Iraqi-Kurdistan seen from a women’s perspective


By Falah Muradkan-Shaker

I held my hand to reach my pen on to write an article about  women’s lives in Kurdistan, from a woman’s perspective. To begin is undoubtedly the most difficult part in the writing task, even more so when the subject is a complex issue concerning women’s lives and aspirations in Kurdistan and Iraq. What should be the introduction and how should the task of selecting openings proceed? Should I begin by writing about physical and psychological abuse? Fear from family revenge and dread from manifesting any sign of freedom? Female genital mutilation? Suicide by self-burning? Polygamy? Marrying women for women and elder for younger? Or perhaps a simple question like the sight of a woman standing alone in a street with the questioning looks of ravenous eyes fixed on her? Any one of those can beyond doubt be the starting point of this discussion.

The first letter I received in my e-mail this very morning was a request from women of the Miradwely tribe directed to the presidency of the Kurdistan Region Government in Iraq (KRG) and the Kurdish parliament. In this letter the women complain about the habit of this large tribe, which spreads in a large area spanning the border between Iran and Iraq, of allowing their girls to marry only within the tribe. They stress “We are uneasy from the injustice done unto us, of that unbased and coercive tradition that lingers in this tribe whereby women are allowed to marry only within the same tribe. This is a spectacular phenomenon, and it is wrong since a marriage based on false premises dispossesses life of meaning. No earthly or divine law supports such an act!!”

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