Thursday, August 12, 2004

Iraqi Women And Travel Rights

Ays reported the following disturbing news last week:
Iraqi girls or women (between 1 and 40 year) must come with their father, husband or uncle to get the new passport!
This is a new decree..
I don't know why..And the official who said that on ALIraqiya did not mention why..!
Iraqi women are so upset because of that..
I think that there must be no differences between man and woman in the new Iraq..right?
Do you have a similar thing there?

After his post, I received e-mails from readers, who asked me to write about this subject. So, I will.

Until late 1991, Iraqi women were free to travel overseas by themselves with no restrictions. Then, Saddam and his government decided to treat women as second-class citizens and deny them the rights they held for many years. Under the new rule, a woman needed to be accompanied by a male relative, which includes a father, brother, son, uncle or a husband. If she didn't have any of those relatives, she couldn't leave the country. Due to years of war with our neighbors, which resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi men, many women were trapped in this group.

When I left Iraq to Jordan in 1994, my dad traveled with me to Jordan. He had to pay the travel fee just to stand next to me at the Iraqi borders and say, "Hey, this is me. I'm protecting my daughter from the hands of every Evil in Jordan." He stayed with me in Jordan for few days and went back to Baghdad. I'm surprised they didn't ask him, "Where's your second-class daughter?"

After the collapse of Saddam's regime last year, this restriction was lifted and women were free to travel without a male companion. All was good until the new government instated the new restrictions.

Anyway, I'll try to end this post with a happy note from two Iraqi women, who are touring America to say, "Thank You America." Something you don't hear much these days. I hope you enjoy reading the report.

Arabic Word of The Post :

travel - noun : سفر - / sefer /

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