Women in Iran and the disturbing ease of impotence

We are working on the transgender law and in Afghanistan the Taliban are imposing more and more restrictions on women. In Iran, Mahsa Amini was probably killed because she was not wearing a headscarf properly. Imagine that a Muslim woman is beaten to death by the police because she wears the hijab! Street protests by women (and men) were suppressed on orders from the ayatollahs. Many dead and wounded.

Theocratic dictatorships are fatal in every way. We in the West know him, see him, and express our horror at him, but we are weak. Our support for brave women standing up for their rights is dubious. In large parts of the world, the West simply symbolizes imperialism, colonialism, exploitation, and immorality. Our moral authority is being challenged. Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Khamenei, the Taliban, Kim Jong Un and many autocrats in Africa and the Middle East are telling their people that the West is not a good person.

Our revulsion at the violation of human rights has little effect on the international stage. The ayatollahs have been in charge for more than 40 years and the rebel forces have been crushed time and time again. Those who could escaped.

The less fortunate were imprisoned, tortured and sometimes killed. In his book “American Garage”, Kevan Shahbazi describes his fortunes in the prisons of the ayatollahs and his final journey. It was his “honour” to have been interrogated, humiliated and tortured under the auspices of the future Iranian president. The reader almost closes his eyes to the images evoked by his words. You feel the pain cutting through your body.

He grabbed the ayatollahs from his beard

When we see the protesters and the violence they are subjected to, our hearts glow with indignation. Ideally, you might want to immediately grab the ayatollahs by the beard in your hands and throw them around the room if that helps. Support with words or a haircut on Twitter, if necessary, it’s all heartwarming, but pointless. Doing nothing is not an option either.

So here we are, Dutch women, wondering what measures really help. The women were expected to protest. The protest of some men in Iran now is also a big step forward. It will only be a turning point if the followers of the Iranian regime reject the ayatollahs. If all Shiite and Sunni mosque imams send a message of protest to Tehran: that God and His Messenger vehemently rejected this attitude toward women, and that the ayatollahs of God will burn in hell, will that reach?

It would be a turning point if Muslim men here in the Netherlands allowed women the freedom to choose clothes and occupation.

We are not far away yet. Here, too, “compulsion to wear the veil” occurs and girls are kept at home.

Effects of male superiority thinking

Whoever imposes a strict version of a religion on society suppresses every life, every initiative, and every progress, especially for women. It always stands out: in almost every religion, a woman is submissive, inferior, obedient to a man. No matter how progressive some branches of Christianity may be, we find traces of male supremacy everywhere.

Having said this and said that I support all women who are rebelling against the power of spiritual leaders, this piece is all I can offer. What is the Dutch government doing? What is Europe doing? The same thing I do: say how bad it is and how angry we are and this and more.

Sanctions are already in place, but they did nothing. we wait. We are watching. We take to the streets with a banner. But when we take to the streets here, there are no riot police ready with tear gas or a sinister baton. When we take to the streets here, we get claps and thumbs up. It feels free and easy. This is an uncomfortable feeling.

Neelek Norderfleet (Rotterdam, 1945) has written several novels, short stories and plays. In 2018, she won the Constantijn Huygens Prize for her complete work. In her column in Trouw, she reflects on current events every two weeks. Read it here again.

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