From a World to Win News Service
European March for Women’s Liberation in Iran
Revolution #035, February 19, 2006, posted at revcom.us
The following is an excerpt from a World to Win News Service article:
30 January 2006. A World to Win News Service. On the occasion of 8 March, International Women’s Day, the women of the Campaign for the Abolition of All Misogynist, Gender-Based Legislation & Islamic Punitive Laws in Iran have planned a march to start 4 March in Frankfurt (Germany) and end 8 March in The Hague (the Netherlands). The organizers hope that people of many different nationalities, including Kurds, Germans, Turks, Iranians, East Europeans, and others, will join it in the cities along the way. The marchers will move on foot through city centers and then travel by car caravan to the next stop. They will hold marches and demonstrations on successive days in Frankfurt, Mainz, Cologne, and Dusseldorf before arriving in The Hague, where welcoming rallies are being prepared. There they will march through the city, focusing their protest on the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the International Criminal Court, the end point of the march, chosen as a symbolic site to bring out the support the world’s imperialist powers have given, some openly and some in other ways, to prop up the criminal regime in Iran.
The call for this march begins like this: "If you are against death by stoning! If you are against forced veiling! If you are against the prosecution and imprisonment of women! If you are against lashing a woman’s body! If you are against any form of patriarchy! If you are against the medieval laws of Iran’s Islamic Republic of Iran imposing inequality on women!--Join the great walk against anti-women laws in Iran’s Islamic Republic on 8 March 2006!"
This campaign has united a core group of hundreds of Iranian and international women activists and personalities who have long been fighting for women’s rights, including some who have spent many years in the dungeons of the Islamic Republic. More than a hundred women and men fighting for women’s rights in Europe and elsewhere in the world have signed the call. Iranian women’s groups and individual activists, academicians and artists in exile, among them the 8 March Women’s Organization (Iran-Afghanistan), have been the backbone of this effort. So far it has been able to unite a broad array of Iranian opposition movement in exile, from communist and labor movement activists to progressive democrats.
For the last 27 years these Islamic laws have deprived women of their most basic rights as human beings and intensified the marginalization of women, creating a gender segregation that has made society a hell for all and forcing many women into suicide, prostitution, and drug addiction. Women are setting fire to themselves in increasing numbers. These laws represent and impose a state of semi-slave social relations on women. They have strengthened the already brutal patriarchal and male supremacist relations in the country. A vast apparatus of morality police has been set up to keep an eye on women and punish them if they violate these medieval moral codes of conduct. This is the dark ages in the 21st century.
What Makes This Campaign Important
The campaign’s call for the abolition of these laws and its overall stand has the potential to unite the majority of the women while at the same time targeting the heart of the religious regime. The success of this campaign can be a strong blow to the IRI since it targets the very foundations of this theocratic state. Furthermore, since these laws have their roots in centuries-old traditions, the struggle against them is a struggle against these traditions and the prevailing social relations they are based on. And this would encourage women and the whole society to fight for higher goals.
The campaign appeals to all people, especially women from all over the world, to express their solidarity and see this struggle as theirs. As the campaign explains in one of its leaflets: "The American government… has declared that it seeks to liberate the women of the Middle East from the yoke of Islamic fundamentalism. This is a ridiculous claim that makes a mockery of real liberation and is an insult to the women of the Middle East. The march of events in Afghanistan and Iraq should have helped those who were taken in by these self-styled liberators of Middle Eastern women to realize how badly they were fooled. If anyone still believes that George Bush and his ilk are liberators of women, please talk to American women fighting to prevent him from taking away their right to abortion as well as against the efforts of the Christian fascists to dominate every aspect of the lives of women in the U.S. What George Bush is taking away from the women in the USA he will not deliver to women in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan or any other country."
The U.S.’s drive for global hegemony and the challenges that it has faced have moved Iran toward the center of the world situation. In this context, the position that this women’s movement is putting forward could play an important role in helping to make the international line-up in relation to Iran and in Iran itself more favorable to the people’s interests and a revolutionary solution, instead of one imposed by imperialism.
"Celebrate 8 March 2006 with us and help us to build the independent ranks of women against U.S. imperialism as well as the reactionary states governing these countries."
(For more information, go the campaign’s web site: www.karzar-zanan.com.)