On July 1st, 2013, those in Egypt who defended their ideas of a secular state and hopes of a democracy won a battle. The government of the Muslim Brotherhood, even if was voted in democratically, had to give in. It had ignored the wind of change: that of more freedom, not less. When people toddle toward democratic values and pluralism, they need support – all the support they can get.At present, the Egyptian army is the sole arbitrator to social struggles. A sorry one.
Islamic sects bear democracy as long as it gives them a stirrup to power. Then they change the rules and institutions to block the route for others and implement their dogmatism. Their ideas are simplistic: those who do not agree with them are heretics/kafers under orders from foreign powers, and women’s dignity should be preserved by removing them from public eyes and affairs. For them the state’s power should be left to a phallocentric club that aims to lock up the country using all means; from psychological pressure to fire power on citizens, all in the name of Allah. A scenario that many in Egypt are unwilling to follow. Perhaps clashes between Islamises and all those in favour of pluralism could be avoided. The future depends on how quick the pluralists can pick up respected leaders that could work together fast enough to shape the protesting movements into constructive forces. But, presently Islamist movements are in a position to create crisis to polarize politics and to pose as “persecuted victims”.
The dismissal of Mohamed Morsi and his clan is a blow to the Supreme Despot in Teheran, Khameini, and his henchmen. The syrupy talks among “Muslim brothers”, i.e. ayatollahs and Mohamed Morsi in Tehran and in Cairo, will be cut off for now, unless the ayatollahs decide to support them actively with money, guns and soldiers of Ghods Army, the pâsdârân, or bassidjis, as they please and as they do in Syria.
As a woman who lived through the Iranian revolution of 1979, I can only side with pluralists and democrats, although the tyranny is so deeply rooted in Muslim countries that only a dictator replaces a dictator. As I recall, when it was clear that women were tricked into actively backing an oppressive Islamic Revolution, they took into the streets for their rights. They were met by cynicism; men poured scorn on protesting women and left them to the savageries of the Hezbollahis.
In Muslim communities at large, male chauvinism is taught to children at an early age; one’s mother, sister or daughter is holy as long as she behaves as told by the men in her life. She is called a whore as soon as she stands up for her rights. In the spring of 1979, Iranian men ditched women, blessed as they were by Khomeiny anathemas. From then on, all bowed to Shiite dogmatism, and putting minorities under hardship, censorship and oppression became holy acts in the name of Allah. Little by little, the country was locked up and the people’s minds were frozen by fear. Now, the state machinery is an octopus from which escape seems beyond reach. The country is a barren land in which no seeds of ideas, dialogue or tolerance are permitted to grow. Make-believe sweeteners are handed out to people once in a while to entertain them: the new president stands for change, he will allow faster internet access within a heavily censored halal internet, women can show two locks of hair instead of one. Great Big Changes! Can we protest in the streets? Can we be critical of Velayat-e Faqih in public? Can we vote for candidates that are NOT handpicked by the system? Can we have an article published in the papers that has NOT been vetted by some censor? Can we stop the torture, rape and execution of political prisoners?
Since 1979, in Iran, men have had the exclusive right to run the country, and they have dramatically failed. Men, when they did not side with the ayatollahs, have been unwilling and unable to fight them. They have simply adjusted to the whims of the Supreme Despot and his henchmen and have whined: “Rahbar [Leader] should know that we are suffering.” They are not fighters for their civil rights; they carefully avoid those who struggle for freedom. Today, women try to support their families by begging for bread, for rice, for petrol, for water and electricity. Meanwhile, men are busy asking for more tea to be served to them, bickering with each other, reading and writing poetry, dissecting Mossadegh’s era (sixty years ago). They imagine how they would have done things differently, and trash-talk about international politics and tell the world: “We will show what a great nation we are … when the ayatollahs are gone.”
Stop! For your children’s sake, stop dreaming. Paper tigers impress no one. Be practical. Start by showing Our Greatness to the world by getting rid of this monster, Velayat-e Faqih, the Supreme Guide and his brutes. If anything, the farce of the 2013 presidential elections demonstrated how we hung our heads in meek submission. We pride ourselves on having civilised our barbarian invaders over the centuries, but the ogres that run our country today are born Iranians whom we reared in our bosoms.
Iran Méditerranéennes and Us
We, the women of Iran, share with Egyptian, Tunisian, Moroccan and other women in the Middle-east and North Africa more than we could ever have imagined. Let us also share our little stories of our fights for our dignity, for full citizenship, for pluralism in our country. Let us be ebullient and shout in Fârsi: “Get lost – dégage – Gom Sho” to our Supreme Despot and his louts.
It is time to unite and join forces, men and women from every nook and cranny in Iran and abroad. We must stand up for our rights and make our points: step by step, sensibly, never to be deterred or to give up hope.