Sunday, June 25, 2006

So Despondent She Contemplated Killing Herself Along With Her Seven-Year-Old Son

Iraq's sectarian violence leaves widows to suffer
By Terri Judd
Published: 24 June 2006

When Wadah Abid al-Emear feared his meeting would overrun, he asked his wife to go ahead of him to prepare for Eid.

The couple planned to leave Baghdad and head back to her Kurdish home town of Shaklawa for the celebrations. Hours later, as he followed behind, Mr Emear, 42, was dragged from his car by insurgents, tortured, mutilated and murdered - his body left at the roadside.

Today Dunea Ramez, 31, sits alone in what was her husband's favourite room of the house he designed himself. The windows are enlarged to give the best view of the mountains he adored. Clad in black and leading a now isolated life, she has at times been so despondent she contemplated killing herself along with her seven-year-old son, Kefah.

She is still not entirely sure what the motive was behind her husband's death. The family believes Baathist insurgents were responsible but, like so many murders in Iraq today, the killers have never been found.

Yesterday afternoon a group of Iraqi women held a silent vigil to mark International Widow's Day on the steps of St Martin in the Fields at Trafalgar Square in London.

The protest is designed to highlight the plight of countless widows in Iraq and demand an end to violence by the occupying forces and sectarian insurgents, as well as to win public financial support for women and children left without income.


With exact figures for the number of Iraqi casualties still mired in confusion, Mrs Ramez is just one of tens of thousands of widows created by the current conflict in a country which had already lost many husbands and fathers in previous wars.


When Saddam Hussein was deposed, the family returned to the capital so he could restart his political career, becoming a member in the new parliament.

"I said to her, 'Are you not afraid for your life; for your child's life?' But she said: 'If my husband would be in danger I would like to be with him.' She is a brave woman," said Dr Besarani.


Unlike many of his fellow political leaders, he loathed the thought of the fortified Green Zone and his family lived modestly in Baghdad. When her husband's working hours became too long, Mrs Ramez would take Kefah to the office so he could see his son.

"Wadah was one of these courageous people who always stood up in parliament and spoke about the right things. He was very determined Iraq one day would be a very beautiful place to live," said Dr Besarani.


Nevertheless, life for her has ended. Even her seven-year-old son understands that a woman's place is nothing without a man and he tries naïvely to introduce her to strangers, much to her embarrassment.

Even in her own home she must always wear black and knows she will suffer the wrath of militants if she disobeys. The few hours a week she emerges are to teach but she has been told she must give up her job.

"A woman with no man is like a tree without any water in Iraq at the moment. You cannot relax, you cannot go out, you cannot wear make-up. She must wear black," said Dr Besarani. "When she heard she would have to give up her job, she said it was another isolation.

"She hates the invasion, she hates everything. She cannot enjoy any life. Seven months ago she said to me, 'I am going to kill myself and my child'. She is better now but life is still difficult, unbearable."

Source: UK Independent.


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