Today I write of the plight of the Iraqi woman. Her story has been lost in this war, as with women in other wars.
But her face is in every nightly newscast, in every newspaper, in every online report.
The Iraqi woman has no name, but her heart is enflamed with the fires of agony.
Today I write of the Iraqi woman who has suffered for the last 16 years. From the young mother who buries her deformed child in a grave on the outskirts of Basra to the woman who watches as her five-year-old dies because the best hospitals in Baghdad do not have the facilities nor the medicines to treat juvenile diabetes, leukemia, and Depleted Uranium-related afflictions.
Today I write of the Iraqi woman who watched as her husband sold the window frames of their home and the furniture to procure enough money to buy the daily staples for sustenance.
Today I write of the Iraqi woman who sold all her jewelry and gold which she received and wore on her wedding night so many years ago.
So many years ago.
What am I, a man, to tell her?
I write of the Iraqi woman whose son was returned to her in a wooden box from the battlefront with Iran, morsels of his flesh collected off the sands.
And the Iraqi woman in that house behind the walls covered in black banners announcing the death of another shaheed.
She watched as her daughters beat themselves and as her sisters cried. She tore her clothes off and ran half-naked in the streets, her neighbors watching in silence, but then rushing after her to cover her.
What can you use to cover her pain? It is naked and obscene, her pain. Her suffering is unearthed, unbitten, uncovered.
Today I write of the Iraqi woman who does not know where her brother is, having disappeared all those years ago. Or the young Iraqi woman whose youth is but a faint memory tarnished on her mirror in the bedroom where she made love to her husband before he went off to war.
Is he a prisoner of war? Did he die? Was his body utterly destroyed? What does this woman feel?
Today I write of the Iraqi woman who watched as her father was brutally removed from the living room as she stood by, petrified, fearful, wondering who these bad men were who treated her abuyi so disrespectfully?
What could her five-year-old mind possibly know?
Today I write of the Iraqi woman whose brother was kidnapped because his name was Omar. Today I write of the Iraqi woman whose cousin was kidnapped because his name was Ali.
Today I write of the Iraqi woman, you know her face, you see its wailing countenance as she is bent, misshapen over the motionless body of her child in the morgue.
Or the woman wearing her 3abaya screaming at the camera asking "Where are the Arabs?", asking "Where is God?", "Where is honor?".
Today I write of the Iraqi woman who was raped by 10 US soldiers, each paying $50 to violate this 15-year-old girl taken to jail because her father was a suspect. Her honor. Her body. Her life. Her God. Her future.
I write of her as she ties a rope around her neck and steps down. I write of her as her neck snaps, as Iraq snaps. I write of this young woman as she takes her last breath, to never again take a breath in this world.
I write of the Iraqi woman who has been raped by Iraqi soldiers and sends letter begging for someone to kill her.
I write of the Iraqi woman who buried her child in Falluja in an unmarked grave. Unmarked and unremembered by the occupier.
I write of the Iraqi woman called Abeer, raped by three of America's finest soldiers as four more of its brightest young men watched. I write of Abeer who fought and resisted as America's finest men raped her again and again and again.
I write of her as her body was burned. As she was shot several times in the head and in the chest.
I write of Abeer, who was not once mentioned by the liberated Iranian women in the Iraqi parliament. I write of Abeer who was not once mentioned by Jaafary. Or Maliki.
I write of Abeer, an Iraqi woman, who has been forgotten and insulted by Iraqis, by the bloggers, by the media.
I write of the Iraqi woman who resist. I write of Laila, and Nadia, and River and all those young Iraqi women who spit back in the face of Iraqi men and their American pimps.
I salute you, O Iraqi woman, for all you have endured. And I bow my head in shame, O Iraqi woman, I could not protect you. I bow my head in unwavering humiliation, your brothers and uncles could not save you.
O Iraqi woman, do not forgive those who raped you. Smite them. Fight them and all who stand in the way of your freedom.
Today I write to all the Iraqi woman who suffer as they haul their entire lives over an orange and white taxi and race from their home to an unknown destination.
Today I write of the Iraqi woman who has made a home of her tent, who must bathe her children in unclean waters.
Today I write of the Iraqi woman who must beg on the streets of Amman or Damascus.
I write of the Iraqi woman who is sold into prostitution by America's brightest.
No amount of alcohol will rid me of my shame O Iraqi Woman. Semiramis, Ishtar, Innana, Zainab, Khadija, O Iraqi Woman.