Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Meanwhile, in Iran

Participants who were demonstrating for women's rights got beaten for their effort in Tehran:

About 100 women had gathered in central Tehran on Monday to protest against what they called the Islamic Republic's discriminatory laws against women. Some men joined them at the gathering which the judiciary said was "illegal".

A Reuters correspondent at the protest saw women and men being put into buses and others being beaten back with batons.


Some women had protested about the difficulties in getting a divorce and securing guardianship for their children after divorce.

Others decried unjust inheritance laws and the fact that their court testimony is only worth half that of a man's. Some women said men were abusing with impunity their right to polygamy, which allows up to four wives.

"I want to know why the blood money for a murdered woman is half that for a man," said a woman who wanted to be identified only as Leila. "I am against laws that openly discriminate against women."

"Blood money" is compensation paid to the family of slain person.

Most women at the demonstration were reluctant to speak to journalists because of the heavy police presence.

The Revealer (via Hecate) has an interesting post about the way this event was reported in various newspapers and why the different approaches to reporting matter. I think this is particularly important when a report is about a country we don't know very well.

Take the fairly small number of demonstrators, a hundred or so. Does this mean that most people in Iran have no opinion on women's rights? I doubt it. A more likely reason for the lack of numbers is what has historically happened to demonstrators in Iran. These are some courageous women, these protesters.