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Monday, October 02, 2006

Chavez's Embrace of Iran Leader Insults Women

Run Date: 09/27/06
By Jennifer Fasulo
WeNews commentator

Venezuela's Chavez has publicly embraced Iran's reactionary President Ahmadinejad. Jennifer Fasulo says this shows how women's lives are maneuvered on the playing board of nationalist realpolitik.

Editor's Note: The following is a commentary. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily the views of Women's eNews.

(WOMENSENEWS)--Hugo Chavez, one of the key figures in the left populist movements spreading throughout Latin America, has publicly lauded and embraced Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Moments like this show just how little women's lives matter in the world of nationalist politics.

Of course Venezuela and Iran have strategic political and economic interests in each other based on their roles as oil producers.

And one expects Chavez to condemn all U.S. military threats against Iran.

But there is no excuse for declaring solidarity with a theocratic regime that treats women like sub-humans. By embracing Ahmadinejad, Chavez is adding steam to the growing and dangerous alliance between left-wing and right-wing anti-imperialism.

In this equation, the only thing that matters is opposition to U.S. military power. Women's rights, worker's rights, student's rights--the things that are supposed to matter to socialists, progressives and people of conscience--be damned.

Chavez appears not to have noticed that the current government of Iran has turned Iran into a country where gender apartheid and hatred of women are enshrined in law.

Regime of Violent Repression
This is a country where women are stoned to death for the "crime" of adultery, buried up to their necks and pelted in the face and head with stones until they die, where women have no right to divorce or child custody, are legally forced to veil under threat of physical beating or imprisonment, can't travel without the permission of a husband or father, where their testimony in a court of law is considered half that of a man, and where political dissent of any kind, for women and men, is punishable by imprisonment, often torture and death.

This is the government that Chavez compares to his own as a "heroic nation," one which he even deems "revolutionary."

Chavez's lack of concern for women's rights in Iran is all too common among male leftists. Among too many of them, the status of women is often simply not on the radar screen. If it does get mentioned, it's often dismissed as an issue of "culture."

The insidious use of the word "culture" implies that women are brutally subjected not through force and violence, but because they or their "culture" wants it that way, and therefore it's OK.

Aside from insulting the human spirit, which never passively accepts subjugation, this attitude ignores the actual conditions and historical facts in Iran.

People Are in Revolt
A cursory investigation of Iranian society will show that the Iranian people are in utter revolt against their despotic rulers, with women leading the way.

For 27 years women have resisted and defied the regime's persecution of them, often at great risk to their lives. Along with an inspiring women's movement, there are strong, secular workers and student movements, all of them opposing not only the Islamic Republic, but also U.S. threats of military attacks and sanctions on Iran.

How can Chavez--a declared socialist and defender of the downtrodden--align himself with the leader of such a reactionary regime, rather than the inspiring socialist and feminist movements which are fighting against it?

It is a terrible political choice that he need not make.

Chavez can and should renounce his solidarity with Ahmadinejad and place it with the people of Iran where it belongs.

He should be standing, not by the side of the executioner, but by the side of the unjustly accused and condemned, like 17-year-old Nazanine Fatehi who awaits execution for the crime of defending herself and her niece from a gang of rapists.

Or Kobra Rahmanpour, who also awaits execution and writes in a public letter, "I have suffered enough . . . Please help me! I don't want to die. But right now I am more like a lifeless body who has forgot happiness and laughter in the scare from the execution rope . . . My only hope lies in people and my fellow humans."

How must Kobra and Nazanine feel to see Chavez throw his arms around their executioner?

Chavez's stance needs to be condemned by all progressive forces within the international community.

One group that has already issued such a condemnation is the Worker Communist Party of Iran. In a Sept. 14 statement they write, "We see the attempts by right-wing pro-America forces to overthrow Chavez and we value every bit of positive reform by the Chavez government in the interest of deprived and hungry people, but defending the murderous and terrorist leaders of the Islamic Republic, rolling out the carpet for them under the guise of anti-imperialism is nothing but throwing dust in the eyes of the people and covering up the brutal reality of the Islamic regime."

The WPI--a leading leftist group in Iran that emphasizes human freedom and prioritizes women's rights--goes on to challenge the very notion that the Islamic Republic is an anti-imperialist force.

