The Iranian women are better off on their own, without the mainstream “solidarity” from the West
Want to help Iranian women gain their freedom? Push your governments and mainstream media to leave them alone!
[Article from Umanità Nova, anarchist weekly, n. 23 of 16th October 2022]
It’s been two weeks that I haven’t been able to take my eyes from my laptop and mobile screens — the only means connecting me to Iran right now. I’ve spent countless hours watching videos of protests happening in my hometown and cities I have lived in, recognizing some of the streets, shops and places – familiar scenes, vivid reminders of big or small riots in the past.
I find it increasingly harder to get any work done or sleep without waking up with fast heartbeat. It’s nerve-wrecking to watch your sisters getting beaten up by the police and plain cloths thugs, from the safety of your home here in Europe. You don’t get to be a part of their struggle; guilt and solitude is all you get.
However, joining the rallies organized by the exiled groups in Europe would make me feel even more guilty, guilty of standing in line with those who have constantly worked to strengthen oppression on Iranians and intensify their pain. The very same groups are now organizing rallies pretending to support the protests, but in fact are highjacking an original struggle to use it to receive more funding from their masters.
Among the prominent opposition group organizing rallies in exile is the MEK or (People’s Mojahedeen), a cult like organization, funded by both Saudis, Israel and US Neo-Cons and trained by Mossad (https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-officials-mossad-and-iranian-terror-group-offing-nuclear-scientists/). Over the past years they have constantly lobbied with EU and US politicians for imposing more sanctions on Iran. Along with their bosses they have tried to hammer down the claim that sanctions only target the ruling elites, but in fact, the sanctions have wrecked millions of Iranian lives. In contrast to their claim, the country hasn’t been able to buy vital medicine such as chemotherapy drugs for cancer and blood clotting agents for haemophiliacs (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jan/13/iran-lifesaving-drugs-international-sanctions). COVID-19 vaccine deliveries were delayed for months due to embargoes, costing tens of thousands of lives.
In a speech at a MEK convention, Trump’s ex-lawyer Rudi Giuliani, who also has represented this sect for years, described the effect of sanctions as such (https://twitter.com/KeiPritsker/status/1575463312632025090):
“The sanctions are working…we see signs of young men and women saying, give me some food, we see signs of men trying to sell their internal organs for 500 American dollars… these are the kind of conditions that lead to revolution, god willing, a nonviolent one!”
And indeed, the sanctions have made the riots more frequent, but less likely to succeed. Workers are no longer able to join the strikes, for fear of starving to death. Millions of people are simply too poor to organize themselves. Most Iranians cannot afford to mobilize for weeks or months. Those who impose sanctions on Iran don’t want progressive revolutions to succeed, they’re seeking civil war and periodic clashes of attrition.
In the rallies all over Europe and the US, monarchists who aim to bring back the son of Shah, are visibly active. Together with MEK, they have called for more sanctions and even military intervention in Iran, with their leaders frequently appearing in right-wing Israeli media. These pan-Iranist fascists call themselves Aryans and praise the ousted king, Mohammadreza Pahlavi for cracking down on Kurds and other peoples in Iran.
And there is also the much-celebrated “feminist” icon, Masih Alinejad. She is seen these days on almost every Western TV channel calling for the world’s right-wing and left-wing
feminists to support Iranian women. She laments about how people who protested George Floyd death, are now neglecting Iranians’ struggle and then she claims that Iranians are happy about the sanction and are asking for more.
The reporters who interview this self-proclaimed leader, do not bother to google her name to see her photo shaking hands with Mike Pompeo and find about that she publicly received about 500.000 mon (https://twitter.com/eliclifton/status/1214342478071042049?lang=en) dollars in funds to legitimatize sanctions, that’s in addition to prizes she receives, and the money she makes by sticking her online “campaign’s” logo to the videos of protests and selling them to news agencies and media.
Each one of these groups have an army of trolls who are quick to harass anyone who calls on their lies or has a slightly different opinion with the most sexist slurs and death threats. For them, whoever dares to disagree is a regime apologist, a traitor and deserves to be hanged. Leftists are their favourite pray. But they target pretty much everyone, from artists and film makers who dare to work under Islamic republic and the Hijabi girls who recently kicked off a campaign against the compulsory Hijab.
Iranian women do not need solidarity from these gangs. They have autonomously been fighting against the humiliating morality police for years. They have been thrown in jail, risked their lives and gave up their safety. They have even created their own symbols and actions. Their entire life is resistance, they have managed to push the religious hardliners back one step at a time.
On a busy street in Tehran, Vida Movahedi (https://www.niacouncil.org/human_rights_tracker/vida-movahed-sentenced-year-prison/?locale=en), became a symbol of defying compulsory Hijab for quietly standing on a metal utilities box and quietly waving her white scarf from a stick. She refused to align herself, or even speak to fake activist like Massih Alinejad. Fahrad Meysami, a teacher imprisoned for protesting against Hijab law went on a long, life-threatening hunger strike in prison in 2019, demanding for the dissolution of morality police. But after foreign politicians and the so-called human rights organizations began to use his struggle to legitimize themselves, he sent out an open letter, denouncing all of them, including the US president (https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2019/01/iran-letter-evin-prison-farhad-meysami-pompeo-sanctions.html).
These scenes of activism never get any attention from the mainstream western media, which in end, doesn’t do any good rather than giving the regime more excuses to clamp down on the truthful struggles. The exiled “freedom fighters” know that very well, this why every time a bottom-up movement unfolds in Iran this is the scenario they try to implement: They rush to claim the movement for their own: MEK says they have sent their clandestine members to organize the protests, the son of Pahlavi issues an statement in support of them, and people like Massih Alinejad film themselves crying while urging the protesters to keep fighting. In return, the regime violently stifles the movement, linking it to foreign agents who seek to destabilize the country. As a result, people get hurt, killed and imprisoned. Islamic Republic and the exiled opposition are both happy, their points are proven.
I refuse to join people who represent a spitting image of the Islamic republic in fascism, corruption and totalitarianism. They work hand in hand with the government in Iran to polarize the country along religious lines and create another Syria there. They, and the Islamic Republic regime are trying to destroy any chance of a progressive, collective action to take momentum.
I rather feel guilty for having abandoned my sisters, than to stand in line with those who want to starve Iranians to death or bomb them.
Frankly, none of these forms of exiled solidarity has any significant impact on Iranians on the ground anyway.
Social Media celebrities can try to build a concerned, woke, activist face of themselves by posting tweets and videos in support of Iran’s protests and claim “the world stands by you,” but the inspiration comes from sources elsewhere than mainstream media and celebrities.
The progressive slogan “women, life, freedom,” which is now echoing in Iranian cities streets, comes from Rojava, none of the so-called activists, opposition groups, and celebrities “supporting” the protests mention that. Only progressive movements can give real solidarity to one another, and that’s a fact these fake warriors hate to acknowledge.