Wednesday, March 10, 2010

3WW: Honoring Women In History

On Fire For The Revolution

Roya and her sister were young college students when the Islamic Revolution swept their country. They had been part of history, rallying alongside their brothers for the overthrow of the Shah. On the day of victory, they took flowers to the Ministry of Justice where they interned. That’s when they were chided about covering their hair.

The invitation to show respect was the first warning. Women weren’t encouraged to simply modify how they dress. Unknowingly they had embraced a regime that would shroud them in inequality and oppression so heavy that their whole bodies would stoop from the weight of their diminished personhood. Their head scarves were no longer symbols of modesty but opportunities to assault and punish them.

No veil could contain the rage that threatened to consume them though. Laws could require wives to be obedient but some women like Roya’s sister could not go on in an abusive marriage that she could not leave without losing her children so like the growing number of women before her, one afternoon she returned to Ministry of Justice, pulled a liter of gasoline from her bag, doused herself and lit a match.

She cried out only once. Women in the square surrounded her, refusing to allow authorities to extinguish her final protest.

Every Wednesday Thom posts 3 words. Participants are free to interpret the words any way they choose. Find more entries at 3WW. This piece is based on my reading of Iran Awakening which I read for the Women Unbound Challenge.


b said...

This is one part of women's history that just breaks my heart. Thank you for the reminder.


Stan Ski said...

Sometimes enough really is enough.

Thomma Lyn said...

Heart-rending, the bravery shown by people oppressed by tyranny.

anthonynorth said...

Totally heartbreaking.

Jodie said...

So awful that this was the best option she had and the best way to make a difference.

ThomG said...

Am glad that you're back (!) and were able to take the words and alert people to a truly heartbreaking story.

bunnygirl said...

Wow, what a way to return to 3WW!

You've touched on something I've often wondered about - why people fight on behalf of their own oppressors, and what it's like to live with the consequences.

Dee Martin said...

I'm unable to understand how people can witness something like that and continue living the same way. Just hearing it, reading the words, changes me.

Tumblewords: said...

People often fight against themselves without knowing it. Sad.

susan said...

Thank you all,

I highly recommend reading Iran Awakening and Persepolis. There is an active, long-standing resistance in Iran.

I don't think people are standing around nor unchanged.

In our own country women are beaten or go missing. How many of us are actively involved in the campaign against domestic violence?

Men like Matthew Shepard are assaulted and killed. Where is the public outrage and change?

Fathers in this country are required to financially support children but the system and our government fail to enforce or secure their parental rights.

How many people in this country are homeless and how many are with healthcare?

In our own country we elect leaders who we believed in and then they failed us. We have been duped.

And to bring it home, I was born in a city where corrupt, convicted leaders are popular and supported by citizens. The people blame others for their leaders downfall.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Susan, I found the new Women Unbound button while visiting blogs of other participants, and now I can't remember whose. Sorry. I'll look back and see if I can find it again -- or you can copy it from my sidebar and use it yourself.

Americanising Desi said...

you made my beats rush and gush!