Afghan women are essentially forbidden to study. The mullahs have decided that the most prudent conduct for a woman is to stay within the confines of four walls and think how to better please the men of her family.
Iranian women had gone a long way down the road of oppression before they dared to show their outrage and speak out against the mullahs and their discriminatory policies.
Those who are born in captivity and can only imagine that a different life is possible, accept their fate for some time. Especially in countries where religion dictates its rules, where women are assigned the role of obedient and submissive servants of their lords and masters. There are not many theocratic states these days. Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, for example.
The fate of Iranian women is of particular concern to us: millions of our compatriots live in South Azerbaijan of the Iranian state. The protest of Iranian women was triggered by the murder of Mahsa Amini in prison on September 17, 2022. The pretext for the imprisonment and subsequent murder of the young woman was “the improper wearing of the headscarf”. Is it possible to conceive of a more perverse and ugly pretext for murder? Perhaps it is, if one wanted to. And going further, it becomes possible to murder without any pretext whatsoever, especially a woman in a religious country where Sharia is the basic law.
After unprecedented mass protests against the regime across Iran, the mullahs decided to “soften” their policy, in their own understanding of the word.
“According to media reports, for the first time in 43 years, Iranian authorities have declared that women may do without the hijab. Ayatollah Khamenei said in a speech the other day that ‘the hijab is an inviolable Sharia necessity, born of Islam, and is a precept prescribed by Sharia. The importance of the hijab is unquestionable. Everyone should know that the hijab is an important precept of Sharia and must be observed. But those who do not wear the hijab cannot be accused of being anti-religious and anti-revolutionary’.”
Why are women still subjected to violence and oppression today? The “weaker sex”, and that says it all. A woman is physically weaker than a man. She cannot always fight back against the stronger sex. Of course, she has other advantages. Women have learned to turn their weakness into strength. But this policy does not always succeed.
Another country ruled by Muslim law is Saudi Arabia. Recently, the winds of change have been blowing there. Since 2018, women have been allowed to drive. Nevertheless, a woman is still in the care of a man. This means that she cannot make more or less significant decisions without her guardian’s permission. One of the astonishing laws is divorce granted on the man’s initiative, where the husband does not even consider it necessary to inform his wife that he has divorced her. Recently, the courts have mandated that women be informed when their husbands divorce them. The reason for the measure is that men have been abusing their right to divorce in secret without their wives’ consent. And the latest incredible news: a Saudi woman has become an international football referee. In 2022, FIFA has included Anoud Al-Asmari among the 8 representatives of Saudi Arabia refereeing international matches. The liberalization of morals is associated with the increasing influence of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The young prince, at least in appearance, seeks to create a more benign image for his country. It is premature to assume that women in the Kingdom will eventually have the same rights as men. Recall the scandal with the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The prince is suspected of ordering the assassination. It is hard to say how justified the suspicion is. What is clear is that the authoritarian regime, where the situation in the country often depends on the mood of the ruler, does not give much hope for stable progress in the field of human rights.
Another sensational report from Saudi Arabia. A female military unit has been established. It sounds a little like a “toy” regiment, although we remember that the Amazons in their day gained a reputation as brave warriors.
The prince’s policy deserves credit. Among other changes, he has lifted the taboo on secular music. “Today, Praise be to Allah, we can play freely in squares, parks, any public place, including restaurants,” says musician El-Muhanna.
Society would only benefit from the liberalization of a theocratic regime.
The emancipation of women, their active participation in society, would benefit both men and the state as a whole. Imagine that the whole financial burden of providing for the family rests on the man’s shoulders. True, he is free from the household duties. To some extent, from the upbringing of children as well, but the financial component prevails, it is impossible to disagree with this. The material factor, in turn, becomes the main argument in the oppression of women. Since a woman does not “earn” any money, she is entirely at the mercy of her “guardian’s” will.
Here is an argument that I believe can melt the “iron will” of some men in their desire to be in charge. The possibility of not having to shoulder the responsibility for everything that happens in the family and outside it. A young Azerbaijani once confided that he is attracted to young women who are independent and have opinions, a profession, and interests of their own. He is willing to start a family with this kind of young woman as a partner, knowing that she will be his pillar of support in any situation. If women are actively involved in public life, there is hope for an improvement in morals, because women are naturally less aggressive. The potential of women is great. There is no reason to say that certain fields of knowledge, art or sport are beyond the reach of women. Of course, there are certain nuances. For example, women’s boxing, in my opinion, is not the best activity for a woman. Again, this is my personal opinion.
The story of Nadia Nadim, a young Afghan woman who was forced to flee Afghanistan and immigrate to Denmark in 2000, is quite telling. Her mother, Hamida, was left alone at the age of 20 to take care of her five young daughters after their father, Colonel Nadim, was killed by the Taliban. In Denmark, Nadia became a famous football player and gained international recognition. Her career did not end there. In 2022, she qualified as a doctor while continuing to play football. Her dream is to return to her native Afghanistan and help those whose lives were destroyed by the Taliban. Hopefully, her dream will come true. Just like the dream of Iranians, women and men alike; the dream of those who seek freedom and liberation from the dreadful theocratic regime of the mullahs.