FADED CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O TOOK TO CELEBRITY COUNSELOR RYAN SEACREST TO EXPLAIN THE NATION'S BIGGEST CONCERN.
"I'VE BEEN UNFAIRLY MALIGNED ABOUT MY JEANS," WHIMPERED STARLET BARRY O. "THE TRUTH IS, GENERALLY I LOOK VERY SHARP IN JEANS."
IN AN ATTEMPT TO CHEER UP BARRY O, RYAN IMMEDIATELY STARTED SINGING:
WHAT DO THEY MAKE DREAMS FOR
WHEN YOU GOT THEM JEANS ON
WHAT DO WE NEED STEAM FOR
YOU THE HOTTEST BITCH IN THIS PLACE
WIPING HIS TEARS AWAY, A GRACIOUS BARRY O MOUTHED "THANK YOU SO MUCH."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Last Saturday, Iraqi women protested in Baghdad against Nouri al-Maliki's proposed bill which would allow father's to marry off daughters as young as nine-years-old, strip away the need for consent to sex, and would strip custodial rights from mothers. The US press has worked overtime to ignore the protest and the bill Nouri's sent to Parliament. Today, it finally got some attention in the US press.
Lauren Cox (Hollywood Life) notes the bill and a detail everyone else (including me) has missed:
Iraq is seriously considering passing a new law called Jaafari Personal Status Law which would allow girls as young as 8-years-old to legally marry. The law itself actually reads girls age 9, but because Iraq follows the lunar Islamic calendar their age 9 actually equals the age of 8 years and 8 months. The law also mentions this is the same age that girls reach puberty. Is this their justification for allowing such young girls to be forced into marriage?
Making matters even worse, the same reads that a husband can have sex with his wife with or without her consent. This means that if an 8-year-old gets married, she could raped by her husband and it would not be illegal.
Cheryl K. Chumley (Washington Times) adds, "One more aspect of the proposal that’s angered many: It only gives the father -- not the mother or female guardian -- the right to refuse to accept a marriage proposal." Brittany Greenquist (RYOT News) observes, "Sadly, the law doesn’t stop with child brides and marital rape, it also adds increased restrictions to a woman’s ability to leave her house, and would make it easier for men to have more than one wife."
The Associated Press' Sameer N. Yacoub and Sinan Salaheddin offer a lengthy report which includes: "Also under the proposed measure, a husband can have sex with his wife regardless of her consent. The bill also prevents women from leaving the house without their husband's permission, would restrict women's rights in matters of parental custody after divorce and make it easier for men to take multiple wives."
Many outlets are carrying the AP report including Huffington Post, The Australian, The Daily Beast, WA Today, Savannah Morning News, San Francisco Chronicle, the Seattle Times, News 24, Daily Inter Lake, the Scotland Herald, Sydney Morning Herald, Singapore Today, the Irish Independent, The Scotsman, Lebanon's Daily Star, The Belfast Telegraph and Canada's CBC. UPI covers the issue by noting Felicity Arbuthnot's article from earlier in the week.
The bill is illegal by the Iraqi Constitution. It's offensive and offensive to the world. The brave Iraqi women who protested Saturday deserved and deserve support.
Nouri's asked his flunkies to stage rallies in support of the illegal bill.
As the West remained silent.
Nouri had the most success in Najaf on Wednesday when nearly a hundred women demonstrated in favor of this offensive bill while about 40 demonstrated in Basra. The women were mocked -- and deserved to be, let's not pretend otherwise -- and ridiculed in Arabic social media. Which may be why all the efforts that followed had poor turnout. Iraq Times notes a little over a dozen women turned out in Maysan today to insist the bill be turned into a law, close to 30 women turned out in Dhi Qar and a little over 20 turned out in Baghdad today whining for their rights and their daughters rights to be stripped away.
If you put it all together, the numbers from today with the numbers earlier in the week, you still don't have even half as many women as turned out to protest the law in Baghdad.
But that Nouri could scare up these 'support rallies' at all?
That goes to the refusal of the Western media to cover this issue and to make it clear that it was illegal and unacceptable.
Marie Harf is a US State Dept spokesperson. She presided over today's press briefing (yes, State finally gave a briefing on Friday). Said Arikat, Al Quds bureau chief, raised the issue of the proposed law.
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.
Said Arikat: Are you aware of a law that allows parent – fathers or guardians to marry off their 9-year-old girls?
MS. HARF: Yes.
Said Arikat: And what is your comment on that?
MS. HARF: This is a draft law. We understand that this draft law, which I think several high-level Iraqi political and religious leaders have publicly condemned and claim violates the rights of Iraqi women – has been sent to the council of representatives for consideration. We absolutely share the strong concerns of the UN mission in Iraq, which has noted that this law risks constitutionally protected rights for women. The draft law I think is pending before the parliament right now. It would require three readings before a vote could take place, so we’ll obviously be watching the debate closely and welcome a parliamentary process that ensures the rights of all Iraqis, including women, are fully protected in line with its constitution.
And I would also note that some women’s groups, some human rights NGOs, have also condemned the draft law as a significant step backwards for women’s rights in Iraq.
When a group in a country is being targeted, if the world rallies to call it out, it can have an impact. By the same token, silence only endorses and embraces the targeting. Human Rights Watch deserves strong credit for weighing in earlier this week with "Iraq: Don’t Legalize Marriage for 9-Year-Olds." Suadad al-Salhy and Reuters reports deserve credit for being the only Western outlet to grasp last Sautrday this was serious and news. (Yes, I know AFP's Prashant Rao spent Saturday attempting to get a copy of the bill's text in writing. I know it, so what? AFP didn't report on it -- because Prashant couldn't get a written copy of the bill. al-Salhy and Reuters did report on the issue. So we applaud them. No applause for AFP and they should be glad that it's been too busy of a week for me to connect this to all the other silences on Iraqi women from AFP.) Iraqi media covered it and deserves credit for that. Rudaw took it seriously and did at least three stories by Tuesday on this issue so they deserve applause as well.
And we'll again note and applaud the United Nations Secretary-General's special envoy in Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, for his Tweet last Saturday:
I'll certainly applaud the ones who showed up today.
But there should have been a lot more and it's really sad that the State Dept can't make a statement on it until they're asked about it.
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