Corey Flintoff. Farah al-Jaberi holds her protest sign outside the Green Zone checkpoint that leads to Iraq's parliament. Her sign says, "From the American to the [female] Parliament employee — either no clothes, or the American prisons. This is the way Farah al-Jaberi says women are seen by an electronic security scanner at one of the checkpoints entering Baghdad's Green Zone — essentially naked, even when they are fully covered in conservative Muslim attire. A conservatively dressed Iraqi matron holding a provocative sign and a picture of a naked woman stood against the dusty concrete blast wall outside the main checkpoint where Iraqi workers enter and leave Baghdad's Green Zone. It's almost impossible for us, as Americans, to grasp just how shocking this was. First, you have to consider that for Farah al-Jaberi, an observant Muslim woman, conservative attire doesn't mean a tailored pantsuit; it means full hijab: a headscarf that conceals her hair and throat, topped by a head-to-foot abaya, a black drapery that's designed to obscure any hint of a womanly shape underneath. That this lady would be holding up a picture in public that revealed, well, every feature of a woman's shape, was striking to say the least.
Most of the coverage of abuse at Abu Ghraib has focused on male detainees. But what of the five women held in the jail, and the scores elsewhere in Iraq? The scandal at Abu Ghraib prison was first exposed not by a digital photograph but by a letter. In December , a woman prisoner inside the jail west of Baghdad managed to smuggle out a note. Its contents were so shocking that, at first, Amal Kadham Swadi and the other Iraqi women lawyers who had been trying to gain access to the US jail found them hard to believe. The note claimed that US guards had been raping women detainees, who were, and are, in a small minority at Abu Ghraib. Several of the women were now pregnant, it added. The women had been forced to strip naked in front of men, it said. The note urged the Iraqi resistance to bomb the jail to spare the women further shame.
May 28, The pictures would horrify anyone: hooded US soldiers raping and torturing naked Iraqi women at gunpoint. But for Farah al-Azzawi, these blurry photos burn with agony and shame. Azzawi is part of a secret sisterhood: her mother is one of three women inside Abu Ghraib, the notorious prison where US soldiers took smiling snapshots of themselves sadistically humiliating Iraqis. That's why some anonymous ill-wisher slipped a newspaper with the rape photos on the front page under her front door. The pictures in the paper are fakes, bad copies lifted from a porn website and now ricocheting around the Internet.
Updated October 24, Hedar Abbas Abadi once painted portraits in Saddam Hussein's palace, but today he's much more comfortable in his paint-splashed garage. Although he considers his career a form of child's play, Abadi is a respected artist. Since fleeing Iraq in — first for Jordan then Australia — he has exhibited his works internationally and won several awards. The artworks are unusual in subject, as well as style. Save Our Fish From Drowning features surrealist, almost sensual figures that are part fish, part female — not exactly what one expects from an Iraqi-born Muslim. Concerned more with his craft than the religious optics, Abadi believes the human form shouldn't be taboo.