Does God hate women?

A new book (by a man and a woman) examines the role of religions in the subordination, control, concealment, and punishment of women, from Vatican lectures on the female nature to sharia-based stoning.Does God hate women

In large parts of the world, a great many women lead lives of misery and sometimes of plain horror. They are often considered and treated as the property of men: as children they are seen as burdens, to be married off as soon as possible, and as adults they are sex tools, reproductive machines, and domestic labour. When things go wrong – when sexual rumours are floating around, when the crops fail, when a child falls ill – they are scapegoats to be punished. They have few if any rights, they are kept out of school as children, they are illiterate, they receive less food than men however hard they work, they are confined to the house or required to wear stifling, movement-inhibiting clothing if they go outside, they are denied medical treatment, they are forbidden to vote or drive cars, and they are whipped or beaten if they disobey.

The book has its own website.

Tehran or Gaza: which one is occupied?

That is what the Farsi title means for the photographs shown at this site. In other words, it is no good marching to support Palestinians and the injustices there when the same, or worse, is happening here, in Tehran.

The Commander of the Sepah ─ Revolutionary Guards ─ has said that the mention of the word Iran in today’s (Friday 18th September) Quds Day march is prohibited. Only the words Israel and Palestine are permitted.

Late on Friday 18th, it is clear that Ratto has again preached against the Holocaust, paving the way for a resurrection of Hitler (if he existed).

Khatami under attack, turban knocked off, Quds Day, 18-Sep-09

Also, sadly, it is said that former President Khatami, the closest thing Iranian politics can offer to a non-hard-liner, has been attacked with knives by a group of thugs including the son of the editor of the notoriously hardline Kayhan, government mouthpiece. Though people in the crowd defended him, Khatami is said to have been injured: see the photo on this page and the sequence here.

Last night, Tehran was shaking with rooftop choruses. Today, hordes of protestors turned out, clean-shaven, perfumed and well-dressed, to ‘boo helicopters’, overwhelm rent-a-mob cries of ‘Death to Israel’ with ‘Death to Russia’, defend Khatami and pour through the avenues of Tehran, as may be seen here and in nine lots of footage here. They also shout: ‘Gaza is nothing, Lebanon is nothing. My life is for Iran!’ In the fifth piece of footage, protestors totally drown out the speaker and even Basiji loudhailers with chants of “Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein” and “Karroubi, we support you!”

Palestine is here


Today’s Economist reports that

Since the reopening, the number of visitors to Dover Castle has boomed, as has heritage tourism across Britain. Other sites, such as the tomb of Thomas à Becket (whom Henry unwittingly had killed) at Canterbury Cathedral, are doing well too. English Heritage  properties saw 22% more visitors pass through their doors in July than in the same month a year earlier. The National Trust, English Heritage’s private-sector equivalent, also saw a rise in visitors of 8.3%, and bookings for its holiday cottages were up by 7%. Back at the castle, around a third of visitors become members of English Heritage despite the cost (as much as £75). Members usually renew for several years, says English Heritage, and tend to visit lots of other sites to get more for their money.

Funnily enough, something very similar is happening in Iran, as interest in its pre-Islamic past, noticed on this blog before, has waxed. But there is widespread indignation among the young, who report unprecedented destruction, during the last four years, of natural and historic resources. Why should a country, for instance, as well-endowed with oil and coal as Iran need to cut down vast forests in the beautiful Caspian and Mashhad areas for firewood?

The photo here shows a reverential pilgrim approaching the tomb of Cyrus (‘Kouroush’) on his knees, kissing the ground.Kissing the earth on approach to Koroush's tomb

Wonderful Dutch

I remember hitchhiking across Holland in my twenties and falling into discussion with a driver. I particularly remember his comment, when we spoke of politics and royalty, that: “In Holland, every man is his own King.”

Now the Dutch have brought out a set of stamps, each one green, for 44 cents, with an inscription that reads, “Where is my vote?” (see photo)

The rapes

It is remarkable how evidence of the many prison rapes ─ which of course never occurred ─ is being targeted:

Stamp issued in Holland

The office of the Association for the Defence of Prisoners’ Rights was also ransacked, and evidence of the torture, rape and killing of detainees confiscated. An Amnesty International statement points out that “the seized records contain information which would enable the judicial authorities to identify the former detainees who were prepared to speak out on a confidential basis due to their fear of reprisals and the shocking nature of their ordeal.”

The same thing happed, first, at the office of Mehdi Karroubi, as mentioned two days ago.

The article, by Nazenin Ansari, in the excellent Open Democracy, continues with a first-hand report from ‘an engineer in Tehran’:

Ahmadinejad has to go to appointments in a helicopter as people will tear him apart if he shows his face on Tehran streets….his residence in Pasteur Road is guarded by a large group of machine-gun wielding Basiji ruffians. The unusual thing is that these basijis are now wearing black-cloth masks to hide their identity from passers-by…..previously it was the demonstrators who wore masks but now it is the basijis who are forced to do so – as citizens will beat them up and burn their motorcycles if they catch them alone somewhere.

An Israeli strike before the end of the year?

As mentioned already, a pre-emptive strike by Israeli forces on Iran’s nuclear armaments seems altogether possible by the end of the year. A former, but recent, deputy defence minister is used to voice this threat.

Sabze Ghaba . . . green parrot

United international action (sanctions) against Iran seems beyond reach, since the United Nations is not an organisation consisting only of ‘good’ nations, and Russia and China (both ‘bad’ nations) sit on the Security Council, blocking anything morally unambiguous. Moreover, little jackal nations, like Chavez’s Venezuela, are running around between people’s legs getting in the way and spreading mischief (selling refined petroleum to Iran at very high prices).

Funny how evil regimes all lend each other more than token support (‘hang together’). Why doesn’t America extricate itself from this saloon-bar confederacy and found an alternative United Nations, open only to countries that meet explicit criteria for democracy? Membership should be for renewable ten-year terms.

Would Putin’s neo-fascist Russia qualify? Doubtful. Putin is still justifying the Nazi-Soviet pact and querying the authenticity of the secret protocols that handed the Baltic and East European nations to Stalin on a plate.