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

25 Responses to “Their Risk For Freedom”

  1. Ding?

    Dana (99e2ea)

  2. Oppression is not having 4 of 16 contraceptives/abortifecits not paid for by your employer

    Wearing the scarf/hajib is freedom

    joe (93323e)

  3. We all learned what NOW was when they fired Tammy Bruce for attacking OJ Simpson as a murderer. Ralph Nader actually had a great comment about them. He said their only function now was fund raising.

    Mike K (b5c01a)

  4. American feminists – let alone those around the globe – have NEVER taken issue with little 8 or 9 year old girls, around the world, being routinely held down on kitchen tables so that their clitoris can be snipped off with a pair of scissors, without anesthesia.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  5. Or “honor killings”, etc.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  6. Why would they have a problem with white privilege in America?

    Michael Ejercito (becea5)

  7. Among the American left, being a “brave woman” means expressing opinions that are common staples of thought among the media and academic left and that have no consequence for being spoken aloud. I think these Iranian women put them to shame in terms of real courage.

    JVW (feb406)

  8. during the protests back in 2011, clotty-headed Hillary’s State Department created a twitter account to support the womens and they tweetered this historic tweeting

    “US State Dept recognizes historic role of social media among Iranians. We want to join in your conversations”

    reading that still gives me chills even today

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  9. NOW proved how much they actually cared about women during the Clinton impeachment fiasco. They stood by while the Clintons used the “Nuts-n-Sluts” defense. Sorry gals, NOW had to make sure abortion remained legal, or something. As if Roe vs Wade was going to be overturned because BJ perjured himself.

    It takes a special kind of advocay group to ignore their mission statement because of political correctness. I doubt NOW was the first, and it definitely won’t be the last, to succomb to this type of nonsense. But ignoring one of the worst ideologies with regard to women’s rights is pretty disgusting. You’ve come a long way baby!

    Huitzilincuatec (7fc17e)

  10. Even now
    My thought is all of this gold-tinted king’s daughter
    With garlands tissue and golden buds,
    Smoke tangles of her hair, and sleeping or waking
    Feet trembling in love, full of pale languor;
    My thought is clinging as to a lost learning
    Slipped down out of the minds of men,
    Labouring to bring her back into my soul.

    Even now
    If I see in my soul the citron-breasted fair one
    Still gold-tinted, her face like our night stars,
    Drawing unto her; her body beaten about with flame,
    Wounded by the flaring spear of love,
    My first of all by reason of her fresh years,
    Then is my heart buried alive in snow.

    Even now
    If my girl with lotus eyes came to me again
    Weary with the dear weight of young love,
    Again I would give her to these starved twins of arms
    And from her mouth drink down the heavy wine,
    As a reeling pirate bee in fluttered ease
    Steals up the honey from the nenuphar.

    Even now
    I bring her back, ah, wearied out with love
    So that her slim feet could not bear her up;
    Curved falls of her hair down on her white cheeks;
    In the confusion of her coloured vests
    Speaking that guarded giving up, and her scented arms
    Lay like cool bindweed over against my neck.

    Even now
    I bring her back to me in her quick shame,
    Hiding her bright face at the point of day:
    Making her grave eyes move in watered stars,
    For love’s great sleeplessness wandering all night,
    Seeming to sail gently, as that pink bird,
    Down the water of love in a harvest of lotus.

    Even now
    If I saw her lying all wide eyes
    And with collyrium the indent of her cheek
    Lengthened to the bright ear and her pale side
    So suffering the fever of my distance,
    Then would my love for her be ropes of flowers, and night
    A black-haired lover on the breasts of day.

    Even now
    I see the heavy startled hair of this reed-flute player
    Who curved her poppy lips to love dances,
    Having a youth’s face madding like the moon
    Lying at her full; limbs ever moving a little in love,
    Too slight, too delicate, tired with the small burden
    Of bearing love ever on white feet.

