A song for freedom

12 June 2005

Women! The presence of Life The era of slavery is over Another world is possible Our struggle makes it This voice is the voice of freedom This call is the call of freedom Women’s freedom is possible This movement makes it

When you visit "Iranian Feminist Tribune":http://www.iftribune.org , you will hear this song. It is the song of the Iranian Women’s movement in preparation for women’s demonstration in front of Tehran University on June 12, 2005.

The Iranian women’s movement is an independent movement. It is not officially tied to any candidate. Iranian women of various political affiliations are objecting to the violation of women’s rights in Iran, such as the Iranian constitution which allows women to vote but bars them from candidacy in the presidential elections.

Activist women from all walks of life agree: it is unjust to ask women for their vote but ignore their demands. In 1997, Khatami was elected primarily due to women’s massive participation in the election. In the 1999 city council elections 7,000 women became candidates and 781 were elected to public office. Out of those elected, 484 came from rural areas. Iranian women's demands for a fair share in their country’s political decision-making processes is no longer limited to urban women.

If it is unlawful, as some hard-liners argue, to use women instrumentally in advertisements, then it is equally unfair to ask them to carry banners for different presidential candidates but prohibit them from becoming candidates in their country’s most important election. All 89 potential women candidates were rejected by the Guardian Council.

The Iranian women’s movement is a non-violent movement. This demonstration is taking place at a critical juncture in the presidential race when the hardliners are afraid of engaging in violent skirmishes for fear of losing voter support for their preferred candidates. Half of the presidential candidates are ex-military/Sepahi officers: Larijani, Ahmadi-Nejad, Rezaei and Qalibaf. If violence erupts, they will loose voters. The world is watching Iran. It is critical that all freedom-loving people support the women’s movement. Any violence towards female protesters should be condemned internationally.

Elham Gheytanchi

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