Sunday, March 6, 2011

A disturbing read

It is International Women's Day on March 8 when we celebrate the strength and courage of women around the world.

Last week I read a most disturbing book, a biography by Jean Sassoon,
'Mayada, Daughter of Iraq'.

Jean, an American writer, has spent a lot of time in the middle east, and she met Mayada Al-Askari in Baghdad, when she asked for a female interpreter. Mayada was a well-born and educated woman from a political family, her grandfather famously fought alongside Lawrence of Arabia, and one of her grandmothers was an Ottoman Princess.

Mayada ran her own business, a small printing company, careful not to publish anything that might attract the unwanted attention of the authorities under the reign of Saddam Hussein.
Still, this innocent woman (along with ten other owners of printing companies) was suddenly arrested by the secret police and taken to the infamous Baladiyat torture prison. It seems that someone had printed a political ALL printers were rounded up without explanation, or charge, and thrown into prison.

Torture was a daily occurence for these innocents and this story about the nightmare endured by thousands of ordinary Iraqi citizens, men and women, young and old, is sickening. It is hard to believe that this was still happening when Mayada was arrested and taken from her two young children in 1999 up until the arrest of Saddam in 2003.

Mayada and the 'shadow women' she shared a cell with, are heros!

This story is mind-blowing! Read it if you dare.

How fortunate we are to be living in a free country...........

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