Day By Day

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Benefits of Bush's Freedom Initiative -- Women's Rights

In the rush to condemn Dubya for his intervention in the Middle East democrats, including leading feminists, have failed to note the positive fallout from the Iraq war. Among the most significant of these is a noticible change in the range of opportunities sought and available to women.

John Hughs, writing in the Christian Science Monitor takes note of the breadth and extent of progress.

t may at present be only a whisper. But it could get louder and louder. It is the voice of Islamic women in the Middle East protesting their longtime political and economic second-class status. It is a voice of indignation from women who have long been suppressed in traditionally male- dominated societies.

In recent days it has been heard in Egypt where women were fighting back against harassment from supporters of the ruling party.

It has been heard in Iran where women, despite the election of a hard-line conservative president, demonstrated against sex discrimination under that country's Islamic leadership.

It was heard in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where Arab women responded approvingly as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice bluntly condemned the refusal of their rulers to give women the right to vote.

It was heard in Kuwait as women's rights activists lauded - and some conservative men deplored - the appointment of the first-ever woman, political science professor Massouma al-Mubarak, to a cabinet position.

And it was heard in Pakistan where Mukhtar Mai defied the government that sought to silence her for speaking out against a barbaric custom imposed upon her: gang-raping a young woman for an offense committed by her brother, traditionally followed by the suicide of the rape victim.

n a vocal manner that hasn't been evident before, women in the Islamic lands are speaking out. Their case is being given traction by President Bush's emphasis on fostering democracy in lands that lack it - even though they be longtime allies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Read the whole thing here.

If it were not for the fact that the institutional women's movement in America has become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party these would be widely heralded as an enormous triumph for Bush's Mid-East policy. But we hear little about it.


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