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Blast near Mousawat Radio Station, Baghdad

The city of Baghdad was just waking up on the morning of Wednesday, November 14 when a bomb exploded in the streets.

Damaging buildings and blowing out windows and doors, the area of the explosion was heavily shaken, including the Mousawat radio station, where our partners, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), run a weekly human rights radio broadcast. Fortunately, our friends at OWFI are in good health, but their work for peace has taken yet another set-back with the bombing’s damages to their equipment.

OWFI is a pioneering women’s organization that has worked to rebuild Iraq since the US war there began. They offer shelter and support to women facing violence. In 2009, OWFI launched a radio broadcast to reach out to women who felt isolated and alone. For just a few hours each week, women have access to airspace not run by religious or ethnic groups. They connect with other women to create a conversation about sexual violence, discrimination, and women’s human rights.

OWFI’s work in Iraq is plagued by lack of security. Death threats are common for OWFI director Yanar Mohammed. Yet, Yanar and the women of OWFI continue to fight for human rights, despite the violence that surround them.

In a letter from Yanar, she notes “It is not easy to have a say in a dangerous city like Baghdad, but we will continue until a better day comes.”

The blow to the Mousawat radio station was a heavy one. It has severely damaged facilities and the organization’s capacity to reach out over the airwaves to isolated women. MADRE is working to help OWFI rebuild in the wake of this explosion. We will continue to provide updates here.