An International Women’s Day statement from iranian feminists
For International Woman’s Day the women of the “Campaign for Abolition of all Misogynistic Gender Based Legislation and Islamic Punitive Laws in Iran” have planned a daring protest which will start from Frankfurt on 4 March and end on 8 March in front of The Hague international court.
This march will bring together activists of the Iranian women’s movement in exile as well as hundreds of other Iranian men and women who have joined hands to protest 27 years of repression against the women in Iran by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The protest will strongly put forward the demand for immediate abolition of all gender based and gender biased legislation and Islamic punitive laws.
These laws criminalise women on the grounds of such simple normal habits of life as uncovered hair and un- Islamic clothing in public, strolling in public with men who are not blood relations or husbands.
These laws condemn to death by hanging or stoning unfaithful wives and “un-virtuous” women; they allow the father to marry off his nine year old daughter; they give a free hand to men to kill their wives, siblings, mothers and daughters for matters of “honour”.
Women have to obtain an officially signed permission from their husband to travel.
Women are called half of men in matters such as giving witness in the courts.
Wives can be divorced unilaterally, or can never obtain divorce if they want to.
Abortion is illegal and a crime.
Islamic judges can interpret all other matters not spelled in the law by relying on the sharia and their own interpretations or by referring to books written by any Ayatollah (high ranking priest in the Islamic hierarchy). These laws represent and impose a state of semi-slavery on women. They have strengthened the already brutal patriarchal and male supremacist relations in the country.
A vast apparatus of morality police is set up to keep an eye on women so that if they violate these medieval moral code of conducts they will be arrested and lashed, imprisoned or stoned to death. Welcome to the dark ages of the 21st century!
After the overthrow of the Shah’s regime and its replacement by this regime, the struggle of the Iranian women for liberation entered a new phase, which was launched on 8 March 1979 with the slogan of: “We did not Make Revolution to Go Backwards”! This was in defiance to Ayatollah Khomeini’s call for mandatory veiling of women.
The struggle of women in Iran is against the Islamic Republic of Iran but is not for any other centre of power in the world —such as the USA for example! The government of the USA, claiming to be a great democracy donor in the Middle East has called itself a liberator of the women of Middle East from the yoke of Islamic fundamentalism. This is a ridiculous claim which makes a mockery of what liberation is and is an insult to the women of the Middle East.
If anybody had been taken in by this self styled liberator of women, events in Afghanistan and Iraq have proven that he/she was badly fooled. If still they believe that George Bush and his ilk are liberators of women, please talk to women fighting to prevent George Bush from taking away their right to abortion as well against the Christian fascists who dominate on every aspect of the lives of women in the USA itself.
A section of progressive people in the West who are against occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq by the US, for the fear of ending up on the same side with the US government, hesitate to actively promote the struggle of the peoples of Iran and specifically the struggle of women, against the Islamic Republic regime. This is exactly the trap that the US government has laid out for these progressive forces.
The US government agencies have been cultivating a pro-US group of “Iranian women”, “Iranian opposition”, in order to give a facade to the imperialist plans of the US.
The only forces that can turn the table on them are the peoples of Iran and their genuine struggle against the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is a fatal mistake to defend the reactionary states in the Middle East or reactionary Islamic fundamentalist groups in order to oppose US imperialism. These forces all belong to the same category: anti-people category.
The oppressed women of Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan along with the oppressed women in other parts of the world are all part of the people of the world. We are all one people on the four corners of the world, fighting to liberate ourselves from the injustices of this world. And it is the people of the world that we want to stand with us in our fight against the reactionary Islamic Republic of Iran.