To the keepers of our upside-down world, the United “nation”:
The women of Iran are at the epicenter of a global conflict between women’s freedom and theocratic oppression. Facing down the most repressive and violently anti-woman regime extant in our world, Iranian women have struggled for their rights for the last 31 years. Whether standing fearlessly on the front lines in the streets, gathered in solidarity in Laleh Park, from their prison cells, or stationed behind computer screens keeping communication lines open with the outside world, Iranian women are leading the struggle against the gender-apartheidist regime of the Islamic Republic. They lead the struggle not only against the Islamic Republic but against international Political Islam and Shari’a law, to say the least.
It is a struggle against a government that legalizes rape of the girl child by setting the legal age of marriage at 9 years. That provides 74 strokes of the lash for not wearing hijab in public. That sets the value of a woman’s life according to shari’a penal code as worth as half that of a man. That ensures intergenerational economic subordination to men by stipulating that a woman’s inheritance can be no more than half that of a man. It is a struggle against a snarling and vicious government that rapes female prisoners to the point of destroying their reproductive organs. That will kill by burying her chest-deep in the earth to be stoned to death, or by suspending her from the sky, by her neck, from a construction crane.
Against this Islamic regime, the very existence of which is dependent upon the subordination and repression first and foremost of women, Iranian women stand up in defiance. And women everywhere are watching, because we know that when Iranian women come to the streets, it means equality and emancipation for women throughout the world. We want them to win. We know that they can win. We yearn for them to know that we stand in solidarity with them, that we know that our fate is intertwined with theirs. And then…
…not one week after Ayatollah Sedigh signaled that the regime is paving the road to fresh crackdowns on women, we hear the news. We hear that the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women, which touts itself as being “dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women,” has chosen to freely bestow one of its seats upon the virulently misogynistic Islamic regime. It has made a mockery of itself. It has betrayed women worldwide with the unkindest cut of all.
The Commission dares. While hundreds of our sisters suffer in prison because they stood up for their own rights, the UN Commission on the Status of Women dares to stand against them by allowing the Islamic regime a seat at the table. Little do they know that in so doing, the Commission has dug its own grave. On the tombstone: Obsolescence.
By refusing to respond to the demands of the justice- and freedom-seeking citizens of the world, by showing clear animosity towards the women of Iran, the UN Commission on the Status of Women has succeeded in making itself utterly irrelevant. It has undermined itself and its legitimacy in the eyes of the global public for the last time. We tolerate no more.
Iranian women have paid and continue to pay far too high a price for a fraction of the liberation that is their birthright. We recognize their struggles and honor their sacrifices, even if the international organizations that are meant to advocate for women’s interests fail to.
Not even one year has passed since Neda was shot dead in the streets by this regime. We do not forget the story of Taraneh Mousavi, nor of Bahareh Maghami. We sit and we wait with Shirin Alamkoei and Masoumeh Yavari. THE UN is now directly responsible alongside the Islamic regime in all atrocities committed against Iranian women. You women and men are a party to rape, imprisonment, torture and stoning and hangings of Iranian women. You freely have chosen sides.
We stand with women in Iran. And we stand against the UN and its Commission on the Status of Women for as long as it takes to see justice done: the Islamic regime must be removed from the Commission.
We hereafter, and as long as the Islamic regime remains a member of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, declare this Commission illegitimate.
April 30, 2010