"We must make it clear to Chavez and Castro that the Islamic current, without the support of the U.S. government and Western powers, could not have come to power; and without their help could not have stayed in power." (This refers to various deals made between the United States and Iran, such as the Reagan administration's secret arms deals with Iran known as "Contra-gate.")

Some Credit Due
Chavez deserves credit for the things he's done to improve the lives of poor people and curb the abuses of capitalism in Venezuela.

He has pushed economic initiatives for women and has recognized the financial contribution of women's unpaid labor in the home. Recently, he initiated and signed a bill that would compensate women for their unpaid housework, something that socialist feminists have been fighting for several decades.

None of this, however, erases the fact that he has been criticized for his authoritarian leadership, including by the Venezuelan women who are pushing him to make good on his promises.

Critics point out his strong anti-abortion stance. He even attempted to put an anti-abortion amendment in the constitution, but strong resistance forced him to back off. And among feminists, the issue of paying women for housework is not clear-cut. While some argue that it will help raise women out of poverty, others believe that it will further institutionalize women's place in domestic servitude.

All of these issues deserve to be reconsidered in light of Chavez's alliance with an anti-feminist fundamentalist like Ahmadinejad.

After the recall election in which Chavez triumphed over efforts by the opposition to unseat him, he declared, "God has spoken."

But to some of us, that is more like the sound of demagoguery. The true ideals of justice, equality and human liberation are better represented by the brave activism of those in Iran who are fighting to save women's lives and chart a third course between U.S. domination and right-wing opposition to it.

Now, more than ever, we must stand up and defend them.

Jennifer Fasulo co-founded a solidarity group in support of women's liberation movements in the Middle East. She is also an assistant producer for Joy of Resistance, Multicultural Feminist Radio on WBAI 99.5 FM in NYC.

Maryam Namazie

3 comments:

Dr. WhoAmI said...

.

You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.
May I suggest that you do
everything in your power to
honor your encyclopedic/omniscient
Designer/Architect as well
as your revering audience.
As soon as we acknowledge
this Supreme Designer/Architect,
Who has erected the beauteous
fabric of the universe, our minds
must necessarily be ravished with
wonder at His infinate goodness,
wisdom and power.

Please remember to never
restrict anyone's opportunities
for ascertaining uninterrupted
existence for their quintessence.

There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity
under heaven. A time to be
born and a time to die. A
time to plant and a time to
harvest. A time to kill and
a time to heal. A time to
tear down and a time to
rebuild. A time to cry and
a time to laugh. A time to
grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones
and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a
time to turn away. A time to
search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to
throw away. A time to tear
and a time to mend. A time
to be quiet and a time to
speak up. A time to love
and a time to hate. A time
for war and a time for peace.

Here's what great men have
said about the world's best -
seller:

"I believe the Bible is the best gift
God has ever given to man. All
the good from the Savior of the
world is communicated to us
through this book."
-- President Abraham Lincoln

"For we must consider that we shall
be as a City upon a hill. The eyes of
all people are upon us. So that if we
shall deal falsely with our God in this
work we have undertaken, and so
cause Him to withdraw his present
help from us, we shall be made a
story and a byword throughout the
world." --John Winthrop, Governor
of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1630

"It is impossible to rightly govern the
world without God and the Bible."
- President George Washington

"The Bible is no mere book, but a Living
Creature, with a power that conquers
all that oppose it." - Napoleon

"That Book accounts for the supremacy
of England." - Queen Victoria

"If there is anything in my thought or
style to commend, the credit is due my
parents for instilling in me an early
love of the Scriptures. If we abide by
the principals taught in the Bible, our
country will go on prospering and to
prosper; but if we and our posterity
neglect its instructions and authority,
no man can tell how sudden a
catastrophe may overwhelm us and
bury all our glory in profound obscurity."
- Daniel Webster (Founding Father)

"The Bible is worth all other books which
have ever been printed." - Patrick Henry
(original member of the Continental Congress)

"The Bible is the anchor of our liberties."
- President U.S. Grant

"It is impossible to enslave mentally or socially
a Bible-reading people. The principals of the
Bible are the groundwork of human freedom."
- Horace Greeley (Editor)

