Thursday, December 10, 2009

Men in Veils: Ahmadinejad's latest media charade backfires.

One of the areas that Ahmadinejad wishes to follow in the footsteps of Hitler is the domain of propaganda. He has been long after media sensationalism; and because he is not good looking, charming or charismatic, he has opted for the grotesque to attract his audiences.

The first exhibition of his "media" war was the staged trials; where over hundred reformists, previous ministers and bankers and journalists were brought together with younger protesters and some occasional hooligans to a televised court (In pajamas and plastic slippers, without socks--something that is highly rude in the Iranian culture) and forced them to "confess" and "regret" their having been naive and under western influence. When the new judiciary head took over, and fired the butcher prosecutor, Ghazi Mortazavi, these show trials stopped; and I heard that prisoners were given the option to file a complaint against the court and the judiciary. Of course, this is perhaps another media-trick because nothing in the condition of many of these prisoners has changed, and following their forced confessions (and even without succumbing to confessions) the prisoners have been given a minimum of 5 years of jail term--those with lower profiles or minority status are also given death sentence.

After the student protests of December 7th, a new wave of arrests and harassments has begun. But this time, the IRI has made a serious media faux-pas! They arrested an engineering student from Amir Kabir University, who for many years has been a highly vocal and leading advocate of democracy and proponent of the dictatorship to which Ahmadinejad clings--i.e. velayat-e faghih. (He has also suffered multiple disciplinary actions). On the day of protests, this student gave an impassioned speech. You can see the video of his speech at the bottom of this post.

Following the protest, he was beaten, injured and savagely arrested. The IRI's media gurus decided to humiliate him so they published pictured of Majid Tavakoli, wearing female hijab. The IRI mocked Tavakoli for being a "chicken" and trying to escape in female attire. About 28 years ago, the IRI pulled this same trick on Abulhasan Banisadr, the democratically elected president who was ousted from office because he did not wish to prolong the Iran-Iraq war. Pictures of Banisadr appeared that showed he escaped in female clothing.

This time however, the IRI is facing a new generation. This generation does not see masculinity as a form of power; rather it is ashamed of all the discrimination the gender disparities causes. This generation of green men has been going to school with women, and often overpowered in numbers and university ranking by their female peers. This generation has fought alongside the women movement in Iran. This generation has forced the conservative Mousavi to hold his wife's hand when walking to the pre-election rallies. This generation of men is SERIOUS about gender equality and perhaps--from what I have seen--more progressive in their demand for such equalities than elsewhere in the world.

Today, more and more of these men are making a statement by photographing themselves wearing a veil. You can see an example in this blog.

This last charade of the IRI media not only exposes the superficiality of Ahmadinejad's fascists in their understanding of media politics; but it is also illustrating HOW clueless they are. I presume these images are for the consumption of their "so called" rural supporters who run after trucks of free potatos; or humiliate themselves to get their personal letters to be read by Ahmadinejad, in home of a 100$ handout--coming from the oil revenue that have been going missing without parliamentary consent from the monetary reserves of the country.

But, no matter who the audience, Ahmadinejad is shooting himself and his "claim" that he respects women, that Iranian women are special and free, that Iranian women are worthy of entering his cabinet for the first time in the history of the IRI. Ahmadinejad is contradicting himself, as a schizophrenic that he is.

To photoshop a BRAVE student activist in female clothing suggest that he was COWARD raises important questions (these questions have been frequently asked across Persian media today):

1) WHAT is so scary in Iranian prisons that would make a student who is brave enough to stand on a car and give a speech, cross dress to escape? (That is in case he was, actually dressed as female at the time of arrest--a claim protested by his friends)

2) Is the IRI trying to humiliate a "man" by making him dress as a woman? Is being a woman a shameful thing? Is masculinity the sign of power? (That is in case the IRI has photoshoped, or forced him into this costume)

Today, many Iranian men and women have been asking this:

If WOMEN are "cowards", and forcingthem into Hijab strips power from a person, then how come these women who were forced into Hijab have stood up to IRI's Talibanism for the past 30 years; and have emerged more empowered and focused on their goals.

Of course Ahmadinejad's kissing an older woman's hand, claiming a teenager girl has "discovered nuclear energy in her basement, and appointing women to his cabinet are charades. As I am writing this, the parliament is examining a proposal to remove the clause that a man's right to re-marry (polygamy is permitted in Iran) depends on the consent of the first wife.

