Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Another strange idea

In an effort to quell Iraq's sectarian violence (aka "civil war"), the Iraqi parliament is offering a "Marriage Bonus" of $1500 to Sunni and Shia couples who intermarry:
"Iraq is offering a cash bonus to married Iraqi couples from different sectarian groups in a drive to heal rifts between communities and foster reconciliation. At a ceremony in Baghdad to launch the new initiative on Tuesday, 250 recently married couples from across Iraq accepted awards from Sunni Arab vice President Tareq al-Hashemi. Those in mixed marriages received $1,500." [...]

Um Ubaida, a 25-year-old Sunni civil servant, looked pale and expressionless as she went to receive the wedded couples bonus to help with her debts. She married last year and had a baby two months ago, but has not seen her husband for seven months.
"My husband is missing, he went to visit his brother in prison and he never came back," she said.

Uhh, yeah. Another one of those roads paved with good intentions. Before they start offering cash rewards to all and sundry for marrying outside their religions, the American/Iraqi government may want to consider how their little program might be contributing to the ongoing problem of disappearing husbands. And it's probably asking too much, but it would be nice if they'd try to come up with an idea that treated women as something other than chattel... in the interest of enlightenment, democracy, human rights (and all that crap).