Olivia Ward, writing in the Toronto Star, says two images stick vividly in her mind. One is the sight of a hooded crucifixion-style photo of an Iraqi prisoner, his arms outstretched, electrical wires dangling from his fingers, the other is a smiling George Bush on the deck of an aircraft carrier, one thumb raised in triumph beneath a banner reading, “Mission Accomplished.” Over the years thousands have died, miliions have fled and Muslim groups have killed one another as well as any innocent civilians who have gotten in their way. She notes that Canada never got caught up in the fight for Iraq but stood aside with a detached air of concern and wonderment at what was going on in that far off land.
However, Ms. Ward points out pror to the invasion Iraqi women enjoyed access to a modern existence in which they could work at any job and in their own homes, people enjoyed an exciting intellectual existence. Now, religious fundamentalism has compelled women to wear the hijab and they are afraid to engage in many business enterprises that once provided them with a decent income. “The Iraq that is emerging will not be a woman friendly place, and it won’t be oblivious to differences of faith” since most Christians have fled.