Iraqi Woman Speaks: An Alternative Narrative of War in Riverbend’s Baghdad Burning

Publication Information

Journal Title: Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Research & Review
Author(s): Anisa Fathima
Published On: 06/03/2023
Volume: 4
Issue: 1
First Page: 69
Last Page: 81
ISSN: 2582-8088
Publisher: The Law Brigade Publisher


Cite this Article

Anisa Fathima, Iraqi Woman Speaks: An Alternative Narrative of War in Riverbend’s Baghdad Burning, Volume 4 Issue 1, Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Research & Review, 69-81, Published on 06/03/2023, Available at


The US-led invasion into Iraq in 2003 triggered an endless war that unleashed new cycles of violence and left the region devastated. Following the 9/11 attacks on the US soil, the West conjured up an image of Iraq as a nerve centre of terrorism. In the months preceding the invasion, the dominant narrative that revolved around the War on Terror sought to project Iraq as a nation that needed to be “liberated” and “civilised” by the West. Iraqi women were particularly (mis)represented as oppressed victims of an abusive patriarchal system, devoid of agency and freedom. Voices emerging from Iraq in the subsequent years have countered this portrayal of their country. This paper explores the myriad ways in which Baghdad Burning by Iraqi blogger Riverbend challenges the dominant narrative of the US-led invasion and in the process, constructs an alternative narrative as a civilian who witnessed and suffered the impact of war from close quarters. As an Iraqi, Muslim woman who speaks her mind, she subverts the gendered liberation discourse of the war and argues that women’s freedom in fact plummeted with the radicalisation of the public space enforced by Iran-inspired Shia political parties in the new US-backed post-war regime. Her account of the invasion goes beyond the usual rhetoric of statistics and policies, and offers an insight into what the occupation and the ensuing violence meant to ordinary Iraqis. In doing so, she shatters the myth of Iraq and gives an insider’s perspective of the country whose modern establishments and secular ethos were destroyed by the invasion.

Keywords: Iraq, War on Terror, 9/11, September 11, Women’s Studies, Alternative Narrative, US Invasion

Share this research

Latest Publications

Scroll to Top