8 March International Women’s Day
“Organizing women’s struggle against gender oppression and exploitation” (AWTWNS 29 February 2016)

This AWTWNS news packet for the week of 29 February 2016 contains one article. It may be reproduced or used in any way, in whole or in part, as long as it is credited.

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8 March International Women’s Day
“Organizing women’s struggle against gender oppression and exploitation”

29 February 2016. A World to Win News Service. The following is by the 8 March Women’s Organisation (Iran-Afghanistan).

Do you hear the sound of women’s bones being crushed under the wheels of the machinery of exploitation in the farms, factories and workshops, and exhausting, shattering and repetitive work at home?

Do you hear the stifled cries of a young woman who has been raped by her boss in a workshop closet?

Have you seen a girl choked with tears when forced to get married?

Are you aware of the trade in young girls in the countrysides of the third world and the gloomy future that awaits them? Has the nerve-shattering scream of a nine-year-old bride ever shaken your entire being?

Do you know about the night-time beatings and the bullying behaviour? Do you know what it feels like to go unnoticed and be counted as nothing? Do you know how painful it is when you are insulted and despised or ridiculed by your partner in front of others?

Have you felt the suppressed anger of the woman who has been betrayed by her husband? Have you ever expressed your satisfaction and solidarity when a woman punished her violent, rapist husband?

Do you feel the pain in your heart when you hear that a young woman has been killed in broad daylight by her husband merely because she dared to file for a divorce?

Can you imagine the feeling of a girl child whose tiny body has been raped by her closest relatives as she experiences savage “sex” for the first time and is robbed of her future?

Can you remember the pallid face of the girl soaked in blood by her brother in order to “protect the family’s honour”?

Can you understand the meaning of a precarious life, and the homelessness, discrimination, occupation, rape, and war happening today in Syria and Afghanistan?

Can you tolerate hearing how hundreds of women in Kurdistan, Iran, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan and on and on have set themselves on fire because of the absolute degradation they feel?

Can you understand the feelings of women when dire poverty breaks their pride and pushes them into prostitution so that their children do not go to bed hungry?

Have you ever hated yourself when you have seen pornography that pictures a woman so degraded, as if she is worth nothing but serving men’s sexual desires?

Can you understand a woman’s feeling of worthlessness when she is forced to have sex by her partner?

Do you understand a woman’s feeling of fear and insecurity as she flees men’s shadows in the dark of night?

Are you familiar with words such as whore, slut, bitch… ?

Do you know what was going on in the head of the mother who burned herself and her children to end a life full of oppression and exploitation?

Or what was going to be imposed on that school girl who hung herself when still in her school uniform so as to escape the future awaiting her?

Haven’t you ever been irritated at the self-alienation of a woman who undergoes surgery in order to be “more attractive” to men?

Do you know that women who rebel against these rotten and outmoded traditions are brutally beaten to death by patriarchal thugs and the “security” forces in the light of day in front of those who witnessed the scene, or condemned to death by those who rule in the name of Islamic Sharia law?

Do you feel the pain of the first stone that hit the skull of a woman who is half buried?

Can you believe that acid or a razor blade might burn or rip the flesh in your face, simply because your veil doesn’t cover you enough?

Hijab is not our culture! Stoning to death doesn’t come from our tradition! “Honour killing” is not our legacy! Female genital mutilation has nothing to do with our culture! These have all been imposed on Iran, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, etc., by religion and superstition, by the culture and tradition of patriarchy, by the force of guns and imprisonment, to serve and protect the exploitation of anti-woman systems!

Given all this, how can we ask millions of women, who every moment of their lives are exposed to and affected by all these mounting forms of oppression, to talk and negotiate with the main representatives of the perpetrators and source of all this rampant oppression? And beg them for a slice of equality?

How can we plead with those who arrest and whip young women and girls because they leave a few hairs hanging out of their veil?

How can we beg those who stone to death our sisters because they have had sexual relations outside marriage? To beg those who consider women just a means to fulfil men’s desire? To beg from those who punish women when they don’t abide by patriarchal/male chauvinist laws? From those whose laws allow trade in nine year-old girls? From those who don’t recognize women’s right to divorce but allow men to have several official wives and dozens of unofficial ones at the same time? From those whose laws deprive homosexuals of their basic human rights and punish them with death if they are caught. From those…

Let’s look at Iran

Iranian women on the path to their liberation are facing one of the most vicious anti-women regimes in the world. Iranian women stood up against the 8 March 1979 decree enforcing compulsory wearing of the hijab by [Islamic Republic head Ayatollah] Khomeini, and by doing this they founded the new women’s movement in Iran that is continuing today.

Iranian women are involved in an unequal war against the anti-woman Islamic regime. For more than 37 years they have been resisting and struggling against the violence that is imposed on them in their homes, on the street and everywhere else by the medieval laws and code of punishment based on Islamic Sharia laws. We want you to hear our voice, the voice of our struggle, the struggle of Iranian women for liberation and equality, which is part of the worldwide struggle of women against the patriarchal imperialist-capitalist system.

Your support and assistance to the struggle of Iranian women will strengthen the women’s revolutionary struggle in the Middle East and will inspire and assist women’s struggle for liberation on a world scale.

The patriarchal imperialist powers, by launching invasions and wars of occupation in the Middle East, have impelled the fundamentalist forces against the people and instigated racist and fascist forces in the West against immigrants and Muslims. Conscious women must line up against all this oppression and crime and violence. We must create our own front of struggle against this, and expand it. The front of conscious and organised women, the front of struggle against all forms of violence, the front of struggle against all outmoded forces in the Middle East and all the racist forces in the West, the front of struggle against warmongering and military occupation, the front of struggle against all the patriarchal capitalist-imperialist powers that, in cooperation with Islamic and non-Islamic anti-woman forces, are spreading their hellish system all over the world.

In sum, the front of struggle against the fundamentalists and the patriarchal imperialist powers!

This is the line of demarcation, and based on that and based on unity and international solidarity, along with other revolutionary fighters, freedom lovers and progressive forces, we will organise our struggle to advance towards a world in which there is no sign of compulsory hijab, prostitution, rape and sexual harassment, domestic and social violence, female genital mutilation, the sex trade, poverty, war, refugees, slavery for capitalism, religion and superstition, men’s appropriation of women and not any form of oppression and exploitation.

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