Saturday, January 19, 2008

LET OUR HAIR FREE!

I met this mind for the first time at 15, when I fall ill and taken to Medical Faculty Hospital. The mind was in the form of an elder professor, MD, who tried to examine me with his eyes (avoiding eye contact), avoiding to touch with his hands.

MD aunts and uncles explained that he is very religious but a great doctor at his area, and brother of our famous religious party leader Erbakan.

My 15 year old mind couldn't understand how his religious beliefs could prevent his mind examining me by his hands, but put a dot there in the memory. Thanks god, there were other doctors and I survived. But the question put in my mind with this experience made me reject the religion from politics or any area of life from that day on.

Was it a sin to be a female? Was I a sin to stay away, even to treat? Was it a sin to be beautiful to look at? Which was sick; my young and science hungry mind or his old mind rejecting even his own scientist identity? They were big questions for a 15 year old mind to answer but good to think on.

Though, it was not possible to recognize them for sure during those days. They breed like crabs while people was dealing with fascist attacks, military rules and anti-democratic laws. Suddenly we looked around and realized we are surrounded with black beetles reducing democracy, democratic rights we fought for decades; to the black sheets they cover themselves, to turbans to cover their hair.

So, they politicized the religion, Islam, and standing in front of us...

Last week Prime Minister Erdoğan blurted his already known aim out at last. He remarked on whether the ban on wearing headscarves at universities should be removed or not in his usual language; "Even if it [the headscarf] is worn as a political symbol, can you consider wearing a political symbol a crime? Can you bring in a ban on symbols?"

So, Mr Erdogan knows better than the founders of this Republic...

Conservative media stepped immediately; "His remarks renewed hope that the government will finally take the necessary steps to resolve Turkey's seemingly endless headscarf problem through the new constitution."

So; their endless problem is with hair...

Yesterday top prosecutor warned that "easing restrictions on wearing the Islamic headscarf could lead to civil unrest and undermine the secular nature of the Turkish state". Supreme Court Chief Public Prosecutor Yalcinkaya said political parties cannot have the goal to change the republic’s secular character; "Disregarding the main principles of the republic and 85 years of achievements and providing certain rights to ethnic groups, sects and racists will divide the people and lead to clashes."

So, Mr Erdogan can forget the character of this state easily (or he thinks he is able to change anything he wish or worse; dreaming caliphate)...

That is right; Turkiye bans women from wearing the headscarf while attending schools or universities, or while working in state positions. Turkiye is a secular democracy with a predominantly Muslim population. Turkish women have many good conditions than any Islamic or Muslim dominated countries.

When the Turkish Republic formed in 1923, clear choices made by secularizing the country. Equal rights and the right to vote are given to Turkish women. All kinds of turbans and religious clothing banned from government institutions and women liberated from the darkness (we didn't know burkas even then).

Thanks to the political Islam; more than 80 years after the liberation from the veil, some can take to the streets for the right to wear the Islamic headscarf. Even Mrs Gul, now first lady, applied to Europe Human Rights Court but took her case back when her husband won the elections (don't even mention how they shame Turkish women around the world).

If you visit Anıtkabir, mosoleum of Atatürk, you can see the set of statues of a group of three women. Three women represent the common people and are wearing traditional clothes, not veil or turban. Two of them holds a large wreath that reaches the ground and is made up of sheaves of grain, symbolizing Turkey’s fertile land. The woman on the left holds a cup in her hand, asking in earnest for God’s blessings for their great leader. The woman standing in the middle has covered her face and is a symbol of national grief. They reflect the pride, serenity and determination of Turkish women who made countless sacrifices in the struggle for national liberation.

Some may need to remember;
Recognition of equal rights to men and women (1926 - 1934)
Reform of Headgear and Dress (1925)
Closure of mausoleums and dervish lodges (1925)
Law on family names (1934)
Abolishment of titles and by-names (1934)

In these short years of reforms Turkish women transported from the harem and veil to membership in Parliament, to which seventeen women were admitted in 1935. Reforms also stripped the imams, mollas, hodjas from their privileges. The old order changed; traditional fez was abandoned, harems banned and monogamy became the law. Social and cultural reforms, included banning religious schools, revoking the Shariah courts, and abolishing religious titles and orders.

There is no need to remind the history of veil or what happened when or why once more, but better to look at the higher literacy and professional-employment rates for Turkish women compared to anywhere else in the Middle East and even the developed countries in Europe and America: "In the fields of architecture, science, medicine, pharmacy and law, at least one out of three employed is a woman. In colleges women constitute about 35 percent of the faculty. Almost 40 percent of all young traders at the Istanbul Stock Exchange are women. Even in the technical world of engineering, with a participation level of 12 percent, Turkish women are slightly ahead of their American counterparts."

While Turkish women granted the right to elect and be elected at 1934, French women gained the same rights in 1944, Italian women in 1945 and the Swiss in 1971. In Iran in the 1930s, Reza Shah Pahlevi issued a proclamation banning the veil outright but Shah went and we can see the situation of women thanks to Islamic revolution.

So...

What they want from us now? Turn back to darkness? Having democracy by closing their hair? Making 8-10 year olds close their heads?

Will headscarved doctors serve 15 year old boys? Will 15 year old girls have treatment by male doctors? How will headscarved teachers, judges, polices etc serve to public while trying to avoid touching? Headscarf is not only a religious symbol but a symbol of fanatic behavior, mentality.

How would closing their heads bring them freedom? Some say it prevents men looking them as sex objects but recognize their personalities, bullshit... If it is "what in or on a man's head" or "not", you can't change it by closing your head or opening your ass (just as "what is in a woman's head" or "not")...

Of course this ill mind is explaining it from the point of "freedom of education", explain it to my shoes...

We certainly don't have anything to say about the freedom of education but we have a say about "the freedom of having services". What would a diploma on the wall can bring to an ill mind who would avoid to touch the opposite sex in any area of life, science...

It all begins and ends in the mind. Now Mr. genius PM Erdoğan blurts; "Even if it [the headscarf] is worn as a political symbol, can you consider wearing a political symbol a crime? Can you bring in a ban on symbols?"

Those words are enough to show that their aim is not limited with education in universities. Yes Mr. genius / idiot, we can... carry your symbol "in" your heart and mind and take your minds "out" of women's body...

Educated population, youth is our "national treasure". We neither have enough "sources" to waste for their uncertainty on their "own" beliefs nor enough "time" waste for our future.

Political Islam is the plague cherished by imperialism. They shouldn't’t confuse us with the women of Arab or any other Islamic countries and take their hands and minds from our hair...

And those women who want to close their head; would you stroke our boys' heads as teachers when we send them to schools, would you treat our sons when they get wounded fighting for our country as doctors, would you carry their burned bodies after terrorist attacks as police officers, would you fight side by side with them or be bussy with closing your heads, not touching them under the rain of bullets to our freedom?...

Or just; "what is freedom" for you?... Or just, “what” is in your mind?...

What is in our mind is the "clear and clean" wind of civilisation, humanity, equality, respect waving our hair free for both our daughters and sons...

This is a photo of Afghan King Amanullah Han during his visit to Turkiye at 1928... Think about the Afghan women in burkas now, 80 years later...

Well, Allah gave you the intelligence, think on...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

JANUARY; MONTH OF LOSTS

January is one of those sad months for us. I can't begin with Mustafa Suphi and his 14 friends, even my parents were not born yet. Though mom used to transfer quotes from grandpa's stories about them during her own childhood, they are just a light shining in our far history for me.

It is not possible to count all we lost so far, better not to loose my self in the dark labyrinths of the history. The years we lived, witnessed our selves are hard enough to describe.

It was the first week of January 1976 when I get acquainted with death. Şükrü Bulut was a Hacettepe University Medical Faculty student murdered by fascist. It is not possible to forget how the news spread to all universities in Ankara, how thousands gathered, shouted slogans and walked after his coffin in respect and determination.

His name is one of the dozens which are still in my mind because his murder was the first after March 12th Military Memorandum. Fallowing years took so many from us that we are not able to remember all their names any more.

Sometimes memories of a death or funeral rush out from darkness. It is possible to remember every detail closing your eyes only for a second. It is not hard to remember everything from the marches sang to the routes fallowed but mind fail when it comes to names. I don't know why, may be because they were so many. So many that days came when the news begun to give numbers instead of names.

The dark forces, fascists couldn't satisfied with the murder of students, youth who was in love with their country and freedom. Mass murders are another story. Their bullets were/ are always hungry for the blood of our academicians, teachers, intellectuals too. Dr. Orhan Yavuz, Dr. Server Tanilli, Att. Doğan Öz, Dean Prof. Bedri Karafakioğlu, Dr. Necdet Bulut, Prof. Cavit Orhan Tütengil, Writer Ümit Kaftanoğlu were some of their targets.

