courtesy of those nice people so well-liked by sitaram yechuri, arundhati roy, shabana azmi et al.
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Hidden victims of a brutal conflict: Iraq's women
Abduction, rape and murder are the punishments for any woman who dares to hold a professional job. A month-long investigation by The Observer reveals the terrible reality of life after Saddam
Peter Beaumont in Baghdad
Sunday October 8, 2006
As al-Tallal, 50, walked towards her house, one of three men in the Opel stepped out and raked her with bullets.
A women's rights campaigner, Umm Salam - a nickname - knows about the three men in the Opel: they tried to kill her on 11 December last year. It was a Sunday, she recalls, and 15 bullets were fired into her own car as she drove home from teaching at an internet cafe. A man in civilian clothes got out of the car and opened fire. Three bullets hit her, one lodging close to her spinal cord. Her 20-year-old son was hit in the chest. Umm Salam saw the gun - a police-issue Glock. She is convinced her would-be assassin works for the state.
The shootings of al-Tallal and Umm Salam are not isolated incidents, even in Najaf - a city almost exclusively Shia and largely insulated from the sectarian violence of the North. Bodies of young women have appeared in its dusty lanes and avenues, places patrolled by packs of dogs where the boundaries bleed into the desert. It is a favourite place for dumping murder victims....