Let’s review the bidding, shall we? The “election circus” took place a week ago Friday, and demonstrations began that night, June 12th. Ten days have passed. What have we learned?
–First, that a significant number of Iranians hate the regime and are prepared to die to bring it down;
–Second, that the fanatical religious zealots that hold the guns, chains, knives, tear gas cannisters, high-powered water hoses, sniper rifles and (perhaps) chemical weapons (said by some to have been deployed from helicopters), are prepared to order the killing of any number of Iranians in order to maintain their own power and preserve the Islamic Republic;
–Third, that women are playing a key role in the insurrection (a central element of any good analysis of events in Iran, which is invariably overlooked, even by some outstanding scholars). This was already clear in the “election circus,” in which Mrs. Mousavi played a leading role, thereby threatening the Islamic Republic at its sexist and misogynistic core). The regime knows this, as was confirmed by the verbal attacks on Mrs. Mousavi by Ahmadinezhad during the televised presidential debate with her husband, and by the shooting of Neda by a sniper who had a choice of targets. He picked a girl wearing a very loose scarf.
By the way, the celebrated writer Paolo Coelho reports on his blog that the doctor who tried so desperately to save Neda is a friend of Coelho’s. That doctor’s revolutionary credentials are in good order; he served on the battlefield during the Iran-Iraq War. An interesting footnote to a terrible story.
Meanwhile, the Iranian Women’s Movement has issued a very strong statement:
Alongside civil and political rights activists, labor activists, students, journalists, and ethnic rights activists, a large spectrum of women’s rights activists from several campaigns and tendencies also participated in the election in order to say “no” to a government with a discriminatory orientation and to demand an end to gender discrimination…
We, the undersigned activists of the women’s rights movement, condemn the violence and humiliation that has continued to be perpetrated against Iranian women and men in recent years and which is aimed at repressing them. We emphasize our continued commitment to achieving the demands of the women’s rights movement, which has had a profound role in educating the public and in civil struggles in recent years, and we express our solidarity with those who protest the results of this election. We demand that those arrested in recent days be released without condition and we call for securing and protecting civil and political freedoms.