"A Big Disappointment"
Sitting next to First Lady Laura Bush during the President’s 2005 State of the Union address, Safia Taleb al-Suhail was a powerful symbol of the Iraqi people who had yearned for freedom and finally thought that their suffering was almost at an end. Elections were coming up, a constitution to follow and hopefully, a peaceful, stable, democratic country for many years to come. She embraced the mother of a marine who died in the effort to create that new Iraq, touching people on the left and right of the political spectrum.
But almost nine months on, as Iraq is constantly being battered by suicide bombers, when assassinations are commonplace and children die under the wheels of armoured vehicles, hope for a brighter future is harder to maintain.
The draft Iraqi constitution was finally completed at the weekend - enshrining Islam as the basic source of law and calling for the Supreme Federal Court to include judges and experts in both law and sharia law. According to the Feminist Majority Foundation, this could suggest that clerics may serve on the Supreme Court.
Safia - who had hoped for change - had this to say. Wonder if the right will pay as much attention to her comments as they did to her presence at the State of the Union?
“When we came back from exile, we thought we were going to improve the rights and position of women. But look what happened – we have lost all the gains we made over the last 30 years. It’s a big disappointment.”