Is the Islamic Republic of Iran being punished for defending the idea of a woman?
For several weeks now the world’s media have been focused on Iran where the sudden death of Mahsa Amini, a twenty two year old woman, is being blamed on the country’s morality police. The woman’s death has sparked protests in several cities in the country.
Although the Iranian government denies any wrong doing, and has shown CCTV footage of the woman suddenly collapsing, Western media and their government cohorts have made no effort to find out what really happened because reality is of no concern to them. And the story of an innocent girl being brutally murdered by a theocratic and patriarchal tyranny is far too useful to them.
The most important fact about Mahsa Amini is that she came from a country which holds the world’s second highest gas reserves. Thus a previously unknown and perhaps insignificant figure has posthumously been transformed into a geopolitical tool of the West in its attempt to destroy revolutionary Shiism and install Western liberal democracy in its stead.
Whether Republican or Democrat, US foreign policy towards Iran never changes. With Trump we had unrelenting bellicosity and demonisation, with Biden the US is reverting to the tried-and-tested policy of regime change through soft power and culture war.
Is it moral to have morality police? One of the most dramatic and controversial changes brought about by Iran’s Islamic 1979 Revolution was the imposition of the chador for women in public spaces. Before the revolution, Iranian women dressed just like women in the west, strolling down the beaches of the Persian Gulf in bikinis. Iran then seemed like a liberal paradise —to observers in the West. But to many Iranians the US-imposed dictatorship of the Shah was indubitably one of the most oppressive eras in the country’s modern history.
The dreaded Savak, the country’s secret police, were trained by the United States. Terror and torture were the methods by which the ‘liberal democratic’ regime was held in place. The Shah’s regime was subservient to the West.
‘Freedom’ for women in the US-sponsored liberal utopia was more in line with the kind of ideology promoted by Edward Bernays than anything approximating to real autonomy.
A nephew of Sigmund Freud, Bernays applied his insights in psychoanalysis to change America from a conservative family-oriented society to a liberal consumer culture where women were encouraged to work outside the home, thus increasing taxes, driving down wages and depriving women of the real choice of staying at home to rear children.
Iran’s Islamic revolution was an attempt to resist ‘Occidentitis’ or the slavish following of the West. For Ali Shariati, the philosopher of the Iranian revolution, a new form of religious politics which he referred to as Syasat was needed in Iran. Liberal democracy ignored the fact that man is essentially religious, whether he acknowledges this or not. Therefore, what Iran needed was a polity which would correspond to the majority’s real culture and beliefs:Shiia islam.
In the West, the Islamic revolution is presented as an attempt by backward and ignorant men to prevent the progress of Iranian society. But that view hides the fact that thinkers highly familiar with the Western intellectual tradition since the so-called Enlightenment, were instrumental in the formation of the new religious society which would follow the Revolution in 1979.
So, to come back to the question, is it moral to have morality police? Shariati might respond that liberal democracy has its own morality police. Who decides what constitutes public decency? What is the difference between a woman and a man? Liberal democracy told women that aspiring to stay home and raise children was a result of conservative brainwashing. By working and putting their children in child care, or simply using contraception and abortion, women could be liberated from ‘domestic tyranny’.
For almost a century now proponents of gender equality have been trying to convince us that there are no differences between the sexes. Yet reality says that women and men still differ greatly in their career preferences. And just stating that fact could get you into trouble with the West’s unofficial yet ubiquitous morality police. Liberal democracy forbids any questioning of so-called ’gender equality’. In fact, it forbids any questioning of gender tout court.
The official dogma now is that gender is a construct. Therefore, ‘women’s rights’ is a misnomer as women no longer exist; any man can become a woman. If you say that you feel like a woman, you are a woman! And if anyone refuses to modify the pronouns they use to refer to your fantasy, you can call the unofficial and ubiquitous morality police. They pretty much exist in the mind of everyone who consumes mainstream media. Inside every woke liberal is a fanatical morality policeman.
In Ireland, for example, Enoch Burke, a secondary school teacher, has been locked up in the country’s most notorious prison for refusing to modify his speech in accordance with a child’s gender fantasy.
The West claims to be defending woman’s rights yet at the same time imposes the idea on the public mind that anyone can be a woman and that women essentially don’t exist!
In Ireland the government is now proposing to erase the term ‘woman’, ‘girl’ and ‘female’ from legislation relating to maternity protection. This has drawn vociferous criticism from leading feminist politicians and activists who say that transgender lobbyists are erasing women, nullifying years of struggle against misogyny, in their view. Is transgendism mysogynist?
