Patterico's Pontifications


Their Risk For Freedom

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:13 am

[guest post by Dana]

Last weekend, the National Organization for Women (NOW) held a Strategy Summit in New Mexico.

A number of resolutions were on the docket for consideration. Here are a few that were passed by the feminist organization: Reframing Abortion Rights Advocacy, Creating a National Monument To Honor Our Foremothers, and the ubiquitous Dismantling White Privilege.

What didn’t pass muster? Ironically, a resolution titled Culturally Oppressive Laws Against Women and Girls.

Dr. Chessler explains:

All the resolution called for was a public education campaign. However, it specifically singled out Sharia law and listed the human and women’s rights violations performed in its name: forced veiling, forced child marriage, normalized beating, honor killing, purdah, stoning to death, hanging, and flogging for non-compliant women.

The language of the resolution was specific:

“Whereas, one of NOW’s official priorities is to eliminate violence against women…we urge NOW members to educate law enforcement, educators, medical professionals, and community leaders to the danger of Sharia law.”

NOW just could not bring themselves to pass the resolution, but tabled it for more discussion.

In light of the absurdity that is NOW, I want to draw attention to a unique group of women who don’t have the luxury of debating a resolution – as if such a resolution would have one iota of impact on their daily lives. And although facing an extremely difficult circumstance, these women are choosing to put themselves at risk in their defiant and courageous fight for freedom. This movement is about individual action. Their acts may seem small, but in their proper context they are enormous.

London-based journalist Masih Alinejad began a Facebook page, which she called My Stealthy Freedom. The site provides a place where women from Iran can post their photos without wearing their head scarves. The risk associated with this act is great as it defies the oppressive religious laws and dress code for women. Alinejad’s objective is not to ban the head scarf, but rather that women be given the choice whether to wear one. The movement has exploded since its inception in May, 2014.

Here are a few of these defiant acts done in the name of freedom this July 4th weekend (the commentary below each photo is the individual’s reaction to appearing in public, unveiled):

here is one of the work regions of Asalouyeh. I toke off my scarf to take some pictures.Then I saw some women with their families came after me and dared to take off their scarves in that place which was full of men and started to take pictures. I was so happy that I was the starter of such an action, although it was a small act but it was a pleasure.

Names and addresses of all my country’s alleys, streets and squares are Azadi (freedom). I’ve been fasting freedom for years but now I’ll be a muezzin and I call freedom Azan. I break my fast by all freedom that I just saw its name in the city just for being a woman.

Stealthy freedom, Ghadir Blvrd., Bandar-e-Abbas. I’ll say this simply, I want freedom. It is my right as a human being to be free. I want to shout out my freedom! Exactly in front of the bill board behind me!! I was pulled over on time while driving, because of “inappropriate dressing”. They towed away my car and called me to court. We are suffocating here under the ruling of this tyranny.

As a result of Alinejad’s My Stealthy Freedom page, she is facing grotesque attacks from Iran state television:

Vahid Yaminpour, a conservative Iranian commentator and TV personality, is alleging that Alinejad was raped on the streets of London by three men as her son was made to stand by as a witness.

“Masih Alinejad is a whore, and not a heretic as some people claim her to be,” Yaminpour wrote on his Facebook page. “We shouldn’t elevate her to the level of a heretic. She’s just trying to compensate her psychological (and probably financial) needs by recruiting young women and sharing her notoriety with younger women who are still not prostitutes.”

Alinejad denied all allegations in an interview with ABC News, citing the comments as a weak attempt by Iranian officials to smear her reputation and quell the explosive activity around her Facebook page, which has now gained more than 450,000 likes.

“They want to keep journalists silent,” she said. “I’ve been attacked several times, but this was the most fabricated, most disgusting news about me.”

The movement brings mixed feelings, as well:

“In Iran, being an Iranian journalist means that if you always break censorship, break the barrier, you’re going to get attacked,” she said. “It means you have to live in danger all the time.”

The backlash against her campaign has taken away any hope Alinejad had of returning to Iran, because “if they can rape you in their imagination, they can rape you when they are close to you.”

Still, the choice between going home and reuniting with her family or giving the women she considers to be her sisters a platform weighs heavily on the journalist.

