Steve A. Stone
Dear Friends and Patriots,
Have you taken a look at the demonstrations in Iran? Yeah, they’re at it again. Every few years some people there appear to kick up a fuss, people in the West get excited, then the fuss melts away. We belatedly realize we were excited over nothing. Occasionally one or more of our politicians falls for the con and proposes doing something to help those who are demonstrating. I personally think if there’s any time for Western restraint it’s whenever we get confused by actions in a Muslim country, and especially Iran.
What seems to have stirred up the current fuss? If you’ve been watching, you know the details the MSM gives. Supposedly, a woman named Mahsa Amini was arrested on the 15th of August for “improper wearing of the hijab in public.” She was taken to a police station, where she was allegedly beaten so badly she was subsequently taken to a hospital for treatment. She succumbed to her injuries the next day. Reporters says it was her maltreatment and death that set off the demonstrations. Videos of demonstrations and the often violent reactions of the police were taken by cell phones and sent around the world. It’s caused a bit of a sensation.
I urge you all to think deeply about all this. Be very careful of your considerations. I’ll give you my own thoughts, as I usually do, but you need to have your own, and they need to be founded on facts, not emotions or erroneous paradigms.
Iran is not America. It’s not Canada, nor the U.K., Germany, France, or Sweden. Iran is ruled by Shia clerics. It’s a theocracy. The role of women is determined by interpretations of the Qur’an, and religious edicts and rulings that pass for law in that country. Those are just facts. It’s also a fact that the regime in Iran has some very clever people who seem to love to toy with Westerners, and those people may be using an unfortunate incident to do that with us once again. That assumes the incident occurred at all. Tell me, who do you trust? Who knows what’s true in Iran? We don’t even know what’s true in Washington.
I’ll give some thoughts to you in three parts; the social, the religious, and the political.
The social part has to do with the role and status of women in Iran today. I think I’m on safe ground by stating almost no Western woman who understands anything about the status of women in Iran would want to trade places with any of them there. In the West women take equality for granted. The Feminazis (an old Rush Limbaugh term) carp endlessly about the oppression of women in our country and others, while seeming not to understand the stark contrast between their own legal status guarantees and treatment and those of women in almost all Arab countries and in Iran. Here they have to create new offenses to rant over, like the constant microagressions committed by “the patrimony.” In Iran women are forbidden to go in public without a hajib, to dance, to sing, and, seemingly, to enjoy themselves at all. Only 19% of women are employed outside the home. Married women are expected to bear as many children as possible and to stay at home to tend to the children and home. Their job is to tend to the needs of their husband and raise their family. Their world is similar to that of women in our country at the advent of WWI. It may be fair to state women in Iran are now fully 100 years behind the times, if compared to America. Meanwhile, a 2019 study determined that 30% of all murders in Iran were due to honor killings. Being a woman and a Muslim can be a dangerous combination.
Iran is a Shiite Muslim nation. You all know that. If you understand Islam and the role women play in Muslim societies, then you understand much about their lot in Iran already. Everything in a theocracy revolves around religion and religious interpretations handed down by senior clerics. But, there’s often some confusion to it. Muslim clerics are a lot like politicians in the way their opinions and dictates vary over time. One year something is permissible and the next year it may be prohibited. Usually that phenomenon is a function of changes in the hierarchy of government or in one or another regulatory panel of religious judges. It’s a bit difficult to keep up, and women can easily get into trouble simply by not watching the daily government newscast on their TVs. The police in Iran are ardent enforcers of laws. They don’t seem reluctant to arrest women for offenses related to dress standards or for being in places where women have been prohibited to go. I suspect if those kinds of standards were imposed by our government the Women’s Rights Movement membership would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 million.
It’s easy to discuss the political status of women in Iran. They actually don’t have any. There are women judges. There are women politicians. Not always. Again, it depends on the times. There have been lenient times when women were in office, and other times when they were all dismissed and sent home. The more recent trend is negative. It seems the regime in power today doesn’t feel much need for female opinionating. Islam is a religion tailored to the needs and desires of men. Politics in the Islamic Republic of Iran most definitely adheres to the male-domination paradigm.
Those are thumbnail sketches. The actual reality is much more complex, but you should get the picture of women in Iran as what we call “second-class citizens.” They have specific rights guaranteed by the Qur’an, but their other rights are always tentative. Even those rights with religious guarantees are subject to interpretation by senior clerics. Women there rarely put their feet on solid ground.
These are my thoughts when I view the demonstrations. I see streets filled with people carrying signs; people who appear to be excited and angry. I see police who seem to be ready to crack skulls. But, I have to ask myself, “Is this real, or is it one of their staged events to create a response in the West?” Call me a cynic if you want. I’ll readily admit I am, but so what? Iran loves to play with us. They love to encourage us to think their regime is near the point of toppling, when in fact the poker players among the Ayatollahs hold all the aces and face cards at all times. In Iran the rulers exercise total control. The people are controlled by religious beliefs, social customs, traditions, laws, the police, and even the army. When I see demonstrations in such a country, especially during times when I understand the trend is toward more strict controls, not less, I have to think those are immensely brave people, or we’re being played once again. I’m sorry, but I just don’t think of Iran as a country where that many people will risk their lives and minimal freedoms to turn out for a public demonstration. Previous demonstrations were mostly fake events. I can’t help but think these are as well.
If the demonstrations aren’t real, then what’s going on? We need to wait and watch. It could be someone very high up in their government perceives an external threat and the demonstrations are meant to divert attention and buy some time. Is there something going on in Israel that’s got them spooked? I’m not sure. The Israelis are always playing their own games with Iran, so they could be. I know only one thing for certain, and this is an all-encompassing statement – there isn’t a thing about America today that has the regime in Tehran concerned. That’s just fact. Whatever may be bothering Iran … it isn’t us.
Steve© Steve A. Stone
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.