In honor of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, CODEPINK co-hosted an event at Busboys and Poets to provide an insightful look into the present state in Iraq with Haifa Zangana and the filmmakers of Meeting Resistance.
Haifa Zangana as an artist, journalist, and novelist bares witness to her native war-town country, Iraq.
Zangana was raised and studied in Iraq, was for a time imprisoned by Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath regime at Abu Ghraib, and is now is the only Iraqi woman in the West writing about the situation in Iraq. She presently works as a contributor to the Guardian in London and recently released City of Widows: An Iraqi Womans Account of War and Resistance. City of Widows offers an insightful and moving account of Iraqi women throughout the recent history of sanctions, occupation, and war.
Molly Bingham and Steve Connors partnered in directing Meeting Resistance, a documentary of the resistance in Iraq through a collection of personal statements by members of the opposition. Connors went to Iraq as a photographer at the start of the invasion and worked fourteen months there. Bingham is a photojournalist who began her work on Iraq by capturing some of the only close up pictures of the attack on the Pentagon on September 11th. From there, she continued her coverage of America’s response to the attack in Afghanistan. Bingham worked for a year in the Gaza Strip and Iran before finally in 2003, just before the US attack, she went to Iraq. Bingham was a prisoner in Abu Ghraib and shortly after her release, she teamed up with Connors to begin work on Meeting Resistance to understand and readdress those behind the emergence of post-war violence in Iraq.
Through their work on Meeting Resistance, Bingham and Connors were able to learn the underlying ideological foundation of the resistance and how members funded, recruited, armed, organized, and now run this US counter-insurgency operation.
The book reading, film clip, and question and answer session with the artists provided me a more comprehensive understanding of the war resistance in Iraq. The present opposition to the War in Iraq is said to be the largest grassroots communal resistance movement which is embedded in the Iraqi society. The US efforts in Iraq are a fight against violence but the violence is fueled by the foreign occupation of the country. Fighting the opposition violence is therefore essentially fighting the people of Iraq. Zangana, Bingham, and Connors explained the counter-insurgency operation as being comprised of anyone who assists by even simply providing shelter, leaving a gate open, or refusing to give information.
The clip from Meeting Resistance provided a visual of these ordinary people, such as the school teacher or the doctor, talking of their active commitment in the resistance. Haifa further explains the resistance in saying:
What the occupation and its puppets have chosen not to see is that the Iraqi resistance would not have continued and sustained its attacks, over three years, in 13 provinces unless it was first Iraqi, second national, third and above all supported and protected by Iraqi people through various social networks, communities, tribes, NGOs, and political parties.
The War in Iraq is working against the united people of Iraq. Bingham and Connors state that, “Some of the people we interviewed were Shia - fighting alongside their Sunni colleagues - and the idea that has recently become common currency, that Iraq is a country driven by ancient sectarian hatreds, is a claim for which we found little evidence.” And further they note, that research for the film further indicated that any fissures in Iraq present at the time of the invasion where exacerbated and exploited by the invasion.
Zangana shared stories of families forced out of their homes by war, whole families of all religious divisions, intermixed, living and surviving together beautifully. The War in Iraq is tearing the country apart and support for the War in Iraq is fueled by the wrongful representation of main stream media. Witnessing these testaments of the state of Iraq has given me a better understanding of the resistance and need for troops to come home from Iraq. If we truly want what is best for the people of Iraq we should support them and the end of this war.
To read an article by Haifa on Iraqi Women visit:
To read an article on Iraqi resistance by Haifa please visit:
For more information on Meeting Resistance visit the official website at http://www.meetingresistance.com/.
To purchase City of Widows: An Iraqi Womans Account of War and Resistance, visit