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    Wednesday, August 31, 2005

    Himland- Democracy Without Women

    Nancy Soderberg talks women's rights in Iraq in Salon.

    I've heard a lot about the comment of Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA official, on "Meet the Press" the other day:
    women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy.

    Then, what is "democracy"? According to dictionary.com:

    1.Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
    2.A political or social unit that has such a government.
    3.The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
    4.Majority rule.
    5. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

    The fact that none of these specifically mention women implies that "the people" include people of all genders, as does the term "the individual". I love the fact that "women" do not appear here- it means we are truly integral to society, not some other group who needs to be accounted for separately.

    Now, Mr. Gerecht certainly was not speaking for the government in any official capacity, but it is clear that he is contributing to a larger media effort to lower expectations in America for what can be achieved in Iraq. Because the rights of women are such a complicated and controversial issue in Iraq, he has to talk about this issue as relatively unimportant, because the American people are already mad enough about the war. The last thing we want is to find out our troops are dying so they can go back to a new and improved version of what they had before where women are concerned.

    All that said, 25% of seats of Parliament will be held for women, which is certainly a step up from the US.

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