with another official announcement. She also said that a suggestion was made to the Iraqi ministers that every minister should assign at least one female assistant. Yet, one of the groups who attended the meeting (women freedom in Iraq) insisted that women should have 60% of the seats and that they would not accept the 40%. This one also had tough criticizing attitude towards the GC, the Islamic fanatics, and the CPA.
Dr. Mahdy Al-Hafidh (the minister of planning) was also there today and made a speech in which he declared his total support to the Iraqi women demands.
Among the groups that attended this meeting, there were:
- The sports teaching college for girls.
- The economy and administration institute.
- Neenawa’s plains women association.
- Kurdistan libertarian women movement.
- The modern Iraqi woman movement.
- The independent Iraqi women aggregation.
That’s what I could record from the signs, but I think that there were others that I didn’t mention.
The groups who organized the meeting passed papers among the audience to have their signatures to support omitting the 137 announcement from the Iraqi law. AYS and I gladly gave our signatures.
At the beginning, I was disappointed by the small crowd, as it was smaller than I expected, but later I had my hope back…I mean this is the first time that Iraqi women go out to the streets to demand their rights with no fear and have the support for their demands from senior officials. Their voice is now clearly heard, and I believe that in a democratic, free Iraq, women (once they have such determination) will no longer be ignored or deprived from their social or political rights.

**By the way, here are some photos from there:
1,,,2,,, 3,,,4,,,5,,,6,,,7.

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