Unfolding the pages of history, women have been the only segment who have paid the price of changes in human society. Society type does not matter, but women have been the victim of change and the influencers of change.
Women have faced many inequalities throughout human history. They have endured many oppressions and sufferings and passed through complicated ways to reach equality and individual freedoms. Nowhere in human history have democratic and libertarian forces been born, so that these forces believe in equality; Rather, it has been the awakening, awareness, dynamism, and questioning of the societies, especially the rebellious and vigorous women, who have created a context and platform for change and transformation and have made this dream possible. From the West to the East, from philosophers to clerics, from poets to writers, there are/were so many people who have considered the inferiority of women as the secret of creation. The saying that says, God created women “weaker” than men is not the words of one person. This belief has existed in many cultures and historical traditions in different eras and civilizations, in such a way that “since the beginning of history, the intellectual freedom of women has been less than even the sons of Athenian slaves.” Even today, many women live in prosperity and comfort and are no more than slaves mentally.
Many women summarize their responsibility and mission only in the satisfaction of anti-feminist traditions of the society, and they are happy with empty and emotional descriptions that show emptiness and weakness in their nature and essence, making women look weak and second-class gender. Women should look with doubt at the feminine models they grew up with and think deeply that the first step in the ladder of freedom and equality is awareness and transformation of the intellectual and traditional patterns that have bound women. A woman who does not have the power to think and question patterns, cannot achieve freedom and equality. Historical experiences and experiences of transformation in the West have good lessons for Eastern societies, especially our society. The most successful group that has been able to change its position in western societies in the 21st century has been women. The growth of women’s political awareness caused them to successfully change their position in these societies and achieve equality and freedom.
Virginia Woolf, one of the prominent writers of the 20th century who was also a critic and feminist, has a famous book called “A Room of One’s Own”. One day, Woolf decides to go to the Trinity College library to check out the manuscripts of Milton’s Lycidas and Thackeray’s The History of Henry Esmond. When entering the library, a man stands in her way and tells her: “Ladies are allowed to enter the library if they are accompanied by a college employee or have an introduction letter.” Wolfe had faced a small incident on the surface, but this incident was one of the big obstacles for women, which showed their inferior position from equal rights in terms of knowledge and education.
Women in Afghanistan face many incidents like this, but they pass it with a little annoyance. The essence of Woolf’s work was that she did not respond to this issue with an individual grievance, but turned it into a political and problematic one. Instead of asking herself: “What’s wrong with me that I’m not allowed in the library?” “She asked what is the problem with the library officials that they don’t let him in?” She doubted the prevailing feminine thought model, doubted the naturalness of this belief, and rebelled against it; Because when an opinion or something is considered natural, the responsibility for the pain and suffering resulting from it is directed only to the person suffering from it, but if the opinions and institutions are considered political, it allows people to think that instead of looking for the problem of those opinions in themselves, those beliefs may be wrong. Wolff concludes: “Instead of telling myself what’s wrong with me because I’m a woman, or black, or poor, let’s ask ourselves what’s wrong with other people that they should blame me for their wrong thinking, unfair behaviors, or irrationally? There is so much stupidity and partiality in institutions, opinions, and laws that we cannot visualize them from a naturalist point of view.
With a historical understanding of this issue, it can be extended to the protests of Iranian women that the murder of Mahsa Amini caused them to say, that the problem is not in the hair of Mahsa, but in the ideas and thinking that have held the women of this land hostage for half a century. The protest of Iranians is for equality and freedom and to pull down the flag that has taken away their right to choose, live and breathe and has created beliefs in the ruling society based on which, seeing a woman’s hair will burn the threshing floor of the wishes of the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist. It is believed that the slogans that emerge from the hearts of the protests show that Iranian women and protesters have reached the awareness and awakening to change the political understanding of today’s Iran. Even if they do not succeed in bringing down the system, they have walked the steps of victory. They have proven that religious and state violence is no longer acceptable, even at the cost of repression and mass murder. They have proven that the political life of the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist dictatorship has come to an end.
These days, Afghan women protestors who have been fighting against gender apartheid in Afghanistan for more than a year, despite aligning with the people of Iran, ask why the men of Afghanistan and the world did not support their protest on the scale of Iran. There is no doubt that the protesting women and girls of Afghanistan went to the streets when the Afghan men were helpless. They rioted and protested, but the demands of these protests did not expand and were reduced to; just the demands of the protesters.
Because most of the messages that came out from the heart of these protests were polished and embellished, words that, if analyzed and dissected, would reach the origin from which the matter of suppressing and imprisoning women originated. Although, the women of Afghanistan stood courageously and stood beyond any fighter in history, except that it is necessary to pay attention to the essence of the demands that come out from the heart of these protests. They should draw out and enlarge the path and circle of their desires and demands from phrases like “A woman is a sister. A woman is a mother. A literate woman equals a literate society.” The slogan and motto that they had chosen at the later end of their protests, they should hold on to it and resist for it: “Bread, Work, Freedom”. This stance can bring equality and freedom to women. Otherwise, their efforts will go to a point where even if women become ministers, they will think that it is enough if they are the second or third, or fourth wife of a man.
Author: Amin Kawa – Senior Reporter and Analyst at Hasht-e Subh Daily
The post Lessons for Afghan Women to Learn from Iranian Women’s Protests appeared first on Hasht-e Subh Daily.
Source: Hasht-e Subh Daily