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Iraq descends into clericalism and barbarism

Unknown | 26.06.2007 10:41 | Gender | Repression | Workers' Movements

Gay Iraqi human rights activist reveals that for most Iraqis, life is now worse than it was under Saddam.

Iraqi gay human rights activist, Ali Hili, reveals that for most
ordinary Iraqis, life is now worse than under Saddam Hussein's brutal
misrule. Watch his Talking with Tatchell interview here:

Saddam was a tyrant. It is good that he is gone. But since the
American and British-led invasion in 2003, a once prosperous nation
has been reduced to chaos, impoverishment and terror. Homophobia,
sexism and religious intolerance are spiralling out of control.

Despite Iraq's immense oil wealth, mass unemployment and poverty are
now the norm. In many regions, public utilities and welfare provision
have collapsed.

Although many Iraqis are attempting to forge a peaceful, democratic
future, much of the country is blighted by prejudice, war, mob rule,
witch-hunts and sectarian violence. Most people live in a state of
permanent insecurity and fear.

Suicide bombings, assassinations and death squad killings are daily
occurrences. Some of this indiscriminate violence is perpetrated by
foreign al-Qaida terrorists and by Sunni insurgents, including
loyalists to Saddam's now defunct Baathist regime.

But many of the killers are linked to leading Shia parties in the
western-backed Iraqi government, in particular to the Supreme Council
for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and its armed wing, the Badr
militia. Other killers belong to the Mahdi Army, the militia loyal to
firebrand fundamentalist cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr.

Both these Shia militias have instituted a reign of terror, often
aided and abetted by Iran. Despite their differences, Sadr and Badr
share the common goal of establishing an Islamist dictatorship.

Under their brutal, perverse interpretation of Islam, Sunni Muslims
and other religious minorities face harsh persecution; as do women
who refuse to wear the veil and who refuse to submit to male
domination. Also targeted by the Sadr and Badr killers are lesbian
and gay people, women who have sex outside of marriage, and anyone
who wears jeans or shorts or who listens to western music. Having a
stylish haircut, drinking alcohol or wearing jewellery can get you
branded as an "infidel" and result in a bullet in the back of the

Saddam was evil. But even under his savage regime everyday life and
personal relationships were never subjected to such extreme moral
policing and violent repression. In particular, for women and gay
people, and for Muslims who follow the "wrong" interpretation of
Islam, the clock is being turned back to the Dark Ages.

Ali Hili is director of Iraqi LGBT.

For more information about his work and that of Iraqi LGBT:


Please consider making a donation to help Iraqi LGBT continue its
vital work providing refuge to gays and lesbians fleeing death

Ali Hili 079 819 594 53

To view the programme, click on this link:


Talking With Tatchell is broadcast every Friday night at 8.30pm on
the internet TV channel,

Previous programmes are permanently archived. Type "Tatchell" into
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Postscript: although not mentioned above, I am given to understand that summary executions by various forces of Iraqi Trade Union officials, many of whom are fighting to defend the rights of Iraq's oppressed oil workers various forces, is now escalating.