    Even now
    She is present to me on her beds,
    Balmed with the exhalation of a flattering musk,
    Rich with the curdy essence of santal;
    Girl with eyes dazing as the seeded wine,
    Showing as a pair of gentle nut-hatches
    Kissing each other with their bills, each hidden
    By turns within a little grasping mouth.

    Even now
    She swims back in the crowning hour of love
    All red with wine her lips have given to drink,
    Soft round the mouth with camphor and faint blue
    Tinted upon the lips, her slight body,
    Her great live eyes, the colourings of herself
    A clear perfection; sighs of musk outstealing
    And powdered wood spice heavy of Kashmir.

    Even now
    I see her; far face blond like gold
    Rich with small lights, and tinted shadows surprised
    Over and over all of her; with glittering eyes
    All bright for love but very love weary,
    As it were the conjuring disk of the moon when Rahu ceases
    With his dark stumbling block to hide her rays.

    Even now
    She is art-magically present to my soul,
    And that one word of strange heart’s ease, goodbye.
    That in the night, in loth moving to go,
    And bending over to a golden mouth,
    I said softly to the turned away
    Tenderly tired hair of this king’s daughter.

    Even now
    My eyes that hurry to see no more are painting, painting
    Faces of my lost girl. O golden rings
    That tap against cheeks of small magnolia leaves,
    O whitest so soft parchment where
    My poor divorcèd lips have written excellent
    Stanzas of kisses, and will write no more.

    Even now
    Death sends me the flickering of powdery lids
    Over wild eyes and the pity of her slim body
    All broken up with the weariness of joy;
    The little red flowers of her breasts to be my comfort
    Moving above scarves, and for my sorrow
    Wet crimson lips that once I marked as mine.

    Even now
    By a cool noise of waters in the spring
    The Asoka with young flowers that feign her fingers
    And bud in red; and in the green vest pearls kissing
    As it were rose leaves in the gardens of God; the shining at night
    Of white cheeks in the dark; smiles from light thoughts within,
    And her walking as of a swan: these trouble me.

    Even now
    The pleasèd intimacy of rough love
    Upon the patient glory of her form
    Racks me with memory; and her bright dress
    As it were yellow flame, which the white hand
    Shamefastly gathers in her rising haste,
    The slender grace of her departing feet.

    Even now
    When all my heavy heart is broken up
    I seem to see my prison walls breaking
    And then a light, and in that light a girl
    Her fingers busied about her hair, her cool white arms
    Faint rosy at the elbows, raised in the sunlight,
    And temperate eyes that wander far away.

    Even now
    I see her, as I used, in her white palace
    Under black torches throwing cool red light,
    Woven with many flowers and tearing the dark.
    I see her rising, showing all her face
    Defiant timidly, saying clearly:
    Now I shall go to sleep, good-night, my ladies.

    Even now
    Though I am so far separate, a flight of birds
    Swinging from side to side over the valley trees,
    Passing my prison with their calling and crying,
    Bring me to see my girl. For very bird-like
    Is her song singing, and the state of a swan
    In her light walking, like the shaken wings
    Of a black eagle falls her nightly hair.

    Even now
    I know my princess was happy. I see her stand
    Touching her breasts with all her flower-soft fingers,
    Looking askance at me with smiling eyes.
    There is a god that arms him with a flower
    And she was stricken deep. Here, oh die here.
    Kiss me and I shall be purer than quick rivers.

    Even now
    They chatter her weakness through the two bazaars
    Who was so strong to love me. And small men
    That buy and sell for silver being slaves
    Crinkle the fat about their eyes; and yet
    No Prince of the Cities of the Sea has taken her,
    Leading to his grim bed. Little lonely one,
    You clung to me as a garment clings; my girl.

    Even now
    Only one dawn shall rise for me. The stars
    Revolve to-morrow’s night and I not heed.
    One brief cold watch beside an empty heart
    And that is all. This night she rests not well;
    Oh, sleep; for there is heaviness for all the world
    Except for the death-lighted heart of me.

    Even now
    My sole concern the slipping of her vests,
    Her little breasts the life beyond this life.
    One night of disarray in her green hems,
    Her golden cloths, outweighs the order of earth,
    Making of none effect the tides of the sea.
    I have seen her enter the temple meekly and there seem
    The flag of flowers that veils the very god.

    Even now
    I mind the coming and talking of wise men from towers
    Where they had thought away their youth. And I, listening,
    Found not the salt of the whispers of my girl,
    Murmur of confused colours, as we lay near sleep;
    Little wise words and little witty words,
    Wanton as water, honied with eagerness.

    Even now
    I call to mind her weariness in the morning
    Close lying in my arms, and tiredly smiling
    At my disjointed prayer for her small sake.
    Now in my morning the weariness of death
    Sends me to sleep. Had I made coffins
    I might have lived singing to three score.

    Even now
    The woodcutter and the fisherman turn home,
    With on his axe the moon and in his dripping net
    Caught yellow moonlight. The purple flame of fires
    Calls them to love and sleep. From the hot town
    The maker of scant songs for bread wanders
    To lie under the clematis with his girl.
    The moon shines on her breasts, and I must die.

    Even now
    I have a need to make up prayers, to speak
    My last consideration of the world
    To the great thirteen gods, to make my balance
    Ere the soul journeys on. I kneel and say:
    Father of Light. Leave we it burning still
    That I may look at you. Mother of the Stars,
    Give me your feet to kiss; I love you, dear.

    Even now
    I seem to see the face of my lost girl
    With frightened eyes, like a wood wanderer,
    In travail with sorrowful waters, unwept tears
    Labouring to be born and fall; when white face turned
    And little ears caught at the far murmur,
    The pleased snarling of the tumult of dogs
    When I was hurried away down the white road.

    Even now
    When slow rose-yellow moons looked out at night
    To guard the sheaves of harvest and mark down
    The peach’s fall, how calm she was and love worthy.
    Glass-coloured starlight falling as thin as dew
    Was wont to find us at the spirit’s starving time
    Slow straying in the orchard paths with love.

    Even now
    Love is a god and Rati the dark his bride;
    But once I found their child and she was fairer,
    That could so shine. And we were each to each
    Wonderful and a presence not yet felt
    In any dream. I knew the sunset earth
    But as a red gold ring to bear my emerald
    Within the little summer of my youth.

    Even now
    I marvel at the bravery of love.
    She, whose two feet might be held in one hand
    And all her body on a shield of the guards,
    Lashed like a gold panther taken in a pit
    Tearfully valiant, when I too was taken;
    Bearding her black beard father in his wrath,
    Striking the soldiers with white impotent hands.

    Even now
    I mind that I loved cypress and roses, dear,
    The great blue mountains and the small grey hills,
    The sounding of the sea. Upon a day
    I saw strange eyes and hands like butterflies;
    For me at morning larks flew from the thyme
    And children came to bathe in little streams.

    Even now
    Sleep left me all these nights for your white bed
    And I am sure you sistered lay with sleep
    After much weeping. Piteous little love,
    Death is in the garden, time runs down,
    The year that simple and unexalted ran till now
    Ferments in winy autumn, and I must die.

    Even now
    I mind our going, full of bewilderment
    As who should walk from sleep into great light,
    Along the running of the winter river,
    A dying sun on the cool hurrying tide
    No more by green rushes delayed in dalliance,
    With a clear purpose in his flower flecked length
    Informed, to reach Nirvana and the sea.

    Even now
    I love long black eyes that caress like silk,
    Ever and ever sad and laughing eyes,
    Whose lids make such sweet shadow when they close
    It seems another beautiful look of hers.
    I love a fresh mouth, ah, a scented mouth,
    And curving hair, subtle as a smoke,
    And light fingers, and laughter of green gems.

    Even now
    I mind asking: Where love and how love Rati’s priestesses?
    You can tell me of their washings at moon down
    And if that warm basin have silver borders.
    Is it so that when they comb their hair
    Their fingers, being purple stained, show
    Like coral branches in the black sea of their hair?

    Even now
    I remember that you made answer very softly,
    We being one soul, your hand on my hair,
    The burning memory rounding your near lips:
    I have seen the priestesses of Rati make love at moon fall
    And then in a carpeted hall with a bright gold lamp
    Lie down carelessly anywhere to sleep.

    Even now
    I have no surety that she is not Mahadevi
    Rose red of Siva, or Kapagata
    The wilful ripe Companion of the King,
    Or Krishna’s own Lakshmi, the violet haired.
    I am not certain but that dark Brahma
    In his high secret purposes
    Has sent my soft girl down to make the three worlds mad
    With capering about her scented feet.

    Even now
    Call not the master painters from all the world,
    Their thin black beards, their rose and green and grey,
    Their ashes of lapis lazuli ultramarine,
    Their earth of shadows the umber. Laughing at art
    Sunlight upon the body of my bride,
    For painting not nor any eyes for ever.
    Oh warm tears on the body of my bride.

    Even now
    I mind when the red crowds were passed and it was raining
    How glad those two that shared the rain with me;
    For they talked happily with rich young voices
    And at the storm’s increase, closer and with content,
    Each to the body of the other held
    As there were no more severance for ever.

    Even now
    The stainless fair appearance of the moon
    Rolls her gold beauty over an autumn sky
    And the stiff anchorite forgets to pray;
    How much the sooner I, if her wild mouth
    Tasting of the taste of manna came to mine
    And kept my soul at balance above a kiss.

    Even now
    Her mouth carelessly scented as with lotus dust
    Is water of love to the great heat of love,
    A tirtha very holy, a lover’s lake
    Utterly sacred. Might I go down to it
    But one time more, then should I find a way
    To hold my lake for ever and ever more
    Sobbing out my life beside the waters.

    Even now
    I mind that the time of the falling of blossoms started my dream
    Into a wild life, into my girl;
    Then was the essence of her beauty spilled
    Down on my days so that it fades not,
    Fails not, subtle and fresh, in perfuming
    That day, and the days, and this the latest day.

    Even now
    She with young limbs as smooth as flower pollen,
    Whose swaying body is laved in the cool
    Waters of languor, this dear bright-coloured bird,
    Walks not, changes not, advances not
    Her weary station by the black lake
    Of Gone Forever, in whose fountain vase
    Balance the water-lilies of my thought.

    Even now
    Spread we our nets beyond the farthest rims
    So surely that they take the feet of dawn
    Before you wake and after you are sleeping
    Catch up the visible and invisible stars
    And web the ports the strongest dreamer dreamed,
    Yet is it all one, Vidya, yet is it nothing.

    Even now
    The night is full of silver straws of rain,
    And I will send my soul to see your body
    This last poor time. I stand beside your bed;
    Your shadowed head lies leaving a bright space
    Upon the pillow empty, your sorrowful arm
    Holds from your side and clasps not anything.
    There is no covering upon you.

    Even now
    I think your feet seek mine to comfort them.
    There is some dream about you even now
    Which I’ll not hear at waking. Weep not at dawn,
    Though day brings wearily your daily loss
    And all the light is hateful. Now is it time
    To bring my soul away.

    Even now
    I mind that I went round with men and women,
    And underneath their brows, deep in their eyes,
    I saw their souls, which go slipping aside
    In swarms before the pleasure of my mind;
    The world was like a flight of birds, shadow or flame
    Which I saw pass above the engraven hills.
    Yet was there never one like to my girl.

    Even now
    Death I take up as consolation.
    Nay, were I free as the condor with his wings
    Or old kings throned on violet ivory,
    Night would not come without beds of green floss
    And never a bed without my bright darling.
    It is most fit that you strike now, black guards,
    And let this fountain out before the dawn.

    Even now
    I know that I have savoured the hot taste of life
    Lifting green cups and gold at the great feast.
    Just for a small and a forgotten time
    I have had full in my eyes from off my girl
    The whitest pouring of eternal light.
    The heavy knife. As to a gala day.

