Sunday, June 04, 2006

But At Least The Trains Ran On Time

What a vile stew is The Times of London.

Their anti-American hate spewing Sunday edition carries a story this weekend pitying the once privileged Sunni Muslim women of the Amariya district of Baghdad because they can no longer go out and buy CDs or wear short skirts.

The reason? Now that 'liberal' Sunni Saddam Hussein has been deposed, full fundamentalist Sunni lunatic Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has launched a crackdown with roving gangs of thugs 'waging terror against the urban middle class'.

Naturally, it's all the Americans' fault.

“I used to wear jeans or short skirts. We didn’t have to worry,” she recalled, for a moment gushing like any of her fashion-conscious contemporaries in the West.

“My favourites were in the Qasar al Nisaa shop. Before, they sold all kinds of clothes, but now it’s so conservative. They’re not even allowed to display underwear in shops: you have to ask from under the counter and then only a woman can serve you.”

The atmosphere is becoming ever more oppressive. Men came to Noor’s house and told her she could not drive any more. Her father has to drive her to her lectures at the same university where she drove to class as an undergraduate.

She dare not step outside without a hijab, or headscarf. Last month two teenage girls were dragged off the al-Amal al-Shahbi street in the Amariya district. When they emerged several hours later their heads had been shaved.

The militants issued a warning that in future women walking down the street without a hijab faced death.
There's a subtle irony in the situation that the Sunnis are copping it harder under attempts by one of their own to seize power.

The irony might escape Sunday Times readers but perhaps not the Shia Muslims of Baghdad, who Amnesty International notes were frequently victims of torture under Saddam:

Other methods of physical torture described by former victims include... beating on the soles of the feet, extinguishing of cigarettes on various parts of the body, extraction of finger nails and toenails and piercing of the hands with an electric drill... sexually abused... objects, including broken bottles, forced into their anus... threatened with rape and subjected to mock execution... placed in cells where they could hear the screams of others being tortured... deprived of sleep.
And this is what a Shia woman had to fear:

Detainees have also been threatened with bringing in a female relative, especially the wife or the mother, and raping her in front of the detainee. Some of these threats have been carried out... on 7 June 2000 Najib al-Salihi, a former army general who fled Iraq in 1995 and joined the Iraqi opposition, was sent a videotape showing the rape of a female relative. Shortly afterwards he reportedly received a telephone call from the Iraqi intelligence service, asking him whether he had received the 'gift' and informing him that his relative was in their custody...
or this:

A woman known as Um Haydar was beheaded reportedly without charge or trial at the end of December 2000. She was 25 years' old and married with three children. Her husband was sought by the security authorities reportedly because of his involvement in Islamist armed activities against the state... Men belonging to Feda'iyye Saddam came to the house in al-Karrada district and found his wife, children and his mother. Um Haydar was taken to the street and two men held her by the arms and a third pulled her head from behind and beheaded her in front of the residents... The fate of the children and the mother-in-law remains unknown.
Around the time Um Haydar was being murdered, affluent Sunni Noor was enjoying:

...going window shopping at night in the city’s once-glitzy Mansour district, dressed in the latest fashions.
Now she's getting a taste of oppression"> herself.

The Sunday Times briefly hints it might be a bad thing that:

Such restrictions are taken for granted in fundamentalist Islamic countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.
then quickly returns to its vile yearning for the days of a homicidal dictator:

But under the dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi women were among the most liberated in the Arab world. “My friends at university, my neighbours — they’re all in the same situation as me,” Noor mourned.

-- Nick

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