Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

One year and 90 lashes too many. Most people would agree that different cultural beliefs and customs should be respected. That is, within certain parameters. When it begins to infringe upon a person or group’s rights as a human being that’s a whole other story.

Generally, I try to keep an open mind when reading about other countries’ policies and laws, but it becomes impossible to do so when it comes to cases such as that of Marzieh Vafamehr. Vafamehr is an Iranian actress who played the lead in the 2009 Australian film “My Tehran for Sale.”

She was just sentenced to one year in jail and 90 lashes by an Iranian court, after her arrest in July. The official charges are allegations of her participation “in a film whose shooting did not have the required permits.” Both the film’s director and Vafamehr’s husband have called bullshit on those charges, saying they’re completely baseless. I absolutely agree, especially since the director has since provided all “missing” documentation to the court.


The Iranian women’s rights movement has been a long time coming and is finally a serious matter of consideration. Feminists and activists worldwide are all rallying behind the women of Iran to support and encourage their newfound liberal behavior.

The real question is how to address an always-touchy issue of women’s rights in the Middle Eastern culture when trying to create progress while respecting Iran’s strict cultural traditions at the same time. It makes for quite a sticky situation when cultural and legal restrictions are all in the same.

That being said, however, the Iranian government has been violating the basic human rights of their women for as far back as history allows us to go. It is not fair to these women to have to fight for education, marital, and sexual freedom.

It is clearly evident that education plays a significant role in the women of Iran filing for divorces and battling for custody of their own children in a country where this shunned. Iranian women of all social classes are using tools like universities, satellite television, and the Internet to gain more knowledge concerning their potential equality with men. (more…)

With Barack Obama narrowing in on the Democratic presidential nomination, in recent days both he and John McCain have switched their campaign strategies from primary to all-out general election mode. In 2004, this meant a lot of talk about partisan, red-herring issues like gay marriage and abortion rights. This time around, though, the opening round of debate has focused primarily on foreign policy, something that is actually crucial to a president’s job description.

It’s an encouraging sign for American politics, and I’m hopeful the majority of people can handle such a weighty topic. But the more I hear McCain’s delusional, neoconservative rhetoric — all of which seem to have been pulled, unrevised, from an outdated and misguided Cold War playbook — the more I fear what could come if this senile, ill-tempered kook is elected into office.