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Neda: The power of Iranian women
Did women's rights groups open the door for protesters?
 

The ayatollahs' "thugs" may win in Iran, but only in the short run, said David Ignatius in The Washington Post. "But over the coming months and years, my money is on the followers of the martyred" Neda Agha Soltan. The young woman killed by a government sniper, and the protesters angered by her death "have exposed the weakness of the clerical regime in a way that Iran's foreign adversaries -- America, Israel, Saudi Arabia -- never could."

Neda Agha Soltan's death highlighted the vital role of women in the protests, said Ali Sheikholeslami and Caroline Alexander in Bloomberg. "Soltan was among countless women, of all ages and backgrounds, who have taken to the streets to demand a recount of the presidential vote they and others say was won by Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister. Mousavi made his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, a feature of his campaign and promised to give women more rights."

These women -- "Not Obama, not Bush, and not Twitter" -- made this uprising possible, said Anne Applebaum in Slate. Iran's leadership claims that it is legitimate -- as is its "harsh repression" of women -- "because God has decreed that it is so." But Iranian women's rights groups have exposed the lie in "this creed," and their years of hard work has opened the door for all Iranians to make their "public display of defiance."

The mainstream media seems shocked to see women protesting in the streets of Tehran, said Samhita Mukhopadhyay in Feministing. But that's because so many people assume that in Iran, where only 13 percent of women participate in the paid work force, women "are complacent, oppressed, without agency or will." Let's hope that will change now that the world can see the role women are playing in the "historical fight for democracy in Iran."

 

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