Friday, July 28, 2006

A Bit of Feminist Activism Wouldn't Hurt

Okay, you're female. And you're a feminist.

You are liberal, maybe a bit radical, but even if not, you promote the ideas of freedom and justice.

Then read on and tell me, which side in the Middle do you really think has the open hand on morality and ethics when we are referring to a society, its regime and its laws? Which country is beeter placed to bring about peace and security and stability for all?

Execution of a teenage girl

On 15 August, 2004, Atefah Sahaaleh was hanged in a public square in the Iranian city of Neka. Her death sentence was imposed for "crimes against chastity". The state-run newspaper accused her of adultery and described her as 22 years old. But she was not married - and she was just 16.

In terms of the number of people executed by the state in 2004, Iran is estimated to be second only to China. In the year of Atefah's death, at least 159 people were executed in accordance with the Islamic law of the country, based on the Sharia code. To teach others a lesson, Atefah's execution was held in public

"When I met with the family," says Asieh, "they showed me a copy of her birth certificate, and a copy of her death certificate. Both of them show she was born in 1988. This gave me legitimate grounds to investigate the case." So why was such a young girl executed? And how could she have been accused of adultery when she was not even married?

Previously arrested for attending a party and being alone in a car with a boy, Atefah received her first sentence for "crimes against chastity" when she was just 13. Although the exact nature of the crime is unknown, she spent a short time in prison and received 100 lashes...

...Circumstances surrounding Atefah's fourth and final arrest were unusual. The moral police said the locals had submitted a petition, describing her as a "source of immorality" and a "terrible influence on local schoolgirls".

...When Atefah realised her case was hopeless, she shouted back at the judge and threw off her veil in protest...It was a fatal outburst. She was sentenced to execution by hanging, while Darabi got just 95 lashes.

Shortly before the execution, but unbeknown to her family, documents that went to the Supreme Court of Appeal described Atefah as 22.

...The human rights organisation Amnesty International says it is concerned that executions are becoming more common again under President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad, who advocates a return to the pure values of the revolution.

Dear Feminist,

Again, I ask you to ask yourselves, would you like to live in a Middle East influenced by Iran (and its Hezbollah) or Saudi Arabia or that country Israel described schreechingly as, well, you know the adjectives I don't want to write.

It's your choice.

A Middle East dominated by democracy, freedom of expression and social welfare or not.

No comments: