Baghdad Burning Essay

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The Value of Independence and Free-Thinking The Iraq war and the subsequent United States occupation of the country brought dramatic change in the lives’ of the Iraqi people, especially those who lived in Baghdad. The women in this area were particularly affected as fundamental Islamic principles grew within their country. Riverbend, in her blog Baghdad Burning, discusses the ways in which women’s lives were impacted by the occupation. Through her descriptions and the contrasts of life for women before and after the war, the reader finds that Riverbend greatly values her independence. Before the war and subsequent occupation, women were able to travel around Baghdad on their own with relative ease. Riverbend was able to go to work and to the store by herself; she could freely move about the city on her own time table with little fear. After the war, however, Riverbend says that she “feels like [Iraqis] have gone back 50 years... [because now] a woman, or girl, out alone” is not safe (Riverbend 16). In order to leave the house, a woman now needed to find male family members to accompany her and then determine when they “[had] some extra time on their hands” and could go with her (Riverbend 229). A woman was thus entirely at the mercy of men; if they could not go out, neither could she. Riverbend consistently expresses that this “situation is incredibly frustrating to females” because they can no longer function without depending on other people (Riverbend 17). Her discouragement demonstrates what she values; she holds her independence and her ability to function on her own, in high esteem. When these things are taken away from her, she gets extremely disheartened. Not only does Riverbend value her independence, she also believes that it is very important for individuals to think for themselves. Before the war, “it didn’t really matter” whether or not a woman wore

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