The Iraqi Women’s League (IWL)

Linked with our presentation of Susan Ahmed-Böhme – Iraq.

Their Homepage in arab, and their Homepage in english

The League was founded by middle-class Iraqi women doctors, teachers and lawyers, and in its most active time represented 42,000 members. It offered self-help programs, elementary education classes, health and social services, and perhaps most importantly, counseling services for women’s rights issues. The League was most active in 1958. That year the Iraqi king was executed and a revolution brought to power a moderately progressive military junta, which included the first female minister in the Middle East.

Iraqi Women’s League issues an Open Letter to women in military families, inviting them put the Government on Trial for Crimes at Home and Abroad, as part of the Global Women’s Strike: 6 March 2004, Trafalgar Square, London. Their Letter – Dear sisters in military families,

Invitation to protest with us as part of the Global Women’s Strike on International Women’s Day to defend our loved ones, Saturday 6 March in Trafalgar Square – We write as the Iraqi Women’s League (IWL) UK which is the oldest women’s organisation in Iraq. Since 1952 when it was founded, the IWL , which is independent of all political parties, has played a significant role in the struggle against tyranny and repression in Iraq. Many of our members were executed or disappeared and thousands of our Iraqi sisters were tortured, raped and imprisoned, just for being members of our women’s movement, while the US and UK governments were the friends of our torturers.

We write as mothers, sisters, daughters and wives of people now living in Iraq who find themselves on the front line of this horrendous war. We are desperately worried about them, as you must be about your family members who are serving in the UK military forces.

We appeal to you as women to women whose loved ones face or have faced injury and death in the military on the grounds that women, who dedicate our lives to our beloved children and others in the family and community, can least tolerate the horrendous loss of life which has resulted from this war.

We feel that your children and other family members serving in the forces are in danger because Tony Blair and George Bush, who started this war, have no concern for your loved ones’ lives. If they had they would have ensured that Iraqi people feel secure and have the essentials of life but this hasn’t been done despite plenty of resources. Then Iraqi people would be less likely to be shooting the troops. The borders have been left open to thugs and armed gangs to enter, and there is no decent supply of water, electricity and other basic services. Our sister who recently went to Iraq was told that the sewage system couldn’t be repaired because a multi-national company had been given a billion dollar contract to renew it from scratch and that this would take a very long time – meanwhile people are suffering epidemic illnesses. People in Iraq also see rampant corruption with individuals and companies profiteering at the expense of their survival.

When 70% of the work force are unemployed with no way of getting an income to feed their families, is it any wonder that people are discontented and demoralised. They feel that the Americans want them to be beggars, to stay dependent on them and for the killing on all sides to carry on. If they did care, they would not prevent Iraqi people from being in charge of security. Instead, the old criminal Ba’athists have been given prominent positions with the excuse of peace and forgiveness! In this situation it is mothers and women in general who are most affected and feel most vulnerable.

In addition to all that women the carers face, there is widespread fury at the new Sharia law 137 which was imposed by the Iraqi Governing Council, on the 29th December 2003. A vote on this decision took place and it was passed by 11 out of 25. We know the Sharia law 137, it has denied women basic human rights to inheritance, employment, land, custody of our children. It will return women to the situation we faced before 1959, which we women sacrificed many lives to abolish. What is not known outside Iraq, is that this was imposed by minority leaders parities of the Governing Council and is opposed by the grassroots members of these parties. The US has done little to stop this law and we demand it be cancelled.

We must come together to prevent further injury, killing and destruction. Therefore we invite you to join us for an International Women’s Week event organised by the Global Women’s Strike on 6th March . GWS has organised events on IWD and throughout the year, for five years, bringing together women in over 60 countries under the theme Invest in Caring not Killing.

We want to work with you to put pressure on the British government to guarantee security and a decent standard of living for Iraqi people and in this way protect the lives of our families, friends and communities.

We know that if we as women join together across national divisions and demand justice for our loved ones, we will have the support of men and no government, not even the most brutal, can long stand up against women taking the lead with men’s support. We want to use the Strike to act with women in other countries against the slaughter of civilians and soldiers in Iraq. We know very well that this is not the only slaughter in the world but we can set an example of Iraqi women and women in Britain joining together. Otherwise none of us has a future. We enclose further information. We very much hope to hear from you. Yours sincerely, Iraqi women’s League, Souad Al Jazairy.

Iraqi Women’s League (IWL) – APPEAL, NO to War Option … NO to Dictatorship, September 28, 2002 – While US administration continues its efforts to launch a military strike against Iraq, the dictatorial regime is intensified repression all over our country and continuing its hollow rhetoric about challenging the American threat.

The dictator’s main concern is his own interest and survival, not the interests of Iraq and its people; even if this meant sacrificing the whole people.

The main looser in these extremely difficult conditions is our people; men and women, who have been the victims of dictatorship and unjust international blockade, and are now frightened by the unknown as a result of the current tense situation.

The effects of Saddam’s misrule over Iraqi women were: the disappearance of women activists, their torture and execution. Their forcible conscription into the repressive Para-military regiments of the fascist regime (such as the “Al-Quds Army). Horrific crime were also committed in the name of morality, by beheading innocent women and then leaving their bodies outside their family homes.

Following these new developments, wide sections of Iraqi women are aware that the US, which is threatening and promising to bring about change in Iraq through military action, is only concerned with protecting its interests, drawing the political map of the area, preserving its Gulf War gains, and reshaping the state of affairs in the Middle East to suit its interests. Iraqi women also know that the dictatorial regime has no credibility whatsoever when it voices concern about the future of the homeland and people.

The women of Iraq dream of stability, a secure and dignified life. They aspire to democracy, ensuring their fundamental rights, lifting the blockade and salvation from dictatorship. This dream can only achieved through the patriotic and democratic alternative. Such an alternative calls for rejecting the American war option and also rejecting the dictatorship’s option, because both are coincide on the destruction of Iraq and its people.

We call upon all the women organisations; all those concerned for the cause of world peace, and all people of good will, to intensify their solidarity with the Iraqi people in general, and with Iraqi women in particular, by raising their voices loud for the prevention of war, the lifting of the blockade from the Iraqi people; the implementation of UNSCR 688 which calls for respect for human rights and fundamental rights for all Iraqis, through free elections supervised by the UN ..

To achieve a unified democratic, pluralistic and federal Iraq. (Issued from a plenary meeting of Iraqi Women’s League, held in London on 28/9/2002), their Homepage in arab, and their Homepage in english.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.