Monday, May 30, 2005
More good news from the front
In fact the port city, part of the British zone, is remarkably peaceful. It is largely untouched by the insurgency and crimes such as kidnapping and theft have ebbed since the chaotic months after the March 2003 invasion.
In marked contrast to Baghdad, razor wire and blast walls are uncommon in Basra and instead of cowering indoors after dark families take strolls along the corniche.
But Gen Sade said the tranquillity had been bought by ceding authority to conservative Islamic parties and turning a blind eye to their militias' corruption scams and hit squads.
During the 1960s, women not only could be doctors and lawyers, they could walk around Baghdad in miniskirts under the milder, pre-Saddam version of Ba'athism, a version that actually paid more than lip service to socialist ideals. The '60s Ba'athists took the parts of British colonialism they liked -- namely, the secularized society -- built on it. Even under Saddam, who spent much of his régime catering to the imams and mullahs, women were about 60% of all university graduates and had guaranteed jobs on graduation.
Now, women, even (especially?) in the "peaceful" parts of Iraq, will be lucky to be allowed to read.
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