The title of this post is taken from the title of a front page article in today's Washington Post that talks on (and on) about all the "hope" kindled by protesting women in Iran, all the "inspiration" drawn from protesting women in Iran without ever specifying what the object of that hope or the source of that inspiration is. (This will comes as no surprise to Ruth King, who has highlighted this glaring omission.)
Oh, sure, there is mention of "demanding the rights that have been stolen from us," and "women [fighting] for their rights," but there is no further mention of what those rights might actually be.
Freedom of dress? No mention.
Equality before the law? No mention.
Freedom of speech? No mention.
Freedom to leave Islam? No Mention.
Indeed, the Post story offers its own, truncated, insta-rationalization of all sexual inequities under Islam that begins: "Although women face discriination in legal realms such as inheritance, custody and court testimony...." The paper goes on to explain how extremely well-educated and prominent women are in Iran to the point of making a reader wonder what the women are protest about.
Remember, the main protest message we have seen on placards over the past couple of weeks tells us the protest is about the election fraud, which is preventing the Mousavi/Rafsanjani faction from gaining power over the A-jad/Khameini faction. No other evidence has surfaced to suggest that the protest is about freedom in the Western sense, which can only begin with a real revolution against the sharia (Islamic law) that oppresses both women and non-Muslims in the Islamic world.
Given this thin gruel, we sure are getting stuffed with a lot of what you could call Potemkin-feminism in praise and admiration for Mousavi's wife Zahra Rahnavard. Mrs. M., this same article notes, "has taken a prominent role as she accompanied her husband on the campaign trail [`election trail'? puh-leeze; what next, `hustings'?] and more recently spoke out against an election result that the opposition said was fraudulent."
"Prominent role." Oooh. "Recently spoke out." Ahhh.
Later, the Post writes:
...many prominent women joined the opposition movement because of Rahnvanard, who campaigned alongside her husband. Rahnvanard, a former chancellor of Tehran's Alzahra University for women, held hands with Mousavi as the couple entered auditoriums.
"Because of Rahnvanard...held hands with Mousavi...."
What did Ralph Kramden used to say? Whoop de do.
So what is Rahnvanard all about? The American Thinker points out:
Mousavi's wife, Zahra Rahnavard (the author of "Beauty of Concealment and Concealment of Beauty") was key in enforcing the strict Islamic dress code (Hejab) on women. She had a major role in forming "Gasht-e Khaharan-e Zeinab", the female street police units that harass women to enforce "Islamic behavior."
Someone forgot to tell the Post.
But what about this book, Beauty of Concealment and Concealment of Beauty? Turns out, it's available online in English, thanks to the folks at the Cultural Consulate of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Islamabad, Pakistan.
If Rahnvanard's writings here are any guide, the only hope and inspiration for her is in Islamic law -- to her, a great liberating force for the Muslim faithful, to us, a prison. She also reveres Islamic law, and in particular the hejab, as a means and symbol of conquest. Here's a smattering of Rahnavard's obsessions.
She starts out, all hearts and flowers (literally) in Chapter 1, written in 1986:
Hejab is like a scenery, a panorama or a garden, a garden full of fruits of different colours. You can select anyone of the thousands of rooms with thousands of windows, and from its frame look at the garden, stretch your hand and pick off a fruit. You can pick off the entire garden at one and the same time like a single fruit, satisfy with its flavour your heart and soul, and make the garden, the hejab, a solace for your (disturbed) inner self....
"Disturbed" is right.
You get the idea. Later, Rahnavard writes:
Today most of the young women and girls, who have adopted hejab in toto and have been completely enamoured by it, have reached the truth that concealment in entirety is beautiful.
And woe to him who bans the hejab. She writes (in 1986):
Fifty years ago it was on the 17th Dey (7 January) that, in servile obedience to the orders of the British and Americans, Reza Khan the accursed, ordered the abolition of hejab for women in Iran.
In Chapter 2, "Imperialist Roots of Abolition of Hejab," Rahnavard revs up a little:
This propaganda that Islam is against the womenfolk has been carried on by the Imperialists, under one pretext or the other, through their mass media in the East and the West, their news imperialism and groups associated with the Americans and the USSR as well as the other anti-revolution members of SAVAK and pro-monarchy groups, and every now and then they are raising a hue and cry against Islam and the Muslims. At one time they raise the question of inequality of man and woman in Islam, and at another they harp on the issue of hejab, and so on.
So tedious, I know.
In fact, however, (under the illuminating and guiding leadership of Imam Khomeini), millions of common womenfolk have returned to their divine nature, to the dignity of their own Self, and under the loving patronage and protection of the Islamic Republic of Iran we are advancing towards preparing the ground for new legislation, so that on the basis of the Islamic laws and precepts suitable laws may be framed for this period of time for the rights and true worth of the womenfolk in order that all the oppressed women of the world may come to realize that the only way of their deliverance is the path of Islam and not the Capitalist, humanist or Communist ideologies, and that the only guarantee for materializing this objective is the Islamic revolution.
And finally, the battle cry in Chapter 3, "Message of Hejab from a Muslim Woman":
I have understood Islam. I have upheld hejab, You, bloodsucking Oppressors have lost an anti-people stronghold, namely, the woman of the type you had yourself forged, you had yourself trained, you had yourself taught the ideals, the way of walking, talking, laughing, wishing and longing. Of course you had yourself taught all these things to her. You have now lost such a woman, such a stronghold. How sensitive a stronghold! Hence by the Grace of God and our efforts, this stronghold shall never fall into your hands. Myself and my people, women who form half of the population, and. men who form the other half of the population, have got hold of a stronghold against you and for crushing you. My hejab which is by itself now an Islam personified says that it will crush you. It tells you that it is an avowed enemy of you, the ruling regimes, you the corrupt politicians, you the chosen of the strong, you Pharoahs, Croesuses, imperialists, and (their) stooges. It [my hejab] warns you that in this world you shall be punished by the weak masses and on the Day of Judgement shall be subjected to eternal torture of Hell.
I picture Islam with my hejab, give it a positive form. I revolt against you. With my Islam, my hejab, and my struggle every day I bring closer the death of you, of your class and of your system, (as God says:)
"Away with those who do wrong!". (Surah Hud: 11 :44)
Hope! Change--I mean, inspiration!