Monday, August 25, 2008

The Hero and An anti- Family Bill


Hadi Saee has captivated the minds of Iranian youth. At the final moments of the Olympic games when Iranians had lost hope of any gold medals, he came to the rescue as a national hero. With a broken hand and an injured muscle Saee displayed his strong morale and his resilience in face of the apparently insurmountable obstacles . Sitting with Saee in the Tehran City Council , I have become familiar with his humble and very polite manners. Although he is a reformist at heart, I believe his championship should not be confiscated by any political group !

We adopted a bill to name a major circle or important location in Tehran in his name. I had a post about his gold medal on my Persian blog with many readers and comments indicating their support. I had also criticized the management of the team and the Sports Organization that had led to a sharp fall in the number of medals as compared to Athens and Sydney.


A reader had asked about my views on paragraph 23 of the Family Bill which is currently being debated in the Majlis. Legal and social activists have voiced their strong opposition to this bill which opens the way for polygamy without the consent of the first wife. There is a consensus among women across the political spectrum to stand against this paragraph . It has been dubbed as the anti family bill due to the serious challenges it poses for the future of families. There have been many articles written on this issue and many sessions held mostly criticizing the Majlis Judicial Commission for their preliminary adoption of the bill. Reformists have led the opposition but hopefully they will not be alone in this campaign for women's rights. I hope the MPs will realize the tragedy that this amendment could ignite, undermining the stability and integrity of the family which has always been so important for Iranians.

Last week I came across this inspiring picture of a poem from Hafez on the wall of a kindergarten in Europe. We need to do much more to promote understanding and love among our youth. That is, if we are looking forward to a world without war, poverty , terrorism and injustices.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

where is Khatami's voice in all this?????? how can he allow his nation to go back 1400 years with such unbelievable laws?????? how can he allow this???? how can modern Muslims all over Iran allow it????? where are the voices of progressive clerics?????? have they all been put under house-arrest like Ayatollah ol-Ozma Montazeri????? are they afraid of being assassinated???? has Iran been invaded by the Arabs of 1400 years ago all over again????? do you have no shame?????????????? have Shirin Ebadi and Ebrahim Yazdi been silenced and taken to jail??????? why are they not screaming???? why are YOU (Ebtekar) not screaming????? where are all those reformists who pretended to be progressive and modern????? how can Iran sit silently and take this shameful disgrace??????? are Iranians asleep??????? are they dead??????? where is the voice of 70 million people?????? where are the 35 million women of this country????? what's happening to my fatherland????????????
God save Iran from these fundamentalist dictators, please God, save Iran!

Holly said...

Iran leaders call their regime a Democracy. Iranian people have taken their leaders slogan literally and expect to have a few simple rights. Maybe we should first look at what “Democracy” really means. There are many versions of Democracy but almost all have to provide their citizens two important Rights. One is that all members of Democratic country have equal access to power. Second and most important one is the Right to personal freedoms such as Freedom of Speech, Freedom of religion and Freedom of expression. The other important ingredient of Democracy is Separation of Powers. To me this is the issue that separates a Dictatorship with Democracy. Some Democracies starts by defeating a Dictatorship but as time goes by and the new leaders enjoyed their surge of power, that Democracy evolved in to a new Dictatorship. By keeping the slogan of Democracy a new Hybrid form of government is born such as regimes Iran, Iraq and, Cuba. In other Dictatorships, especially in Middle East, Dictators simply changed their title from kings to Presidents in order to fool their citizens in to thinking that they have a Democratic country. Egypt, Syria, and Jordan are good example of “made for fools Democracy”. Then we have Saudi Royal Family which they are telling the world about their path to Democracy. They are introducing their population to “free election”. Their version of Democracy is that their people have the right to vote for either Prince Hassan or Prince Ahmad.
The Iranian Hybrid Democracy is very unique, Unique in both structure and laws. They have a Majles and election for both local and national representative. But, in order for an individual to participate in the most Democratic step (equality access to power) that individual has to pass a litmus test given by unelected members of government. So, Iranian Democracy does not pass the first test. As we have seen each year thousand of applicants want to serve their country but if they are not approved by the unelected Mullahs Committee for whatever reasons then, they can’t even participate in an election. So basically the unelected mullahs elect people’s representatives. So, the term “Majority Rule” which is the main part of any Democracy, does not apply to Iranian version of Democracy.
The second part of Democracy is Personal Freedoms. Under the Democratic Islamic Republic virtually there are no personal freedoms. An Iranian does not have Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Expression or Freedom of Religion. These three freedoms are the most basics but at the same time the most important ingredients of any Democratic government.
The question of equality also should be examined in the Iranian version of Democracy. Remember that in order to have a true Democracy a government has to exercise equality for ALL individual. But, under Iranian version of Democracy a women is not equal to a man. For that reason the other most important steps of Democracy is not being observed in Iran. That is the Right to have equal access to power. Under Iranian version of Democracy a woman is nothing but an asset of an Iranian man. Even a simple and logical law such as Inheritance Law discriminates against Iranian women; an Iranian woman gets half the share of her brothers when it comes to receiving inheritance from parents.
In Iran Freedom of Press means you are free to worship the unelected Mullahs and if you criticize any of the unelected Mullahs then your newspaper will be closed and you will be jailed or executed for what you have reported to people, even if it is the truth.
I would say that Iranian Democracy does not even pass the simplest test. Therefore these unelected Mullahs have two choices:
They should change their regime name to “Islamic Tyranny and Dictatorship”. Or, They should start governing by implementing a real Democracy.
Iranian people should remember, It was not the Mullahs but the "People Power" that tumble the Shah's regime.
Think about this, how many mullahs did you see in street taking bullets during your revolution?

kathy said...

