The Regime is the Loser in the Policies on Woman!

Mehrangis Kar
Mehrangis Kar

The loser in the policies on women in Iran is the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Let’s assume that the Islamic republic has become a superpower and has passed all other world powers and let’s imagine that it has become the powerhouse of the region, it is still the loser in its policies on women.

A cursory look at the social history of Iran shows that there were no women in the traditional wrestling sport, they were not spectators let alone wrestlers in the middle of the ring. In the culture of those times, women were the weaklings that needed assistance to survive. They should not be touched by “outsiders.” While a women was respected, her presence was not desirable anywhere and the wrestling manhood code of the time was not in line with her.

Nowadays, that culture has modernized itself so much that the Wrestling Federation of Iran decides to invite Tehran’s symphony orchestra to play at the conclusion ceremony of the world wrestling league. The orchestra however has women players amid itself. The necessary permit for the event was issued and obtained, according to the deputy minister of culture and Islamic guidance as is reflected in the Moosighie Ma (Our Music) website which also writes that the orchestra would play the national anthem. The ministry of sports and youth also was fully aware of this program. Suddenly, however, it was announced that women could not be on stage at the stadium. So all the practices, expenses, hopes and expectations, and Iran’s standing in the world, was thrown away. But this is an image that the Islamic regime is not interested when it comes to culture and human rights.

Everybody more or less has heard of the many cancelled orchestra performances across Iran. What is new in this case is that the regime has fallen behind even the most traditional social strata, which is none other than the lovers of the traditional sports, the zoorkhaneh and the culture of pahlavan (loosely translated as champion or hero). [ Pahlavan in person means a champion who is also just and kind, a people’s hero.) Traditional culture has undergone a change in the various social strata. Ethics and morals are now defined differently than they used to be. If there is extremism in some sectors of society and creates concern, the roots of this lie elsewhere. In places where tradition has ruled and widowed women received the most financial and spiritual attention, the peculiarities of culture have consciously changed along with times and needs of the day. Inviting the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, which includes women musicians, to perform and play the country’s national anthem for the foreign audience, is an indication of the naturals changes that have taken place in traditional culture which the regime does not want to acknowledge. Linking the crisis of orchestra cancelations to Hassan Rouhani’s accent to the presidency is simplifying the issue, even though such acts do harm drives to moderation. If the policies of the state were not based on the remnants of disappearing traditional values they could not have used the issue in their factional power battles and rivalries. The traditionalists in Iranian society are gradually but steadily pushing the inconsistent elements of traditional culture to the edge, despite state efforts to the contrary. And the state hates it.

What I am really saying is that today nothing is in its traditional state. On one hand the Zoorkhaneh culture has transformed itself and now can call for a modern orchestra to play or the world at an international event so they see its national, cultural and artistic elements while on the other, the regime, whose main key elements are hidden but shows up every time a powerful woman confidently rises to an occasion to stop her. It first issues a directive and then stops the event. This gap between the regime and its most traditional elements speaks of a regime which in the last 36 years has been making policy to eliminate women, has not succeeded and in addition has lost its money, energy and international repute.

Till today, nobody knows which specific agency has issued this order and has prevented the orchestra from performing.

With every passing day, the hope that the intellectuals of this country will be able to bring the nature of this regime in line with themselves fades. But this is not an indication of success for the regime in its cultural policies. The underground artistic life and the apparent cultural life of the type that is going on in the wrestling federation and the symphony orchestra are battling and are indicative of the battle. IN all the cultural situations where the regime and people face each other, the element of “being a woman” is a source for an eternal battle. It appears that the nature of this regime is not just at odds with women or art for art’s sake, but it is in battle with nature itself.

A loosing regime is more dangerous than a winning one. The drive of the regime to prove an unnatural and uncalculated interpretation of modern cultural and artistic issues expands its fears by the moment.