Nimo's War, Emma's War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War

By Cynthia Enloe | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
Nimo
Wartime Politics in a Beauty Parlor

Nimo uses just her first name for her business. Nimo’s Beauty Salon, her Baghdad shop sign reads in Arabic. Her full name is Nimo Din’Kha Skander. Though small, Nimo’s shop once attracted Saddam Hussein’s wife as a customer. One of the president’s several palatial compounds was nearby. In late spring 2003 the area was becoming better known as “the Green Zone,” the heavily fortified 5.6-square-mile area that the American authorities had commandeered as their headquarters.

In May 2003, just two months after the U.S.-led military invasion of Iraq and the fall of the twenty-four-year-long regime of Saddam Hussein, an American journalist, Sabrina Tavernise, decided to visit Nimo’s one-room beauty salon, tucked into a small street in this busy central Baghdad neighborhood of Karada. She was there to get a better sense of how Iraqi women were weighing the dramatic political changes reshaping their lives and the entire country’s political landscape. She found women talking with Nimo and each other in the small shop as they were getting facials and having their hair cut and washed.1

Some women came into Nimo’s beauty salon wearing hijabs to cover their hair, others entered bare-headed. They mixed easily. Although the Karada neighborhood had a large Shiite population, sectarian religious or ethnic identities didn’t seem to play a role within the shop. Each woman

-19-

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Nimo's War, Emma's War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter One - Eight Women, One War 1
  • The Iraqi Women 17
  • Chapter Two - Nimo- Wartime Politics in a Beauty Parlor 19
  • Chapter Three - Maha- A Widow Returns to Baghdad 45
  • Chapter Four - Safah- The Girl from Haditha 72
  • Chapter Five - Shatha- A Legislator in Wartime 93
  • The American Women 127
  • Chapter Six - Emma and the Recruiters 129
  • Chapter Seven - Danielle- From Basketball Court to Baghdad Rooftop 150
  • Chapter Eight - Kim- "I’M in a Way Fighting My Own War" 171
  • Chapter Nine - Charlene- Picking Up the Pieces 192
  • Conclusion - The Long War 211
  • Notes 227
  • Bibliography 271
  • Index 295
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