The atmosphere was electric. People were embracing, crying and talking with abandon. After three decades of repression, the conference was a big therapy session for the Iraqi family. Except that one group was largely missing from the family. In a country where women are the majority (especially after two decades of devastating wars), I was one of only five invited to the conference.
My speech was only a few minutes long. I decided to remind the conference that women need to play a central role in Iraq's future, that we should bring all Iraqis together to help heal the deep social divisions inflicted by Saddam Hussein's regime.
Speaking before a sea of men, including sheiks and clerics, I was worried about the reaction, especially since I was participating in the meeting not as a representative of a domestic political group but as an independent delegate. (I belong to no Iraqi faction, and although I wear a head scarf, or hijab, I believe in the separation of religion and state.)
To my surprise, there was applause after I finished and dozens of men came to congratulate me as I walked back to my seat. These delegates seemed painfully aware of how Iraqi society had stagnated under Saddam Hussein and eagerly wanted to catch up to the rest of the world.
link new york times
For all of the chaos and the violence following the war, the Iraqi people are experiencing the first fruits of freedom after thirty years of starvation. Zainab Al-Suwaij's article is yet another reason that the invasion was a grand idea. Clear away the police state and the kleptocracy and there is no reason to belive that her vision will not have as good a chance as the medievalist mullahs'. And if her vision can prevail the rest of the Allah-forsaken Arab world will be forced to take notice.