Public forum to discuss Afghan and Iraqi women's struggles



MELBOURNE — Tahmeena Faryal from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), and Surma Hamid from the Committee in Defence of Iraqi Women's Rights (CDIWR), will speak at a public forum at Trades Hall on July 17. They will address the struggle for women's emancipation in their countries, both of which are under US occupation.

Immediately before the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair began to speak of the institutionalised atrocities imposed on Afghan women during the reign of the Taliban. A war for the rights and dignity of women became their catchcry.

Similarly, the rescue of women from Saddam Hussein's brutalities became a moral ruse to justify the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Once the US bombs ceased to fall, the invaders' concern for the rights and dignity of women rapidly evaporated. In Afghanistan, many of the practices that terrorised women under the Taliban have continued under the US-backed post-Taliban government. In Iraq, the US occupiers have demonstrated little concern for the welfare of ordinary Iraqi women — or men.

[Dr Lynette Dumble is international coordinator and director of the Global Sisterhood Network .]

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