We should remember, perhaps, that this constitution is being drafted in a war zone, in a country which is about to have a civil war. This process is not the result of the need of a constitution for the Iraqis, but to please an agenda aimed at legitimizing the occupation. Instead of being a unification process, the drafting process has proved to be more of a division process. With Saddam Hussein we had a progressive constitution described as “progressive and secular” although human rights were violated, indeed. Now, the same thing is happening. The ruling parties’ militias of the interim government are also involved in daily violations of the human rights of the Iraqi people, particularly women, with the blessing of the occupation led by the United States. Will the new constitution end this violence?
Despite the rhetoric about the “construction of a new democracy,” the Iraqis are yielding to the exactions and the demands of the occupation led by the United States and its local subcontractors. For the majority, everyday life is nothing but the struggle for survival. Human Rights, like Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, have turned out to be an illusion during the occupation. Torture and mistreatment –including child torture in prisons for adults-are omnipresent.
During a long time, Iraqi women were the most liberal ones in the Middle East. For most of them, the occupation has meant cloistering themselves at home in a permanent struggle for the most essential goods. At night, they go to bed with a sigh of relief for having survived another day full of violence and death threats. In a country that floats on oceans of oil, 16 million Iraqis depend on food rations to survive. The privatization decreed by the occupant in an unilateral way threatens free public services. Children’s acute malnutrition has doubled. Unemployment (70%) has brought about poverty, prostitution, clandestine abortions and murders of honour. The interim government is undermined by corruption and nepotism.
Iraqi women know perfectly well that Islam is not the enemy. There’s a strong resentment against that who tries to link women’s rights with the racist “war against terror” targeted at the Muslim world. Most Iraqi women do not see the traditional society as its enemy even when it could be restrictive some times, a society characterized by the mutual assistance between neighbours and extended families. The enemy is the collapse of the state and that of civil society and the one to be held responsible for it is the foreign military invasion and the occupation of the country.

The Guardian (United Kingdom)

Chewing on meaningless words”, by Haifa Zangana, The Guardian, August 17, 2005.