"That Book is the rock on which our Republic
rests." - President Andrew Jackson

"In all my perplexities and distresses, the Bible
has never failed to give me light and strength."
- Gen. Robert E. Lee

"Bible reading is an education in itself."
- Lord Tennyson (Poet)

"So great is my veneration for the Bible that the
earlier my children begin to read it the more
confident will be my hope that they will prove
useful citizens of their country and respectable
members of society. I have formany years made
it a practice to read through the Bible once
every year." - President John Quincy Adams

"The existence of the Bible, as a Book for the
people, is the greatest benefit which the human
race has ever experienced. Every attempt to
belittle it is a crime against humanity."
- Immanuel Kant (Philosopher)

"The New Testament is the very best Book that
ever or ever will be known in the world."
- Charles Dickens (Author)

"All human discoveries seem to be made only
for the purpose of confirming more and more
strongly the truths contained in the Sacred
Scriptures." - Sir William Herschel (Astronomer)

"There are more sure marks of authenticity
in the Bible than in any profane history."
- Sir Isaac Newton (Scientist)

"Let mental culture go on advancing,
let the natural sciences progress in
even greater extent and depth, and
the human mind widen itself as much
as it desires; beyond the elevation
and moral culture of Christianity, as
it shines forth in the Gospels, it will
not go." - Goethe (Author)

"I have known ninety-five of the world's
great men in my time, and of these eight-
seven were followers of the Bible. The
Bible is stamped with a Specialty of Origin,
and an immeasurable distance separates
it from all competitors."
- W.E. Gladstone (Prime Minister)

"Whatever merit there is in anything that
I have written is simply due to the fact that
when I was a chile my mother daily read
me a part of the Bible and daily made me
learn a part of it by heart." - John Ruskin
(art critic and social commentator)

"The Bible has been the Magna Charta of the
poor and oppressed. The human race is not
in a position to dispense with it." - Thomas
Huxley (Author & Scientist)

"The whole hope of human progress is
suspended on the ever growing influence
of the Bible." - W.H. Seward (Secretary of State)

"America was born a Christian nation. America
was born to exemplify that devotion to the
elements of righteousness, which are derived
from the revelations of Holy Scriptures. Part
of the destiny of Americans lies in their daily
perusal of this great book of revelations.
That if they would see America free and
pure they will make their own spirits free
and pure by this baptism of the Holy Spirit."
--President Woodrow Wilson

For Christians, the life and death of Jesus
are the ultimate expressions of love, and
the supreme demonstrations of God's
mercy, faithfulness, and redemption.
Since Christ's miraculous Resurrection
on Easter, more than 2,000 years ago,
Christians have expressed joy and
gratitude for this wondrous sacrifice
and for God's promise of freedom for
the oppressed, healing for the broken -
hearted, and salvation. --President
George W. Bush

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly
or too often that this great nation was
founded, not by religionists, but by
Christians; not on religions, but on
the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this
very reason peoples of other faiths
have been afforded asylum, prosperity,
and freedom of worship here."
--Patrick Henry (original member
of the Continental Congress)


God designed humans to want to
believe in something. That's the
image of God that is in us. But as
G. K. Chesterton famously put it,
when we reject the God of the
Bible, we don't believe in nothing;
we believe in everything -- including
Little Green Men. - - Chuck Colson


I am trying here to prevent anyone from
saying the really foolish thing that people
often say about Jesus Christ: "I'm ready
to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher,
but I don't accept His claim to be God."

That is the one thing we must not say.
A man who was merely a man and said
the sort of things Jesus said would not be
a great moral teacher. He would either be
a lunatic -- on a level with a man who says
he is a poached egg -- or else he would be
the Devil of Hell.

