Article Overview:   Women suicide bombers?   Is that the role of Mothers of Vigilance?  Are Iraqi mothers Mothers of Vigilance or Mothers of Violence?   What do Iraqi mothers want for their children?  What did Lysistrata want for her children back in Ancient Greece?   Is there a way to turn war into peace?  Find out.


Sunday--March 16, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 550
Women Suicide Bombers March In Iraq:  Protest War

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, Mar. 16--Iraqi women are protesting the impending war with America by blowing themselves up—at least, telling the world they will when and if America attacks their country.
        Thirty women suicide bombers led a protest parade in Baghdad yesterday.  They were dressed in black and had TNT strapped on their chests, ready to run into American positions and blow themselves and the "infidels" to hell

Women soldiers in Iraq

      They are called "Saddam's fedayeen," which means "men of sacrifice."  Only in this case, the masculinity has shifted to femininity.  The women are part of an elite group of an estimated 30,000-40,000 young soldiers rabidly loyal to Saddam. 
      Saddam’s older son, Uday, formed the “fedayeen” group in 1996.  They are called, Saddam's Martyrs.  (Saddam currently pays $25,000 to the surviving families of Palestinian suicide bombers).
       The fedayeen’s primary mission has been to quash any domestic uprising.   Some liken them to Hitler's brownshirts, and the Nazi's SS.  However, with the war looming, they are turning into human kamikazes. 

Iraqi women protesting their misery

       Yesterday, Saddam ordered tens of thousands of his troops to march through the country, rallying both domestic and international support against the U.S.  Political pundits say he is counting on world opinion to thwart the American/British invasion before it starts, and for back up, to motivate the Iraqi people to defend Baghdad once it does.  And then, just to add icing to his cake, to twist the plot once it starts to make America look like the “evil empire” it is trying to crush.
        The "men (and women) of sacrifice" are vital pawns in Saddam’s chess game of pre-violence.   Yesterday, many of the men wore white during the march.  The white represented a shroud of death and symbolizing their willingness to die.

Part of the Iraqi Feyadeen, Saddam's Martyrs

        Other fedayeen, according to U.S. News and World Report The Bulletin (link to story), were dressed in American and British uniforms.   Saddam has ordered thousands of uniforms made down to the last U.S. and British detail.  The Bulletin reports: "to have Saddam's men, posing as Western invaders, slaughter Iraqi citizens while the cameras roll for Al-Jazeera and the credulous Arab press."
        News media moguls are calling the U.S.-Iraq showdown a "Mesopotamian Stalingrad," likening the potential Battle For Baghdad to the millions of Russians who staved off Germany's attack on Stalingrad in World War II.
         Part of Saddam’s rally yesterday was a counter offensive to American psychological units that have been bombing Iraqi soldiers with tens of thousands of leaflets from Central Command headquarters in Qatar.  One such leaflet reads.  "Leave now. Go home.  Watch your children learn, grow and prosper."

Iraqi children dressing up as suicide bombers

         The U.S. is hoping the bulk of Saddam's 300,000 regular troops, still reeling from the sting of the 1991 Gulf War, will surrender once the invasion starts.  But little hope is held for the fedayeen to capitulate.
         The Arabic News (link) reports the people in Iraq view America's invasion as not a war of liberation against a tyrant, but a Crusade, religiously based to destroy Islam.  In a Kerbala cafe, the following was reported: “America is the enemy of Islam, not the enemy of the government,” said Ahmed, a shopkeeper sipping a cup of tea. “If the Americans come they will take the abaya (veil) off our women. We will not accept this. Death would be better,” said Ghazi Husseini. The government daily, Al-Jumhouriya, reported that:  "This aggression will be stillborn ... thanks to the unity of the people and its faith in emblematic leader Saddam Hussein who will lead it to victory."

Suicide bombers march in Iraqi parade

       Promoting suicide bombers is not necessarily an act of unity as it is one of desperation.
         In Vietnam, the V.C. often sent such suicide bombers, including women.   They also went a step farther.   Occasionally, then sent children running toward you with satchel charges on their backs.
         As the pudding of war thickens, its insanity does also.   Two forces erupt as the grains of war drip through the neck of the hourglass.  One grain screams to fight to the death; the other begs to surrender.
         War, unfortunately, offers no middle ground.


