Revolution#124, March 23,2008
Voices from the IWD March
When I heard about the Iranian women that are giving their testimony today I wanted to be here and hear and meet these women…and show my support. I found their testimony to be extremely moving. I can’t get over their bravery…I just can’t get over how brave they are and how they’re looking toward the future. They’ve been through so many horrible things and so much injustice, but they persevere. They continue mobilizing people and are coming out and recounting all that they have lived through over and over again to people—I just find that incredibly inspiring and makes me want to get off my couch and do something about this.
UCLA theater major
I’m here on International Women’s Day, a very important day around the world, in solidarity with my sisters in Iran. Religious extremism around the world tries to oppress women. Here in the US the religious extremists want to take away a woman’s right to reproductive choices over our own bodies. They want to take away the right to teach children about birth control… I’m standing here with my sisters in Gaza, with my sisters in Iraq, my sisters in Afghanistan, my sisters in Iran…we are so proud of our sisters that risk imprisonment to speak up!
I’m from Mexico and believe me I also know about women’s oppression. I know that women in the Middle East are not free, just as women in Mexico are not free. We are oppressed and there is a lot of machismo. My mother had a very abusive father, he would always beat her up and I’m surprised he didn’t kill her. But also, women in this country aren’t free either—they are only free to consume beauty products and be half naked on billboards. I know that things are the same for many women and I want to change that any way I can. Women are just getting used up all over the world, and we’re from different countries, but we should stand together.
An immigrant woman from Mexico
It’s wonderful for these women to take such a risk and come out and protest. Iran is one of those countries where people can just disappear. Women can be taken off the street and never heard from again and their families would never know what happened to them. You are taking such a big risk by protesting the government. It’s really brave and I want to stand with them, this is my way of showing that I really respect what they are doing.
An economics student at UCLA whose family is from Iran
A woman from Iran came to speak in my class and I was so inspired. Some other people in the class didn’t really know about many of the things that she was saying [being tortured, her husband being executed, what life is like in Iran for women]. She had a translator, but [at the end] she got up and told us that they need us and wanted us to be here on this day to support. My parents are from Mexico and the women always have to attend the husband, then girls have to get married and have kids and that’s all there is to it. I don’t want that. I don’t want to just get married and have kids, I want to travel and see different things. We need to spread the word about this struggle and celebrate as we join this.
A high school student from Watts who came to the protest
with her friends after hearing an Iranian woman from
the March 8 Organization speak in her classroom
On this historic day, we’re answering their call, and marching in solidarity with the women of Iran and Afghanistan… In a time when these horrific crimes are being committed against the women of the world we need only to glance at the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan to see what type of situation U.S. imperialism offers to other countries they’re in… Albert Einstein once said, ‘The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.’ Those who feel trapped into choosing the side of the fundamentalists, who would do anything to silence the women OR the side of the U.S. government who would do anything to secure their wealth—I say to you there is another way! There’s another way! To those who say if we don’t have government then what do we have, I say to you we have YOU! We have the people!… We don’t need anyone liberating us. We will liberate ourselves....
Cal State L.A. student and member of the
International Women’s Day Coalition, Los Angeles
I want [the women in Iran] to know that when they call on the progressive people in the U.S. to help them, we will respond to them and we will offer real help. The present regime in the U.S. is a real threat to women all over the world. Bush is not healthy for women or other living things. Bush has made Christian fundamentalist doctrine into policy, undermining not only women’s right to abortion and many other aspects of health care in this country, but is also trying to disrupt international access to birth control and condom use, endangering the lives of women and men throughout the world. Fundamentalist Christians work together with Fundamentalist Muslims to oppress women. They support one another against all of us. We must not let Bush justify his crimes in Iraq, Iran, or Afghanistan by a cynical claim to be protecting women. We must oppose American aggression against these other countries without supporting their present governments at the same time that we support the women and their allies who really are opposing the oppressive governments and will eventually succeed.
Frances Olsen, UCLA law professor
The U.S. is in fact the greater reactionary force in the world, but the Islamic fundamentalist forces are not a positive alternative for the people. By refusing to side with one or the other of these two women-hating oppressors—medieval, theocratic feudalism and U.S. imperialism—the heroic women of Iran and Afghanistan are issuing a bold challenge. In oppressed countries like those of the Middle East, this challenge poses the urgent need to support and promote genuine struggles for national liberation, for new democratic revolutions that break the hold of imperialism and feudal reactionary forces. They also challenge people in the U.S. to break out of the dead-end of picking which ruling class representative can best carry out the brutal crimes of U.S. imperialism—Clinton, McCain, or Obama. Instead, these women inspire us with daring to bring forward another way and take independent historic action as they are. They are calling on us to confront and act on our special responsibility to step up mass resistance here against the crimes of THIS government. Whether in imperialist countries or in countries dominated by imperialism, it is the only way to shatter the chains on women, and on society as a whole. Our unity here today provides a real ray of hope that things don’t have to be this way, and that another world IS possible.
Dolly Veale, Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.