Friday 19 June 2009

Repression and hope

"If they continue they will be receiving other consequences, behind the scenes." (Ayatollah Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, 19 June 2009)

Perhaps these videos (via azarmehr) give some idea of what he means. I apologise in advance if you find them distressing, but it's important that the world sees the brutality of the regime for what it is.

The first clip shows Basij religious police attacking people in their houses:

The second video shows a young woman being beaten up by a crowd of regime supporters:

Meanwhile, the Guardian has compensated for Seamus Milne's predictably appalling article on Iran by publishing this excellent piece by Azadeh Moaveni, one of the best things I've read on the background to the reform movement. Moaveni is particularly good on the misogyny of the regime. Writing about the 2007 crackdown on 'un-Islamic' dress, she states: 'Though the campaign targeted young men as well, authorities singled out women with particular brutality'. But the key role played by women in this week's protests has given her cause for hope:

Of all the images I've seen emerging from Iran this week, those of fiery women beating policemen and leading protests have moved me the most. Throughout the past decade, Iran's extraordinarily sophisticated and well-educated women have sought for peaceful change through the existing system. Accounting for 60% of university students, Iranian women emerge from university armed with career expectations and modern attitudes toward their role in family and society. They have patiently petitioned the state to grant them more equitable rights before the law. But at each opportunity, they have been treated with contempt. Their vibrant presence in these protests is signalling to the government that they will not tolerate its discrimination and disdain any longer.

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