Iraqi Women Launch Peace Movement

Women participate in the new Iraq…

Iraqi women hold placards during a May Day rally in Basra, 550 km (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, May 1, 2007. REUTERS/Atef Hassan (IRAQ)

Voices of Iraq or Aswat Aliraq carried this news from Baghdad on May 10, 2007 – 04:47 PM. Haider Ajina fowarded the news:

Iraqi women launch ‘Bas’ peace movement
By Kawther Abdul Amir

Baghdad, May 10, (VOI)-A group of Iraqi women launched a peace movement, called Balad al-Salam Bas lil Unf (Abode of Peace… No More Violence) in an effort to promote peace, put an end to violence and random killings, and defuse the political tensions in the country, the movement secretary said on Thursday.

Women-Movement

Iraqi women launch ‘Bas’ peace movement
By Kawther Abdul Amir

Baghdad, May 10, (VOI)-A group of Iraqi women launched a peace movement, called Balad al-Salam Bas lil Unf (Abode of Peace…No More Violence) in an effort to promote peace, put an end to violence and random killings, and defuse the political tensions in the country, the movement secretary said on Thursday.

“The movement is set up to respond to Iraq’s need for a new philosophy and an honest and collective will. It is established to provide stability and security for the Iraqi people, to bring peace and to resolve current conflicts in Iraq,” Iraqi Minister of Environment and Secretary General of the movement Nermin Othman said in a press conference held to announce the launch of the movement.

“Therefore, we, Iraqi women, have taken the initiative to set up this independent peaceful movement under the name ‘Abode of Peace…No More Violence.’ This movement is based on our belief that a great responsibility lies on our shoulders and women play an instrumental role in the peace-building process,” the minister added.

“Violence brings only death and destruction…Let’s all shout in unison: We do not want to be widows or bereaved mothers. We want to be happy and have a bright future,” said Othman, addressing Iraqi women.

“The movement aims to actively participate in the peace-building process and play an effective role in putting an end to violence in Iraq by opposing all manifestations of violence, increasing the effective participation of women in the political process and promoting the culture of peace,” said MP Mayson al-Damluji from the Iraqi National Slate, who is a member of the emerging movement.

Al-Damluji highlighted the importance of bringing all Iraqi women together. “No matter what the level of our disagreement, we will work together to establish peace in Iraq.”

Explaining the movement’s strategy, al-Damluji said that it will encourage civil society organizations to participate in its activities, and coordinate with official bodies to support peace efforts and increase women’s participation in political negotiations. According to al-Damluji, the movement will also put pressure on the Iraqi political forces to include women in various community committees, reduce unemployment and improve the socio-economic conditions of the Iraqi people.

Comprised of Iraqi women from various sects and political blocs, including parliamentarians, judges and the minister of environment, the movement called on all Iraqi women to join in “from their homes.”

Haider Ajina comments,

Since the beginning of operation “Rule of Law” or the surge, now a short 9 weeks old, I have noticed, that the public participation and cooperation has been steadily increasing. The public trust of the security forces has also increased dramatically. This in turn is giving the people of Iraq confidence. The confidence and dedication which keeps Iraq’s young men, of all ethnic and religious back grounds, coming back to the police and military recruiting station after the terrorists bomb these stations. This gives the Iraqis the confidence to voicing their concerns and complaint to the government. Without the fear of government retaliation.

This is quite unique in the Arab world. Imagine a Syrian or Saudi citizen complaining about activities of Bashar Al-Asad or the Royal family. Better yet imagine the women of Saudi Arabia forming a movement like their Iraqi sisters do. Saudi culture and Law does not even allow their women to drive. What a contrast between two neighboring countries who share similar religion, similar language and similar ethnic back ground etc. The biggest difference is one is a rule of law democracy and the other is rule by the royal family decree, or dictatorship as is the case in Syria.

Perhaps the Saudis are afraid of the rule of law and democracy spreading to their territory. Saudi women hear and understand the voices of their sisters in Iraq and must wonder how they can gain more freedom in their prosperous country. The Kuwaiti women did and received the right to vote and run for office in municipal elections recently. This Saudi fear is maybe why the Royal family is keeping the Iraqi elected government officials at arms length.

Regards,
Haider Ajina

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