Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Monday, June 13, 2005

A pink revolution?

The Ukraine had its Orange Revolution. Lebanon had its Cedar Revolution. Is Iran set for its Pink Revolution?

Hundreds of women staged an unauthorized demonstration in Tehran on Sunday, protesting sex discrimination under Iran's Islamic leadership just days before the June 17 presidential election. Iranian women waving placards calling for gender equality gathered Sunday in front of Tehran University. The protest was the first public display of dissent by women since the 1979 revolution, when the new leadership enforced obligatory veiling. 'We are women, we are the children of this land, but we have no rights,' they chanted. More than 250 marched outside Tehran University, and about 200 others demonstrated two blocks away after hundreds of riot police officers prevented them from joining the main protest. *** "We will continue such protests because it shows that women are aware of their rights," said Roohi Afzal, 52, a translator who was at the protest. "It seems that our presence today really hurts the government, that it has deployed so many forces. Maybe it will react and respond to our demands." *** The hard-line Guardian Council, dominated by six unelected clerics and six judges, last month rejected on the basis of their sex 89 women who had registered to run for president. The move was greeted with outrage, leading to at least one call for a boycott, though it was carefully worded. Zahra Eshraghi, the granddaughter of the leader of the 1979 Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, said in an interview that working on women's issues has been very difficult because women did not feel safe to criticize the laws. "There are certain things that are considered as crimes although the situation is gradually changing," she said.
Just as an aside, I found it interesting that the NY Times did not treat this as a front page story, but burried it in the International section. To me, this visible crack in the Mullah's control over Iran -- and a crack created by the most vulnerable, discriminated-against members of Iranian society -- is very important.