I've spent several of my recent posts lambasting our government and those who run it. It has been an outlet for pent up (or maybe not so pent up) frustration. Then a story comes along that makes me repent, knowing full well this is the best country in the world. Especially for women.
The AP tells us that Iraq's state minister for women's affairs has resigned. Nawal al-Samarraie's task was to improve the lives of women left poor or abandoned by the war. Calling it a "full army of widows", al-Samarraie estimates the number at around three million. This does not include children for whom they are responsible.
Lasting only six months on the job, this gynecologist and mother of five, came into it full of ideas like setting up regional offices and vocational training. But her office and staff of 18 was not a full ministry and had little authority and fewer financial resources. Soon she found herself dipping into her own pocket to try and help.
Making up 65% of the population, many of the most desperate have been successfully recruited as suicide bombers. They have nothing more to lose.
If this doesn't drive home the point that many cultures consider women as nothing more than chattel I don't know what will. Iraq. Into which we are pouring billions of dollars of aid!
We have given Iraq $3.3 billion in aid. Al-Samarraie's budget was cut from $7,500 to $1,500 per month! To care for three million plus citizens of the newly democratic Iraq!
I had concerns about a female President being effective in such a climate. I also have the same concerns about a female Secretary of State. Protocol officers will make sure everything is according to Hoyle for the photo ops, but where it goes from there is any one's guess.
At this point in time, I wish everyone success. Our new President. Our new Secretary of State and those who would help their own like Dr. al-Samarraie. This is one reason why I get so frustrated with our own politicians who seem to have lost sight of country for special interests.
We don't have three plus million war widows - yet. We should not ignore the fact that there are other countries with which we are involved who do. When we are the ones who in large measure created the climate in which this can happen we need be aware there is no gender gap when it comes to bitterness and the corresponding desperate measures. When one has nothing more to lose.