Amid all the hoopla of today’s Day Without a Woman, I’d like to focus on an underreported story involving actual injustice and the rebellion of two remarkable women that speak to real empowerment.
The first is Dorsa Derakshani, an Iranian Grandmaster chess player (# 2 in her country), who wore a headband instead of the traditional headscarf (hijab) while competing at a festival in Gibraltar last January. The outraged Iranian Chess Federation booted her off the team along with her 15 year old brother who had the audacity of agreeing to play an Israeli opponent.
From the Federation, “A first step, these two will be denied entry to all tournaments taking place in Iran,” he continued, “And, in the name of Iran, they will no longer be allowed the opportunity to be present on the national team.””
Ah yes, good old fashioned Jew hatred and women’s oppression. Oddly enough I’ve not heard a peep from women’s movements about this. Have you?
Side note here, can someone tell me again why we continually put up with such backward nonsense from Iran?
Another person whose name you should know is Nazi Paikdze, a 23 year old Russian born chess player living in Florida who holds chess titles of International Master and Woman Grandmaster. Pakidze refused to compete in the Women’s World Chess Championship held in Tehran last month because the players are forced to wear hijabs, stating, “I think it’s unacceptable to host a WOMEN’S World Championship in a place were women do not have basic fundamental rights and are treated as second class citizens.”
She is also spearheading a personal campaign against holding tournaments in Iran that goes far beyond the forced wearing of hijabs and speaks to the overall oppression and restriction of rights for women living in many middle eastern countries. Click here to be taken to her site and add your name to the protest.
Another statement from Ms. Pakidzde:
“A message to the people of Iran: I am not anti-Islam or any other religion. I stand for freedom of religion and choice. I‘m protesting FIDE’s decision not because of Iran’s religion or people, but for the government’s laws that are restricting my rights as a woman. My personal experiences with Iranian people have been nothing but wonderful. One day I hope to visit Iran and see women having complete freedom and equality.”
Bold, empowering and full of decency and commonsense, both Ms. Paikdze and Derakshani should be center stage at today’s rallies, marches, strikes, etc…held in the name of better treatment for women. Yet they will not be. In fact, not a word will be spoken about the oppression of women in the Muslim world. Why is that?
The anti-Trump freak out going on here has moved our eyes off the ball of what injustice and empowerment truly mean. I don’t see this as progress and it’s certainly not empowering.