Sunday, June 28, 2009
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL INTRODUCES AN OPEN LETTER TO IRANIAN AUTHORITIES...
I support this open letter to Iranian authorities in the name of humanity:
To the Ruling Regime of Iran.
I was born in Kerman, a pretty city by the ancient city of Bam. I was happy and loved by my parents, and by the entire family. I had a very happy childhood. A childhood full of playing, climbing trees, and laughing. At age 7, I was told that I had to cover my hair and wear a uniform and trousers to go to school. I was told that this is the law and a good girl will cover up like a pearl in a shell. It was not long until I noticed boys my age freely walked around without covering their hairs and my questions started at a very young age. I concluded that it will be good to be a boy! Maybe I can shave my head or cut my hair very short like a boy and go out! I bet no one would recognise I was a girl! I used to dream of biking bare headed in the streets without being worried I was going to be arrested...
I grew up! I watched you day after day! I watched what you said about women, I listened carefully! You said we were equal to men, but how come:
• You took the freedom of choice from me? How come I could not decide not to wear my scarf but men could?
• You never arrested the random hungry men, whom you created through compulsory covering up of women, who abused me in the streets?
• You censored all foreign TV programmes which had women in them by zooming on their faces so that the rest of their bodies does not show?
• Women on TV first wore colourful uniforms and scarves and gradually started wearing black chadors?
• You forced me to wear a black chador at the university even if you kept saying a uniform and scarf was adequate hijab?
• Your male followers would look at the floor when I talked to them –it made me feel I did not exist- and they did not look straight in my eyes?
• I could not freely talk to my male friends and I always needed to hide any simple friendships for the fear of being arrested and whipped by the morality police (called Komiteh)?
• You always told me that I was the main source of provoking men to commit sins?
• You started arresting women who biked because you said their body shapes when biking will provoke men to commit sins?
• How come you stopped my childhood friend who was the nationwide champion in some type of sport to compete against other countries because her sport needed her not to wear hijab therefore prevented her from possibly winning in the Olympics?
• Why did you stop Shirin Ebadi the first female judge of Iran and the noble peace prize winner to continue working as a judge and said women can’t make good judges and are emotional?
• How come you attacked all women’s gatherings for women’s rights?
• How come you blocked the word “woman” or “women” from all the search engines in the internet?
• Why should always a father or a husband give a written permission for a woman to obtain a passport? Otherwise they are not allowed to leave the country.
There are hundreds of these questions that I can go on and on, it will take me tens of pages just to write down the obstacles that are in front of women for instance to obtain divorce, custody of children, equal rights to inheritance, equal rights to be counted as a witness to a crime at the court, rights not to be stoned, not to be sentenced to death for self defence, help and protection not to lose reputation for being raped etc.
You know all the above and you have always told me Islam is the best way for women. I am going to be very blunt with you, I am a skilled Chartered Accountant who could have helped Iran to flourish and become what it really deserves to be in the world. You made me leave my country by constantly telling me what I should not be doing and that I should be happy with the rules and obstacles you have put in my way to flourish. Not only you lost me and my skills but you have also destroyed what Islam did 1400 years ago for women. You keep telling me that the rules which brought unseen freedom to the women of Saudi Arabia 1400 years ago still apply to me but let me tell you something I am not the woman of 1400 years ago. Either open your eyes and see me as what I am today with all my beauty, talents, and struggle to find equality or leave the power. I know you are a puppet of power, money and oil. Your old tricks of using Islam and western power interference are not working anymore.
Stop your violence against Iranian women and the youth. Persia [name of the country was changed to Iran by Reza Shah in 1935] has survived tyranny for millenniums and will still survive.
A Persian Woman
Acknowledgements: Amnesty International, New Zealand.