In response to the United Nations resolution for the observation of 1975 as the International Woman’s Year to be dedicated to serious discussions on the situation of woman and support for her struggle, Mr. Saddam Hussein gave the following special statement to “Woman” magazine:
From the very beginning we must emphasize that the principled revolutionary outlook must be based on the situation as a whole. That is why we don’t look on woman in isolation from the total situation we are considering. She is a member of our revolutionary society with all the rights and duties associated with a human being.
Our Party in its ideological attitude and fundamental premises and in its strategic outlook regards the human being, whether man or woman, as both the good and basic instrument of the struggle. We have outstanding examples in the women who joined the ranks of our Party .In the light of all this and with the inspiration of the brilliant history of our nation in which women played prominent roles in every field -in addition to our progressive views and the need for mobilizing all the potentialities on a civilized basis and in the consciousness of our responsibilities and commitments – our attitude to women is shaped by the basic tenets of the Arab Baath Socialist Party (ABSP) which believes in the creative role of mankind, the importance of people ‘s mobilization and the realization of all the citizens’ potential in achieving the comprehensive changing of society.
In this way, this attitude avoids two erroneous tendencies.
The first, to define the role and importance of women in society on the basis of feudal or bourgeois ideology, which assumes that the first and last role for women is in the home and treats them as second-class citizens. Thus women are stripped of their humanity and deprived of their creative spirit and mental powers. The second, to accept certain superficial aspects of what is called modernization in those societies and countries, which are advanced in this field as if they were models for the freedom and development of women.
By rejecting both tendencies we can abandon the feudal and bourgeois mentality and retrogressive tyranny and emphasize at the same time our refusal of the false and superficial kinds of development, which do not penetrate to the essence of the problem but only, deal with its surface.
The genuine role of women cannot be established by haphazard action or by reliance on the effects and results of the process of time. This is a matter, which calls for the interaction of a number of subjective and objective factors.
In the process our Party should play a leading role to ensure that the result of the total movement of society takes a mature and revolutionary form as a qualitative change in the desired direction. By accepting this we concede that the total and radical emancipation of women as we see it cannot be achieved without the emancipation of the whole of society, politically, economically and culturally because it is the liberation of society which provides the objective condition for the emancipation of women and their liberation from the bonds of backwardness and ignorance.
Such emancipation cannot be achieved by legislation only, despite its great importance. The forward move of the revolutionary process and its continuous interaction with society provides the legislator with the necessary conviction and psychological background for achieving the desired change and transformation. In fact they create the very needs for making such legislation or decisions.
As our Pan-Arab and socialist ideology provides the basis for our definition of the true role of women in our society, we believe that any mobilization of the people or activity of the masses will remain deficient without the serious participation of the woman. Through their natural position in looking after the cohesion of the family and its development on a solid and correct foundation as a living cell in the body of society, women give expression to the unity, totality, and equilibrium of society.
The emancipation of women is accordingly a basic condition to ensure that such activities and mobilization movements take their correct form as well as an essential criterion for judging the application of the democratic practices to the whole population. Dealing with the question of women’s emancipation in an ideological and comprehensive manner is one of the basic tasks of the ABSP because it is a question, which affects the strategic aims of the Party.
The ideological premises of the ABSP and its theory of action indicate that no revolutionary change may be achieved through legislation alone. It requires persistent struggle, extensive popular action, precise knowledge of the laws, which govern social change and their correct utilization by a capable leadership, which defines with precision sound formulas and the correct areas for the emancipation of women. Thus the process of emancipation may be completed to the maximum extent to which revolutionary action is capable and that society can absorb within the movement of the Revolution which aims at the forward transformation of society. Attention must be duly given to the correct revolutionary balance so that the desired movement and action may not disturb the process while overstepping the retrogressive forms, traditions and customs and bypassing the superficial bourgeois concepts of freedom.
Action to overcome the degrading view of women, which is the product of the ideals of a tribal and feudal society, must be kept up through a revolutionary effort against the attitude, which preaches submission to the dictates of haphazard development. Although this task is a general responsibility, there is a primary need for a distinctive participation of women as a result of the circumstances of oppression, exploitation and backwardness inflicted on women with all their negative effects that must be eradicated.
The achievement of the complete emancipation of women is a revolutionary necessity for accelerating the wheels of progress. The present realities of our society and the critical challenges facing it allow no room whatsoever for excluding the woman from the Pan-Arab and national tasks. These require her participation in meeting these challenges and providing the various essentials, which constitute the dynamic struggle against them. The emancipation of women is a principal basis for bringing up the new generation and the discharge of its heavy responsibilities.
Hence, the educational, economic and social backwardness of the woman is one of the toughest obstacles standing in the way of development. The endeavour to secure the rights of woman and open the door for her to work, excel and liberate herself in every respect, theoretically and practically, is therefore one of the essentials in our thinking and in our determination to accomplish revolutionary changes and eradicate any source of defect.
When we are building up in Iraq the liberated base for the movement of Arab Revolution, our actions should be connected with the long-term strategic objectives.
This calls for a revolutionary action with a view to the reality related to our aspirations -that is the revolutionary transformation of the reality in the light of the subjective and objective factors. It also calls for an ever-increasing struggle to bring the outcome closer to the central aims of the ABSP, as laid down and outlined in the Political Report of the 8th Regional Congress.
This is an element in our outlook as revolutionaries dealing with objective facts. This requires us always to ignore the traditional thinking and to adopt a strategic mentality, which takes into account the possibilities of reaching its aim through more than one stage and by more than one route.
The emancipation of women is subject to the same line of thought. Hence we insist on this objective on the basis of our appreciation of its revolutionary implications. It makes us emphasize the inclusion of females in the revolutionary work and economic production in all spheres and at all levels. This course will give us in the end the dynamic forces required for the triumph of the revolutionary march and its great aims.
Above all, we must say that restoring women to their natural place in society, especially the Arab society and many parts of the Third World, will not be achieved by holding celebrations in their honour on this or that occasion.
Despite the significance of dedicating a particular year to women and calling it the ‘International Woman’s Year’, it is for the most part a reflection on the backward conditions of women which cry out for a struggle on every front for their improvement.
As strugglers, I believe that we all have an arduous task to perform in this field: the task of fighting to remove the division between principle and practice so as to translate our slogans and our tenets into a tangible living reality -that is a truly advanced revolutionary society.