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The glowworm
I have always felt I can light up the forest with the light that illuminates from within my heart


May 4, 2006

I loved "Helping hand" by Golbarg Bashi and am quite impressed that someone so young and educated is concerned about the women of her homeland. I always admire the members of younger generation who are not just concerned about driving sports cars, wearing designer clothes and act superficial. She has many good points however, perhaps because she is very young and does not have the experience of middle age females like me she is under the impression that most people throw flowers at secular or that majority of us who are actually seculars only support our fellow Iranians who are secular.

As an older Iranian woman who prides herself for making small impacts everyday and have seen it all, I know how hard it is to battle fanatics who hide under the banner of Islam and in fact what they do or say has often nothing to do with Islam.

Did anyone see the Fox report on Iran? One small segment I was shocked to see an extremely beautiful Iranian woman say that Western media put too much emphasis on the way Iranian women dressed and her fight (and other feminist fights) was for women's right and equality and she stated that many of the oppressing laws against woman were not Islamic law but they had been the interpretation of men who wanted to oppress women! I nearly fell of the couch when this beautiful and eloquent lady turned out to be Ayatollah Khomeini's grand-daughter!

Ms. Bashi may not know that in this very land US) we have so many backward Iranian women opposing progressive midned women it will blow her mind. She will be amazed to know how many heated dicsussions I have had with women who are well to do housewives (their husbands are successful) and they read books written by morons about Islam and Islamic jurisprudence (and they preach them to others). One statement claims Fatemeh did not get periods so her prayers could remain in tact!

Some of you may raise the question as to why I was attending some of these gatherings as someone who vehemently opposes the concept of Sofreh which a tablecloth filled with array of foods is spread and bunch of well dressed, bored women sit while one reads some prayers and they all attack the food like they have been hungry and homeless for a long time?

Well as the only woman in my community who has no personal life so she is totally dedicated to empower Iranians by bringing us together and helping to empower each other, I used to go so those who knew my name could put a human face to the name. I also had the opportunity to meet other people I could help in small ways. You see my concept of empowerment and help since I was a child is totally different than most people. I think if I can give advice to a woman which helps improve her life slightly then that is empowering to me.

Fro example, I feel if I can help write and submit the resume of an Iranian woman (or man) so we can find her/him a job then that is empowering that person and I hope that this person would remember and helps someone else when the need is there.

You would be amazed to have seen highly educated Iranians throwing these Sofreh gatherings and the lady who was the master of ceremony would go on lecturing others about what was Islamic.

I was the only one who dared to disagree with her moronic statements and quote from Koran where she was wrong. I blew everyone's mind by showing that I actually could recite prayers better than her and my voice was actually quite good (unfortunately and sadly to many the fact that I am well read and could recite Koran correctly legitimized me as a spiritual person which in fact is not true).

I shocked the hell out of everyone when I stated that according to Islamic laws a woman who works does not have to share her wages with her husband and she can demand payment for breast feeding her child.

Also I opposed her views on coving up and quoted Soura Nour which tells men to lower their gaze and dress modestly first and only states that women should dress modestly and cover their ornaments. Also, Islam is the only religion which allows woman the right to divorce if their husbands are impotent and can not sexually satisfy them!

You should have seen the look on some of the faces and the whispered "god forbid" from some of the so called Muslims. That was more than 8 years ago and I stopped attending any of these ceremonies completely.Thanks to technology now everyone can reach me via phone or e-mail to use my humble advise or see if I can be useful. Many of the women who used to attend those religious ceremonies no longer do and they followed my advise of giving the money to a good causes rather than feeding so many well do Iranians who just wanted a place to show their jewels, clothes and just gossip.

Battered women are our sisters no matter what their religious beliefs or backgrounds. We should not always wait for some huge organization to step in and make a difference. Everyone us as a human being can make a difference. My dad has taught me that and as always he is right.

Ms. Bashi would be disappointed to know that some of our brothers beat up their wives right here in the US.

These Iranian sisters are too frightened and reluctant to trust anyone and expose their husbands (and most often are clueless of their rights and resources available to them). We have to reach out to Iranian women in all levels so they can realize that we can be relied upon and be trusted to help them.

Many of these abused and battered women think they deserve the life they are living but by reaching out one at the time and telling them about the resources that are available to help them and offering to be their confidant and advisor while they make the transition is a very challenging yet rewarding act.

Charity begins at home. Ms. Bashi as an educated young woman can help many women by advising them of resources available, putting a network of Iranian women and men in all fields together and use these talents and expertise as resource to help other Iranian women (or men) seem like a monumental task but it is actually much easer than you think. I will be more than happy to share my network of talented and compassionate Iranian men and women who are always supporting me when I ask them to help Iranians in need an dtehy help on their own as well. I have always felt like that glowworm in Behrangi's story, I can light up the forest with the light that illuminates from within my heart.

As for Zanane Iran, all of us are proud of them and know their fight against the fanatics. We should help these organizations financially and if everyone of us gives a few dollars the total can be substantial.

I hope you saw that thanks to their efforts a woman on death row was freed (Maryam Abedi) because many of the compassionate readers and other members of Iranian communities across the globe gave money to buy her freedom.

Remember but for everyone Ms. Bashi met while in Iran, there are thousands whom she has not met and they are fighting ignorance and injustice everyday.

Great article but you need to interact more and learn from older Iranian men and women who have always believed that we can all benefit from having a happy and healthy community no matter where that community is because that community is part of the fabric of our Iranian heritage.

For letters section
To Azam Nemati

Azam Nemati



Book of the day

Crowning Anguish
Taj al-Saltana, Memoirs of a Persian Princess 1884-1914
edited by Abbas Amanat

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