Lately there’s been a bunch of books published about what the sanctions did to Iraq despite a total lack of interest. Since it’s a period that was totally erased out of any discussions about Iraq in the last ten years there really should be, and of those Joy Gordon’s is a really important one. I actually ended up finding this one by al-Jawaheri by chance because it just happened to be shelved right next to another book I was looking for.
Al-Jawaheri opens with a brief overview of the political backdrop of the sanctions, then a history of state gender policy in the 70s and 80s especially and a really critical review of the actual impact it had on women, then it moves onto her fieldwork done in Baghdad in a poor, lower middle class and upper class neighbourhood each. She focuses on the social impact that the sanctions had on women, the pressure they had to wrt work, their relationships with spouses and their families, general attitudes and violence against women as well so this isn’t the book you go to if you want to know X tens of thousands of cholera deaths, but the changes were every bit as devastating. It’s what happens when a country’s economy entirely collapses and I’m not going to lie, parts of this are really hard to read but they should be read because anybody who tries to talk about this country while ignoring the 90s just does not know what they’re talking about.