Dr. Ebtekar,
I hope you and Dr. Zarif are following what's going on in the Democratic Conventions this week, b/c I'm sure if you do, you'll see where the future is going! If not anybody else in that theocratic system of yours, I'm sure at least you and Dr. Zarif WILL understand what's the nature of the CHANGE that's coming!!!! the CHANGE in the direction of not only American politics, but the WORLD's!!!!!
let me assure you, once America elects its hero and savior President Barack Obama, the time for theocracy in Iran WILL be over! It will be FINALLY time for TRUE Democracy, the way your President Khatami had in mind for Iran! so, after 30 years of the opposite, you will finally have the backing of the entire world to make TRUE CHANGE happen in Iran!!!!! It will be finally time for the 1979 revolution to come to its TRUE fruition, to bring the dawn of FREEDOM, INDEPENDENCE, and TRUE Islamic Democracy!!!! Finally after 3 decades of fundamentalist high-jacking of the Iranian's HOPES and DREAMS, finally the blood of all those martyrs (of 17 Shahrivar) will mean something!
Let me assure you, it will soon be time for President Khatami to finish the movement he began, and save his 70 million compatriots from the claws of your fundamentalist radical rivals!
Change is on its way! Hope is on its way! Freedom and Prosperity for all is coming! TRUE DEMOCRACY is coming to Iran!
God Bless Obama!

Holly said...

Well, another victory for Iranian women. This only shows how concern are these unelected mullahs with emerging Iranian Women Power. The stupid “Family Protection Law” or the "Richman Purchase Order" as I call it, was taken off the table.
Now, it is time to concentrate on changing the Divorce Laws and Inheritance Laws.
I really don’t understand why God has given his Christian women many Rights but has taken the simplest Rights from Muslim women. We always say that “God loves everyone the same” so how come when a Christian mother divorces her husband she automatically gets custody of her children? And, the only way she loses the custody, is if her husband can prove that she is an unfit mother.
What was he thinking when he (God) decided that all Muslim mothers are unfit right from the beginning?
I can’t believe the Kind God that was inserted in our head all through our schooling, the same kind God would do such thing to a Muslim mother.
That reminds me of a true story about the guy that lost his boat during a bad storm. His insurance denied paying for damages because it was “an act of God” a clause that most insurance relay on as a loophole so they don’t have to pay back for the damages. That guy got really upset and, desperate to do something; he sued God for damaging his boat. At the same time he sued the God’s Agent which was the high Church of England. Make story short, the church tried to settle with him out of court and stop the embarrassing case t but he said no. I don’t remember if he lost the case or not but I think he proved his point to everyone.
So, maybe one brave Iranian woman should sue God for not treating all his subjects equally. Why should a Jew or Christian women who does not practice Hejab go to the same haven along with a Hejab practicing Muslim woman?
I know; I should not question God. But, as God says in many places in Quran we should question injustice and try to resolve yet.

kathy said...

Holly dear,
I just have a small little correction to your latest comment:

The civil laws that the judicial systems in western countries (like USA, Canada, ...) are based on, and the civil liberties that we all take for granted here (in the West) in this day and age, have NOTHING to do with Christianity!!!!!
If it was based on religious decrees and rules, believe me, there would have been even less rights for Christian women than there are for Muslim women!!!! Catholics can't even divorce!!!!
The problem with the Middle-Eastern countries (including the post-Shah Iran of this Islamic Republic regime) is that their judicial systems are based on religious jurisprudence (sharia law) as opposed to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or the Constitution, or any other SECULAR legal document!
You see, the western world became secular after the Renaissance, and western democracies were built on the concept of "Separation of Church and State", but in the Muslim world, there still hasn't been such a "reawakening"!
So, please don't mix up two completely different notions here! the fact that we have rights here, has nothing to do with any religion, but everything to do with the struggles of women over the centuries and decades of having been considered second class citizens, not even allowed to vote!!!! It was only in 1920 that American women finally got the right to VOTE!!!!
and unfortunately, if we allow them (the Republicans) are going to take away one of those rights by overturning the right of a woman to choose to have an abortion!
Long Live Democracy!
Long Live Freedom!
Long Live the Separation of Church and State!
let's all hope that the Muslim world can also achieve its Renaissance, and become more and more secular and democratic in time!