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International Women's Day

Location: Washington, DC

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY -- (House of Representatives - March 08, 2005)

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from Tennessee (Mrs. Blackburn) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, today is International Women's Day, and I come before the body this morning to salute our Iraqi women friends. I have with me a group of e-mails that I have received the past couple of days from the Iraqi women that we have been working with; and they are expressing their thanks to our military men and women who have fought so diligently and have worked right alongside with them and with their country to help their country go through successful elections, to recognize the freedom that they have sought and that they have fought for and longed for for 30 years. So it is with great excitement today that they are communicating with us as a free people and as free women.

Not only are they grateful to our military, Mr. Speaker, they are grateful to those of us in the Congressional Iraqi Women's Caucus, from both sides of the aisle here in this body, a group that has come together to walk with them as they walk toward opportunity and hope and freedom.

I would like to express my thanks for the leadership in that caucus to our former colleague, Ms. Dunn, who put a tremendous amount of leadership in this, and to the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Granger) and the gentleman from Nebraska (Mr. Osborne), who are continuing to work and lead this group as we seek to help the Iraqi women.

I would like to share with the body some of the e-mails and some of the communication that has been expressed from these women as women and as free people to speak on International Women's Day.

This e-mail says: this is the second year Iraqi women have contributed to this important international gathering as free and independent people. They had a goal of 25 percent representation rights for women in the National Assembly in Iraq. Iraqi women have reached a target beyond that, with 31 percent representation. Spectacular. Spectacular.

Another, "Iraqi women are now in the future that we all dreamed of. Iraqi women are heroes. They deserve to be leaders. They deserve to participate in building the bright future for their children. We owe our brave brothers and partners their support and understanding. Together, we all celebrate the International Women's Day."

And another, "This day, March 8, is a sign of civilization and democracy. Let us celebrate together."

Another, "Your voice is reaching other countries in the Middle East. Our sisters in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait are also rising. People are speaking out and enjoying democracy. Congratulations to all, celebrating the spirit and courage and contributions of Iraqi women who have added to the vitality, the richness, and the diversity of Iraqi life. In this amazing transformation to democracy in our country, we must recognize women's historic accomplishments and always honor those who have left us behind to carry through."

Mr. Speaker, I am so encouraged by the voices of freedom that we hear in this budding democracy. I stand today to salute the Iraqi women and to encourage them as they continue to work toward freedom, hope and opportunity in their country.

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