Two sides of Iran
Bush and Co. really couldn't be stupid enough to invade, could they? Really?
Last week I came across two interesting articles, a review in the Times Literary Supplement of In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs, by Christopher de Bellaigue (which sounds well worth reading), and a piece about the acceptance there of gender re-assignment surgery, now unfortunately locked up in the LA Times archives.
But my interest in Iran precedes the latest sabre-rattling from the world's rogue super-power. Discovery of the two articles prompted me to dig out an essay on the Iranian Revolution that I wrote some 15 years ago, and it holds up pretty well.
And doesn't this sound so familiar (across religious and cultural boundaries). "An editorial in a women's magazine in 1984 set out the tenets. 'In Western societies where capitalism is dominant, women's liberation is nothing but the liberty to be naked, to prostitute oneself ...
In Iran since the Revolution, 'we witnessed the ultimate ideologisation and instrumentalisation of the woman question. ... Kandiyoti* says that forcing women to conform to extreme Islamic ideas was at the heart of the 'utopian populism' which was trying to exclude the 'Other within' from the true community."
Remind you of anywhere? "Abstinence education", "banning abortion" ...
and now, a small flood of books saying women will have to have more babies.
No mention of the environmental benefits of reduced populations, scarcely a thought for the possibility of changing to a simpler way of life to reduce consumption and thus economic need, or all sorts of other possibilities that might cope with falling, ageing populations.
* D. Kandiyoti 'Introduction' in Kandiyoti (ed) Women, Islam and the State, Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 1991, p. 8.