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Pre-2008 Posts

Nobel Peace Price Winner Shirin Ebadi to Speak Tomorrow Night: Invitation to Bloggers and Journalists

I was thrilled to find the following in my e-mail late yesterday: 

This Wednesday, May 2, Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi will address a public audience at University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. Her address, Iran Awakening: A Story of Revolution and Hope, is one of many events Pacific will host this year aimed at gaining a better understanding of the Middle East. A worldwide leader in human, children’s and women’s rights, Ms. Ebadi’s advocacy work has landed her in prison on numerous occasions and brought attention to human rights abuses in her home country of Iran.

I came across several of your posts, and found them to be thoughtful, well-informed, and well-written. I’d like to invite you to participate in the podcast portion of Ms. Ebadi’s speech: during the speech, she’ll be accepting questions from the press submitted by email, and if I could encourage you to pass one along as well, I’d like to hear your contributions to the discussion. 

And then the contact information and podcast information, and so on.  What an amazing opportunity!  I have sent in my question and would be thrilled if it is  one chosen to be asked during the podcast.  Only 100 journalists will be admitted to hear the podcast live; it would also be a thrill to be among the 100!  The podcast will be aired to the general public in a few weeks.

You can find out more information about the broadcast here,  including an invitation to bloggers and journalists to submit questions for Ms.  Ebadi by tomorrow at noon, and the address questions should be sent. 

My posts about Iran and the Iranian woman activists are as follows:

Tehran: Women’s Peaceful Demonstrations Being Violently Suppressed

“It’s amazing how this government is afraid of feminist activists” — 50 More Peaceful Women Protesters Arrested, Brutalized in Iran; US Denies Visas to Iranian Women’s Delegation to U.N.

Iranian Women Activists Freed

Iranian Women in Prison: “We Too Ceased to Live the Very Day That We Killed Our Husbands”

Media Doesn’t Care About UN Conference on the Status of Women; Conservative Christian Lobbyists Attend in Spades

White House Censors N.Y. Times Op-Ed Article on Iran-U.S. Relations

You never know who might be reading your blog posts,  you know?




5 thoughts on “Nobel Peace Price Winner Shirin Ebadi to Speak Tomorrow Night: Invitation to Bloggers and Journalists

  1. Hi Heart and thanks for this! Shirin Ebadi came to Chicago and I had to miss her! I was so mad, but I had a class to teach and couldn’t make it. She is such an inspiration! I can’t wait to hear what feedback you get. Meanwhile, I have to rant for a second about women in the world.

    Similar to you and ChasingMoksha with race, I have had a life full of international experience. One thing that has long bothered me is the insistence, especially by men, that women’s experiences are vastly different depending on nationality/culture. (I could go on and on about Western men in Japan, Western men in Islamic countries…ICK! They act like the saviors of women and are so full of shit!)

    It’s true that the status of our patriarchal nationstate in the world pecking order has EVERYTHING to do with our relative poverty, access to food and clean drinking water, prenatal care, physical safety from state violence and many other very real threats. I would never deny that, and the injustices that result must be countered immediately in real ways.

    But women still have so much in common! I have very close friendships with women from so many places and we understand each other perfectly. We experience different kinds of state oppression but we have the same oppressors at home. And we all share the same planet ravaged by male supremacist rivalries.

    I think that these connections between women are the greatest threat to the world order. They’re discouraged by left and right because they usurp male supremacy at its root. And male supremacy is the root of the problem.

    Sisters, don’t be intimidated by differences of language and culture! Our struggles are connected!

    Posted by roamaround | May 5, 2007, 2:40 am
  2. Last month the Iranian Revolutionary Court sentenced six of the women who protested last June to jail time. Somehow I doubt all the belligerent talk from US politicians is helping the cause of Iranian women’s rights at all.

    Posted by Aletha | May 5, 2007, 6:27 am
  3. Aletha, I agree. The belligerent talk from US politicians isn’t really about women’s rights anyway; once again women are being used in a cynical ploy to demonize an enemy in preparation for war.

    I saw a lengthy piece on the BBC recently about the crackdown on women in Iran who are deemed insufficiently covered on the streets. I was impressed that so much time was spent on the subject of how women get publicly humiliated and punished for not following social norms. What progress, I thought, pleased for a moment that women are getting some attention.

    Then I got suspicious—what about Saudi Arabia? What about Pakistan? Women’s rights are violated by many governments. Why is the BBC suddenly interested? Could it be related to the recent incident involving British sailors captured by Iran? Could it be related to Anglo-US-Israeli fear of Iranian nuclear ambitions? Of course. Voilà. Then I got depressed

    “Protect the women!” is one of the oldest war-mongering chants in the world, and it’s never really about women.

