the crimes of the occupation forces and their puppets against Iraqi women must become public
Muslims all over the world were shocked when they heard of Fatima´s Letter from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Although we have not got any concrete information we believe that there are many Fatimas in Iraq. These Fatimas shall not longer be in the shade.
In all wars rape and sexual abuse is part of the special warfare. By this dirty practice the enemy does not merely aim to destroy the mind of the victim but the values of the entire society. Soldiers and security forces do not rape and torture women just for pleasure. They were trained to apply sexual violence to humiliate the whole society. This weapon of special warfare has been used in many wars since the Vietnam war; nowadays it is used especially against Muslim women. Meanwhile the many cases of women in political prisons in Turkey are well known.)
Most of the molested women are too ashamed to speak about what happened to them. A lot of them see no alternative than to kill themselves because they feel unable to live with the shame.
In her letter from Abu Ghraib Fatima cried for help. We are women who are not willing to remain silent while our sisters are crying for help. We want to make public what has been happening to our sisters. It is not easy to break with taboos; fatefully the offenders make use of this fact. Our taboos are a weapon in their hands. They know that our humiliated sisters cannot charge their tormentors. Where is their lobby?
While the Muslim world was shocked about the letter from Abu Ghraib International and Iraqi Women Rights Organizations did not protest. Instead; they ran to the American ambassador in Iraq asking for intervention because they are fearing for their rights in the new constitution. Why do they not protest against the torture of women captured by the American forces? If those women organizations had a serious interest in women´s affairs they had risen their voices but they are more interested in joining the campaign against Islam than in the condemnation the crimes of the occupiers.
There is another effect of torture on the society, which should not be faded out. Who are the torturers? Since the last year American militaries train young Iraqi men in special warfare. When the photographs from Abu Ghraib had gone around the world Iraqi men should continue with this dirty job; hence Iraqi "security" forces are trained by experienced American soldiers in torture practices. These men are fathers, sons, brothers, and they are Iraqis. Do their mothers, wives, and daughters know what these men have to do? How would they react if their wives, daughters, or sisters were tortured, abused, or raped? How will these men continue with a normal live after finishing this job?
Like the "Vietnam Syndrom" the "Abu Ghraib Syndrom" will strike the society. How shall the harassed Iraqi society bear this additional burden?
It brings shame on international and Iraqi humanitarian organizations to remain silent considering the state of the Iraqi people; most of these organization follow the strategy of appeasement; the crimes of the occupation forces and their puppets are a "political" theme and therefore do not come under their responsibility. In awareness that critizing the occupiers could mean the end of financial support they prefer to close their eyes.
This was the deciding factor for us to found the independent initiative WOMEN CHARGES. This project is aiming to gather reports and cases of women for a publication that shall be broadcasted in different languages inside and outside Iraq. In the name of all our unnamed sisters this shall be a charge made by women.
To realise this project we want to ask groups, organizations, and people for information. We need facts on what is going on behind prison walls, at police stations, during military operations and searches.
If you have any information about the situation of women in other countries like Palestine, Turkey, Iran, etc. please let us know.
You may send all material (in English, Arabic, Turkish or Kurdish) to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information or in case of further questions please feel free to contact us.
The participation on this project is open to any interested person or group. Every kind of support is welcomed.
Fatma Salih Uthman
Assignee of WOMEN CHARGES-Initiative