Yes, with the fingers of my hands I was knocking on my desk repeating the word “Using” inside my head, and I would watch Mr. “S”. glorifying ” M. R” to ask him to write a newspaper article against a political figure that this article should be a kind of a policy or thought. Although “S” never believed in “M. R”‘s abilities, he often expressed his discontent with the pen of this writer, saying it is not even good enough to line up with a “ruler” but praises him only when he intends to take advantage of him.
The circumstance gave my memory an opportunity to retain the conversation between me and one of the most prominent media women in our scene today. I once asked her what made her so popular and famous? And I wondered whether the road to fame is in tatters or not? She told me that her brother was extremely fanatic about any practice or attempt to work in the field of media. Therefore, he literally prevented her from using any social networking sites because he simply did not want her to publish any image or comment on her own page. Her brother believes that these practices leads any girl to the abyss. He also believed that women in our society has nothing but her home and her husband…
Of course, her brother’s great ambition was to marry his sister to a well-off man after she got her university degree and that was “Enough” for her. Well, if that was the case then what was the miracle that made the “brother” change his mind and to allow you to be who you are today? Or whether death had a role in that? In fact, I was rude to ask these questions and I was mocking the brother of this female journalist until the moment death become a part of this conversation …
“Use me” I received a cold answer without really understanding what was the content of the detail. She told me “He should have been relieved of his responsibility and settled to a family and married, and he should take care of the requirements of his wife and his new life after marriage, which was expensive and costly. However, because we were a group of women in one house and he was the only responsible person for all, then we were supposed to transfer the responsibility to another man or someone else.”
It was his need that gave me my freedom, and after his marriage and his full preoccupation with his marital life, whether it was a marriage for emotional, social or even economic need, his marriage gave me an opportunity to work in the field that I loved most. It was important for him to ensure that I take responsibility for myself and feel responsible for the other women who also depended on him for their livelihood. Afterwards I was able to break the first concrete chain blocking my way and the rest of the barriers were the only obstacles that sometimes stumbled or hindered me. ”
The “need” and the “use” are two reasons that might lead men to abandon their intolerant and extreme positions to give women some sort of freedom to do something. This was exactly what the girls of Mosul did during the period ISIS (Daesh) controlled of the city and they were displaced for that. We can say the women of Mosul were relatively free to practice a certain kind of job. As many families were displaced from their homes, the Muslim man who were previously fanatical and did not allow their women to work had their fanatical idea changed and or decreased. This new environment imposed on them made the men allow his wife or sister to work in the governorate to which he had been displaced. Apparently this was in order to meet the financial need because of the new situation imposed on them. Nonetheless, a lot of the men in Mosul are very radical towards a woman practicing work, because it does not fit the values, norms and traditions which are predominant in their city…
Maryam, one of the girls in Mosul, told me that after she left the city as a result of ISIS occupation she began working as a civil activist in a civil society organization. When ISIS was destroyed Maryam returned to the city. She and some other young people from the city formed a voluntary team to carry out awareness and relief campaigns inside the city of Mosul. However, Mosul is no longer as it was before because the city was dilapidated and collapsed as a result of ISIS terror and destruction. Mary is also no longer the same person as she was before. she confirms in her speech that she is now a much stronger and confident person, confirming the saying that what does not kill you makes you stronger. The occupation and terrorism of ISIS has not killed her, on the contrary, it has made her a stronger woman. This is because she has survived ISIS, occupation, and can work now. She is also relying on herself and can provide protection with her newly found self-confidence. And by protection she means psychological and economic protection.
Mary finds those parents who believe that they protect their daughters by not allowing them to come out or work outside their homes pathetic because this will only create a generation of battered women with social diseases and psychological issues who can neither cope with society nor protect themselves. She believes that women should act, work and or represent themselves equally to men, and this is what men in Mosul have not yet realized because they are subjected to a conservative tradition which is no longer considered healthy and or wise.
What the city of Mosul went through and what women and children tolerated during ISIS was enough to show the men that at the time of crisis they need the support of women who are tough and unbreakable to defend themselves and to face any dire circumstances or situation that requires them to be supportive to each other. Such power and grace under pressure only comes from freedom, and freedom strengthens individual power and courageousness. The right to work and access to economic resources are one of the basic elements of individual freedom. This is particularly important for women as work allows women to be strong, confident and self-sufficient. It gives women the power to face the challenges of life and overcome the obstacles. The right to work gives women an opportunity to build and consolidate a strong personality and most importantly also gives them the opportunity to build a strong personality and economic independence.
Other women were also to able to escape Mosul when it was taken over by ISIS. They fled with their families and were able to work outside the city of Mosul. However, when they returned to their city they were once again deprived to work and or forced to quit their work by their families and close members. This is what I mean by the word “using” them. For when a family forces their girl to quit her job but allows her to work during crisis and or dire financial circumstances, it is like taking advantage of them and or exploiting them in times of need. One can say that the men and male members of the family “used” them to save the difficult economic situation caused by displacement. Once the crisis was resolved and the displaced returned to their city, the families forced them to leave their job under the pretext of ” respecting the tradition of the city”…The men of Mosul should ask themselves whether respecting these norms and traditions can provide a loaf of bread for their family. It is the work of women that can provide a source for livelihood and not respect for traditions. One must also ask whether norms and traditions are capable of empowering women to deal with their surrounding? Or are they capable of creating a strong woman who can take care of you, shoulder responsibility for you and protect herself and her family in your absence?