S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Women are making their marks in the Middle East.

Hostages, voters, bureaucrats, bloggers and members of parliament-
Lebanon -
(Haaretz image):
"Supporters of the Free Patriotic Movement, of Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun, waving outside a polling station near Beirut on Sunday."
Middle Eastern women are in the news recently. From voting in Lebanon and Jordan, to fighting to stay alive as Taliban hostages, women's stories are things we need to know about the situation in the region.
Women in opposition - headlined the story, "Tens of thousands of Lebanese vote in elections to replace two slain lawmakers" (8/5/07). To quote the women voters,

The election's results could determine the political future of this deeply divided country, weeks ahead of a scheduled vote by parliament to elect a new president.

. . . "They have been provoking us all day," said Bahiya Mizher, a Aoun supporter wearing an orange T-shirt and cap - the color of his Free Patriotic Movement. "But God is with us and we shall win, she said." Mizher, like many others, believes the election is about much more than just a seat. "The battle is between two diverging tracks ... what happens today will have major repercussions on the political future of the country," she said, sitting on the ground in Bikfaya outside a polling station.

While pro-government politicians accuse the opposition of being agents for Iran and Syria, Hezbollah leaders and Aoun accuse the ruling majority of subservience to the United States.
Jordan - Local elections were held in Jordan at the beginning of the month. Women candidates were given a quota of the total representation. Muslim Brotherhood candidates charged election fraud and pulled their candidates, even though some won. Aljazeera headlined the story, "Jordan Islamists win seats in polls." (8/2/07) To quote,

According to final results given by Zuheirat more than 1.1 million Jordanians out of 1.9 million who had registered cast their ballots to elect 965 council members and mayors from 2,686 candidates in 94 municipalities.

The vote was the first since a law was passed earlier this year granting women a 20 per cent quota - or 218 council seats - and reducing the voting age from 19 to 18 to expand the electoral base.

Zuheirat said that 20 women won council seats outside the quota and that only one woman out of six had won a race to be mayor.
Afghanistan - South Korean women are still being held hostage by the Taliban. Naturally both the president of Afghanistan and of the U.S. rule out any negotiating. But the Taliban offered to swap the South Korean women for Taliban women held by the Afghan government. From Aljazeera comes the headline: "Taliban offers female hostage swap" (8/7/07). Quoting from the story,

The Taliban has said it is prepared to swap women hostages among 21 South Koreans being held in Afghanistan for female prisoners linked to the group.

. . . A team of South Korean diplomats has been sent to Afghanistan to negotiate with the Taliban but a date and venue for talks are still to be arranged.
The Saudis & Washington, D.C. - Sameer Lalwani, guest posting for vacationing Steve Clemons at The Washington Note, titled his teriffic analysis, "Beyond Arms Sales: Whither the US-Saudi Relationship?" One thing is new and very positive. The royal family is trying to integrate more women into its government. To quote a snippet of his much more extensive analysis of the current Saudi-U.S. situation (well worth the read),

Crown Prince Sultan announced that 1/3 of all government jobs would be filled by women. For a country that is often derided for its mistreatment of women, this is a significant departure, . .
Iran & Washington D.C. - It is truly a strange convergence. It seems that the governments of Iran and the United States are both dragging their feet when it comes to guaranteeing women's rights. It is not for the same reasons, of course. The BBC News headlined this ironic story, "Women's bill 'unites' Iran and US." (7/31/07) To quote the article.

So, how is it that these archrivals have a similar position, albeit for very different reasons, on a key women's rights convention? Iran and the US are two of only eight countries that have not joined the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw). Supporters call Cedaw an international "bill of rights" for women.

. . . The Bush administration has been reviewing the treaty for a couple of years but it is not high on the treaty ratification priority list to be sent to the Senate.

. . . Neither is the Iranian government. In fact, several women's rights activists have received jail sentences and police have broken up their public gatherings in Tehran.
Iraq - Famous Iraqi woman blogger, "Riverbend's" last post at Baghdad Burning was April 26, 2007. "Miraj," of Baghdad Chronicle's, last post was January 29, 2007. A young woman "hnk," posted on March 3 (with pictures), stopped and started again yesterday. "Mama" writes Emotions from Mosul, last posting June 19. "still alive" last posted at My letters to America on June 29, 2007. She started How to Deserve it? on April 22, 2006 with this:

When you have a reason to be happy, you are not happy, true
happiness needs no reason.
"Still alive" last posted to the site - in arabic - on July 15, 2007. Her post title is "Mother."
Resources: Many thanks to "Heart" for the post on Iraqi women bloggers last year with a few of the above links. For links to many more blogs (both genders)from Iraq visit IraqBlogCount. The webmaster is an Iraqi living in the U.K.
My links:
My “creativity and dreaming” post today at Good Second Mondays is about the imagery associated with the American flag.
Technorati tags:

No comments: