July 14, 2008
Iranian Women Declare War against the Mullahs
Artemesia was a woman who commanded the Iranian naval forces when Cyrus the Great attacked Greece in 563 BCE. The women of Iran were equal members of their society in ancient Iran and joined their men in the affairs of State – until 623AD, when Iran was invaded by the military forces of Islamic Arabs who imposed their rule upon Iranians.
During the 15th century, the Ottomans invaded Iran making the Mullahs partners of the crown in order to control Iranians and, worse yet, oppress women.
In 1888, the women of Iran joined the revolutionary forces to fight for modernity, constitutional monarchy and separation of the religion and state.
According to historians, alongside the dead revolutionaries in the battlefields lay the bodies of women who valiantly fought shoulder to shoulder with the men. The constitutional revolution succeeded in 1906, but in their negotiations with the plutocratic Mullahs, the revolutionary leadership left the family laws under the cleric-controlled Sharia. The women of Iran were betrayed but their war against the Mullahs had just begun. In 1907, with the establishment of their nationwide, underground organization, “The Secret Society of the Ladies,” a war was declared on the clergy; they would not stop until they had their equal rights.
Iranian women had total equal rights and had fought a valiant battle to once again become partners of their men … But it did not last long.
By 1971, Iranian women had total equal rights and had fought a valiant battle to once again become partners of their men in running the affairs of the country. But it did not last long. Although Khomeini had, in an interview, announced to the Guardian and other media that women’s rights will not change under his Islamic government, one of his first acts was repealing the laws that guaranteed the women’s rights, re-imposing the Sharia laws.
Since the establishment of the Islamic government in Iran in 1979, women have counted as one-half of a man. They do not get the custody of their children. They do not have the choice in their clothing, residence, leaving the house, working, education or traveling without the permission of their husband. The age at which girls are allowed to marry is nine. Men can divorce the women at any time they wish and can marry several wives in addition to them. Girls inherit one-half of that which boys do and so on.
State-owned press reports that in Tehran, 120 women have been hung in public in the first five months of the Iranian year; that suicide among the women of Iran has been the highest in world history.
The young generation of Iranian women has again declared war against the Mullahs of Iran, but this time the power of government is against them. The paramilitary forces of the Islamic regime make it impossible for the women to protest against their inhumane laws. There are home invasions and early morning arrests of the women activists at all times. Zahra Kazemi, a photojournalist, was one of the many women who was beaten, tortured and finally killed under torture in Tehran’s Evin prison, all because she was taking photos of the families of political prisoners who had gathered for their loved ones in front of that very prison. Sixteen-year-old Atefeh Rajabi was hung in public because she was falsely accused by a Mullah of having “relations” with a man. And these are just a tiny account of the plight of women in Iran.
A group of women attempted to establish a political party. They have been in the 209 – solitary – section of the dreaded Evin prison for the last nine months.
Last year another group of women attempted to collect one million signatures against the unjust Mullah laws. Hundreds of women joined them nationwide in less than 48 hours to collect signatures, but they were all arrested, beaten and imprisoned. One year later on June 12th, 2008, nine more women were arrested from the crowd that had gathered in the town square commemorating the last year’s arrests.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editors Manda Zand-Ervin and Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, mother and daughter, are Iranian activists and president and co-founder of Alliance of Iranian Women.