I have no idea who Mahsa Amini was and I don’t care what what happened to her. If she had been murdered by the police, that would be a matter for the Iranian criminal justice system to investigate. What is of interest here is her usefulness as a geopolitical tool in the hands of a decadent empire to undermine the social and political development of a rival power with an alternative social model. The protest movement in Iran is a repeat of the movement in 2009 when the strange and unexplained murder of a woman was used by the United States as a trigger for protests against the victory of president Mahmoud Athmadinejad.
Marianne or Mary?
It is patently absurd for the United States and its allies to be claiming to defend women’s rights when Western wokist culture no longer even believes women exist. The French government and media have been using the Amini case to distract its own citizens from the escalating energy crisis by focusing on ‘women’s oppression’ in Iran. The French political elites like to see themselves as children of Marianne, the mythical goddess of reason who symbolised the values of the French Revolution. She is depicted in Delacroix’s iconic 1830 painting of ‘Liberty Leading the People’, with one of her breast’s exposed.
In the West freedom is often associated with nakedness. But here again, contradictions abound. It is perfectly legal, for example, to walk completely naked down the streets of Paris in an LGBTQ parade.But if a man were to take off his shirt sunbathing in a public park, he would be arrested.
Now many progressives in the West are beginning to realise that Marianne doesn’t exist, that she never existed and perhaps never will.
Marianne was a poor and a pathetic attempt by the French revolutionaries to replace Mary, the Blessed Mother. How easy it has been for the West to forget that not so long ago it was also seen a matter of decorum for women in the West to wear a head scarf or hat in public.
In fact, when Mary appeared in 1917 in Fatima, Portugal, she complained about certain fashions introduced into the West that displeased God. Of course, none of this will be of interest to fanatical Christian zionists in the United States bent on regime change in Iran.
But it would be food for thought in a culture which valued or even permitted thought. And it should be included in any Catholic discussion of women’s rights in Islamic countries. I have heard women discussing such things in my many trips to Iran. Some of the women I spoke to drove taxis; others were engineers or scientists.
I have had these kinds of conversations too with Muslim women in the West who say the hijab protects them from predatory men in their working-class neighbourhoods.
I’m not attempting to defend the obligatory wearing of the hijab here. As a Catholic I believe women should only wear the veil in Church as a symbol of their unique relationship to God who became man through woman. But does a religious democracy like Iran have the right to impose certain vestimentary codes? The reality is that Iranian women participate fully in society. But the consensus in Iran is that men and woman are different, and that the hijab reflects that difference.
The difference between religious democracy in the Islamic Republic and liberal democracy in the West is that Iran does actually believe in the existence of women. And they hold Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet— whose name we have mentioned above in the context of God’s judgment of the West — as the ideal woman.
What is missing from this entire hypocritical media circus about Amini is the fact that millions of Iranian women are suffering far more from problems more often associated with liberalism than theocracies, problems such as divorce, infidelity, infertility and the pressures of professional life; in short, the problems of modernity.
If there were to be a genuine women’s movement of social emancipation, addressing the inequalities in remuneration of women, and the corruption of the nation’s youth by liberal values, might go a long way towards increasing woman’s happiness.
We live in a time of unveiling
Our time is often described as one of great awakening, an epoch of disclosure and the unveiling of the truth which had hitherto remained hidden and obscure.
German philosopher Martin Heidegger often spoke mystically about the Greek concept of truth as a kind of unveiling or revealing. So much about the lies and emptiness that subtends Western culture is being revealed at this time.
It is believed that the three Magi who revealed the Incarnation to humanity, came from Persia. Many Shiia Imams with whom I have conversed, have spoken passionately about the return of Christ. There is no doubt that the West is being punished by Islam for its apostasy. The Church fathers taught us that Islam is merely a Christian heresy, of Jewish provenence. But one cannot help contemplating the poignant and cruel irony of a culture which abandons its Marian shrines while recklessly importing millions of veiled women.
The picture above taken from Pinterest shows a rather worried looking Virgin Mary, against the backdrop of Tehran’s famous Milad Tower. I don’t know where exactly this statue of Maryam Moghhaddas, as she is known in Iran, is erected or even if it really exists. But the Blessed Mother’s worried mien subtly conveys the consternation in heaven caused by the folly of mankind.
To conclude in sartorial terms, what the current pseudo-feminist war against Iran ‘reveals’ is not so much that the Empire has no clothes, but that it no longer really exists. Everything is image, simulacrum, illusion and lies. It is as though all that remains of ‘Liberty Leading the People’ is a tattered veil fluttering in the wind.
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