Kuwait's Suffragettes

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  1. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    Kuwait's Suffragettes
    Muslim women seize the chance to claim their rights.

    BY DANIEL HENNINGER
    Friday, March 11, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST

    Events in the Middle East since Iraq's historic January 30 election have come in such a torrent that it is hard to find firm footing to see it all clearly. Those of us who followed the period after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall recall how opposition groups and demonstrations sprouted from barren political earth to oppose Communist governments across Eastern Europe. Something similar to this process of freedom finding new life seems to be happening now around the Middle East, and arguably one of the most important new growths bloomed this week not just in Beirut but in Kuwait City. The outburst there is on behalf of 50% of the nation's population--its women.

    All this week, hundreds of women have been demonstrating outside the Kuwaiti parliament building where the all-male legislature is debating a bill that would give women the right to vote and stand in elections. Kuwait's women have tried 10 times since 1971 to secure suffrage in a nation whose politics has been dominated historically by Islamicists and tribal groups. Sheikha Al-Nasif, head of the Kuwait Cultural and Social Women's Society, said the "time for bargains, delay and excuses is over. We must get our rights now."

    Meanwhile, in Washington this week, women from 15 Muslim nations met at the State Department with Laura Bush, and the subject, as it tends to be with the Bushes these days, was freedom. "The vote in Afghanistan," Mrs. Bush said, "was especially sweet for women who had the chance to finally banish their Taliban oppressors."

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/dhenninger/?id=110006400
     

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