Gender-Based Violence against Iraqi Interpreters during the US-led Invasion in 2003
Keywords:Gender-based violence, Us-led invasion, male and female interpreters, Homo Narrans, culture-specific traditions
Iraqis have paid the highest cost for Washington’s decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power using military intervention in 2003. As important players who have actively participated in facilitating communication between the military forces and the locals, many coalition-employed Iraqi interpreters have consequently forcefully lost their homes, families, parts of their body, or even their lives. The dominant public opinion was that interpreters deserve such destiny as they are traitors who have helped foreign occupiers to murder, oppress, and humiliate their people. Another important, yet neglected in research, aspect intensifying the losses among interpreters was the deeply-rooted and culturally-specific restrictions on women’s freedom to work. Even patriot and loyal, female interpreters were socially looked at with suspicion and often viewed as prostitutes. The present article tries to attract attention to both the causes and consequences of this gender-based violence. It applies Walter Fisher’s (1984,1985,1987,1997) Narrative Paradigm wherein humans are Homo Narrans, i.e. storytellers who interpret and assess all forms of communication from a narrational perspective. Moreover, it conducts questionnaires with people who have lived the circumstances of this war, especially former male interpreters and independent observers. The quantitative analysis of the data shows an agreement among the participants on the role of gender on the quality and quantity of violence perpetrated against interpreters at that time.
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