admin/upload/files/Iraq’s New Constitution

admin/upload/files/Iraq’s New Constitution

U.S. “Liberation” of WomenWorse Than Saddam

Revolution #011, August 14, 2005, posted at

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 nameOperation: 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 U.S. military.

There have been “honor killings” of women across the country, which are in effect condoned by admin/upload/files/Iraqi legislation.

Women (as 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, entitledWomen” (verse 34):

“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)

Marriage, 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 for themselves.

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 wivespresence.

Articles of the (current) interim constitution which require that one-quarter of parliamentary seats go to women would be quickly phased out.

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. “liberationis bringing to the women of admin/upload/files/Iraq.