So came and passed September 12th, 1980 Military Coup. But treacherous murders don't end. January is one of the months of loss. So many anniversaries we have to remember, so many we have to show respect in memories..

Last week it was young journalist Metin Göktepe's anniversary who found dead after his arrest at January 8th, 1996. His elder, writer and journalist Onat Kutlar lost his life a year before him, a bombing to The Marmara Hotel took his life at January 11th, 1995.

The day after tomorrow, January 19th people will meet at the same place, at the same time for Hrant Dink. Time made us accept the death of others but Hrant is so new. Journalist Hrant Dink was an Armenian origin citizen of Turkiye, editor of Turkish/ Armenian newspaper Agos, writer in many newspapers and defender of human rights and freedom of speech.

It is as only yesterday I learned his assassination from TV. Getting dressed in hurry and calling friends with my wounded arm in hanger, rushing to the area to meet the people mourning for him. One by one people from all ages gathering under the rain, night falling on the candles in their hands.


The lines in my note book; "I lost myself at the flame of the blue candle in my hand last night. I found myself at a peace conference 3 years back, then I step to an interview ten years ago. Than, suddenly; I realized the candle in my hand don't have only one flame, as if it has hundreds of reflections around it. And every single lightened candle, every single fading light, every single life shot behind I witnessed during the last 32 years passed in front of my eyes one by one. I wished our country's lights don't fade, dreams don't end any more. Gandhi said "God don't have religion", I wanted to shout "Does humanity have nationality?" Mercy and grace upon you Hrant Dink!"

And notes to a friend from his funeral;

"That was one of the slogans of the crowds last night; "Shoulder to shoulder against fascism". "We are all Turks, we are all Armenians", "We are all Hrants " and many more. People carried flowers, candles, poster, peace flags. I first called a close Armenian friend, other than family friendship who was a member of the Party which we were both member and worked together during last elections. He was already at Agos newspaper's building, told there will be a march from city center at 8 pm. Then I called another Armenian friend when I get closer and see the crowds already gathered. To my surprise she rejected to came. It made the reality hit me once again; it is not a matter of nationality but who you are. Hrant Dink was so courageous in his beliefs that he didn't hesitate to criticize the Armenian diaspora and even the Patriarch in Istanbul as well as the governments of Turkey and Armenia. There were also many Armenians against him as well as the ethnic fascist Turkish groups. It surprises me to the reaction of Armenian diaspora now, he was the first one who oppose the genocide laws in France etc. criticizing them hard.

It was too cold. Though I put on the thermal underwear my son used at military, I freeze to my ass. At first it was possible to enter the cafes etc but in time they closed. I should seem so bad that some friends insisted to turn home. I left nearly 10pm but I saw from TV that the crowds were still there at midnight. It was the most emotional event of the last years. I wonder how his burial will happen. He was a patriarch, who ever shot him shot Turkey. Shot Hrant and us from BEHIND."



"This assassination may seem something extraordinary to many but not to us. We lost so many of our people, students, professors, intellectuals in similar cruel murders. I even forget how many times I walked behind coffins, how many funerals I attended, how many slogans I shouted at uncountable marches in the last 32 years. Only difference is; it was more during mid 70s - 80s. When one witness so much, she can remember only the first 2-3 but last one always make you remember all one by one again. I was only 17 when I witnessed a friend's death and marched that city square for the first time, and here I am still marching, still shedding tears, still attending to funerals of people who only wanted peace, human rights and freedom. Some call my generation as "the lost generation" in my country, but I don't think so. We still managed to live and go on. I saw two old friends yesterday, one said his son is in prison because of an event in the university. It seemed so ironic; we went to prisons ourselves for the future of our future children. And look, that future already come and those children we sacrificed for are in prisons now. Same prisons which hosted us decades ago."

And next week it will be Journalist Ugur Mumcu who we will remember once more. He assassinated January 24th, 1993 with a bomb placed under his car by Islami Cihad. He was the courageous columnist of Cumhuriyet newspaper and writer of many books about the dark relations behind terror.

At the last day of January we will commemorate our Law Professor at Political Science Faculty of Ankara University, Muammer Aksoy. He shot in the backhead in front of his house at 1990, like many of his former students.

Than we will welcome February with the assasination of journalist Abdi İpekçi, editor and general director of Milliyet newspaper. Though, unlike others world knows his assassin very closely. World acquinted with the assassin Mehmet Ali Ağca when he tried to assassinate the Pope, John Paul II in 1981, two years after murdering Abdi İpekçi.

In fact January is not guilty. Losts don't belong only that month but all months of this country...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

