[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 10 September, 2004, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
Voices from Iraq: Fawzia
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

Fawzia

The war had no impact on my personal freedom. It was restricted before the war and it is restricted now.

The last war had many sides to it, some negative and some positive. The negative include the looting of our heritage such Iraq's antiquities, as well as the lack of security and the chaos that this causes.

Lack of security makes life difficult in Iraq, especially for women.

We also saw the emergence of groups, which claim to be Islamic, that have targeted women by pressurising them and restricting their freedom.

In the holy places in Iraq, the wearing of the hijab or abaya (traditional Iraqi women garment) has become compulsory.

Such practices have nothing to do with Islam.

One of the scenes in Iraq now that really hurts is seeing some Iraqi children, who have abandoned going to school, begging or doing menial jobs.

I ask the new government to focus on improving the lot of Iraqi children who have been denied their childhood.

It must work hard to safeguard their humanity and their dignity.

On the positive side, we saw an increase in our incomes.

Teachers, too, have enjoyed a rise in their salaries, with the result that the practice of private tutoring is on the decline.

Teachers now do want to teach and look after their pupils.

Among other positive developments have been the refurbishment of school buildings, the printing of new school textbooks and the provision of free stationary to pupils.

The cost of food is lower now too and we are now free to say what we want to criticise without fear.

I hope that the world's humanitarian organisations will help Iraq and call upon them not to abandon us during our present crisis.

The terrorists want to return Iraq to backwardness and ignorance.

We are grateful to those who listen to us and hear our voice.


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

I know that my view may be somewhat tainted by optimism, I know that my country does not always do those things that are right but, I cannot help but feel that our presence in Iraq is the right thing. Please tell me if I am wrong for what I feel and believe, do people for the most part in your country want us there or did we hurt you more than we helped you? I will keep your country in my prayers
Mike, Springfield, USA

We hear so much bad news in the US about what is happening in Iraq. It is difficult for us to decide whether this was a just endeavour. I appreciate being able to read the opinions of Iraq citizens. My hope is that these women (and all Iraq citizens) will eventually have all of the freedoms that people have in America, and indeed the rest of the industrialised world... Even the freedom to tell us that we were wrong to engage and remove Saddam.
Skip Godwin, Benicia, CA, USA

Freedom to criticise without fear is a wonderful situation for those in Iraq. I am so happy for you. It was interesting that you said that the terrorists want to return Iraq to backwardness and ignorance, since many of the news stations in the US suggest that the US should pullout, leaving the terrorists to take over. May God bless you and your family.
Harold, Cleveland, OH USA

I think it's interesting that all of these women say that their lives are better over all than before the war, and that they have hope for the future. This is not what the American media is reporting!
Bet , Saratoga Springs, NY

It's nice to know that there are positive things happening in Iraq - not just the latest bloody bomb attack or street battle that our television coverage focuses on.
Richard Racey, Timmins, Canada

I wish there was something I could do to help improve the lives of Iraqi women. They are not alone. This country really does support and want total freedom for all the Iraqi people (despite what the religious fanatics say). I wish the Iraqi people would truly understand that we have nothing against Islam or Muslims. What we do hate is the terrorists, religious fanatics who insists on pushing their beliefs on not only their fellow citizens, but the rest of the world. Belief in your faith should be personal not thrust upon your neighbour.
Jess, Boston, MA

I am so pleased to hear how life has improved to this teacher. It really means that the changes in Iraq were well needed, specially as far as children are concerned. When Saddam was in power, I heard that he liked to keep his people ignorant and this lady teacher just confirmed that it was true. Changes were needed in that respect and they got it. Of course, there is a long way to go as far as stability and security are concerned because of the terrorists, but as the saying goes: Rome has not been built in one day...
BD, London





PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific