Thursday, July 23, 2009

Addressing Iran's Gender Apartheid

photos of signs/crane and photo of Abdee Kalantari courtesy of Julie Jigsawnovich

reported by Julie Jigsawnovich


Threatening weather, an ominously towering crane, and noise from the next-door construction site faded into the background as this reporter was captivated by sociologist Abdee Kalantari's presentation of a statement by philosopher and scholar, Mohammad-Reza Nikfar, on the second day of the hunger strike near the United Nations headquarters in New York.  In translating Nikfar's statement from Persian to English, Kalantari said:

"Mr. Nikfar points out that the Islamic regime is based on several basic discriminations:  Islamic v. non-Islamic/insider - outsider/cleric - non-cleric/Sheite - non-Sheite/and, perhaps most serious of all, gender Apartheid.  

'In the initial phase of the Green Movement, although we feel pain and sorrow for our fallen youth--Nedas and Sohrabs--at the same time we feel a sense of euphoria, because we come to see our strength--we witness our strong solidarity.  And even though the regime's reaction is brutal and savage, we see its vulnerability, its weaknesses.  After this recognition, this initial sense of joy and solidarity, we can pause, we can step back and look at the past 30 years, and ask ourselves, where, when, and how we became complicit in all this.  Take a stern look at ourselves and ask ourselves where we went wrong.  That's the hardest task ahead.

'Where does gender Apartheid come from?  Is it just the government?  Once the religion left the state government and we achieve a secular politics, we will still ask ourselves about the nature [of] prejudice in ourselves.

Best wish,

M. N.'"

To see a photo of Mohammad-Reza Nikfar, please go to:

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