No Place to Turn: War and Women in Iraq

A woman displaced by violence in Iraq, looks affectionately at her small child.

"The international community is increasingly recognizing that gender based violence is a constant feature in conflict situations. In military confrontations, women’s bodies often become one of the terrains of war. Physical, emotional and sexual violence perpetrated against women and girls has been used to impose political agendas, humiliate opponents, and destroy entire communities.

Violence against women is not merely a side effect of conflict, but an integral part of it.

The situation that women in Iraq are facing today is a stark illustration of this phenomenon."

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Young Hanin is surrounded by family, as she's examined by the doctor.

Hanin looks impossibly small, sitting on a sleeping mat. 

Her dark curly hair and big eyes distract from the signs that she’s unwell. There are red marks on her lips. Her skin shows signs of bruising. Her mother tells us there are white spots in her mouth, though no amount of coaxing convinces Hanin to let us see. 

Dr. Ali reads through a thick stack of medical reports—blood tests, mostly. Results show an enlarged spleen and liver. The words “bone marrow” appear on many pages. There is no diagnosis to be found amongst the pages, but it’s clear that this 3-year old girl is sick.

Hanin is far from home, far from the doctors who were investigating the cause of her illness. And her family, displaced because of the war with ISIS, feels farther from answers than ever.

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IDP families gathered to receive winter coats

We recently delivered more of the winter boots and coats you’re helping us provide for families. Our truck slid through the mud, stopping in front the windowless, unfinished building where several displaced families live.

Kids ran out, followed by smiling parents, and the unloading began.

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An Iraqi soldier's goggles catch the reflection of U.S. Army Staff Sgt.

Lieutenant-General James L. Terry, commander of US forces in Iraq and Syria, recently admitted he had no idea how many civilians have died as a result of coalition airstrikes in the region.

In a briefing eerily reminiscent of the notorious “we don’t do body counts” remark by General Tommy Franks (the commander of US operations in Afghanistan and Iraq), Terry told reporters in December 2014 he was “tracking no civilian casualties” even though non-combatants are known to have been killed in at least two separate incidents.

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The Babel Chamber of Commerce presented Madiha al-Birman (center) with a plaque in appreciation.

Iraqi émigré, Madiha al-Birmani, is clearly a woman with attitude. She attended a boys-only school in her youth in Iraq, studied medicine in Britain and then moved to Scandinavia. Now she has donated millions to opening a girls’ school in her homeland. She talked to NIQASH about why Iraqi women are better than Iraqi men and the political situation in the country today.  

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