Monday, December 31, 2007

The New Year & A Woman President

The end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008 is only a few minutes away here in Tehran as I write this blog. In addition to the joyous occasion , the new year is an opportunity to revisit the past and to learn from the past for the present and the future. It is a chance to improve and move ahead as time advances into a new age.
This week I had a live interview with the Washington-based Al-Hurra satellite channel. The program was about the status of women living under Islamic law. The commentator began ( I listened and spoke through an Arabic interpreter) with a very biased and negative statement about the status of women in these countries. He implied that discriminatory laws and subordinate social status for women have undermined their basic human rights. I was surprised at the very biased and antagonistic approach they took. When I was given the chance to speak I expressed my surprise and said I had expected to take part in an objective and balanced debate on this issue. I explained that women in Iran, after the Islamic Revolution have taken great strides in different fields, particularly in education. This however does not infer that we do not have challenges and setbacks.
Iran is now in a position to demonstrate the actual achievements of Iranian women in social , economic and political terms. I also explained that I was opposed to many of the policies of the current government, while I believed that the overall accomplishment of the administration in Iran was positive and forthcoming.
At one point one of the commentators said "But women are second -class citizens, they cannot become President in Iran". I explained that , in the phrase related to the qualifications for the President the word " Rejal" was inserted by the Experts Council in 1979 ,to infer" personality " and not gender. This means that theoretical and legal basis in our Constitution is available. No woman candidate has been disqualified on the basis of her gender.
I hope we could remove these dark eyeglasses when looking at others even if that other is our enemy , let us look objectively , in search for the truth, in the quest for excellence. That is the message of the new year, we need to wash our eyes and see things in a different light.

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