With Shirin Ebadi's Nobel prize, I became empowered
By Golbarg Wedin Bashi
Today I woke up to the best news
that has had to do with my country of birth; Iran.
It might sound strange that you never hear good news about your
country, but when it comes to Iran, there have mainly been tears
ever since I can remember except when the Iranian soccer team
entered the 1998 World Cup Championships (!) or when young Iranians
win the science Olympiads etc or pop groups merge and boys and
girls are allowed to "sing" together?
But today's news was truly
THE best news for every Iranian and for every Woman in the
As many of you have already heard on today's
headlines; Shirin Ebadi an Iranian woman, lawyer and human rights
won the Nobel Peace Prize. She has thus joined a line of
people such as Nelson Mandela, The 14th Dalai Lama and Martin
Now, who can say Mandela, Dalai Lama and King)
fought for immorality in society or were weak? Even as Shirin
Ebadi wins the Noble Peace
there are still men who oppress women based on their physical
strength and maintain a monopoly on what morality, religion,
ethics, law and culture entails.
Shirin Ebadi has endured
imprisonment because of her fight for human rights, in
and children's rights (the most unprivileged section
of the Iranian society) and for this she has been branded immoral,
The fight for women's human rights has been translated
wrecking family values and spreading prostitution (by
and the far-right Christians)!
On most occasions when I tell people I am a feminist
and a student in women's studies, they become ironic
about the biological differences between men and women
and how mad feminist are in their quest fort women's
Well, I can say that Mahatma Gandhi sure was a
tiny and physically weak man, but does that make him less
person? Or can
it shatter all of his brave achievements for his
country? Or just
because Palestine is a tiny place and weaker than
Israel, does that give Israel the right to suffocate it?
So, the same counts for every human being. Men
who still belittle and oppress women are no better
than those who
in the slave trade; their argument was also BIOLOGY.
The superiority of one race over the other. They
the whole societal system would collapse. Without
the slaves, who was then going to do all the
finally abolished and the world didn't end.
I therefore ask if women achieve their human
rights, is the fear then over who will do the
I as a man loose my job and all my powers?
I think the answer is pretty simple. If we all
earth, if we all share its wealth, then no
one has to be afraid of
I hope that Shirin Ebadi's work and the recognition
that the Noble Peace Committee has given
her will empower every woman
across the world and will be clear message
to all the coward men who still think in
I hope her Peace Prize will be THE catalyst
that can break Iran
its women free...
If anyone ever tells me that human rights
and democracy is NOT an integral part of
or Islamic culture,
proud legacy/message of Shirin Ebadi and
the many women like her, to throw at them.
I no longer
have to have white European women as my
role models (even though they were the ones who
now look a lot closer to the familiar brown
eyes of Shirin Ebadi
and other brave women like her.
Please support the plight of women and
spread the message of love, human rights,
Golbarg Wedin Bashi is a Ph.D. student in the Faculty
of Arts at
University of Bristol.
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