IRAQI WOMEN UNDER OCCUPATION

Deterioration of Iraqi Women's Rights and Living Conditions Under Occupation

Souad N. Al-AzzawiAssociate Professor in Environmental EngineeringBaghdad, Iraq
Abstract: For centuries, Iraqi women struggled for their human rights. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that some improvements in constitutional women’s rights were implemented. During the seventies and eighties, women’s rights improved significantly, providing better educational opportunities, political involvement, equal job opportunities, health care and development of laws and regulations to ensure a better life for Iraqi women and girls. Deterioration of women’s rights in Iraq began during the US-UN comprehensive economical sanctions imposed on Iraqi during the nineties. In 2003, the invasion of Iraq by the USA and its allies resulted in the descent of the rights of women just like other elements in Iraqi society, infrastructure and the general quality of life. To define the extent of the USA occupation impact on women’s rights and living conditions, a survey composed of 21 questions was distributed in two major cities: • Inside Baghdad, Iraq in the Karada District, and • Kudsiya area in Damascus, Syria where more than 200,000 Iraqi refugees live.
The 150 women who answered the survey were a part of 150 families or households composed of a total of 502 Iraqis. Statistical analysis of the questions of the survey indicated dangerous trends in the security status that drove Iraqi women out of their jobs, where 85% of the studied women are unemployed (taking into consideration that the large majority of this percentage have a formal education). The study also indicated that 36% of the studied families lived with no income or a very low income of $100/month or less which has lead to women and children doing menial labor or begging. Also, it was found that 87 families have a victim of either occupation forces or sectarian violence. The mortality rate among this targeted displaced population is 193 per 1000. this high mortality rate is an indication of genocide existing amongst the migrated and displaced population. Missing family members rate at 12.7, and it is also estimated that 20% of the students of the studied women’s families are having difficulties and failing schools. A percentage of other students quit school altogether. The occupation is totally responsible for the deterioration and destruction of women’s lives and rights in Iraq. Iraqi women under occupation need the help of their sisters in international women’s organizations abroad to help protect them and protect their rights. They also have the right to resist the occupier in every way available to reclaim their lost lives and ensure a better life for themselves and their families.
Introduction
Prior to 1920, Iraqi women’s rights were not truly recognized under the Ottoman Empire rule. Iraq was occupied for four centuries under this rule which saw virtually no advancement of rights for women. The situation did not improve much under the tribal, religious ruling during the British occupation and colonial period of 1920-1958.
In 1958, Iraq became a Republic and for the first time ever, women’s rights began to improve, when the government of General Abdul-Kareem Kasim supported by the Iraqi Communist Party amended Personal Status Law to grant equal inheritance and divorce rights. This Personal Status Law also relegated divorce, inheritance and marriage to civil, instead of religious, courts, andprovided for child support.
After that, Iraqi women and girls began enjoying relatively more rights than many of their counterparts in the Middle East1.
The primary underpinning of women’s equality is contained in the Iraqi provisional constitution, which was drafted by the Ba’ath party in 19701.Article 19 declares all citizens equal before the law regardless of sex, blood, language, social origin, or religion1.
Enrolment of women and girls in rural areas in literacy centers under the illiteracy eradication legislation of 1979 transferred women in Iraq into a new level of education, labor, and employment. With other employment laws, the opportunities in the civil service sector, maternity benefits, and stringent laws against harassment in the work place allowed Iraqi women larger involvement in building their careers1.
Women attained the right to vote and run for office in 1980. In 1986 Iraq became one of the first countries to ratify the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
During the 1990’s, the (US-UN) sanctions imposed on Iraq had a great impact on women and children in Iraq. The financial crippling of families resulted in an increase of female illiteracy as many families could not afford to send their children to school.
To compare through numbers, according to (UNESCO) by the year of 1987, approximately 75 percent of Iraqi women were literate, but by end of 2000, the percentage of literate women dropped to less than 25 percent1.The criminal comprehensive economic sanctions imposed on Iraq not only prepared the situation in Iraq for the American aggressor to occupy the country and take over the oil reserves, but it also put a halt to the significant advancement in women rights and the improved living conditions they had struggled hundreds of years to earn.
By the end of the nineties, the economic constraints pushed women to leave their jobs and return to their traditional role in the home. The tremendous pressure and burden the Iraqi women have gone through since the illegal sanctions is indescribable, where she has had to feed the children with no food, take care of ill family members with no medicine, and bury her loved ones as an advanced sacrifice to the US invasion of Iraq.
Iraqi women proved to be reliable, enthusiastic and hard workers when given the chance to have a proper education and human rights.
By the end of the year 2000, many Iraqi women who worked as scientists, engineers, medical doctors, artists, poets, journalists, and educators proved that they not only can be equal to their counterparts, but more responsible to their historic challenge as an important integral half of society.
Iraqi Women Under Occupation:
Like other parts of society, Iraqi women lives, rights, and living environment was drastically changed by the military operations during the invasion of Iraq in March-April 2003.
Tens of thousands of Iraqi women, children, and men were killed, injured and families were shattered as a result of using conventional and internationally banned weapons like White Phosphorous, Napalm, Depleted Uranium, Cluster Bombs, chemical agents and gasses2345. About 100,000 deaths were estimated as a result of occupation military operations for the period from March 2003 and August 20046.
Due to the continuing existence of US-led occupation forces and the intentional collapse of security, the economy, and civil services, women’s lives have become worse than ever. One reason of many is the new amendments made under the occupation government to the constitution and personal status laws. The majority of occupation assigned political parties are composed of religious clerics and fundamentalists who have their own sectarian explanations and interpretations of Islamic Sharia. These interpretations are often conflicting or contradictory from one faction to another. The new USA-written Iraqi constitution includes laws and regulations that leave much room for conjecture and interpretation by clerics and religious figures. This has resulted and will continue to result in a sure and swift deterioration of women’s rights as most of the old laws protecting women are now arguable under this more ‘flexible’ constitution. The occupation is responsible of the deterioration in women rights and living environment through the following:
1. Contrary to Geneva Conventions, Iraqi women are arrested, detained, abused and made to collaborate with the occupation forces and to inform against resistance7.
2. There has been an increase of sexual assaults, torture and violations of women’s right by US forces in Iraq8.
3. The majority of women lost their jobs. Seventy percent of the previously working Iraqi women today are unemployed for different reasons. Before the invasion, women formed more than 40 percent of total workers in the public sector1.
4. The dismantling of Iraqi security forces and police led to an increase in violence and crimes against women. Women are no longer leaving their homes unaccompanied by the relatives.
5. Women suffered from great loss of their loved ones through the unjustified killing of Iraqis by the “self-immune” from prosecution US soldiers. The total number of deaths in Iraq since the start of the invasion in 2003 is estimated to be 1,127,55210 due to different causes. The majority of these deaths are due to the troops use of excessive force and violence and the intentional creation of a sectarian civil war by the occupier to control the country.
6. Iraqi women are losing basic rights under the new constitution where women’s rights are implemented only if they don’t contradict the Shariaa, which is interpreted differently by each sect11.
The Struggle of Iraqi Women Under the Occupation: Numbers and Statistics
To investigate the effects of the occupation and its related political, economical, educational and social consequences, a survey through the questionnaire shown in Appendix [1] was conducted. The selected population of the survey was divided into two categories:
1. Iraqi women within families in the largely refugee area of Kudsiya in on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria. This population is largely comprised of Iraqis who were under high threat for various reasons.2. Iraqi women within families in Karada District on the Rasafa side of Baghdad, Iraq. This area is considered a relatively stable, safe area.
The author and her assistants carried out the questionnaires and randomly distributed them to women within the families in these areas, and asked them to fill it out, and finally collected them for analysis. Due to the great fear of the women, the study team collected only 70 questionnaires from the women or families in Karada area in Iraq, and 80 questionnaires from the women in the Kudsiya area in Syria. In other words, the survey included 150 Iraqi families. Statistical analysis of the survey was split into the following categories:
A- Marital StatusB- Educational LevelC- Age DistributionD- Employment StatusE- Reasons for Current UnemploymentF- Family Provider (Guardian)G- Monthly Income of the FamilyH- Family Members Killed During Violence or ConflictI- Circumstances of Family Member DeathsJ- Missing Family MembersK- Existing Chronic Illnesses Needing TreatmentL- Existence of Chronic Illness Amongst the WomenM- Displaced Families – Causes of DisplacementN- Education and School Attendance Status of Students in the Families
Methods of Conducting the Survey:
The survey is population _based to prove what has been published regarding the deterioration in living conditions and women’s rights under occupation in Iraq since 2003.
The technique used to analyze the results of the survey was descriptive analysis of the information or descriptive statistics. The data was collected, summarized and percentiles were drawn up based on this and compared to certain previously published statistics. Finally, for the results regarding the larger population of the threatened and migrated populace, inferential statistical analysis was used whereby conclusions were drawn regarding the larger population according to the smaller one surveyed.