Pro Saddam Rally in Baghdad

        There is no wriggle room once bullets fly.   You are baptized with the first bullet as either enemy or ally, friend or foe.   The quandary exists, of course, for the non-combatants--to whom do they pledge their loyalty?  Do they surrender to the "infidels," the Western occupying force?  Or, do they fight to the last man and woman to support a leader who uses his bootheel and thumb to squash any who oppose him?
         I wouldn't want to be in the vice the Iraqi’s will face.
         No one would.
         The most troubling factor, of course, is the suicide vow made by the women of Saddam’s Martyrs.   History, however, has other ways to solve war than suicide.
         Back in history, Greek playwright Aristophanes wrote Lysistrata.   It was an anti-war play in which Athenian women, fed up with the Peloponnesian War, barricade themselves in the Acropolis and go on a sex strike, refusing to sleep with their husbands until they stop fighting with Sparta.

Women have the power of Peace over War

         Lysistrata means "releaser of war."   To achieve peace, the women chose to use the future of the children as their “suicide bomb.”  By refusing men sex, they not only stopped them from immediate gratification, but they threatened the extinction of their lineage.   No sex meant, in effect, genocide.  It meant no sons, no daughters.  It meant the end of civilization.  
         There is a far more startling shock to the senses when one looks into an empty future, one with no children, no grandchildren, no great grandchildren.
         Violence comes in many forms.  One of the most devastating is subtle violence, the kind Lysistrata illustrated, for it held a threat of no future.  
        Despotism means “no future” for the children.   By his nature, the despotic ruler denies a child access to freedoms that make the individual able to “grow and prosper” in society, and replaces the right of freedom with Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
        I would have preferred to see Saddam Hussein issue a “no sex” proclamation, telling his people that anyone who doesn’t fight can’t have sex.   At least he would be using the emptiness of the future as a club, and not the rewards of suicide in the present.   Killing the womb of the future is not a sign of strength; it is a waste of resources.
          The leaflets dropped by the U.S. focus on that issue:  "Go home.  Watch your children learn, grow and prosper.”
          I believe the ultimate goal of any war, if there is good that comes from blood, is that the children have the right to achieve the three things spelled out on those leaflets--to learn, to grow, to prosper.
          In the Arabic News, the quote from the shopkeeper feared that Americans would come and rip the veils off the women.    I wish the quote had been from a woman rather than from a man.   It might have made some impact on me, since it is the men who demand the women be veiled.

Women are Leaders of Vigilance not Violence

          I can't imagine U.S. troops charging through Iraq ripping off women's veils, but I can imagine women ripping them off once they feel safe they will not be beaten if they do..
          This goes to the heart of Lysistrata.    Women have the power of peace over war when they elect to stand up against war's oppression..
          When women stand up for the safety and security of the Children, they do not strap on suicide bombs.
          Instead, they become leaders.
          They lead the Sentinels of Vigilance to the front lines, and transform into Parents and Loved One's of Vigilance.   They face Fear with Courage, Intimidation with Conviction, and take Right Actions for the benefit of the Children's Children's Children rather than fall victim to Complacency.

Women can be the front-line assault for promoting Parents of Vigilance

          Women understand the world of Terrorism better than most men, for they are witness to it after the fact.  For example, a number of Terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center left notes for their mothers and wives, symbols of their sadness, tears of their souls to be held in trust by the women who mourn the loss of their loved ones.
           Women see the waste of war, as Lysistrata did hundreds of years ago.
           They know that killing themselves is not the solution.

Iraqi Mother Of Vigilance tending her child

            I am not a believer that the vast majority of Iraqi women wish to destroy themselves.
           A few, perhaps, but not the vast majority.
           Instead, I believe they want to become Mothers of Vigilance, and to be there for their children who have the right to learn, the right to grow, the right to prosper.
          Hopefully, when the smoke clears, that right will be theirs, including the right to either keep wearing their veils or take them off.
 The Mothers of Iraq are Mothers of Vigilance, not Mothers of Violence.


Mar. 15--Muffling Vigilance In The Wilderness of Complacency

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