    Posted by roamaround | May 5, 2007, 1:20 pm
  4. YES, to everything both of you say there, Aletha and roamaround.

    A few days ago I got an (attempted) trackback that I recognized as suspect immediately. I started to blog a response but then decided against it because I don’t want to give these guys any particular air time, but here is my draft (which I didn’t complete, but you get the idea):

    As anyone who consistently reads Women’s Space knows, I have been following the Iranian women’s movement over the past year with great interest. Commiserate with me, therefore, over how annoying it is to find links in my incoming links box from some neocon white guy who has nothing better to do than chide “American feminists” for our “silence” over the recent crackdowns on Iranian women activists. As though this guy ever cared for one nanosecond about the plight of any women, but particularly Iranian women.

    There is a police crackdown in progress in Tehran in which police are stopping women whose dress is viewed as unacceptable. Based on my research, while this crackdown seems more serious than in years previous and must be viewed as more serious, given heightened oppression of women activists in Iran, it is not unusual and occurs every year during this time.

    And that’s where I said to myself, nah, I’m not going to give this guy the satisfaction of responding to his dumb post with a blog post.

    If you go to Iranian bloggers to read about this — and this is what I ALWAYS do; I never stop with whatever is in the mainstream or even alternative media, I find and read the bloggers — you find them sort of cynically or bitterly or ruefully joking about this year’s crackdown. There’s one blog that has a joke on it, something like, “Make sure your hijab is adjusted because I don’t have money for the ticket,” or something like that.

    Of COURSE the crackdowns annually are odious and wrong, but does this guy who tried to track back here give one goddamn about WHY they might be wrong? No. His angle is, the U.S. is justified in making war on Iran and any argument he can find which clueless people will buy will do, including the argument that U.S. troops are going to save the poor foreign women from non-American men. Yeah. Like the way U.S. troops “saved” Afghan women. Like the way we are “saving” Iraqi women.

    I still do not know whether my questions were asked of Shirin Ebadi, though now that I’ve read everything, I’m guessing they were, or at least one of them. The way it works is, journalists are hand-picked ahead of time to ask questions, based on their work and writings. During the podcast, the “first 100” journalists who try to log in to hear the podcast live are allowed in, and then they disable the link. I tried and tried, but did not get in successfully, so I won’t be able to actually hear the podcast until it is publicly aired. The idea is that the first 100 journalists who get in get the scoop and can write about it before the broadcast is aired. They can also submit questions via e-mail while the podcast is in progress.

    These are the questions I submitted, really consistent with what you are saying, Aletha and roamaround:

     Ms Ebadi, it seems as though everyone is, as one Iranian blogger, Lady Sun, wrote, “afraid of the Iranian feminist activists.” By now hundreds of activists have been arrested, and journalists and bloggers have been detained at airports and have had their homes and personal effects searched and seized. In addition, in March the U.S. refused to grant visas for members of the all-women Iranian delegation which was to attend the 51st conference of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York. Some Iranian women believe this indicates that the U.S. was afraid of what the Iranian woman delegates might say in their speeches and might write in their writings. What do you think the governments of Iran and the United States might be afraid of, so far as the Iranian woman activists are concerned?

     Ms. Ebadi, if the U.S. makes war on Iran, as some are predicting, what do you predict the impact will be on the burgeoning Iranian women’s rights movement, and particularly on journalists, bloggers, photographers and those involved in the One Million Signatures campaign, who have been so instrumental in publicizing Iranian women’s work for human and civil rights worldwide?

    I have to learn all this stuff by doing it. I didn’t come through the journalism ranks (or any other ranks!) in the traditional way, by getting a degree, interning, begin mentored, having someone provide references for me or hook me up. For me, everything has always been grassroots, just following my heart and my passions, see where they lead me, writing because I have to, because it’s the way I make sense of things for myself, writing more, making publications out of my writings because I have so many (!), and then doors open, I walk through them… It’s been quite a ride, my wierd life. 🙂


    Posted by womensspace | May 5, 2007, 2:46 pm
  5. I cannot take credit for my comment, since it was based on what Shirin Ebadi herself said in an editorial I excepted in a comment to the second post in that list above.

    American policy toward the Middle East, and Iran in particular, is often couched in the language of promoting human rights. No one would deny the importance of that goal. But for human rights defenders in Iran, the possibility of a foreign military attack on their country represents an utter disaster for their cause.

    I daresay she knows of what she speaks. That prophetic editorial is over two years old.

    Posted by Aletha | May 8, 2007, 4:58 am

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