A survey of 150 households randomly selected within two major population clusters. The first population cluster is in the Kudsiya area, a suburb of Damascus, Syria where about 200 000 Iraqi refugees live.
The second cluster is in Karada District, within the Rasafa side of Baghdad, Iraq.
Between the period of August to October of 200, a population based two cluster survey was conducted to define aspects of the deterioration of Iraqi women’s living conditions and rights under the USA occupation of Iraq.
A questionnaire that covers different life aspects of a woman within any Iraqi family were put together (in the Arabic language) including the following:
- Marital status, educational level, age distribution, employment status, reasons for current unemployment, monthly income of family, family members killed during violence or conflict, missing family members, existing chronic illnesses needing treatment, existing chronic illnesses amongst women, displaced families( causes of displacement), family education and school attendance status.
The questionnaire was then distributed in the selected areas by two teams. Each team consisted of a PhD, MS, and a B.Sc. holders who work, or used to work with the author in Baghdad University. The assistants refused to publish their names from fear of getting killed or kidnapped by the Militias.
Members of the two teams personally distributed about 300 questionnaires randomly within each area code of the geographical extent of these areas.
What made it easier for them is the fact that they are residents of these areas. They answered the questions of the household women whenever it is needed and checked related document.
The team collected only 80 answered questionnaires from Kudsiya area and 70 from the Karada area although the residents were assured that their names and addresses would remain anonymous.
The Selection Criteria of the Areas:
The selection criteria of these two areas are based on the following:
1- A well known fact that Kudsya Area in Syria is an Iraqi refugee-like area for those families who escaped killing, kidnapping, death threats, and forced displacement. Thus this cluster is considered as a bias one in terms of exposure to violence. Distribution of questionnaire among this cluster was random.
2- The Karada area in Baghdad is considered relatively secure. It consists of a majority of Shia Muslims with minority Christians and Sunni Muslims. Covering such an area within the survey would give balanced results that might comprehend major aspects related to the subject.
Analysis and simple straight forward statistical representation were all done by the author.
Results of Statistical Analysis
A- Marital Status: The marital status of the women in the studied population is presented in Table 1:
Table (1) : Marital Status of Iraqi Women in the Studied Population
Status of the Women Number Percentile – Married 80 53 % – Single 21 14 % – Divorced 5 3 % – Widow 44 29 %Total 150 100 %
The above graphical representation of Table (1) gives a very clear idea regarding the high increase in the number of widows amongst the women answering the questionnaire. Causes of this sharp increase in widowed women are due to the excessive killing by occupation forces and occupation created sectarian violence as we will show later on.
B- Educational Level
Table (2) : The Level of Education of Women in the Studied Population
Education Level Symbol Number of Women PercentileIlliterate I 2 1.333 %Reading and writing only R 4 2.67 %Elementary school graduated E 11 7.33 %Junior high school graduated J 27 18 %High school graduated H 35 23.33 %Post high school diploma D 12 8 %B.Sc. BSc 48 32 %Higher diploma HD 3 2 %Master degree MS 2 1.33 %Ph. D. holder PhD 6 4 %Total 150 99.999 %
As we can see from Table (2), women with higher education degrees represent 47% of the studied population. If we combine this number with high school diploma holders, the percentage rises to 70.6% which proves the great potential of educated women within the studied population, most of whom were driven out of work due to the previously mentioned reasons.
C- Age Distribution Amongst the Studied Population
Table (3) : Age Distribution Amongst the Women of the Studied Population
Range Number of Women PercentileLess than 20 6 4 %20 – 29 20 13.33 %30 – 39 28 18.66 %40 – 49 46 30.66 %50 – 59 36 24 %60 – 69 12 8 %70 and above 2 1.33 %Total 150 99.98 %
As can be seen, the age distribution is normal, with a domination of the ‘employment ages’, 30 – 60, which represents 73.32 % of the studied population of women.
D- Employment Status of Women in the Studied Population
Table (4) : Employment Status of Women in the Studied Population
Employment Status Symbol No. of Samples PercentileCurrently Employed E 14 9.33 %Retired R 6 4.00 %Unemployed U 78 52 %Left work L 50 33.33 %Student S 2 1.33 %Total 150 99.98 %
This data shows that out of 106 women eligible for employment within the studied population; only 14 of them are currently working. This proves that less than 15 percent are employed and about 85 percent are unemployed.
E- Major Reasons of Current Unemployment
Table (5) : Reasons Behind Current Unemployment of Women in the Studied Population
Reasons No. of Samples PercentileLack of security 29 42.6 %Closing down of private sector jobs 5 7.3 %Dismantling of certain public sector jobs/offices 2 2.9 %Debaathification 7 10.3 %Sectarian favoritism 3 4.4 %Other reasons 11 16. 2 %Threatened by militias 9 13.2 %Remain at home to take care of occupation victims 2 2.9
It can be noticed that a major reason of women leaving the work force among the studied population is a lack of security due to sectarian violence, occupation forces, and criminal militias.
F- Family Provider (Guardian) Amongst the Studied Population
Table (6) : Family Provider of the Families of the Studied Population
Provider Number PercentileFather 79 52.66 %Mother 30 20 %Both parents 5 3.33 %Son 14 9.33 %Daughter 1 0.66 %Relatives 4 2.66 %No provider 12 8 %Self provider 5 3.33 %Total 150 99.97 %
As can be seen, there is an obvious retreat of women providing, or helping to provide, for the family even though the family standard of living is within the low-income to poverty level, as we will see from next category.
From the survey, it was also seen through the survey that only 73.3 % of the family providers live with the family, but 26.7 % don’t live within the family for security reasons. This represents an extra burden on women in handling the family necessities where there are no services available and there is a collapsed economy and lack of security to deal with.
G- Monthly Income of the Families of the Studied Population
Table (7) : Monthly Income of the Families in the Studied Population
Monthly Income ($) No. of Studied Samples Percentile100 23 15. 33 %200 – 300 71 47.33 %400 – 500 8 5.33 %600 – 700 11 7.33 %800 – 900 None —-More than 1000 6 4 %None 31 20.66 %Total 150 99.98 %
We notice from Table (7), that 54 families live with no income or virtually no income with an income of less than $100. This income level comprises 36% of the studied population. In studying the table with some depth, it will be noted that 70% of the Iraqi population currently lives below the poverty level in one of the richest oil countries in the world12.
Again, Iraqi women are suffering to feed and take care of the family members under these harsh financial conditions. Children in these conditions leave schools to support the family or women are made to beg for charity or do menial labour or other low paying jobs. An increasing number of Iraqi women abroad and inside Iraq are being coerced or forced into prostitution or even slave labour in order to support children or family.
H- Family Members Killed During Violence or Conflict
Out of the 150 studied families, 87 of them have family members who were killed with a total number of (97) killed family members out of 503 total persons of the studied population (comprised of 150 households). This represents a morality rate of 19.3 %, or 193 per thousand. This high mortality rate is understandable among highly affected bias population of the refugees who ran away as a result of being targeted by the occupation forces or sectarian militias. When asked about how many family members were killed, the results showed:
Table (8) : The Number of Family Members Killed Within the Families of the Studied Population
Number of Killed Family Members * Number of Families Percentile1 74 49.33 %2 8 5.33 %3 + 5 3.33 %None 63 42 %Total 150 99.99 %
This question was asked regarding first degree family members only- not extended family.
If we consider the estimated mortality rate a representative one for the two million internally displaced Iraqis, and the 2.5 million refugees abroad, the total number of deaths amongst these highly affected by occupation and sectarian violence categories is 868,500 deaths. This number looks reasonable compared to what Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health estimated: a mortality rate of 654,956 up until July 200613. If we consider that the period from July of 2006 to July of 2007 was the bloodiest of the occupation years, the estimated total number of deaths through this study is reasonable compared to other estimated numbers for the whole country’s population. This number is estimated at 1,127,55210. This drastic increase of mortalities is due to violence which can be considered a trend of the existing ‘Genocide’ in Iraqi comparing only to other Genocide rates in history.
I- Circumstances of Family Member Deaths
Table (9) : Circumstances of Family Member Deaths Amongst the Studied Population
Cause of Death No. of Victims PercentileOccupation forces during torture 16 16.5 %Occupation forces during random shootings 1 1.03 %Ministry of Interior torture victims 6 6.2 %Target killings by militias 40 41.12 %Random killing by militias 19 19.6 %Lack of security (raped and killed) 2 women 2.06 %Lack of security 4 men 4 %Car bombs 9 9.27 %Total 97 99.88 %
As we can see, the highest percentage of deaths by killing is by the sectarian militias, followed by occupation forces excessive use of violence.
J- Missing Victims
The total number of missing members within the families of the studied population are 66 victims. When asked about the circumstances of their disappearance, the following was shown:
Table (10) : Circumstances of the Disappearance of the Missing Family Members
Circumstances of Disappearance No. of Missing PercentileWent out and never came back 35 53.3 %Sectarian kidnappings 6 9.09 %Accidents due to a lack of security 7 10.6 %Unjustified imprisonment 15 22.72 %Women were taken in place of other family members 3 4.54 %Total 66 99.95 %
Table 10 shows that the majority of missing people cases are due to undefined reasons where young men leave the house for schools, colleges, work, etc. and never return, such a terrible way to lose a loved one.
Again, missing victims represent 13.12 % of the studied population. Missing husbands, brothers, sisters and children are a source of real trauma to the women in the family.
K – Existing Chronic Illnesses that Need Special Continuous Treatment
Table (11) : Chronic Illnesses Within the Families of the Studied Population
Patient Status within Family No. of CasesFather 18Mother 69Both Parents 13Children 11
Chronic illnesses within the women’s families are an additional burden and a source of constant stress considering the inadequate health care system or lack of financial support for Iraqis inside Iraq and abroad.
L – Existence of Chronic Illnesses Amongst the Women in the Studied Population
Table (12) : Type of Disease Some Women in the Studied Population are Suffering from
