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Last Updated: Friday, 10 September, 2004, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Voices from Iraq: Noura
BBCArabic.com spoke to six Iraqi women about their lives in the country following the war and their hopes for the future.

Noura:
Civil servant, 22

Samira:
Engineer, 31

Um Samir:
Housewife, 51
Essraa:
Student, 18

Fawzia:
Teacher, 36

Zeinab:
Student, 17

Noura

After the recent war, the salaries of those working in the civil service were raised and as a result my own income went up.

By contrast, my father's financial situation deteriorated.

He owns a workshop as a metal turner and his business is affected by the rate of exchange of the US dollar, which has fluctuated a lot recently.

My mother works as nurse in a private hospital and she has a good income.

The security situation means that we are not free to come and go as we please, especially if it involves travelling to areas that are relatively far from where we live.

Recently, we began to see families who are enduring ill health and hunger because of the lack of state control and supervision and because of those who exploit the bad security situation.

Some religious bodies here have also been intimidating women.

Some women's hairdressing salons and shops selling women's clothes have been threatened because they employ men.

This is a new phenomenon for us.

There are some people here who have certain views and beliefs they want to impose on the rest of society.

There is another repugnant phenomenon, namely that of the kidnapping of children - as well as doctors and other professionals - for money.

The healthcare system is also a cause for concern, because central accountability systems are absent and because many doctors have either emigrated or have been assassinated.

If this situation continues, my family and I would consider leaving the country.

However, and notwithstanding all these negative aspects, it is now possible to talk freely and to criticise the government.

It has also become possible for many people to afford the essentials of life that were not available before or were even banned under previous regimes.

On the social front, Iraqi Christian women are finding it hard to find suitable marriage partners because many Christian Iraqi men left the country in the 1990s.

But we hope that the situation in Iraq will improve soon and that peace will once again return to our country.


Send us your comments on Noura's views using the form below.

I have heard about the kidnappings. Why can't Iraqis protect each other? You know the thugs are outnumbered by the good citizens. You should organize a citizens watch...something like that!
Carolyn, Newbern, Tenn, USA

Don't lose any confidence in pursuing the democracy and free economy. Everything becomes difficult to get used to after a new regime starts running.
Pauline Chin, Taipei, Taiwan

I wish you all the best of luck in your journey towards a secure and stable Iraq. Please take care of our troops over there.
Daniel , United States of America

I was very impressed by all of your comments. Most of what we hear here is negative, not about the people of Iraq but about ourselves. I appreciate very much your honest commentary and I will pray for you and your country until you realise a final true freedom that you deserve.
John Nehring, Tucson Arizona, USA

Nothing worthwhile is easy or free. Keep your spirits up and things will get better. Support your government and the imposers will change or leave. A free Iraq is possible and it will be wealthy for all Iraqis.
Steve H, USA

I sympathise with the plight of Noura. What a pity that the US has brought misery into the lives of Iraqi women. I wish she stands up to her plight, fights hard to succeed and gets on in life. It is the West (US and Britain) that are the masterminds of her misery.
Edgar Martins, Toronto, Ontario

Noura seems to be among the most fortunate of Iraqis, those with employment, opportunity and relative safety. I cannot help but feel that this is an exception to the daily hell the majority of Iraqis face in a security free nation, and certainly not the rule. The lawlessness will not change anytime soon, however, as Noura's particular situation seems much more stable and optimistic than what I've read from most Iraqi blogs. many more people seem forlorn and miserable due to the uncertainty and pervasive violence which surrounds them.
JR, Toronto, On, Canada

Try fixing your country instead of leaving it. Become an active part in it's reformation - not just another causality
JD Roswell, US





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