By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
These are my thoughts, posted upon learning that a woman was prosecuted for the “crime” of dancing in Iran.
What I despise most of all about the civilization and society I grew up in is the following:
A woman in Iran did something that is totally normal where I grew up in the West. She danced on Instagram. For this “crime” Maedeh Hojabri was arrested and forced to “confess,” sort of like how we had to learn in school about the “confessions” of the Salem Witch Trials. The BBC explains: “The Iranian government has strict rules governing women’s clothing and dancing with members of the opposite sex in public is banned, except in front of immediate family members.”
What I despise about my society I grew up in, western society, is that almost every western government cheerfully welcomes the Iranian far-right extremist regime. At home our politicians preach about women’s rights, human rights and we are told that being right-wing and conservative, or shaming women for making instagram videos, is chauvinist and awful. But the same western politicians who tell us this are the same ones who shake hands with the Ayatollahs and the Tehran regime elements. They smile with Zarif and they welcomed Ahmadinejad to western universities. There is no low to which they will not stoop for the regime.
Our politicians say we must be liberal and open minded at home, they talk of “me too” and “feminism” and they talk all about rights and they want us to push the boundaries on all things. We are proud of celebrating diversity and sexual orientations. But then they run to welcome those who in our own society they call “far right” but abroad “moderate”. I mean they will be angry about the lack of abortion rights in a few conservative western places, but they will actually bow to the Ayatollahs who crush every aspect of women’s rights in Tehran.
It’s not about just doing business, they actually look happy with Zarif and the minions.
Women who just remove a headscarf in Iran are jailed for two years. If people dance to the song “happy” they get lashes. And the western response? Politicians wear headscarves and bow to the Ayatollahs.
What I despise is that we talk about “moderates” in Tehran, when there is only the far-right extreme right, extreme conservative regime theocracy leadership. We are talking about a regime that looks little different from the extremism of the Inquisition and Crusades and Salem Witch Trials rolled into one. And we were educated that those things were “bad”, but our leaders seem to indicate these things are good by their actions in the West.
We’re not talking about just “doing business” with some unsavory characters in Tehran. We are talking about western politicians who, one after the other, embrace this regime and have for years. They don’t just embrace it, they sell its talking points in western media. They whitewash for it. They call it moderate. They cover up art in museums for it. They enforce its modesty codes on their own members of parliament who run to visit Tehran.
You’ll never see them dance in solidarity with a woman jailed in Tehran. They won’t speak about the women whose “crime” was wanted to dress as they please.
But tomorrow, after they meet the far-right Tehran regime, they will go back to telling us about how our society should be more liberal and more into rights at home, while collaborating with abuses abroad.
What I despise is this hypocrisy. I despise being told that while at home we must embrace one value, abroad we embrace the opposite value. I despise being told we must show respect for regimes that trample human rights, while at the same time being shouted down at home about those same human rights. With one hand the leaders of the West embrace Tehran, with the other they talk about rights.
And this is despicable.
All she wanted to do was dance. When Tehran imprisoned her, as long as your politician does not speak up, it is as if your leader also imprisoned her. And then you must ask the next time you get a lecture about “rights” at home, why we only get rights at home, but we actively help Tehran deny them abroad.
And I further wrote;
What angers me is that in my society I was always told we must celebrate this kind of dancing and expression…but the SAME people who always told me that…they always excuse Iran’s regime.
Why do they support it in one country but not another. Is it white-western supremacism? Is it because they believe that only “we” deserve these rights to dance and be ourselves and have individual expression, but they believe other people do not deserve them?
I want to know why, if this woman lived in Texas and someone said something rude about her video like “oh she’s not wearing enough clothes” that person is called “extreme right conservative, disgusting, right wing, hate, shaming, harassment, Trump supporter, religious fanatic.”
BUT…the same person in Tehran is called “moderate” and “we must understand his culture” and we are silent as a woman is arrested for doing the most normal thing?
So explain that. How is it possible that the mentality of the West is such that we are raised to see the exact same action as “moderate” and basically acceptable on one side of a border but “extreme right” on the other side?
We laugh and enjoy our time with people like Zarif…but then in our own society we call the Zarif types “far right extreme conservative fanatic hate mongers”?
How is it possible.
Was this woman’s crime being born in the wrong country? Her crime was not dancing. Dancing is a right. So her crime was not being born in the West?
And that is western supremacism.