Type of Disease No. of Cases PercentilePsychological 16 10.6 %Psychological with another disease 28 18.6 %Thyroid 3 2 %Ulcer 1 0.66 %Blood Hypertension 1 0.66 %Sterile 1 0.66 %Migraine 1 0.66 %Paralyzed 4 2.66 %None 95 63.33 %Total 150 99.83 %
A continuous change of the living environment, losing family members and harsh living conditions all contribute to extra stress on the women in the family. This has resulted in many psychological disorders such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), etc.
M – Displaced Families – Causes of Displacement
Table (13) : Primary Causes of Displacement of the Families in the Studied Population
Causes of Displacement No. of families PercentileForced Displacement 18 12 %Lack of Security 40 26.66 %Personal Threats 12 8 %American Troop Raids 4 2.66 %Assassinations of Scientists/ Professors 6 4 %Internally Displaced 11 7.33 %Not Displaced 59 39.33 %Total 150 99.98 %
The 80 displaced families in the Kudsiya area in Syria are amongst thousands of other similar families currently in Syria, Jordan and other countries. Most of them live without financial support, insignificant health care that cannot cover long term disease and disabilities. Wives, mothers, sisters and daughters are sacrificing their education, social life and careers for the basic survival of their families. Thanks to George Bush and the American occupation of Iraq, the condition of Iraqi women inside the country and abroad is worse than it has ever been in the history of Iraq.
N – Family Education and School Attendance Status Indicators
The total number of family members involved in the studied population is 502.
Males : 248 Females : 254
Number of students amongst them: 318 (172 males and 146 females)
Total number of failing students among the above number is 64:Male : 40 (which represents 23.2 % of the total male students in the studied population).
Female : 24 (which represents 16.4 % of total female students in the studied population).
Inside Iraq, the higher number of failing male students is largely due to the fact that they are being targeted for kidnappings, imprisonment, raids, assassinations, etc. so they constantly have to move or go into hiding. In refugee areas, male students tend to miss school attendance in order to help support their families financially by taking on menial labor jobs.
Table (14) : Major Causes of Student Failure in Schools Amongst the Families of the Studied Population
Causes of Failure Number %Missed attendance 7 10.94 %Poor teaching techniques 5 7.81 %Distraction and inability to focus 10 15.62 %Curriculum differences 15 23.43 %Emotional damage as a result of having one or more family members killed 19 29.68 %Raids and imprisonment of a family member 8 12.5 %Total 64 99.98 %
Table (14) shows that a major factor or cause of students failing school is the emotional damage of having close family members killed and the inability to concentrate due to the violence the children and teenagers are subjected to constantly.
Number of dropouts from school
Students amongst the studied population are 160: 94 Males, and 66 Females.
Table (15) : Causes of Dropping Out of School Amongst the Students in the Studied Population
Cause of Quitting School Number %Lack of Security 60 37.7 %Financial Need 15 9.37 %Forced Displacement 37 23.12 %Migration 33 20.62 %House being bombed (US troops) 5 3.125 %Killing of a family member by militias 8 5 %Learning disability 2 1.25 %Total 160 99.98 %
Male school dropouts make up 54.6 % of the total male students in the studied population. Female school dropouts are 45.2 % of the total female students in the studied population. Again, we notice that the percentage of male student dropouts is higher than female student dropouts because the males do not stay in their residential areas and keep away from militias and American troops and police.
It is also noticed that the condition of children in forced displacement families inside of Iraq are worse off than the children of the families who migrated outside the country because the latter have their children register in school once again in neighboring countries while the former prefer keeping them out of school for their own safety.
Concluding Remarks:
Statistical analysis of the collected data from a population of 150 families composed of 502 members indicated the following:
1- Major causes of displacement amongst the studied displaced population include personal threats, lack of security and forced displacement through militias or occupation forces.
2- The unemployment rate is 85% amongst women in the studied population.
3- 47% of the women in the study hold some form of higher education degrees including Ph.D.s. When this number is added to high school graduates, the percentage rises to 70.6%.
4- The biggest reasons of unemployment are a lack of security and sectarian violence in the country.
5- With all the degrees and work experience, only 20% of the families rely on the mother providing an income for the family.
6- About 36% of the families have with no income or an income of less than $100/month. Women and children are made to beg or do menial labor or even work as prostitutes to feed their families.
7- Out of the 150 studied families, 87 of them have family members who were killed. There is a high mortality rate of 193 per 1000, indicating the existence of genocide amongst the migrated or displaced population. The studied population is a bias group targeted by the occupation forces and sectarian militias. The total number of deaths amongst the 4.5 million internally displaced or force migrated people both inside and outside the country is estimated to be 868,500.
8- The highest percentage of killings occur due to sectarian militias, followed by occupation forces excessive use of violence.
9- The 66 missing members of the studied families represent 12.69% of the members of the studied population, most of who left home for schools, colleges, work, etc. and never came back. Others were captured by guards and security forces and there is no information regarding their current whereabouts.
10- The burden of ill family members with long-term illnesses lies directly on the women’s shoulders, since the healthcare system in Iraq has been non-existent since the beginning of the invasion.
11- About a third of the studied women in the group have developed some form of psychological or other stress related illness.12- 20% of the students in the studied families are failing school. Major causes include emotional damage as a result of having one or more family members killed and an inability to focus.
13- 50% of the students in the studied population are school dropouts. Major causes of quitting include a lack of security and forced displacement or migration. Male student dropouts are higher in number than females.
The major conclusion is that the USA occupation of Iraq has intentionally created a catastrophic collapse in the social interrelated structure, infrastructure services, education and healthcare system, and security. All of which have a direct detrimental impact on women’s living conditions and women’s rights in Iraq. The occupation of Iraq has taken women back to the dark ages. By ending the occupation, Iraqi women have a better chance to earn back what they previously accomplished.
References:
1 Human Rights Watch, “Background on Women’s Status in Iraq Prior to the Fall of the Saddam Hussein Government”, Nov. 2003
2 Sarah, M. “What Kind of Incendiary Bomb Was Used Against People in Iraq”, Global Research, Ca. , Nov. 14, 2005
3 Flounders, S. “Iraqi Depleted Uranium Nightmare” , Portland Independent Media center, Aug. 2003
4 “War in Iraq Forces : Weapons “ , http://cnn.com/specials/2003/iraq/weapons/index.html
5 Peterson, S. “Remains of Toxic Bullets Litter Iraq”, May 18, 2003, Christian Science Monitor
6 Douglas, I. “Notes on Genocide in Iraq”, http://brusselstribunal.org
7 Hassan Ghali, “Iraqi Women Under Occupation” , http://brusselstribunal.org
8 Dahr Jamail, “The Desperate Plight of Iraqi Women Under US Occupation”, The Easter Republic, Volume 6, Number 4, 2004
9 Marjorie P. Lasky “Iraqi Women Under Siege” , Code Pink, Women for Peace, Global Exchange, 2005
10 “Total Number of Iraqi Slaughters”: http://www.justforeignpolicy/Iraq/iraqdeaths.html
11 Khalif Deen, “Women May Lose Basic Rights Under New Constitution”, Inter Press Service, July 22, 2005
12 Damien Cave, “Oxfam Report Growing Humanitarian Crisis in Iraq”, The New York Times, July 31, 2007
13 Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, Shannon Doacy, and Les Roberts, “Mortality After the 2003 Invasion of Iraq: A Cross-Sectional Cluster Sample Survey” Lancet, Oct. 14, 2006
Annex 1
This questionnaire is for research purposes. Please answer all questions honestly and clearly. Thank you.
1 – Sex : Male □ , Female □ 2 – Marital Status : Single □ , Married □ , Divorced □, Widowed □3 – Age : 4 – Educational Level : Illiterate □ , Read/Write only □ , Primary School □ , Junior High School □ , High School □ , Diploma □ , B.Sc. □ , M.Sc. □ , Ph.D. □5 – Employment Status : Employed □ , Retired □ , Housewife □ , Unemployed □ for the following reasons : Lack of security □ , Dismantling of public sector institutions □ , Debaathification □ , Other □ Explain:
6 – Family Provider : Father □ , Mother □ , Son □ , Daughter □ , Relatives □ , None □7 – Is the Provider living with the family ? Yes □ , No □ . If ‘no’ are they currently inside Iraq □ , or abroad □ ?8 – Number of family members : Male , Female 9 – Source of Family Income : Salary (daily, weekly, monthly) □ , Retirement □ , Charitable aid □ , Other □ : 10 – Family Income Level : Under $100 □ , $200 – $300 □ , $400 – $500 □ , $600 – $700 □ , $800 – $900 □ , $1000 and above □11 – Number of children currently at an age of studying : Male , Female 12 – Number of failing students : Male , Female For the following reasons: Missed attendance □ , Poor teaching techniques □ , Lack of concentration due to poor security □ , Difference of curriculum for migrating or displaced family □ , Other □ Explain : 13 – Number of student dropouts in the family : Male , Female For the following reasons: Security □ , Financial □ , Health □ , Migration □ , Forced displacement □ , Change of curriculum □ , Other □ Explain:
14 – Were any of your family members killed ? : Yes □ , No □ . If ‘yes’, was it because of : Explosions □ , Random killing by occupation forces □ , Random killing by governmental forces □ , Random killing by militias □ , Killing due to a lack of security □ , Other reasons □ Explain :
15 – Are any of your family members missing ? : Yes □ , No □ . If ‘yes’ , was it: Sectarian abduction or lack of security □ , Forced detention by occupation or governmental forces □ , Went out and never returned □16 – Were any women in the family detained in place of wanted family members? : Yes □ , No □ . If yes, was she detained by US forces □ , Governmental forces □ , Militias □17 – Are there any critical health conditions in the family that need special treatment ? : Yes □ , No □ . If ‘yes’, who is the sick member : Mother □ , Father □ , One of the children □18 – Is the nature of the illness/ condition : Cancerous □ , Congenital malformations □ , Amputation of limbs □ , Chronic illnesses (heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma) □ , Psychological disorders □ , Other □ , Explain: 19 – Date of discovery of illness: Before the occupation or after ? 20 – Is there a party helping with the cost of treatment? Yes □ , No □ If ‘yes’ , please specify the party : 21 – Did you leave Iraq due to : Forced displacement □ , No security □ , Personal threat □ , Other □ , Explain :

