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Iran: Women of the revolution

category international | gender and sexuality | other press author Monday February 16, 2009 16:06author by Anne McShane Report this post to the editors

On the Thirtieth anniversary of the overthrow of the Shah in Iran, Azar Sheibani looks at how Iranian women have defied the reign of misogynist terror. Full text of the article at the url below.

Imperialism’s sabre-rattling against Iran has prompted the Tehran regime to intensify its suppression of grass-roots progressive movements. The regime uses the threat of war to claim that radical and progressive movements – like the women’s, workers’ and students’ - are in league with imperialism, are somehow ‘fifth columnists’. Harsh repression inevitably follows. The irony is that the experience of two imperialist invasions in the region has shattered any illusions among women and other social movements about the so-called ‘liberation’ on offer from US-led intervention. The barbaric consequences for the women of Afghanistan and Iraq are eloquent testimony to that. Women in Iran are fully aware that they are the only force that can change their destiny.

The Islamic constitution and the penal codes prohibited women from the presidency, religious leadership, judgeship and entering certain educational fields. All civil courts were replaced by Islamic courts. The Law of Retribution (Qisas) and its barbarically archaic practices were re-introduced into Iran after 13 centuries. Via the constitution, the Islamic penal code and the Council of Guardians’ directives it is legal to value a woman’s life as half of a man’s life in blood money exchanges (deyeh), to stone adulterers to death, torture women for not observing the strict hijab and showing some strands of their hair (Ta’zir), punishing them by cutting parts of their body (including blinding by gouging an eye out), rape virgin women in prison before execution (so they are excluded from ‘heaven’) and much more. It should be emphasised that although ‘children’ are exempt from such punishment, all of the above can apply to girls aged nine and above and boys aged 15 and above. In the civil law of the regime, this is the age that girls and boys reach puberty,

The discriminatory religious laws against women do not just limit women’s rights: They also confer privileges on men. For example, polygamy (giving men the Islamic blessing to have up to four permanent wives at a time and unlimited temporary wives, Sigheh); the right to divorce is exclusively male; custody of children after divorce and many more outrageously sexist ‘rights’. Sexual violence in Iran became a state affair, legalised and sanctified by religion.

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author by Jimpublication date Mon Feb 16, 2009 17:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How can women change things in Iran without getting the help of women in the West who enjoy rights and freedoms that they are denied.
In Western society men were browbeaten by women into accepting women's rights but that only happened after first their menfolk won sufferage by threatening revolutions that would unseat the aristocrats. Men were shamed into giving women the same rights only after when the brutality of early modern society gave way to the decadent democratic bourgeoise society of the 19th century when few men carried swords or wore armour in public out of necessity.

The situation in Iran is nothing like the situation in the West that gave rights to both men and women.

The Iranian Shah was a tyrant but he allowed urban educated women many of the priviledges of women in the West using the liberation of women as a way of shaming a deeply traditional conservative male dominated society. In reality the Shah was no more liberal than the Saudis but by appearing to be a reformer he was idolised in the West and his brutal excesses passed beneath the radar. Meanwhile the conservatism that survived in the rural regions where the urban modernisation never reached was considered "freedom." Many female followers of the Ayatollahs who wore the black traditional dress did so to liberate themselves from the Shah's oppression.

When the Ayatollah led the revolution to triumph over the Shah, he was supported by the secularists, the communists, the socialists and the democrats who dreamed that when the Shah was deposed the air would be clear.
Instead Iran reverted to medievalism, forcing women to wear black and jailing and executing "counterrevolutionaries" among the liberal education classes who rejected the Ayatollah's austere Islamic doctrines.

The plight of women in Iran tugs at the heart strings of men in the West who have fully embraced the liberation of women - women are prominent like never before in politics, business, law, the arts and sciences.

Women are the equal of men intellectually but they are not the equal of men in the use of brute force, savagery and ruthless brutality.

It is women in the West who can liberate their sisters in Iran and this can only be done when they call on the male brute savagery of Western armies is threatened to smash the male hierarchial society of Iran.

The only thing a wife beater and a cowardly brute understands is brute force and this is how Iran's mullahs and women haters can be defeated.

author by maverick - the rock that doesn't rollpublication date Mon Feb 16, 2009 20:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Jim says:

How can women change things in Iran without getting the help of women in the West who enjoy rights and freedoms that they are denied.

maverick replies:

most of the women in the west couldn't give a toss about women in Iran.....but i am sure that many of the women in Iran are well capable of standing up for themselves, even if not in the way that we might think "brave".

however below is an example of one Turkish man who has some interesting comments. he poses the question:

are headscarves culture or law?

he states:

"....cultural expressions are not codified and legalized practices. They are merely present, followed by some, ignored by the rest. The hijab was made compulsary at a certain point in history, thus it isn't necessarily a natural Iranian way of life."

in closing, as a Westerner, i fail to understand why raped women are flogged in Muslim countries.
can any of the non-Irish readers of INDYMEDIA educate me on this one?

.....and we won't even talk about Iran banning red roses at Valentines!

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