girls lead the battle in opposition to a vicious propaganda struggle

33 girls lead the battle in opposition to a vicious propaganda struggle

An American journalist recounts her expertise within the Islamic nation and the way it differs from photos on Western screens

One of many oldest and most culturally wealthy international locations in West Asia, Iran holds relics of the rise and fall of empires of the previous. Tehran, its capital and largest metropolis, filled with architectural wonders, has a inhabitants of 9.5 million.

However it’s in Mashhad, a metropolis within the northeast of the nation, often known as a spot for non secular pilgrimage, that I, together with over 100 different girls within the media, attended the Khorsheed Media Pageant, a pageant sponsored by the native municipality in addition to the Ministry of Tradition and the bureau of the Iranian president’s deputy for ladies and household affairs. The goal was to attach girls in journalism and expose them to the realities of Iran, particularly, to the position of ladies in its society.

Woven among the many streets of Tehran and Mashhad is the place the noticeable variations between what Western media alleges about Iran and its therapy of ladies, versus the truth on the bottom, grew to become a lot clearer. In response to Western media, girls in Iran have little to no rights, and protests inside Iran have erupted, with assist from the US and different Western international locations, calling for the liberty of those oppressed girls. 

These voices of opposition in opposition to Iran’s authorities grew louder after the case of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old lady who allegedly died in police custody from being brutally crushed by the so-called morality police for not adhering to the costume code. Police denied they’d ever touched her and even made an arrest. The president of Iran instantly known as for an investigation and lamented the demise of the younger lady. However the incident sparked a wave of protests throughout Iran, with many within the US demanding intervention and calling for the abolishment of the present authorities.

CCTV footage later revealed that after Amini and an officer exchanged phrases, she collapsed on her personal earlier than she was taken to the hospital the place she later died. Additional, forensics from a coroner’s report on Amini confirmed her demise was not brought on by a blow to the top, however by a number of organ failure brought on by an absence of oxygen to the mind. It was additionally confirmed by medical professionals that she had a mind tumor and had beforehand gone to the hospital for therapy.

Having traveled to different international locations labeled ‘brutal dictatorships’, the place as an American I used to be instructed to not go, like Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela, and Russia, which ended up being removed from the painted evil, I had a fairly eager concept that I might not be seeing precisely what the media claimed. However I used to be instantly greater than shocked upon arriving on the airport in Tehran and seeing a lady with no scarf in entrance of a police officer, getting right into a car with out being harassed and even instructed to cowl up. The surprises would preserve coming on this realm as I noticed girls in cafes and streets not sporting the scarf in any respect, and there was hardly even a look from most. Though alcohol is banned in Iran, there was dancing, singing, and lots of households celebrating the weekend in a restaurant, however there have been additionally a number of girls within the presence of males and their households not sporting a shawl. 

Much more than the difficulty of the hijab or scarf, girls in Iran are statistically well-educated, with over 57 p.c of ladies in greater training as of 2020, and that’s precisely what I witnessed amongst a bevy of legal professionals, docs, professors, scientists, and key members of Iranian society. Actually, feminine grownup literacy charges tripled from 24% in 1976 close to the tip of the Iranian monarchy to 81% in 2016, whereas those that completed main training elevated from 36% in 1971 to 99% in 2017. Not solely have been Iranian girls extremely educated, the boys have been supportive of their endeavors in addressing the problems they felt most wanted consideration. The ladies appeared to run the present, particularly specializing in the Western propaganda waged in opposition to Iran, and the way they’re main the cost in preventing it.

From what I witnessed, girls in Iran get pleasure from greater stature within the household house in comparison with their Western counterparts. I joined girls from Algeria, Turkey, and Kenya to relay our expertise on Press TV, and although we didn’t know one another, all of us had comparable observations when recounting what we noticed versus what we had been instructed we might see. The distinction in how girls view themselves in Iran versus the West lies in how they view gender roles. Within the West, feminism has merged with the concept of sexual expression and with the ability to do something a person can do. However in Iran, girls are handled in a fragile method and praised as important members of society with totally different roles than males, however the variations are valued fairly than opposed.

A few of us additionally had the chance to meet with President Ebrahim Raisi, who gave a speech mentioning how “the West makes use of girls as a instrument” and should not actually in favor of human or girls’s rights, however use each to exert stress on impartial nations. He added that “The Islamic Republic views girls as neither an instrument, nor a homemaker. In a way, there’s a third view which observes that girls might be society builders alongside males and play a necessary position within the household and society.” 

He additional criticized the West for disregarding the human rights of the Palestinian folks for seven many years and for occupying Afghanistan for 20 years, abandoning solely chaos and injury. 

Nonetheless, the narrative within the West stays the identical just a little over a 12 months after Mahsa Amini’s demise. Most just lately, a supposed assault on one other younger lady grew to become a brand new catalyst for accusations in opposition to Iran’s authorities. In response to Western media studies citing a distinguished Kurdish group, 16-year-old Armita Geravand went right into a coma after struggling “extreme bodily assault” by the hands of presidency police inside a metro. Equally to Amini’s case, police denied they’d something to do along with her demise and launched CCTV footage displaying the younger lady arriving at Shahada Metro, getting into the practice, and later being carried out by her associates. The mother and father confirmed this, saying she suffered a drop in blood stress and fainted, hitting her head on the sting of the door, after which she was taken to the hospital by her associates who had known as an ambulance. Much more compelling are the statements to the media by the associates who had accompanied Geravand, saying nobody had attacked or approached them. However that didn’t cease Western media from operating with the story of how she had been allegedly “crushed right into a coma.” Iran’s spokesperson for the Ministry of International Affairs criticized US, UK, and German officers for his or her remarks on Geravand’s case and ladies’s rights, saying, “As an alternative of interventionist and biased remarks and expressing insincere concern over Iranian girls and women, you’d higher be involved about US, German and UK healthcare personnel, sufferers and deal with their state of affairs.” 

Whereas there are certainly protests and anti-government sentiments, the ladies I encountered and noticed within the streets appeared to put on the scarf as a result of they needed to and instructed me they didn’t really feel “oppressed” however have been attempting to battle the propaganda about girls in Iran. The West Asian nation is a theocratic state however that doesn’t imply that girls would not have worth. As an alternative, huge cultural variations imply totally different definitions of freedom. One college teacher and filmmaker with a Grasp’s diploma named Sheida instructed me, “Western media intentionally don’t point out examples of justice for ladies within the Islamic Republic of Iran. After all, they see it, however they faux to not see it.” In response to her, the Islamic Revolution gave worth to girls, and Iranian Muslim and non-Muslim girls are now not commodities to be chosen for his or her our bodies, permitting girls in scientific and cultural fields, navy, sports activities, and politics to play an ideal position and have an ideal impression on the event of the nation. Their sexuality has not hindered their talents prefer it does within the West.

I additionally had the possibility to talk at a panel on exactly the historical past of US interventions all around the world, the place I outlined the mechanisms utilized by the West to overthrow leaders who don’t agree with their international coverage. I discussed how the US has executed something however reside as much as its beliefs of fact and freedom, whereas Western claims of ‘democracy’ have come within the type of deceit, intervention, and struggle for the remainder of the world. And whether or not I or any foreigner disagrees with Islam, our opinions about these Muslim girls or the federal government of Iran is irrelevant. Iran is a sovereign nation and its folks have a proper to resolve for themselves, with out the exploitation of ‘humanitarian’ beliefs protecting an unsightly need for intervention and political expediency.

The statements, views and opinions expressed on this column are solely these of the creator and don’t essentially signify these of RT.

Supply hyperlink