Sunday, January 13, 2008

...SO WHAT!...

Operations fallowing the Diyarbakır massacre named after 'Melek' (Angel) who died at the bomb attack. Nine PKK members including the one who is responsible from the bomb attack have been arrested at the operation of Melek. Photos of Erdal Polat taken in Kandil and his testimonies arouse reaction between the people. Though Polat showed where he hid the bomb to be used for another attack in Silvan and another massacre prevented, he stated in his testimony that he has no regrets about the attack.

Another bomber who caught at the last minute with explosions enough to destroy Istanbul subway was also saying he has no regrets while he was taken to custody between policemen.

On the other hand two bombers surrendered themselves and one who surrendered some time ago set free the day before by the court. One who set free said, he decided not to carry the bombing when he saw the children playing at the area.

Not having regret being a murderer of innocents... is it an indicator of braveness, limit of belief, showing the rightness of one's cause, sign of misused lives and minds or what...

Let's have a look at the dead and the wounded; Melek who died and gave her name to the operation have a brother who went to mountains to join the PKK, arrested and stayed in jail for 6 months. Öznur Beyaztaş who is wounded and in hospital has a brother who arrested at 1990 because of his activities in the organisation and spent 6 years in jail. Another wounded Vedat Baran’s brother is a member of the organisation and at the mountains from 2000 to today. Other wounded student Süleyman Özdoğan’s brother also had been in jail for years for PKK.

How should we read these examples? How could one feel if h/ h little brother, sister bombed, murdered wounded by the organisation h/s believed, fight for? Can it be enough to read an apology from that organisation? Try to read the Kurdish news, webs, watch the opinions of Kurdish intellectuals etc.. They discussing enough between them, can't make any positive comments, know what to say too.

While murdering innocents at one side, at the other side they are trying to put a campaign for the terrorist leader as "Ocalan's health is our health". Here is what his lawyers say; "Gunes, who claims all Ocalan’s rights are being stripped from him, also said ‘during these cell punishments Mr. Ocalan does not have access to books, newspapers or radio. He is also not allowed familial visits. According to the law, cell punishments should be between 10 and 20 days. However, all of the cell punishments handed down to Mr. Ocalan are of a 20 day period, which means he is always subjected to the harshest possible punishment’."

Exalting the leader? He is able to write books, talk and give orders, make comments and all from the prison. What about all the others who are still in worst prisons for years? What about all other who stayed (some died) in prisons for years without any little human rights?

They very well khow the luxury of the conditions of Mr. Apo compared to any political detainees. But they don't care human life whether it is their followers in prisons, at mountains or innocent civilians. What is important for them is protecting organisation, themselves, the leading staff whatever it coasts.

Latest official reports gives thrilling facts on the living conditions of the members at mountains, how they are threatened, controlled, judged and executed. Though people tend not to believe all official reports, it is not hard for the people of this country to imagine what can be right or wrong in such reports.

Whatever...

I wonder why all those human rights organisations which volunteer to visit and give reports on the condition of Mr Apo etc don't visit the mountains and terrorist bases, civilians and prepare reports on them too.

Of course while questioning these, we should never forget the decades long oppression, cruelty of the military or non military administrations in this country (on the whole population). How we come to this point? It is not easy to describe, tell in another language than one's mother language. I am not able to tell in any language other than Turkish, as another can only tell in Kurdish.

I can't translate (and don't know if I have any right to translate) but here is a very striking example from Kurdish Rizgari news web, for Kurdish speakers in Turkish; "Oğlum Kürtçü, alevi, kominist olmiş! Olmiş.. Ne olmiş!?" (My son became a Kurd, Alevi, Communist! He became..So what!"
http://turkish.rizgari.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=11814

There tells the story of a little child beaten by the teacher because he couldn't speak Turkish enough, in a little Kurdish - Alevi village of Anatolia. One of the many stories of a father whose son beaten, grow up and fall into jails at his university years. A call of "enough" as hundreds of thousands of others echoed around this country.

This is the end we reached being a third world country from the beginning and thrown to one military coup to another for decades by the help of "their boys"!

When will we admit, say; We cant define "death" in any language any more...so what!...

Friday, January 11, 2008

PTSD IS STEALING FUTURE

US is dealing with a military hospital scandal for some time. It may be better to say “a scandal in a scandal”, because the scandal is not limited with the old hospital but the insufficiency of US dealing with the traumatized veterans turning back from one unjust war after another.

Washington Post article at June 17, 2007 gives thrilling facts; “One of the bitter legacies of Vietnam was the inadequate treatment of troops when they came back. Tens of thousands endured psychological disorders in silence, and too many ended up homeless, alcoholic, drug-addicted, imprisoned or dead before the government acknowledged their conditions and in 1980 officially recognized PTSD as a medical diagnosis. Yet nearly three decades later, the government still has not mastered the basics: how best to detect the disorder, the most effective ways to treat it, and the fairest means of compensating young men and women who served their country and returned unable to lead normal lives.Cruz's case illustrates these broader problems at a time when the number of suffering veterans is the largest and fastest-growing in decades, and when many of them are back at home with no monitoring or care. Between 1999 and 2004, VA disability pay for PTSD among veterans jumped 150 percent, to $4.2 billion.”

Most of the people, including the victims don’t know what is PTSD. It is generally described as in Washington Post’s “Walter Reed and Beyond” special report:
“You have experienced a traumatic event, or a series of traumatic events. The event may be over, but you may now be experiencing or may experience later some strong emotions or physical reactions. It is very common, in fact, quite normal for people to experience emotional shocks when they have passed through a horrible event. Sometimes the emotional aftershocks (or stress reactions) appear immediately after the traumatic event. Sometimes they may appear a few hours or a few days later. And, in some cases, weeks or months may pass before the stress reactions appear.”

PTSD’s physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioral signs are listed as; fatigue, muscle tremors, twitches, chest pain, difficulty breathing, elevated blood pressure, rapid heart rate, thirst, visual difficulties, vomiting, nausea, grinding of teeth, weakness, dizziness, profuse sweating, chills, shock symptoms, fainting, blaming someone, confusion, poor attention, poor decisions, heightened or lowered alertness, hyper-vigilance, poor concentration, memory problems, poor problem solving, difficulty identifying familiar objects or people, increased or decreased awareness of surroundings, loss of time, place, or person orientation, disturbed thinking, nightmares , intrusive images, poor abstract thinking, anxiety, guilt, grief, denial, uncertainty, severe panic (rare), emotional shock, fear, agitation, depression, apprehension, irritability, inappropriate emotional response, intense anger, feeling overwhelmed, loss of emotional control, change in activity, change in speech patterns, emotional outbursts, suspiciousness, withdrawal, inability to rest, change in usual communications, hyper-alert to environment, loss or increase of appetite, alcohol consumption, antisocial acts, non-specific bodily complaints, startle reflex intensified, pacing, erratic movements, change in sexual functioning, etc.

Though PTSD is not a new disorder and accounts of similar symptoms that go back to ancient times, it come to serious attention only after the Vietnam War. A study in 1988 estimated that the prevalence of PTSD in that group was 15.2 percent at that time and that 30 percent had experienced the disorder at some point since returning from Vietnam.

Unfortunately it is still thought as a problem of veterans including World War II, Korean Conflict, and Persian Gulf populations, and in United Nations peacekeeping forces deployed to war zones around the world. However it is not only a problem of veterans but more of unseen, undiagnosed civilians.

My understanding of human rights don’t let me think it may be a kind of punishment to soldiers in return of their participation to wars. Let’s wish healing to all the veterans around the world (now defined with millions) though we don’t approve wars and look at the other side of the problem; civilians.

As PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed life-threatening events such as terrorist incidents, war, or violent personal assaults like rape beside other (natural, ordinary criminal and accidental) reasons; it would not be be wrong to think that the Cold War policies of imperialism fueled it among civilians all around the world.

Thanks to the scientists who are working on trauma and related issues who created dozens of questionnaires to diagnose trauma victims but it is a dilemma for me “who” are the victims they are able to reach. There may be some few researches on war thorn societies as Kosova or Iraq but I don’t think it is possible to reach the ordinary people of countries like us.

We neither have the possibilities of researches and treatment as western countries’ rather common trauma victims nor live under the conditions of declared wars to attract enough attention. We are not facing only personal but also mass-violence and mass-trauma for decades.

I don’t even wonder if there are any special researches for example about the difference of the trauma on an usual rape victim and a torture rape victim (especially with the fact that the females effected more than males). Or, what is the difference between one who witnessed h/h home took fire because of an ordinary reason and another whose house, school etc put fire on purpose and have to live under persisting threat etc...

According to scientific researches, even the hormone levels of PTSD patients show abnormalities: for example, high levels of thyroid, epinephrine, and natural opiates coupled with low levels of cortisol. Blunted, or depressed, responses to a trauma may be the result of the body's increased production of opiates (narcotic-like hormones that induce mental lethargy), which masks the emotional pain.

It may take a book to write on this topic but this is only a blog.

Reading Washington Post’s special report took met o my childhood; summer and autumn of 1968. I went back to the corridors, rooms, gardens of Walter Reed and young soldiers on wheel-chairs or with bandages came into life in front of my eyes. Only they were less than the numbers I read now and from a different war; Vietnam.

My journey to the past did’t stop at that fascinating years of 68s, hippies, revolutions etc. That child remembering the young Vietnam veterans’ empty eyes, crossed roads with them for a short time, grow up into her own traumas. Her own traumas lived at the other, civilian side. She had witnessed and experienced all creativeness and tricks of Cold War era as an anti-imperialist youngster of a developing country.

