admin/upload/files/Iraq’s New Constitution
Revolution #011, August 14, 2005, posted
As the new admin/upload/files/Iraqi constitution is
going into its final drafts, it is clear
that powerful forces in
admin/upload/files/Iraq are aiming to formally
take away many rights enjoyed
by women for decades in that country. The Bush administration bragged
that the War on admin/upload/files/Iraq was a liberating one (remember the name “Operation: admin/upload/files/Iraqi Freedom”). And
one important aspect of that was
the “liberation” of admin/upload/files/Iraqi women.
But the current situation for
admin/upload/files/Iraqi women is a horror. In the last two years, as U.S. troops have ravaged the country, extreme violence for women has
once again become a daily reality, and many live in fear of leaving their home at all, let alone going to school or work. At home, there is a fear of house raids by the
There have been “honor killings” of women across the country, which are in effect condoned by admin/upload/files/Iraqi legislation.
well as men) have been killed
at U.S. military checkpoints, and tortured and humiliated in U.S. military
prisons. Women have faced
mass sexual abuse and rape.
And in the midst of all this a new national constitution, which
is set to be voted on this August 15, threatens to formally re-implement the merciless world of tribal and feudal relations that would be
based on male supremacist Islamic tradition.
Under the new constitution, equal
rights for women would be guaranteed
as long as those rights do
not “violate Shariah,” or Islamic law drawn
from the Qur’an. admin/upload/files/Iraqis will enjoy
all rights guaranteed in
“international treaties and conventions as long as they do not contradict Islam.”
What does this mean?
Just to give a flavor, let’s look at what
the Qur’an says in one
surah, entitled “Women”
“Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one
of them to excel the other, and because they [men] spend of their property (for the support
of women). So good women
are the obedient, guarding
in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom
ye fear rebellion,
admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge [whip or beat] them. Then, if they obey
you, seek not a way against them.
Lo! Allah is ever High Exalted, Great.” (from
The Glorious Qur’an,
translation by Mohammad M. Pickthall, cited in “The
Qur’an, Islam, and the Oppression of Women,” by Bob Avakian, Revolutionary Worker
#969, August 16, 1998)
divorce, and inheritance would
be judged not according to a national secular legal agency, but by the law practiced by the family’s sect or religion. Especially in rural areas, this would mean that
women of all ages would be subject
(even legally) to extremely backwards views of what their
role should be, and would not be allowed to make
the most basic life decisions
Shiite women could not marry without their families’
permission. Divorce, which could
only be initiated
by the husband, would not necessarily be required to be decided by a judge, but under some interpretations
of Shariah, could be attained simply
by the man stating their
intention three times in their
Articles of the (current) interim constitution which require that one-quarter of parliamentary seats go to women would be quickly
This is all happening in a
country that was known as one of the most
progressive in the Middle East, especially before the first Gulf War and the
years of UN-imposed economic sanctions, which particularly impacted the lives of women and girls in admin/upload/files/Iraq.
Saddam Hussein’s regime was extremely
reactionary, but it was secular. Women
had formal equality under the law, were guaranteed
education at least through primary school, and had attained the right to file for divorce and have their case heard by a judge. Laws were
passed that regulated polygamy (marriages of men with multiple wives). Women had
entered the workforce and had the right to vote and run for office.
Now let’s face it:
this was not liberation for women. These were some formal rights women had
attained, that were far behind where it’s now possible for humanity to be at in
terms of ending exploitation altogether, including the oppression of women.
Is all that women can
hope for some laws that restrict the degree to which they are relegated to a
subordinate position, and give them a little breathing room, when it’s in the
interests of their country’s (and an imperialist, dominating country’s) ruling
class at that time? Definitely not. It is only with
the elimination of classes that women will truly be liberated, and to get there
we need a society that is based on overcoming these divisions, not reinforcing
them in one form or another, be it “secular democracy” (which is only democracy
for the ruling class) or theocracy (which is just another, typically more
openly repressive form of capitalism, legitimized by religion).
And, as if we needed
any more evidence, what does this say about this country’s war on admin/upload/files/Iraq, and the
claims that the Bush administration made about liberating admin/upload/files/Iraqi women, when the
severe situation that women were living in before the war, which is only more
horrific now, and is just going to get worse, was actually caused
by U.S. imperialism itself?
The people who claim that women need
to be back under the burkha would be
dominating society. This is
what U.S. “liberation” is bringing to the women of admin/upload/files/Iraq.