We at MFI have translated this letter from the Farsi because we found it interesting. While we are encouraged to note that women activists are voicing their demands for equal rights, and explicitly recognizing that their demands are not being represented by the reformist leadership, we regret that these demands have been made to those who have in fact been responsible at the highest levels for policies of gender apartheid.
We would like to share this statement with our readers and encourage comment and discussion.
Letter from a group of Iranian women activists to Mousavi and Karroubi: while pursuing the just demands of the Iranian people, do not neglect the demands of Iranian women
4th Esfand 1388
Translated to English by MFI
JARAS reports that a group of Iranian women activists, in a letter to Mousavi and Karroubi, reminded them that while they pursue the just demands of the Iranian people, they should not neglect the demands of Iranian women. They should clearly emphasize these demands, the role of Iranian women in raising these demands, and their struggle to achieve these demands in their announcements.
The complete text of the letter provided to JARAS is as follows:
As you know, during the tenth presidential campaign, you made promises about the obvious rights of Iranian women, which, during the course of the past 30 years have been totally ignored. Although these promises comprise only a small part of Iranian women’s just demands, during the post-election events, even those little promises disappeared from your announcements and interviews regarding your intention to pursue peoples’ rightful demands. This has happened while women and girls of this land have had a distinguished role in the green movement in pursuing the plundered rights of the Iranian people, have been in the front line of the green movement equal to men, and even have paid and are paying a higher price.
Again and again you have called the people the real leaders of the opposition movement – and that is indeed so – and what people have been seeking and are seeking are non-discrimination and freedom and equality, which demands were declared from your mouth and by those who should have had executive responsibility for the country. These responsibilities are still incumbent upon you.
Do not forget that Iranian women, in order to achieve their demands, voted for your reformist campaign promises, and those demands are impregnated in the green movement’s demands. Women of Iran expect that their demands, side by side with other political and social demands, be addressed and pursued in a distinguished way.
Messrs Mousavi and Karroubi: The historical experience of the Constitutional movement and 57 Bahman Revolution proved that women’s demands have always been overshadowed by the so-called higher reforms. Consequently, women are left with their demands unaddressed and sometimes with even more discrimination. But now we Iranian women, with experience from these two historical periods, are not going to allow our demands and identity to be overshadowed, and our expectation from you, sirs, is that in your pursuit of Iranian peoples’ just demands, do remember the role of Iranian women in raising those demands and their struggle to fulfill or achieve them.
We believe that the proposal of abolishing gender discrimination in the green movements’ demands could be seriously followed, which in that case would add to the national and international credibility of this movement, especially as an anti-discrimination movement.
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Sometimes, actually most of the time, when a male says “people” he “forgets” that %50 of the people are women. This phenomenon has not skipped any culture.
For this reason women’s rights, more than any kind of rights are not to be asked. They are to be taken.
So, I would emphasize the line “But now we Iranian women, with experience from these two historical periods, are not going to allow our demands and identity to be overshadowed…”
Russ Bennett March 1 at 11:56am
Lets see what the Iranian constitution says about this (not that anybody wants to pay attention to the offical contract between the Iranian Government and the People made in 1979):
Since the family is the fundamental unit of Islamic society, all laws, regulations, and pertinent programmes must tend to facilitate the formation of a family, ,and to safeguard its sanctity and the stability of family relations on the basis of the law and the ethics of Islam.
All people of Iran, whatever the ethnic group or tribe to which they belong, enjoy equal rights; and color, race, language, and the like, do not bestow any privilege.
All citizens of the country, both men and women, equally enjoy the protection of the law and enjoy all human, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, in conformity with Islamic criteria.
The government must ensure the rights of women in all respects, in conformity with Islamic criteria, and accomplish the following goals:
1.create a favorable environment for the growth of woman’s personality and the restoration of her rights, both the material and intellectual;
2.the protection of mothers, particularly during pregnancy and childbearing, and the protection of children without guardians;
3.establishing competent courts to protect and preserve the family;
4.the provision of special insurance for widows, and aged women and women without support;
5.the awarding of guardianship of children to worthy mothers, in order to protect the interests of the children, in the absence of a legal guardian.
In reality it is very important who you are taking your demands to. As they are talking about abolishing gender discrimination, pay attention they are saying that in “Green Movement” not Iran Society! This means that they have felt the pressure from outside of their home and want to respond to that so they are not too far behind. They want to stay as a pressure group in their so called “Green Movement”. And not confronting the whole regime and not presenting it for the society as a whole. First of all during this past 31 years we have not been just facing a few gender discrimination s here and there but facing a “Gender Apartheid State” called IRI. And Mr. Musavi himself just weeks before result of election was asking girls not to take off their Hejab in demonstrations and dance and music in streets of Tehran. He actually condemn that. But youth and girls and women discredit the whole Islamic Apartheid state by over doing that even more after his message. Mr. Musavi has been an element of this Gender Apartheid State himself all during these years. Bahman revolution 1979 women in their March 8 showed what they are claiming and what they got after that. For all these, this revolution is nothing but a woman revolution no one can undermine that. They can not divert the focus to another matter as “Green” or any thing like that. We are getting rid off an Gender Apartheid State no question of that!
I am organising a virtual protest in support of Women’s Rights in Iran and worldwide on 8 March 2010 (International Women’s Day).
One of the reasons I was inspired to create a virtual protest was the brutal violence of the security and plain clothes forces who were clearly targeting women protesters on Ashura.
Through online protests, I hope to give all rights advocates a medium for demonstrating their cause without having to risk their lives in the process.
More details on our blog: http://globalfree.wordpress.com/