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#DaughtersOfTheNation: Voices From the First Ever Women’s March in Iraq

February 15, 2020
Women take part in a protest in Tahrir Square. AP Photo

“In the history of Iraq, this is the first time women go out and participate in such large numbers in protests, ” Ban Layla, 30 year-old Iraqi protestor and anthropology graduate, tells Egyptian Streets, “We are here to mark our role and challenge the misogynistic culture that looks at us as though we are from a lower degree.” Last Thursday, hundreds of Iraqi women took to the streets of central Baghdad and shared pictures on social media with the hashtag ‘#DaughtersOfTheNation’ (#بناتك_ياوطن). They carried Iraqi flags and poster signs defending their role in the revolution, chanting “your voice is not ‘awra (nakedness), your voice is the key to every revolution.” https://twitter.com/IrfaaSawtak/status/1227958945320439810 However, shortly before the announcement of the women’s march on social media, Iraqi Shia cleric and military leader Muqtada Al-Sadr slammed it on Twitter, saying it symbolizes “nudity, promiscuity, drunkenness, immorality, and debauchery…” adding that “Iraq will never be Chicago.” Al-Sadr is the son of one of Iraq’s most prominent Shia clerics, Mohamed al-Sadr. Following the US-led invasion in 2003, he rose in a power vacuum that allowed Iran to form an alliance with and establish influence in the country….

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