This picture makes me proud to be a woman. Also, yeah: don’t tell me my sisters in headscarves are passive, that they’re uneducated, that they’re apolitical (hi, Dr. Rahnavard, I hear you’re 64 and wear the chador) and automatically oppressed. There is nothing more political than these women, rushing forward in their religion and their politics. This is their revolution too. They will not disappear once it’s over (I don’t think it will ever be over).
Nor do I like the awareness-raising meme post that’s been circulating on blogging sites, begun here. The sentiments are worthwhile (if poorly expressed), but the reference to how ‘For the first time in a long time, a voice for change struck the youth of Iran, just as it did for many people in the United States only seven months ago’ really bugs me. I know plenty of American media are suddenly interested in Iran because it can be written into a cosily Obama-analogous mythology now that the departure of Bush and the advent of Barack makes it easier for the US to look outwards and see itself as a saviour again, but, really. The situation in Iran, the situation in America? Zahra Rahnavard PhD, Michelle Obama? One of these things is not like the other. Iran isn’t important because it can be conveniently compared to the American mythos. The protests in Tehran aren’t important because they’re timely. They’re just important.
Dr Sophie Duncan is Fellow in English at Christ Church, University of Oxford. She works regularly as a historical advisor and as a dramaturg for theatre, TV, radio and film. She likes theatre, detective fiction and cocktails.