“Do I go back to my country and keep silent, or stay abroad and be louder and louder, to be the voice of those mothers who lost a loved one and do not have any voice inside, and to be the voice of those women who do not believe in a mandatory hijab who need a voice, who need a platform?” she asked.

For Alinejad, there is only one answer.

“If you look at my inbox and read the messages that women send to me,” she said, “they knew the dangers and the risks, but they wanted to send their own message.

“I can’t leave them.”

An Iranian grandmother who posted her unveiled photo, eloquently sums it up:

I take my scarf off whenever and wherever I get the chance to do so. Flying inside the cage is the most expressive sort of objection… Alas the broken wing bird doesn’t have the chance to do it.


h/t PJ Tatler


Iranians Direct Their Anger At Supreme Leader in Second Day of Protests

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:03 pm

[guest post by Dana]

In the aftermath of Iran admitting that they were responsible for the downing of the Ukrainian airplane in which 82 of the 176 passengers killed were Iranians, scores of angry Iranians are in the second day of protests at universities in Tehran and throughout the city as they demand that the Ayatolla and officials step down. The protesters are taking a substantial risk in voicing their demands as just two months ago, the regime killed more than 1,500 protesters.

Demonstrators are calling for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down and for those responsible for downing the plane to be prosecuted.

“Khamenei have shame. Leave the country,” chanted protesters in the capital, Tehran, in footage posted on social media.

Protests have now spread to other cities, including Shiraz, Esfahan, Hamedan and Orumiyeh, Reuters reported.

There are also reports that protesters have a made a point to avoid stepping on flags of Israel and the U.S. that are painted on the ground, with protesters chanting: “They are lying that our enemy is America; our enemy is right here”:

This seems huge: Iranian media is also coming out against the supreme leader:

Newspapers called for resignations and sackings over the handling of the air disaster.

Sazandegi, a moderate conservative publication, also apologized to its readers for having trusted official sources on the matter.

“Apologize, resign,” said the main headline of the reformist Etemad daily.

“Unforgivable,” said government newspaper Iran, which published all the names of those who died in the air disaster on the image of black plane tail.

State media was compelled to push back:

Kayhan, a hardline daily, led on the supreme leader’s “strict orders” to follow up on the “painful incident of the plane crash”.

As public anger grew, state television aired interviews with people who it said “have not forgotten everything the Guards have done for the country.”

In response to the protests, President Trump first tweeted out his unwavering support for the protesters yesterday, both in English and Farsi:

Today, he directed his comments to the leadership of Iran, and exhorted them to stop killing their own people, while reminding them that the world was watching:

Here is some incredible video coming out of Iran posted by Masih Alinejad, who is the founder of My Stealthy Freedom, a group about which I’ve written here:

In addition, take time to read Yashar Ali’s thread on the Iranian situation here. In part:

This AM I woke up to dozens of messages from family/friends in Iran. Right now, Iran is a tinderbox internally. As some of you know, there are protests mostly around the anger that Iranians feel towards the gov after they admitted IRGC shot down the Ukraine Airlines aircraft

Iranians who are protesting and all the family/friends I spoke to (who live in different parts of Iran) are furious that they were lied to for three days about the cause of the plane crash. The Iranian government lied left and right about where the plane was headed

Iranians are in the street calling for prosecutions, saying Soleimani is a murderer. Telling leadership of the Iranian government to resign and saying that Trump isn’t the problem, that the Iranian government is.

And we are reminded that it’s easy to fill the streets with millions of Iranians for Qasem Soleimani’s funeral because there was no risk involved. However, to publicly protest and take to the streets demanding that the Supreme Leader step down and defy officials in this way, comes at an an enormous risk to the individual:

It looks like the worst is yet to come:

God bless these brave men and women.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



Checkmate: A Real Champion Of Women (And Her Name Isn’t Hillary-I-Take-Money-From-Women-Hating-Regimes Clinton)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:31 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I sure hope the Hillary Clinton supporters voting with their uteruses take note of Nazi Paikidze. She exemplifies a woman actually willing to stand up against real – not imagined or perceived – oppression of women, no matter the cost. Sadly, as you and I know, that self-proclaimed champion of women running for president really only stands up before the oppressors of women and children when it’s time to leave and collect a Big Fat Check to deposit into her private slush fund.

