NOW, the National Organization for Women, is once again so busy attacking the Bush administration over abortion rights for pampered and protected American women that it simply has no time to deal with or acknowledge real acts of inhumanity committed against women. My reading today began by touching upon the grotesquely exploitative sex trafficking in Europe, especially Germany:
German Chancellor Andrea Merkel visits the
United States today. She is currently facing increasing opposition from NGOs, government leaders, human-rights advocates, and faith-based groups to
Germany’s open acceptance of brothels and sex huts. The issue has been brought to a point by well-publicized efforts to expand this industry when
Germany hosts the World Cup this June. Estimates are that over 40,000 women, many from the Eastern bloc and
Russia, will be trafficked into the German cities hosting soccer games in order to meet the demand promised, and manufactured, by the sex industry. Even now, before the games, authorities claim that as much as 80 percent of those women who will work as prostitutes are foreign, and have been coerced or beguiled into thinking they were coming to
Germany for jobs in restaurants and clubs.
What's really awful about this type of sex trafficking is that the language of feminism has been used to justify this exploitation. We're told that sex workers are empowered and that they're simply selling a valuable commodity that they're fortunate enough to possess in a market that's willing to buy. While the few women who earn massive amounts of money as high paid prostitutes may be able to make the "power" argument with a straight face, the actual fact is that most of the East European and Asian women in the sex trade are slaves, no more and no less. Their lives are appallilng examples of poverty, abuse, disease and degradation. And NOW is strangely silent. A search at their website does reveal random articles about "trafficking," but that's not their front page story: the front page is committed to such modern feminist wonders as raising the minimum wage (apparently they want fewer jobs for low skilled women); cancer research; emergency contraception; loving your body; and lots and lots of attacks on the War.
Speaking of those attacks on the war, let's focus a little bit on another segment of Iraqi society that benefitted from the war: Iraqi women. Here's A. Yasmine Rassam, writing into today's Opinion Journal, and cutting through the anti-War fecal matter regarding how Saddam was such a hero to Iraqi women:
Some radical feminists and anti-war liberals have very short memories. It's just three years after Saddam Hussein's ouster and some would have us believe the tyrant was in fact a protector of women's rights in Iraq. That Iraq under Saddam actually had progressive, pro-women policies that are now being "rolled back" thanks to the Bush administration.
Anti-war revisionist liberals and radical feminists alike are trying their best to come up with comparisons of the Saddamist and post-Saddamist eras in Iraq with the aim of discrediting the historic liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein in 2003. With Iraqi women they think they have found a seemingly incontrovertible argument since Saddam, according to his apologists, was a "secular" ruler who gave liberal rights to women.
Much of the anti-war propagandists' defense of Saddam as a champion of women's rights rests on his willingness to allow women to vote (for him), drive cars, own property, get an education and work. What they choose to ignore, however, is the systematic rapes, torture, beheadings, honor killings, forced fertility programs, and declining literacy rates that also characterized Saddam's regime. A few examples can only begin to illustrate the cruelty and suffering endured by thousands of Iraqi women.
One torture technique favored by Saddam's henchman and his sons involved raping a detainee's mother or sister in front of him until he talked. In Saddam's torture chambers women, when not tortured and raped, spent years in dark jails. If lucky, their suckling children were allowed to be with them. In most cases, however, these children were considered a nuisance to be disposed of; mass graves currently being uncovered contain many corpses of children buried alive with their mothers.
During Saddam's war with Iran, nearly an entire generation of Iraqi men were killed, injured or captured, leaving a dearth of men of military age in Iraqi society. As a result, Saddam launched "fertility campaigns" that forcibly administered fertility drugs to school girls as young as 10 in an effort to drive up the population rate.
After the Gulf War–particularly after crushing the Shiite and Kurdish uprisings of 1991–Saddam reverted to tribal and "Islamic" traditions as a means to consolidate power. Iraqi women paid the heaviest price for his new-found piety. Many women were removed from government jobs and were not allowed to travel without the permission of a male relative. Men were exempted from punishment for "honor" killings–killings carried out on female relatives who had supposedly "shamed" their family. An estimated 4,000 women died from honor killings in the ensuing years. By 2000, Iraqi women, once considered the most highly educated in the Middle East, had literacy levels of only 23%.
Under the pretext of fighting prostitution in 2000, Saddam's Fedayeen forces beheaded 200 women "dissidents" and dumped their head on their families doorsteps for public display. These women obviously lost whatever "rights" granted to them once they got in Saddam's way.
Only people blinded by their irrational hatred of a legally, democratically elected political leader could fling themselves into bed with a sadistic dictator and trumpet the humanity of his "feminist" policies. It's days like this that I'm ashamed to be a woman.