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Op-Ed: Women in Iraq are in serious danger

The Iraqi flag

It’s common knowledge that Iraq is not an example of democracy and a place that respects human rights, but what’s being done against the female candidates in the Iraqi elections doesn’t just show that Iraq is incompatible with democracy—it looks like the country has returned to the Stone Age!

It wasn’t blunt trauma for those who know a little about the political and social situations in countries like Iraq, where women are always under threat only because they are female. But the Iraqi election campaign has revealed that the danger is much higher than expected. Most of the women candidates are exposed to defamation campaign, with fake videos appearing on social media and even traditional media publishing reports about the fact that they are female—completely ignoring their political ambitions and positions. Alleged nude pictures and sex tapes of these candidates are being distributed via messaging apps and other social media platforms on a daily basis.

These critics are trying to portray female politicians as vicious creatures that cannot play a role in the decision-making process. They want to distance women from the influential decision-making bodies, sending them straight back to the kitchen.

And the next disaster can already be seen on the horizon—the next Iraqi parliament will be under the fist of the religious and doctrinal groups. This signifies that many conservative and pre-modern laws regarding women’s roles and family issues will be produced in a very near future.

This makes now a very critical moment to ask the international community, what was the aim of ousting Saddam? Why shouldn’t ISIS invade the country and take control?

Given this situation, there’s really no difference—may be struggling with a tangible enemy was more comfortable than a ghost?

The international community needs to react robustly—not just with those very routine statements that have been issued by the UN and the US embassy. It needs to punish those behind this defamation.

JOL Blogger | Chiman Salih

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