Iraqi Film-maker describes the female experience in Iraq today

Because it's such a neglected issue and seldom spoke of in the new Iraq, I want to bring some attention to the following article in the Guardian. Women are the newly repressed lot in the new Iraq. Never before have women been so crushed there. And their plight be told by "Zeina" in a new film...

The film-maker, who lives in Baghdad, wants to keep her identity secret because she fears reprisals, so I'll call her Zeina. When I spoke to her by telephone, the first first thing I asked her was why it is that she feels she has to hide her identity, and in her answer she does not distinguish between the government and the insurgents, in the way that we are taught to do here. "I feel the threat from the government and from the sectarian militias," she says. "The danger in Iraq comes from the Americans, from the sectarian militias - and, of course, it also comes from the crime, the gangs, the random kidnappings."

She decided she wanted to make this film because the things she saw every day were not being seen by the outside world. "No one sees what we are going through. All Iraqis are psychologically traumatised by what is happening. I have seen an eight-year old child who has involuntary tremors, whenever she hears an aeroplane or sees soldiers. I have seen families displaced. I have seen women forced into prostitution because of the poverty of their families."

Zeina was not a supporter of Saddam Hussein's regime. During his rule, she worked as a journalist and a translator of literary criticism. "Politically, before the war, I was not happy," she says. "So many things were not right. We had no freedom of speech, no freedom of expression. But I never imagined the change would be this way, so bad. I never imagined that at all."

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