Neither anybody told, nor we knew anything about “trauma” let aside PTSD. We thought whatever we were living was normal, welcomed deaths or tortures as tests of our beliefs. It was not a conscious or unconscious decision but fact of life.

When we faced several illnesses years later, we could never think they may be related with our past experiences. It was not possible to think the cortisol etc level in one’s blood and it’s effects may be a result of decades past traumas.

Yes, this is only a blog.

What a pity PTSD is still not known enough, not put on the first lines in the agenda of anti-war, human-rights etc activists. It is great to do our best to help war thorn societies, especially children in the means of staying alive but I am not sure about the question of real survival. Is there a way to help wounded souls, heal them, protect the future of the ones who survived death… what a pity having no answers…

Thursday, January 10, 2008

RECORDED MOMENTS

Those moments were full of deaths for the freedom of our country. Lived under the shadows of guns targeted on socialists, youngsters by nationalists, fascists, puppets of imperialism. Who could guess times will come and children will be the target of ethnic nationalists... We recorded so much in our souls and still recording...


Record The Moments

remember my soul; all the moments, everything lived
do not miss one, record them one by one
as sorrowful as the fall of an autumn leaf
as enthusiastic as the emotions a poem arouses
as deep as the ruin of a rape in unknown places
as fast and tranquil as the start and ending of a love…

record all the memories, do not ever forget…
forget the names, people, all gone down their own path
dive into the memories, let the faces be forgotten
dive into the feelings you felt
forget the names, the faces
it was your heart to tremble, your hands to burn
snowflakes melted on your cheeks
your tears were cooler than rains
assume the hope chest left from your grandma
keeps, protects all the memories
get them out at times, spread all around
sometimes under the sun, sometimes under the moon
say, you walked alone under the snowstorms, under the showers
you were alone with your wounds, in the loves like dervishes
my heart, keep what you lived like a treasury
leave the nonexisted people, names
you were the one to talk to winds, sending your regards on them
you were the one in conversations with flowers, trees, birds
you knew how the songs you sang ended
you knew the strength and beating of the waves you jumped in…

heart…
you are bounteous, you know
you were not beaten, you passed through many storms
leave the adjectives to the eternity, let them fly away...

1984

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

MURDERER OF CHILDREN, FLOWERS


Here is the murderer of children. Terrorist PKK member Erdal Polat confessed his crime. It is reported that he is crying in spittles during interrogation and said; "I couldn't guess the explotion will be this big. I am sorry."



FOR THE FALLEN FLOWERS



Engin will not sail to open seas
Eren will not reach and fly with falcons
Rıdvan's courage will not test in battles
Melek will not dance in silks as angels
Ferhat will not pierce mountains
cruelty took lives, they are now fallen flowers..

how many fires
how many massacres
we witnessed in our own teens
how many we entrusted to our tears
how many times dark forces
demand our lives and dreams...




our youth was already gone
sacrifices were done all alone
at times you were not even borne
how many Engin, Eren, Melek, Rıdvan, Ferhat
this country lost, you may not know
yet not in the way evil made your fate blow...


a fireplace this country is
a graveyard of endless sins
hungry for our eyes' greens
blood flowing red from our veins
our souls leaving our bodies
with best songs at our lips...





don't think you are alone children
you have ageless brothers, sisters there
once caught in that treacherous fire
you are now ageless as they are
your names will be carved
faces engraved in minds with care...


children, you are not alone
we were lack of support
parents without power to ask our account
you are the children of a generation
witnessed devastation over devastation
who can't stay without getting even for your blood...



enemy is talented in change as everything else
new scorpions breed at the old lands
seduced by old fickles, past time traitors
new fascists breed betraying the old ideals
don't worry, they are sentenced in our judgements
they are stinging themselves in helpless attempts...



children sail to the seas, fly with falcons
test your skills, dance for hope in silks
in memory of fallen flowers pierce the mountains
a new generation is fallowing your footsteps
donated with unforgettable experiences
listening the tales from their grandparents...

Storm

PEOPLE ALREADY SENTENCED

I received a mail from G only minutes after I wrote "One More to Unforgattables" about the Diyarbakır blast.

G was writing; "... My aim is definitely not to upset you, remind your pains. The Last messages of 17 young men executed during September 12 period are at today's Vatan newspaper. I wanted to inform you thinking you may be interested. With love and greetings. G"

I replied him; "Thank you very much G, it was in my mind too... Anyway, one can't feel upset or pains anymore, only sorrow..."

I was given the video of their last messages in this blog, putting the Diyarbakir blast as "one more to unforgettables" in our memories but disgusting and condemning the responsible; "We get used to these events. We wrote one more to our list of unforgettables. Child murderers can't take place beside the freedom fighters, at the list of honorables. We will not remember them as others...U was not able to talk when I called. His voice was shaking trying to describe the scene. We both murmured once more; "Damn fascims! Where ever it comes from!" It don't differ either if it come from state or from an ethnic group, ethnic nationalists. We know how and who to remember. Five of them executed at this month, January of an endless year... "

One more wounded teenager joined with the martyred yesterday. He was 17, an orphan who worked at constructions whole summer to gain money for the university prep school. When DTP member mayor of Diyarbakir went to visit the mother of the other 17 year old martyr she turned him back saying; "I don't accept your condolence or anything. Leave here!"

There are no photos at newspapers today but I am sure the face of the burned ten year old at hospital will haunt all. He was hardly breathing, eyes fixed to a kind of toy in his hand but in fact to emptiness and all face burned. Who can make these other than monsters? They lost the possibility to call themselves as freedom fighters once more.

23 years old PKK bomber caught yesterday too. PKK and it's propagandists were trying to confuse people's mind as usual. First they described the blast as a show of their power and later, when they saw the powerful reaction of people, they changed language.

HPG issued a statement which Even crows would laugh; "There is a possibility that the explosion in Amed Yenişehir on 3 January 2008, in which a military vehicle carrying lieutenants, including some pilots, was carried out by one of our units' own initiative. We have not received exact information about this operation yet."

There are some comments from their propagandists at the internet; "So the bombing was not carried out on the orders of PKK or with the approval of the leadership. PKK's investigation should find, as far as possible, which city guerrilla unit carried out the bombing and why. Was the unit compromised by the Ankara regime? Or were its members operating strictly out of anger over the US-Turkish bombing of South Kurdistan? We shall see."

A member named Bozan Tekin, apologised to the people of Diyarbakir and said that the attack on a Military vehicle was not centrally planned; “This action was not planned by our Movement. After our investigations it has become clear that a local autonomous group carried out the attack... The death of civilians is increasing our sorrow. Our Movement has never targeted civilians. Anyone who is part of our Movement and with our People, whether independent or not, has never targeted civilians. We want to convey our sadness at the loss of civilian life and apologise to our People."

Come on, are they kidding? Who do they think they are dancing with? Do they think the people of this country are stupid enough to fool by their criminal minds? All the logical people are against them.

At least they should listen Professor Baskın Oran who they supported during the elections. What he said when he visited DTP at the Parliament yesterday; “We are here to support you against Kurdish nationalism too… They put bombs killing children and say ‘We put it for the military bus.’”

The bomber already revealed everything. He, Erdal Polat said he is a member of PKK and trained at Kandil Mountain; "I was targeting a military bus carrying officers. I am sorry that students died in the attack." He caught after his fingerprints were matched to those on the explosive-laden car used in the attack and the banknotes used at buying the car two days before explosion. Police records showed that he was arrested in 2002 on charges of PKK membership and served five months in prison. He was still in Iraq prior to the bombing and crossed into Turkey to carry out the attack.

It is sure that Diyarbakır bombing will be in the “unforgattables” of our minds as Maraş, Çorum, Malatya, Bloody Mayday Massacres, as the bombings of Istanbul University, Anafartalar, Istanbul etc.. But it is also sure that the bomber will not take a honorable place but forgotten in the darkness…

G is right; we lived so many upsetting, painful events. We learned how to interpret the backstage of those events. We learned how to mourn or remember, get our lessons. Whatever PKK and it’s fascists says, however they try to make excuse; they are already sentenced in our minds.

Being sentenced in the minds of people has no similarity with being sentenced by any courts, official institutions or state. It should be remembered that it was not the government’s free will to decide bombing terrorist bases in northern Iraq but people’s pressure on being fed up.

Once you sentenced by the people will, there is no way to prove any rightfulness in your cause. They did’t kill, burned those children, teenager, soldiers but dig a larger hole for their own grave.

They know how to kill, they know how to teach children to kill children but do they know how to die as the ones in our “unforgetables” or at least as the children they train, create murderers and send to death?

