Stone Cold Sobering
For all the talk of ''The Lipstick Revolution,'' and for all the photos of beautiful Iranian women raising their manicured fists in defiance, the truth is, as Lila Ghobady, an exiled Iranian writer-journalist in Canada, blogs, women's rights will be crushed no matter who becomes president in the current regime.
She didn't vote in this month's elections and here's just a couple of reasons why:
Again, I refer you to Persepolis, about which I blogged yesterday. (Yes, I loved this movie!)
There's a scene in which Marjane, the rebellious young Iranian woman, kicks regime butt -- actually she does this several times -- prompting her mother to repeat her concerns about getting thrown into prison and facing execution.
But it seems that execution is not for ''virgins.'' And so, girls are ''married'' to guards before they are taken to the gallows.
That totally freaked me out.
UPPITY WOMAN DATE: What she said.
The Iranian clerics know that women pose a profound threat to their authority: As activist Ladan Boroumand has written, the regime would not bother to use brutal forms of repression against dissidents unless it feared them deeply. Nobody would have murdered a young woman in blue jeans—a peaceful, unarmed demonstrator—unless her mere presence on the street presented a dire threat.
They may succeed. Violence usually succeeds, at least in the short term, in intimidating people. In the long term, however, the links, structures, organizations, and groups set up by Iranian women, not to mention the photographs of the last week, will continue to gnaw away at the Iranian regime's legitimacy—and we should take note. I cannot count how many times I've been told in recent years that "women's issues" are a secondary subject in the Islamic world. Whether it's the Afghan Constitution under discussion or the Saudi government, the standard line among the standard commentators has always been that other things—stability, security, oil—matter more. But regimes that repress the civil and human rights of half their population are inherently unstable. Sooner or later, there has to be a backlash. In Iran, we're watching one unfold.