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Last Updated: Friday, 10 September, 2004, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Iraqi voices: Zeinab
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

Samira:
Computer engineer

Um Samir:
Housewife
Essraa:
Student

Fawzia:
Teacher

Zeinab:
Student

Zeinab

I am unable to go anywhere I want on my own.

I am only able to get to school and back.

During Saddam's rule, I used to walk to school.

Now, my mother has arranged for cab to take me and some of my school friends to school.

Even when I am at school, I am tense because I see security men standing nearby.

Despite this, in the past year I began to sense an improvement.

Our teachers began to take care of us and of our studies.

Under the previous regime, when we were handed our textbooks they used to be of poor quality and falling apart.

Now, by and large, we receive brand new textbooks.

The school has also began to distribute free stationary and there is a renewed focus on sports including the refurbishment of facilities and the buying of new sports equipment.

I am also a Girl Scout and, together with others, I am responsible for the saluting of the flag ceremony every Thursday.

Financially, I am also better off because my father's income has been increased.

As a result I am now able to buy clothes that suit me!

I look forward to the future with optimism, and I long for my country to be a democratic and a just place.

I am confident that we can achieve this if we stick together and leave aside our differences.

It is time that we learnt to live in peace, hope and freedom. It is time to enjoy a decent life which we deserve to have because, above all, we are all part of the human family.


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

Zeinab, I am hoping for the day, when you and girls like you, can travel the entire globe in peace and without fear.
Scott from Oregon, Grants Pass, Oregon

I applaud all the young women in this article for their attitudes because they "get it". If only the rest of Iraqi citizens could come to realise that they have a once-only golden opportunity to form a free, prosperous and open country. The bad guys in Iraq are trying to tear the country apart and return it to sometime in the 1400s. Whether or not Iraq becomes a successful country depends on the Iraqi citizens. They have to realise that the US and other coalition members can only do so much. I call on all Iraqis to reject the militant fundamentalism that is now infecting your country and work with the coalition to reject and destroy it. It's up to you.
Bob Downs, Tustin, USA

After reading the article and sensing the scenario, I was moved to tears. Education has been the most important and valuable tool for all and to be deprived of the basic necessities like text-books is a shame. I am glad that there is a silver lining and that Essraa is able to get back to school and given all the amenities that one gets in school.
Sandhya Nagarkar, Dallas, Texas, USA

Thank you for telling about how life is in Iraq. You optimism and strength are an inspiration to those in the Unites States while bringing hope to those who are oppressed throughout the world (Iran, China, Cuba...)
Harold, Cleveland, OH USA

Finally! For the first time, I can read an article that let the Iraqi themselves explain their life in the post-Saddam Iraq instead of journalists in every media who keep showing the worst image possible of that country. I would like to say to these women to persevere and keep their hope. Iraq is crossing a difficult transition and has many enemies who want to enslave Iraqis as soon as Iraqis were freed from Saddam.
David, Paris - France

With intelligent optimistic women like these six, I'm sure Iraq will have a great future. I hope improvements continue at an even faster pace and wish them all best of luck.
Allan McGregor, Montpelier, VT USA

As an 18-year-old American, I am pleased to hear things are looking up for your life. I didn't agree with the war when it started. Despite this, I am so happy your life has somewhat improved. Maybe I was wrong in not supporting the war. Good luck with school and have fun shopping for new clothes! Thank you for your strength, wisdom and honesty. We are the future of world. One day we will sit where our elders do and will have to make many of the same decisions. Let us always remember the past, those fallen, but try to focus on how amazing we can make this world if we work together.
Amanda, Tacoma, Washington, USA





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