Ahmadinejad's destroyed all the foundations of the IRI ... of the Superpower Islamic Nation remains a cartoonish image! All the better, we can do without his comics' V for Vendetta!

New video denouncing fars-news' latest blunder, and in support of Majid Tavakoli


Anonymous said...

Wow. A grassroots Green movement leader addressing a group of protesters. First one I've seen.


Naj said...

Pirouz, similar speeches were given in Gilan U, and in Art University. You should survey Iranian links, if you know Persian.

Of course if you remember, Mousavi also went on top of a car and addressed people in the VERY FIRST DAY of protests.

I am sure you have noticed the security atmosphere and the hooliganism that errupts around grassroot green leaders preventing them from speech. Nevetheless, they have been exploiting alternative media, speaking for you tube clips, or calling Persian radio/Tv stations abroad.

You don't have to stand on a car to LEAD. And, the leaders have made it clear that they are "followers" of the will of the people. As you see, it wasn't Tavakolli or Mousavi who suggested men wear veils. The suggestion was put forth by Masih Alinejad; and within minutes it has become a wave!

You really need to improve your faith in cleverness and creativity of IRanian kids. Your father and grandpa can tell you a few things ;)

goatman said...

Interesting, and sad, that the revolution of '79 must be now repeated against those who fomented that revolution.
How power corrupts.

Naj said...

Goatman, Ahmadinejad is NOT one of the guys who fomented the 1979 revolution; but he is happy to put those who did in prison and on trials.

This is a case of "revolution eats its children"

It ate the better ones 25 years ago, now these are the leftovers to be eaten! And then the IRI has totally self-destroyed!

Anonymous said...

Nice Post. Obama for the fist time said US is standing with the Iranian people in their quest for a true representative democracy. I have new respect for Iranian women; they have been at forefront of this revolt from the beginning. They have screamed the loudest, they have been the most defiant, and they have confronted the basiji thugs.

Isn't it ironic: after IRI encouraged female education in numbers, these educated women are now demanding more rights. I think they are now probably planning to reduce the number of women attending universities.

Naj said...

Thanks Anonymous.

I think the world should know that women have been in the forefront of any democratic revolution since 150 years ago.

It is not a legacy of the IRI to have educated the women; the women have FORCED the IRI to recognize their right to education and have pushed for it. What the IRI did is to create an environment where more religious and conservative female participants felt comfortable to come out and take action. That's all!

Iran's been a matriarchy for ever :)

Anonymous said...

Iran's been a matriarchy for ever :)

Humm... let see if Iran headed by a Women in near future naj if your statement right or just white wash

Naj said...

"white wash"?????

Parvati said...

A magnificent campaign! CLAPCLAPCLAP

Naj said...

hey parvati, long time no see; I missed you :)

You would be surprised to know, that some of the "prioneering" dudes who started this campaign, are now a little irritated with the fact that it has succumbed into post-modern media frenzy and parody.

Quite frankly, I am starting to be a bit irritated by populist aspects of the Green movement. I am also irritated by Neda-ism ... it's reducing the movement to the common denominator of its elements, JUST because she died on You Tube ...

I am disgruntled :)

In Memory Of Neda said...

Naj - my respect for you grows and grows ... well said my dear! The movement is bigger than each and every element (and personality). The women are being targetted by the basiji thugs on the front lines. Maybe they thought these girls would be the easiest to intimidate? How wrong they were!! Women throughout time have shown that they WILL NOT be intimidated, will not stand down. Knock one down and two will stand in her place etc etc. All the young people in Iran are now 100% determined that this "movement" for want of a better word is going to succeed - whether revolution is the right term (given that people are determined to hark back to 79) is the right title I don't know. But what I am certain of is this - one day in the not too distant future, Iran will become a free and democratic country, where people can live as they wish, worship as they wish (or not if that is their choice). Young people can be young people - listen to music if they want to, study hard (as most do want to - they like to learn!), but also have fun! Why the hell is fun verbotem in Iran? What have these mullahs got against people enjoying themselves? They have got to go - and go they will !! Keep up your excellent work Naj - I am one of your biggest fans and pass on - via my personal facebook (Tricia Neda Sutherland) almost everyone of your blogs. Those I don't is simply because of lack of time... so sorry my dear. Kindest thoughts, always.