    Steve57 (efd576)

  11. WTF… Sammy57?!?!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  12. She Being Brand New by E.E. Cummings

    she being Brand

    -new;and you
    know consequently a
    little stiff I was
    careful of her and (having

    thoroughly oiled the universal
    joint tested my gas felt of
    her radiator made sure her springs were O.

    K.)i went right to it flooded-the-carburetor cranked her

    up,slipped the
    clutch (and then somehow got into reverse she
    kicked what
    the hell) next
    minute i was back in neutral tried and

    again slo-wly;bare,ly nudg. ing(my

    lev-er Right-
    oh and her gears being in
    A 1 shape passed
    from low through
    second-in-to-high like
    greasedlightning) just as we turned the corner of Divinity

    avenue i touched the accelerator and give

    her the juice,good

    was the first ride and believe I we was
    happy to see how nice and acted right up to
    the last minute coming back down by the Public
    Gardens I slammed on

    breaks Bothatonce and

    brought allofher tremB
    to a:dead.


    Hadoop (f7d5ba)

  13. I marvel at the bravery of love.

    It takes a brave woman to love me. A couple of Syrian and Iraqi girls gave it a shot back when I was dating. Knowing what I know now about honor killings I’m more than a little surprised. I feel I owe them a debt of gratitude.

    A little something for the effort.

    It’s wrong o run out like this.

    Steve57 (efd576)

  14. 12. WTF… Sammy57?!?!
    Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 7/6/2014 @ 1:41 pm

    I would bet my life that she is lovely.

    Too lovely for any poem I’m capable of writing.

    Steve57 (efd576)

  15. This is a very nice post, Dana. I fear many of the trends and not-positive probabilities that are going to occur and be experienced in the world before my time on earth is over-and after. But I think that a few hundred million affected women bravely coming together to say “hell no, in the 2lst century we’re not going to be shrouded in Burkas and hijabs anymore” is increasingly very likely to succeed. This has nothing to do with “religion” and everything to do with male dominance and power over females’ freedom. I hope they succeed, anyway, although some will certainly be killed for their bravery in the process. It would be nice if they, rather than shallow Sandra Fluke, would get the verbal and financial support and the attention of American women.

    elissa (e00883)

  16. I would bet my life that she is lovely.

    I immediately had the same thought. No doubt she could gaze upon me but for a mere moment and capture my heart forever.

    I almost don’t want to see her face since she couldn’t possibly live up to the image I have created for her in my mind.

    JVW (feb406)

  17. Thanks, elissa. I agree re the Flukes of the world. However, with that, I am keenly aware of the fact that just like the dolts of NOW, I essentially risk nothing to experience the freedoms I have. I may speak out on conservatism, I may post here, I may live a life of faith that is mocked, but so what? It really doesn’t cost me anything in terms of risk-taking. I am so thankful for that because I honestly don’t know how brave I would be in the face of such a threat. I’d like to say I would dare to go without a head scarf, too, but none of us really know what we’ll do in the face of danger. One’s courage isn’t usually known until put to the test.

    Yes, there are indeed some lovely Iranians at the site and some great photo compositions, too.

    Dana (4dbf62)

  18. the American Left is only brave when no courage is required.

    at the first sign of personal danger or sacrifice they run away in shrieking terror.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  19. Good heavens, the Iranian Selena Gomez!

    JVW (feb406)


    Two days late and a dollar short.

    Still, enjoy.

    Penn & Teller Patriotic Speech

    Steve57 (efd576)

  21. Thanks for this post, Dana.

    Dustin (739ea2)

  22. Seeing Iran in the 1970s and comparing it to Iran today is probably the clearest illustration of the tyranny of pure evil since Stalin and Hitler.

    Many places have been oppressed by idiots, but I don’t think many have fallen so sharply. They used to partner with Israel on massive capital improvements. EPWJ snarks aside, Jewish history is actually a rich part of Persian culture.

    The only chance they’ve had, in recent memory, is Iraq joining the 21st century, and I fear that that hard won hope, paid in American blood, has been squandered obnoxiously for the stupidest political calculations.

    Dustin (739ea2)

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