We will not remain silent against
misogyny for fear of being called “Islamophobic” or
We are standing by our Palestinian
The populous narrow strip of Gaza along the Mediterranean sea
has been bombed and devastated for more than twenty days. This barbarism is
cloaked in mouth-watering slogans such as “democracy”, “peace” and numerous
international treaties with the “most stable democracy in the Middle
East”. Over this period the Israeli army has bombed Gaza from the air, sea
and land and slaughtered over 1900 Palestinians, more than two-thirds of whom
were civilians and at least twenty percent children.
If the massacre of women and children
at the UN-sponsored school is not a “ war crime”, and If this “ slow genocide”
and “ ethnic cleansing” is not systematic, what else are they? Why are civilians
being brutally attacked for any excuse by a gradual system of massacres by Israel that randomly
bomb neighborhoods, schools, hospitals and beaches? This shows
that the mass killing of Palestinian
civilians is Israel's main weapon for carrying out their policy of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian
people. Some defenders of Israel’s
ethnic cleansing declare that there are no non-military Palestinian civilians! Ayelet Shaked from The Jewish Home party, who is in the
government, wrote on a web page: “All Palestinians are our enemies. Even Palestinian
women must be killed as they bear and rear snakes.”
The US is supporting this crime and has announced
that they understand Israel’s
“security concerns”. Angela Merkel has also approved the invasion of Gaza, while David Cameron
shows his consent by silence. Under the pretext of “violence from both sides”, “
versus Hamas”, etc. the pro-capitalist media have once again tried to cover up the
truth about these massacres as part of concealing the filth and criminality of
an unjust world saturated with oppression and exploitation. They are doing their
utmost to save Israel as the
most important ally of the US
in the region.
Israel not only has succeeded in turning Gaza into a huge ghetto, but it has also
appointed and trained prison guards from the prisoners themselves. Not long
ago, the Palestine
liberation movement was a source of hope and inspiration for progressive
movements regionally and worldwide. But through the “Oslo
peace process”, the autonomous government of Palestine,
under the pretext of protecting the peace process, has collaborated closely with
the CIA and Israel’s Shin
Bet in suppressing the resistance of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Arafat died but the illusion that people can
obtain some of their rights through collaborating with their oppressor lives on.
This situation created
an opportunity for outmoded Islamic forces that had long been compromising and
collaborating with Israel
to present themselves as an alternative. Such groups were originally created by
the USA and Israel to
undermine the Palestine Liberation Organization, which was secular.
But Hamas, like other fundamentalist
forces such as the Islamic Regime of Iran, was and still is seeking to create
an Islamic identity for the Palestinian people, and central to that, to create an
identity for Muslim women in which the Hejab is its flag
and concentrated expression.
While Palestine’s women were always part of the
Palestinian national movement, their role and visibility during the first
intifada (1987-92) was qualitatively different from any earlier time. While Palestinian
women were the “skeleton”, the backbone, of the first intifada, they became the
skeletons in the closet of the second intifada. Women were explicitly asked to
be mostly spectators and victims. It is not surprising that in this context,
the female suicide bomber, along with her male counterpart, emerges in national
discourse as a key means of challenging the “spineless” Arab men. The most
dangerous use of the image of the female suicide bomber in Islamic debates is
to wipe out the history of women fighters in the Palestinian resistance and to
reduce their role to being essentially “wives” and “mothers”.
Today, we must look at the
Palestinian struggle, its people and particularly women and rebellious youth as
representing the anger of oppressed people in the Middle East.
Putting aside nostalgia and exaggerated and irrational ways of looking at this
struggle, we need to see the painful and demoralizing facts, alongside which
there are true solutions. Today the people of Palestine, like people around the world, and Palestinian
women like the rest of the world’s women, are bound by the shackles of backward
imperialism and religious fundamentalism. We must not take refuge in one for
fear of the other. The Palestinian struggle clearly shows that neither
negotiation with imperialism nor Islamism, nor Israel’s invasive wars, offer any
solution to ending this horrific brutality, where women are the main victims.
However, women have the most potential to radically change society. Their
presence in the struggle for Palestinian liberation has been the source of
inspiration for the entire region and the world. Once again another generation
of young, combative women should step forward, not only to challenge all the
reactionary patriarchal forces, but also to carry out maximum resistance and struggle.
A struggle in which the role of religion in subjugating women and society, and
the crimes of Israel and the
are exposed without fear of being called “Islamophobic”
or “anti-Semitic”. We will not again remain silent against misogyny. Our
protests against Israel’s
ethnic cleansing and genocide do not mean we endorse the reactionary policies
of Islamist forces like Hamas and their allies such as the Muslim Brotherhood,
Hezbollah and the Islamic Regime of Iran.
We Iranian women expose the crocodile tears of
the Iranian Regime, whose true intention through this struggle is to advance
their reactionary interests. We stand in opposition to all other outmoded Islamic
forces and imperialism, and we extend our solidarity to our Palestinian sisters
and people. We stand by you to smash this systematic violence and barbarism.
Your fight is our fight!