As recent news reports have revealed, ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a militant jihadist terror group), has been engaging in alarming attacks in Iraq. In response, Baghdad has been gearing up the defense of its capitol, with women acting as defenders.
Yes - the Badr Brigade (a 10,000 member strong Shiite militia) is readying the women of Baghdad for any impending attacks by providing them with AK-47s and training. Most of the men in Baghdad are off fighting the ISIS on the front lines, with little hope of returning.
According to the CNN report, every single one of these women knows a “martyr” (someone who has died in combat) and three fourths of the women were related/married to one. ISIS continues to take stronghold cities in Iraq, such as Mosul, the second largest city in the country. Now, Baghdad is looking to its women to defend the city in case of an invasion.
Even girls as young as 14 are in training; one such example is Ageel Fadhil, who is now skilled enough to train other women. Her mother reasons that when she and her father are at work, Ageel must know how to defend herself and her younger brother in the event of an attack.
While the fact that a 14 year old must know how to shoot and kill someone is horrifying, this situation is much different than the atrocities of children soldiers. The training is optional (as Ageel is only one of a few girls that young choosing to learn how to defend herself) and is only there to safeguard them from terrorists that would be using the same sort of force.
I truly hope that these women will never have to face an invasion that requires the use of their AK-47s, but it is great progress in Iraq to see women gaining equality in what is traditionally seen as a “man’s role”.
In my opinion, this is reminiscent of World War II America, when women were the only ones left to work the factories and pull the weight back home. Of course, we had the privilege of not having to fear battle in our own country, much less in our homes.
These Iraqi women have tremendous will and strength under such stressful times; hopefully their safety will never be compromised, but their defense is, without a doubt, mighty.
All images via CNN