Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Women in Iran: repression and resistance

Watch the Video of 1979 Iranian women demonstaration marking the 8 March against Hejab (Veil)

Nasrin Alavi Via Open Democracy:

"International Women's Day is soon upon us as our nation endures a grave period. The internal policies of domination, duress and an ineffectual foreign policy - with an insistence on pursuing a nuclear energy programme - when we have lost the confidence and trust of the world; as the confrontational issues and the continuous warmongering policies of the United State and its allies around the world with the pretext of exporting democracy and human right through sanctions and military attack has presented us with a mounting predicament. On one side - with the absence of a democratic structure - we witness decisions being made on our behalf without our presence or the presence of our legitimate leaders. While at the other end we feel the circle of the siege around us increasingly tighten as we are threatened with sanctions and the nightmare of war....

... we announce our protest against all paternalistic policies, whether they be in the name of dishonest interpretations of Islam or with the pretext of human rights and democracy and we believe what the world community should insist upon debates on democracy and human rights and not nuclear energy, and all within peaceful diplomatic dialogue, not war and destruction....
... Despite all the pressures and obstacles the Iranian women's movement in now within its most enduring and active periods in recent history

Some people believe the regime is immune to change, but many others, especially women, are experts at finding ways round the constraints of the patriarchal system. These women activists are less interested in whether or not to wear the veil and more concerned with gaining access to education, wider employment opportunities, equality at work and better health care for their families.

...Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani, one of the women under arrest tonight, writes in the March 2007 issue of the New Internationalist about a day spent going door to door in Tehran in a campaign to get a million signatures in support of women's rights, and about her apprehension of ringing the first doorbell in her old neighbourhood:
"What crime am I about to commit that I feel so scared. Why should I be scared when I'm not doing anything wrong? When my government defends its ‘inalienable rights' [to nuclear power], why shouldn't I defend my own inalienable rights?

... A woman wearing a chador comes to the door. The small flowers on her chador are pretty. She looks apprehensive. Her face is puffy and it seems that just like me, she's not had enough sleep last night. I calm down a bit after seeing her face. I am happy to be able to see her face. I think that had it not been for the womanly bravery of Tahereh a century and a half ago that enabled her to discard her nighab, I would have had to talk to my fellow citizen without being able to see her face. Even talking to someone ‘face to face' would have been meaningless then..."
(The reference is to women's-rights activist Tahereh [Qurrat-al-Ain, 1814-1854], whose removal of her veil provoked a huge uproar).

"Today Iranian women... have imposed themselves on a male-dominated society which still believes women should stay at home. Perhaps nobody sees us, but we exist and we make our mark on the world around us. I assure you that if you look around carefully, everywhere you will see our footsteps."

Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani wrote before her arrest:
"Perhaps we will be imprisoned and become weary with the continuous summons to court. Perhaps we will not be able to continue along our path and educate our female counterparts about the existence of such discriminatory laws. But, what will you do with the countless women who come into contact with the court system - in fact, these very courts are the best educational facilities for women, through which they quickly learn that in fact they have no rights.

Yes, perhaps with your security planning and your modern technology, you may be able to isolate and paralyse the current generation of Iranian women's rights activists, and stop the progression of our campaign, but what will you do with the love that we plant in the hearts of our children? Perhaps with your advanced technology, you will be able to attack the hearts of our personal computers, but what will you do with our dreams?"


gerry said...

Simply fabulous post......I like the potent expression of it.....Thanks for posting that video, it helps us to see that since time immemorial women are struggling hard to win their rightful place.
Do drop by my blog too coz am sure there are many news and views which will be to your interest.

Garduneh Mehr said...

Ba Dorood'e Irani,
Rooz'e jahani'e Zan ra beh dokhtaran'e Iran-Zamin shaad'bash migoyam.


Frieda said...

I have a feeling that this time around, it will be up to Iranian women in Iran to change the regime. Wouldn't it be wonderful to see a woman as Iran's next president in a democratic Iran. Oh! it would be marvelous. Iranian women in the last 20 years have shown their courage and sacrifice beyond any other country. May God bless them,

Sherry said...

Well said Frieda! I agree too! Women have been abused for so long, they are tired of it and are willing to risk their lives for equality and respect. May God bless them always. I'm so glad to read this site as this is information about the Persian Women and what's going on over there. Thank you Serendip! You are a gentle soul.