Last week it was reported that any women participating in the esteemed World Chess Championships next year, unbelievably being held in Iran, would be required to wear the hijab in deference to the suffocating and discriminatory Iranian religious laws. If participants fail to comply, they will be arrested – or worse. The pushback against the obvious religious and sexual discrimination was immediate:

Grandmasters lined up to say they would boycott the 64-player knock-out and accused the game’s scandal-hit governing body Fide of failing to stand up for women’s rights.

Unfortunately, not everyone is making a stand against the ruling because tolerance:

Fide’s Commission for Women’s Chess, meanwhile, called on participants to respect “cultural differences” and accept the regulations.

And other officials reiterated the need for players to be tolerant of Iran’s non-Western views.

In response to the outrageous demand on players, world champion Nazi Paikidze also brought up the obvious: WHY ARE WE HAVING THIS CONTEST IN A COUNTRY THAT HATES WOMEN??!!!

“It is absolutely unacceptable to host one of the most important women’s tournaments in a venue where, to this day, women are forced to cover up with a hijab.

“I understand and respect cultural differences. But, failing to comply can lead to imprisonment and women’s rights are being severely restricted in general.

“It does not feel safe for women from around the world to play here.” Paikidze added: “I am honoured and proud to have qualified to represent the United States in the Women’s World Championship. But, if the situation remains unchanged, I will most certainly not participate in this event.”

And Paikidze is holding fast to her promise to boycott the event. In an interview with My Stealthy Freedom, a group working to fight against the forced wearing of the hijab and about which I have written, she made the following statements:

‘When I learned about the situation in Iran, that to this day, women are forced to wear hijab, I was heartbroken. I think most people don’t realize how severely restricted women’s rights are in Iran in general.

Some consider a hijab part of culture. But, I know that a lot of Iranian women are bravely protesting this forced law daily and risking a lot by doing so. That’s why I will NOT wear a hijab and support women’s oppression.

Even if it means missing one of the most important competitions of my career. I found My Stealthy Freedom Campaign by doing a lot of research online. Since I was faced with this issue directly I wanted to learn more.

I want to thank you for what you are doing and what you have already done for women’s rights. It is inspiring and brave work. I am hoping that by speaking up, I will inspire others to do the same. The more people standing together, the better chance we have for equality.'”

When she received criticism for her comments, she added this:

“This is a post for those who don’t understand why I am boycotting FIDE’s decision.

I think it’s unacceptable to host a WOMEN’S World Championship in a place where women do not have basic fundamental rights and are treated as second-class citizens.

For those saying that I don’t know anything about Iran: I have received the most support and gratitude from the people of Iran, who are facing this situation every day.”

I found Nazi Paikidze’s stance admirable, especially in the face of blowback from the group’s officials, as well as losing out on an opportunity to further her standing in the world of competitive chess. Unfortunately, Susan Polgar, who apparently is both the chair of FIDE’s women’s committee as well as resident scold, did not find Paikidze’s public stand admirable, and for it, has taken her to task.

I also found it admirable that a woman most people (outside the world of chess) wouldn’t know from Eve, would be so compelled to stand by her convictions, even knowing what it would cost her professionally. Which made me think, gosh, if only we had a woman running for president with the same level of conviction and commitment to helping the oppressed. You know, some sort of champion of women and children... But unfortunately, as my post from yesterday, and Patterico’s post from this morning remind us, we don’t have that kind of woman running for the presidency. Instead we have a devious and calculating woman who is more than willing to attack and destroy women who have been victimized by a powerful and predatory male, as well as engage with oppressive regimes that imprison and kill women, if she can personally benefit from their deep pockets.

Perhaps no other country offers a better test case than Saudi Arabia, a regime that openly denies women so many rights and yet appears to be chummy with both Clinton and her foundation. Asked last week specifically about Saudi Arabia’s donations to the Clinton Foundation, the former secretary of state, fresh off a speech about women’s rights at the United Nations and the release of a 50-page report on the status of women and girls in the world, responded, “There can’t be any mistake about my passion concerning women’s rights here at home and around the world. So I think that people who want to support the foundation know full well what it is we stand for and what we’re working on.”


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