Today is International Women’s Day so it makes sense to feature Parastoo Dokouhaki (sometimes spelt Dokoohaki) one of the best known women bloggers in Iran. This is especially important because last Sunday she got arrested for peacefully demonstrating in solidarity with women who were being tried for upholding the cause of equality. As of yesterday it has been reported that she has been released, so yay. (There is a link to an interview with her after her release at the bottom of this post, she’s ok). Although that does mean she’s not quite on top of her email, however I decided to go ahead and feature her to show that dumb macho authorities can’t stop good people.
Now Parastoo is kind of famous, she has had a fair amount of notice in the press and is one of the Iranian bloggers/journalists/writers/activists the MSM sometimes turn to (she’s busy). She has been harassed (her paper was shuttered) over the years and has employed cunning methods to continue her writing and avoid the authorities attention:-
But this is not all that makes me sleepless. My Persian weblog is blocked for the third time in the last 6 months. I’ve established new domain addresses twice, but all three are now blocked by the authorities. Although I’m a journalist, I write my personal notes and concerns—from family to society, from poetry to cinema—on my blog and I don’t know why they are against it. Why should I be censored?-
Her farsi blogs are well read and the cat and mouse game with filtering is constant, she recently wrote an english language blog which lets us in on some of her life in Iran. She named it after The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. In this post she references ‘Zombies’ by The Cranberries (she also has embedded an mp3 by Evanescence, so freebies!) It’s very personal and she doesn’t hold back from showing her despair sometimes:-
Where are people who are against a military attack on Iran? Is there anyone left? People who believes that no war can contribute to the establishment of liberty and democracy in Iran –what I do believe in?
Britain prime minister has changed his foreign secretary because of not believing in war against Iran but it seems lady Beckett, the new one and the first woman to hold one of the “big three” political posts, believes in war.
How could I conquer my feminist opinion: women are against war, pro peace? After Rice, we see another mother of war in the world?-
Her reports on how women demonstrators are treated:-
One of my friends who was in an office near Hafte Tir square told me in yahoo messenger that there were a lot of policewomen with teargas. They had also red sprays to put on women, so that they would be recognized in case of escaping.-
But she loves her city nonetheless:-
It was completely dark when we started to climb Kolakchaal at 4 am. I was some how sleepy and unconscious at first but after feeling the cool gentle breeze on my face’s skin, I fell into a nice dawn-dreaming!
After a while, light comes up steadily. And there was a wow-like light on Tehran…
I love this city. No matter it’s crowded, polluted and full of traffic jams. No matter it’s dirty, has ugly buildings and bumpy streets. It’s beautiful specially when you look at it from the northern mountains. –
She also wonders about those that leave, I think she is brave to stay and unselfish, she cannot simply leave and ignore the plight of others:-
Immigrating to other countries (so-called first world!) for searching better life opportunities, it’s the road Iranians, especially young generation is driving on. Is it the best road? Why aren’t other roads parallel?-
And while she likes ‘Friends’ (Courtney Cox is an officially approved Ten Percent siren) she neatly demonstrates the cultural imperialism of America that also shows US arrogance and ignorance:-
I watch Friends TV series these days. Although I hate that laughing sound scripted on some scenes, I like the overall sitcom. It makes me familiar to American society. Well, in season 3, there is an episode which Pete, Monica’s millionaire boyfriend, wants to be an ultimate fighting champion. And here is one of the dialogues:
Ross [Monica’s brother]: How long until Pete’s fight?
Monica: About 5 minutes. They’re interviewing his opponent. Apparently, he trains by going to Iran and pulling the arms off thieves.
Hehe! I wonder if there were (are) any complaints about this dialogue anytime… How can they lie in a way that it’s a fact? And you find yourself so weak to mediate this real fact: Pulling off the arms never happened here, in Iran; never.-
And anyway that whole season 3 story arc was rubbish, give me the Monica/Chandler romance any day.
So right now she will be concerned with her own welfare and the other still imprisoned women. That this international women’s day is commemorated here by writing about a woman who has just been released from jail simply for standing up for her rights is a damn shame. Hey men listen up, you know the sign of a real man? A feminist.
You can read an interview with Parastoo after her release, excerpt:-
“their behavior was despising. They would fold our eyes and we would accept and we would say it is illegal and torture so they would forcibly do it. During the time of reception we would hear the loud voice of Nushin and Parvin and Susan calling I don’t know to the judge or the inspector of the file. They were arguing in a loud tone and we could hear shouting. They wanted to threaten us.”
So go visit Parastoo Dokouhaki’s blog The Remains Of The Day. Now!
UPDATE: Jadi at inside Iran reports:-
All women released except Shadi Sadr, Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh and Jila bani yaghoob…..
and further demo:-
And those brave people are going to gather in front of the parliament today, in celebration of 8th of March. They are asking for equal rights and some of the recently arrested / released people are participating.