You must make your choice. Either this Man
was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman
or something worse .... You can shut Him up
for fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a
demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him
Lord and God. But let us not come up with any
patronizing nonsense about His being a great
human teacher. He has not left that option
open to us. He did not intend to. -- From
Case for Christianity, by C.S. Lewis



"Let every student be plainly instructed and
earnestly pressed to consider well the main
end of his life and studies is to know God
and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John
17:3)." - - - The Laws and Statutes of
Harvard College in 1643


"All scholars shall live religious, godly,
and blameless lives according to the rules
of God's Word, diligently reading the Holy
Scriptures, the fountain of light and truth;
and constantly attend upon all the duties
of religion, both in public and secret."
- - - Two central requirements in Yale
College 1745 charter

If you stop believing what your professor
told you had to be true and if you start
thinking for yourself you may come to some
conclusions you hadn't expected. You may
find the Bible makes more sense than you
thought or were told to think. Allow yourself
to be ruined, ruined with regard to what you
always thought could be true. Can you believe
what you don't understand? You and I believe
everyday what we don't understand unless it
comes to the issue of salvation.
- - - Dr. Woodrow Kroll

There is simply no historic foundation for the
position that the Framers intended to build the
'wall of separation' that was constitutionalized
in Everson. The 'wall of separation between
church and state' is a metaphor based on bad
history, a metaphor which has proved useless
as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and
explicitly abandoned. - - - Chief Justice of
the US Supreme Court, William Rehnquist

In 1796 the US Supreme Court issued this
ruling, "By our form of government, the
Christian religion is the established religion,
and all sects and denominations of Christians
are placed on equal footing." Some 57 years
later, after Congress was petitioned to separate
Christian principles from government, in 1853
the House Judiciary Committee issued their
formal report, including these words: "In this
age there is no substitute for Christianity.
This was the religion of the founders of the
republic, and they expected it to be the
religion of their dependents. The great vital,
conservative elements in our system is the
belief of our people in the pure doctrines
and divine truths of the gospel of Jesus
Christ." - - - Dr. Gerald Beavan


"It is the duty of nations, as well as of men,
to own their dependence upon the overruling
power of God and to recognize the sublime
truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and
proven by all history, that those nations only
are blessed whose God is the Lord."
-- President Abraham Lincoln


Trust in yourself and you are doomed to
disappointment; trust in money and you
may have it taken from you; but trust in
God, and you are never to be confounded
in time or eternity. - D.L. Moody

Faith and love are apt to be spasmodic
in the best of minds. Men and women live
on the brink of mysteries and harmonies
into which they never enter and with their
hand on the doorlatch they die outside.
- - GK Chesterton

Best wishes for continued ascendancy,
Dr. Whoami

P.S. Here's some blogs that I found
of interest
as I negotiated my way
through cyberspace:


Is Jesus God?
Religion Comparison
Watch The Jesus Movie
Muhammad or Jesus???
Answering Islam
A Short Look At Six World Religions
God's Word in different languages...
How to become a Christian
Who Is Jesus?
Around the Well
Every Student
'Thought & Humor'


Tell me sometime what your thoughts are on the above:O)

Renegade Eye said...

It was disappointing that Chavez meeting with President Ahmadinejad, and being uncritical in any manner. I was also disappointed when he visited the dictator Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

My other team member Marxist from Lebanon, wrote this post, I believe you'll enjoy:

http://marxistfromlebanon.blogspot.com/2006/10/opium-of-masses-religion-and.html

If it is playing in the UK, see the movie Camp Jesus. It is about indoctrinating Christian youth, to be fanatic as Islamists. The movie openly said that.


Regards

clash said...

Chavez wanted to garner support for his UNSC membership. He criss-crossed the globe in his private jet and met so many leaders and visited some countries again and again. The regime in Iran is one of them, he had a special interest there because, it was supposedly the next target of the war mongering- machine U.S.

Equality of a genders is a a big question. But let us put it this way, when America carpet bombed iraq, they dint specifically select women and bombed them, did they?

Now in front of a war, the question of gender never comes;so it is foremost to make a decision to stop such a war. Then comes the question of gender.

Of making choices to partner with whom and not is a very tight question in this world now. We live in a situation where every speech of Chavez is greeted with a thunderous applause, but there is no one else who make a speech like that.

The question of war/imperialism should be dealt with utmost urgency. Chavez was trying to do that. An allaince with the theocratic regime of Iran dint mean that he wanted all the women in Iran to be doomed.

Feminist rather try to constrict their ideas in a very narrow sense, the cause can be dealt with, if they have a wider perspective about issues.

I pity the situation of Nazanine Fatehi, Kobra Rahmanpour.