No G, I don’t feel upset or pain anymore, only sorrow… sorrow…

Saturday, January 5, 2008

PKK MURDERED AT 17, 18, 19

They were only students yet, waiting the last bell, with their hopes for future, for univercity... Martyred by PKK ethnic nationalist terrorists by a coward bombing in Diyarbakir... Look into their eyes and try to imagine their dreams if you can...









REMEMBER THE DOVE

A Dove's Skittishness in My Soul
"Yes, I can feel myself as restless as a dove but I know that in this country people do not touch and disturb the doves. The doves continue their lives in the middle of the cities.Yes indeed a bit frightened but at the same time free".

Following is the quotes from the last article of Hrant Dink, Turkish-Armenian writer, that appeared on his newspaper Agos the day he was assassinated. Above is the call...


Agos
22/01/2007 Hrant DINK

In the beginning I was not concerned about the investigation initiated by Şişli Public Prosecutor under the pretext "insulting Turkish identity".

This was not for the first time. I was familiar with a similar case from Urfa. I was being prosecuted since three years because of my statement at a conference in Urfa in 2002 where I said that "I was not Turk but an Armenian and a citizen of Turkey" and there was again the accusation of "insulting Turkish identity". I was completely unaware of the trials, I was not interested at all. Some of my lawyer friends from Urfa were dealing with the case in my absence.

I was completely indifferent too when I gave my interrogation to Public Prosecutor in Şişli. In the end I was trusting to my article and my good will. If Public Prosecutor evaluated the whole of the series of my articles and not this single sentence which alone did not make any sense at all, then he would easily understand that I had not an intention of "insulting Turkish identity" and this comedy would end, I thought.

I was completely sure that after the interrogation I would be not be sued at all.

I was sure of myself

But to my surprise, the case came up in court.

Still I didn't lose my optimism. So I even told to lawyer Kerinçsiz who accused me during a live Tv program that "he should not be so eager that I would not be punished due to this case and that in case of punishment I would leave the country." I was sure of myself, I really did not have the will or intention to "insult the Turkish identity". Everyone reading the whole of the series of my articles would understand this.

And indeed the committee of three academicians from Istanbul University who were appointed as experts submitted a report to the court revealing this understanding.

I had no reason to be concerned, in this or that stage of the case this mistake would be erased.


While remaining patient

But it wasn't erased.

The Public Prosecutor wanted to penalize me despite the positive report of the expert committee.

Then the judge gave me six months imprisonment.

When I first heard the verdict I found myself under the bitter pressure of my hope that I kept during all the months of trial. I was stupefied... I was hurt and the feeling of rebellion reached its climax.

"Let's wait the verdict, let them prove me not-guilty, then you will regret all that you talked and written about" I had told myself for months just to hold on.

During each hearing of the court there were statements published in the news and columns of the newspapers and broadcast in the TV-programs claiming that I said "Turkish blood is poisonous."

Each time I got more popular as an "enemy of the Turk".

At the corridors of the Law Courts fascists were attacking me with racist curses.

They were humiliating me with pancards. Hunderds of threats via e-mail, phone calls an letters were pouring down and they were incresing day by day in number.

I was bearing all this and remainig patient with the expectation of verdict of not-guilty.

When the verdict was declared, the reality would be understood and all these people would be ashamed.

My only weapon is my sincerity

But now the verdict was there and all my hopes were lost.

From that time on, I was in the most embarrassing situation a man can experience.

The judge gave the decision in the name of "Turkish people" and legally registered that I had "insulted Turkish identity".

I could bear everything but not this.

In my view, to humiliate people who we live together on the basis of an ethnic or religious difference is called racism and this is something unforgivable.

Just under the influence of such a psychology, I told to the members of the press who were waiting for me at the door to check "whether I would leave the country or not" the following statement:

"I will consult my lawyers. I will go to the Court of Appeal for cassation and if necessary I will also apply to European Court of Human Rights. If I am not acquitted at any stage, then I will leave my country. Because in my understanding a person sentenced to punishment with such an accusation does not have the right to live with other citizens whom he has humiliated."

As I said this all, I was emotional as always. My only weapon was my sinceretiy.

A bad joke

But the deep force determinant as it was to alienate me and to turn me to an open target found again a pretext to my statement and this time sued me stating that I was trying to effect the jurisdiction. This explanation was published and broadcast in all means of media but only the one in Agos drew their attention. This time responsibles of Agos and I began to be sued under the pretext of effecting the jurisdiction.

It should be a bad joke.

I am a defendant. Who else should have more right to effect the jurisdiction rather than a defendant?

But look at the comedy, that this time the defendant is once again sued as to effect the juridiction.

'In the name of Turkish State'

I have to admit that my confidence to the "justice system" and to the concept of "law" was shaken to a large extent.

It meant that the jurisiction was not independent as many state officers and politicians dared to say.

Jurisdiction did not defend the rights of the citizen but the State.

In fact I was totally sure that even if it was said that the decision was taken in the name of the people, it was actually taken in the name of the State. My lawyers would apply to Court of Appeal but who could guarantee that deep forces would not be effective there again as determinant as they were to make me down? And were all the decisions of the Court of Appeal right indeed?

Was it not the same Court of Appeal having signed the unjust decisions confiscating the real estates of the Minority Foundations?

Despite the efforts of the Attorney General

We applied indeed but did it make sense at all?

.....The diary and memory of my computer is full of messages from citizens of this circle full of rage and threats.

(Let me note that I regarded one among them posted from Bursa as a close threat and submitted it to Public Prosecutor's office in Şişli but got no result.)

To what extent are these threats real and to what extent unreal? In fact it is impossible for me to know this.

What is the real threat and what is unbearable for me is the psychological torture of myself.

What I have always in my mind is the following question: "What do these people now think of me?"

Unfortunately I am more popular nowadays and feel the look of the people telling each other: "Look, isn't it that Armenian?"

And just as a reflexaction, I start to torture myself.

One side of this torture is curiousity, the other uneasiness.

One side is caution the other side is skittishness.

I am like a dove...

Like a dove I have my eyes everywhere, in front of me, at the back, on the left, on the right.

My head is as moving as the one of a dove... And fast enough to turn in an instance.

Just look at the price... This is the price

What did Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gül say? What did Minister of Justice Cemil Çiçek say?

"The issue of Article 301 should not be exagerrated. Is there someone found guilty and sent to prison?"

As if paying a price always means going to prison...

Just look at the price... This is the price...Do you know Ministers what a price it is to imprison someone to the skittishness of a dove?.. Do you know it?..

Don't you look at the doves at all?...

The thing they call "life and death"

What I all experienced was not an easy process... Neither for me nor for my family.

There were times when I seriously thought about leaving the country.

Especially at moments when the threats focused the ones close to me...

At that point I always remained helpless.

What they call "life and death" should be such a thing actually. I could be the warrior of my own will but I had no right of exposing the life of near relations to danger. I could be my own hero but I had no right to reveal courage at the expense of another person let alone a kin.

Just at these helpless moments I found shelter around my family and children. I found the greatest support from them. They were trusting me.

There would be together with me wherever I went.

They would come when I said "Let's go" and stay when I said "Let's stay."

To stay and resist

But if we go, where then?

To Armenia?

But to what extent could a person like me tolarete the injustice as intolerant as I am at this issue? Wouldn't I find myself in greater troubles there?

To go and live in European countries wasn't my style either.

I know myself. After three days abroad, I miss my country. What should I do there?

Ease makes me uneasy!

To leave "boiling hells" and go to "ready heavens" was against my understanding.

We were sort of people desiring to turn hell to heaven.

To stay and live in Turkey was our real wish and and also a must of respect towards all of our known and unknown friends giving the struggle of democracy in Turkey and supporting us.

We would stay and resist.

However if someday we had to go, then we would go like in 1915... like our ancestors... Without knowing where to go.... Walking on the roads they had walked.... Feeling their pain and agony...

With such a reproach we would leave our country. And we would not go to the place of our heart but where our feet went. To whatever place it was.

Frightened and Free

I hope that we are never obliged toexperience such an abandonment. We have enough hope and reasons not to live such a thing.

Now I am applying to European Court of Human Rights.

I don't know how many years this case will take.

What I know and what relieves me to some extent is the fact that at least I will continue to live in Turkey until this case comes to an end.

When a positive verdict is declared I will surely be happier and then this will mean that I will never have to leave my country.

Probably the year 2007 will be a more difficult year for me.
Trials will continue, new cases will came up in court. Who knows which kind of injustice I will encounter.

But while this all will happen, I will regard the following fact as my guarantee.

Yes, I can feel myself as restless as a dove but I know that in this country people do not touch and disturb the doves.

The doves continue their lives in the middle of the cities.

Yes indeed a bit frightened but at the same time free.(