As you know I was raised in Iraq/ the Middle East throughout my life. Often times, I couldn’t express my thoughts or feelings openly. Politically, it was not safe. Saddam’s regime (1979-2003) regarded any negative word as a threat against the regime. Thus, writers were often executed or "asked" to prove their loyalty to the regime. Socially, freedom given to women to express themselves was highly restricted. If you are interested in learning more about life under Saddam's regime, please check my posts: part one and part two.
So, I learned to sketch my thoughts and feelings. I wrapped them up with colors, shapes, and lines.
Before I knew it, I fell in love with the colors and the shapes. I loved the “free world” that I created.
I exhibited once at the Law School in Baghdad University, I presented around 20 sketches. One of them had the title “revolution” I felt a political change was needed in Iraq, I couldn’t say this opinion openly. I sketched a lady with a long and curly hair. Her hair was waving in all directions with a lot of reflections. No one understood the idea behind the sketch.
I have long felt that Arab societies oppress all women. However, demanding freedom and equality for women in the Arab world, and Iraq is no exception, is often confused with idea of broken societies, moral collapse and decay, and women can be or do “whatever they like”.
I sketched a beautiful woman and two masculine hands trying to crush her.
You will see many women in my sketches. Women I met or knew as clients, through my work as an attorney in Iraq. These women shared their suffering with me. These were the women who saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and the women who didn’t or couldn’t see it, due to their overwhelming circumstances.
I sketched many women; to the end that I thought I couldn’t sketch a man. It took some time for me to sketch a man. In fact, I did not sketch a man until I came to the U.S. I believed when I saw equality, humanity, and shared emotions I was able to sketch these thoughts.
I hope you will consider entering the "world of colors," whether as an art lover or as an artist. It is a magical world filled with value.
Many U.S based universities have asked to speak about women’s rights in Islam. I have addressed different aspects of women’s rights in Islam, but I didn’t get a chance to talk about their right to rule. Often time, the university is interested in financial rights of women ( inheritance in particular) or family rights ( [...]
I received many inquiries asking me about the violent Muslim protest against the movie that insulted Prophet Mohammad. While, it is not the first time that such a movie was circulated, it is the first time when American diplomats have been killed and embassies have been attacked over it. So, why now? I think [...]
I am inviting you to have an “electronic cup of coffee,” and then take off on a little Sherlock Holmes adventure. You and I will examine the statement that the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), Al-Qaeda linked group, issued on December 27. You are right! ISI declares its responsibility for the deadliest bombing of Baghdad on [...]
A friend of mine emailed me asking whether or not it would be safe to travel to Baghdad. She has received a wonderful opportunity to do business in Iraq. However, she has legitimate concerns about being in an unsafe environment. I have to weigh the advantages and the disadvantages of such a trip and present [...]
Story #24, Part Two: My Days Under Saddam’s Regime, An Environment Of Oppression where Love is Lost.
In such an oppressive environment, love was lost. It was not a virtue anymore, because it was for the weak (who would listen to his or her feelings). While many of my elder cousins married based on love, my friends and I did not. Love, kindness, and romance were all lost values. I felt that [...]
I lived most of my life under Saddam’s regime. Living under his regime made me feel like I was carrying a heavy weight on my shoulders. However, that weight would increase each year as I grew older. I cannot recall whether I enjoyed my childhood or youth. I always remember myself as an adult, who [...]
What would you look for in a kidnapping situation? This question was the theme of a discussion that I attended with a group of colleagues who work on freeing kidnapped hostages in places such Iraq or Afghanistan. I jumped into the discussion by saying, “Women.” Everyone looked strangely towards me with eyes full of questions. [...]
I have received a query from a reader asking me about the security situation in Basra. The reader is interested in learning more since he will be working there. The security situation is not a trivial one. You will not hear explosions every second of the day. In fact, Basra witnessed fewer bomb attacks than [...]
The Iranian President Ahmadinejad is seeking to overthrow one of the founding fathers of the Islamic Republic of Iran: Ayatollah Rafsanjani or the Shark. He earned this reputation, because he successfully defeated all those who opposed him. Each man occupies a powerful position within the Iranian regime. Ahmadinejad is relying on his great influence within [...]
An old friend of mine called to say, “You were right.” I was a bit surprised, because my friend had traditional views regarding the connections between gender and security threats. He believes that security is a man’s business and a woman has nothing to offer. I believe security is everybody’s business, including women and children. My [...]
Recently, I was having a discussion with an informed friend regarding Iranian politics. My friend explained to me the importance of the notion of “justice.” He had attended a confidential meeting in Tehran regarding the formation of the Iraqi government. During that meeting, a prominent Iraqi politician nominated himself as an alternative to the two [...]