Opinion: Politics of Rights

By Susan Moeen

It appears to me that our campaigners and fighters for human rights in Iran have no idea about what the meaning and definitions of phrases like "human rights" and or "women's rights" or even "animal rights" are or should be. And so they are prepared to fight for political rights of women within the family, but not for democracy within the family. For democracy within the family will require that no one should violate no one else's rights within the family. For if they do fight for democracy within family, then they will have to have respect for the rights of husbands and children, as well as the rights of women, to a democratic environment within the family.

At the moment, the hottest topic for our rights champion is rights of women within the family under the Islamic Republic. Why? Because women have to wear veil and play the modest role; not men, not children. And so, our campaigners are very keen to upset this and bring down far more pressure on husbands and children. They do so not because they are interested in anybody's rights; but because they love to create chaos and mismanagement and then stand aside and watch Iranians fighting each other and being at one another's throat. In other words our campaigners want to be entertained by means of creating chaos and uproar within and amongst Iranians; because they are not prepared to spend money buying a ticket and going to theatres and various shows which are staged for the sake of entertaining people like them at the expense of other people's life experiences.

Before you get appalled and start shouting at me and being abusive give me a chance to explain myself; for I have good reason for coming to these conclusions. Here are my reasons:

(1) Our academics, campaigners, rights champions are NOT in the habit of defining the words they use in order to express themselves. The words "human rights" and "animal rights" and "woman's rights" as well as "right" itself need defining. What do we mean when we speak of rights of various sectors in our communities?

(2) In the UN Declaration for Human Rights etc the right to have a decent job which pays a decent salary / wage, the right to a decent home to live in, the right to travel free of any obstacles and intimidations / total security, the right to be able to learn all sciences and have access to all modern technology and know (by being taught) how to use them, the right to abode anywhere in the world have all been considered as natural and innate rights of all man and women and children, in short, mankind. So we can reasonably assume that when we speak of rights we mean right of access to all above-mentioned facilities, or welfare rights.

(3) How do we achieve these rights? The UN Declaration for Human Rights demands from and puts pressure on member States to provide them for their own people; that is, it is Iranian gov't which has a responsibility to provide all these rights for all Iranian people: for all men, women, children. Never has it been required of husbands to provide these rights for their wives, without it being required of gov't to provide a decent job with decent pay, plus decent gov't funded home, plus decent gov't funded education system, plus decent gov't funded health service, plus decent gov't funded and secure public transport, as well as clean air, without health hazards, for breathing and subsisting in, etc etc.

(4) As we know the government in Iran have never felt any responsibility towards the population of Iran, even though it cannot exist without it. Gov't in Iran take Iranian people for granted and never pay any attention to their rights or even wrongs. Gov't in Iran do not know that when they demand / take taxes from Iranian people, then they have an obligation to spend every Toman of the taxes they have extracted from Iranians on projects which are beneficial to the masses such as free health services, free education, 24 hours public transport. No, gov't in Iran milk Iranians by demanding various taxes and customs, for the sake of keeping the money in their own private pockets and bank accounts.

(5) The only time Iranian people make their existence felt by gov't in Iran is when they (gov't) need money; and then immediately either raise prices of food items such as bread, meat, vegetable, fruit, naft, petrol, gas, electricity and water; or raise taxes, such as Income Tax (which is right now 40%), fees for a building permit. When you are building your home or renovating it, staff from local city hall are on your back on a 24 hours per day basis, looking for defaults to accuse you of violation of permit, which can easily be rectified by paying a large sum of money to the same authority; small business taxes which means raising money from shops and estate agents, bazars, street markets (sellers/peddlers must pay a big fee to local city hall for a permit to sell their goods; airport tax or khoroojee which includes any port of exit, even if you are traveling in your own car or in a coach, and depends on number of times you are going in and out of Iran, the more you travel the more you pay; the first time is almost 20,000 Tomans, but if it is your tenth time then you will have to pay 200,000 Tomans to the authorities at your point of exit.

(6) To these massive income from taxes you must add income from the sale of oil to the outside world; sale of oil, petrol, naft to Iranians inside Iran; sale of gas, electricity, water to Iranian people inside Iran; sale of all products to the outside world: Islamic Republic is taking away all agricultural and market garden products from the producers and exporting them to other countries for the sake of earning foreign currency; they pay very little to local producers in Iran for these goods, and so producers of agricultural and market garden goods are also extremely poor because they cannot sell their produce to anyone who pays a good price; govt of Iran has monopoly of buying all mass produce inside Iran. Because all good and decent agricultural and market garden produce are bought by the State and exported to other countries in Iran today you cannot find any decent and worthy of eating fruit or vegetable or staple foods such as wheat, corn, various beans, etc. Bazaars, shops, and day markets / bazaar rooz are full of junks / rubbish / fruits and vegetables that have gone bad or are considered waste; Iranians inside Iran have to pay for these garbage so as to live and not die of starvation, because Khatami's Administration is taking away everything and exporting it to the markets in Syria, Israel, England, France, Italy, Spain, South Africa and so on.

(7) We must also add income from export of various mine produce, such as mess / copper, lead / sorb, Iron ore / Ahan, uranium, tala or gold, silver or noghreh, etc.

(8) Add also income from sadagheh. Islamic Republic have posted donation boxes or sandogh haye sadeghe all over Iran to the tune of ten in every street and avenues in big and small cities, taking away the money from the poor and needy people; that is, the charity money which used to be given to the poor of the country, by those who felt their problems will go away if they give some money to the poor in the way of charity, is now paid direct to the gov't. It is easier to insert your charity money into a box which is beckoning to you at every stop and spot, no matter where you are, than look out for the poor and needy and give it to them for the sake of solving one or two problems in the society.

(9) Whenever govt has big projects, it immediately makes a demand on people and sends authorities to individual homes to collect money to the tune of 5000 Tomans or $50 each. For instance when Imam Khomeini died and they wanted to honor him with a big mausoleum; they forced every family in Iran to cough up 5000 tomans each, so as to pay for the cost of building this mausoleum.
When earthquake destroyed all homes and everything in Bam and killed over 30,000 people; Khatami's administration immediately put an add in all daily papers demanding all Iranians, big and small, to pay 5000 Tomans each so that Khatami's Administration can build homes for the quake victims. Later the project was abandoned because Iranians in exile in the West made a fuss over it; and tried to put pressure on Khatami's administration to spend some of the tax money; or some of the oil money, on people of Iran by building homes for the earthquake victims of Bam. Khatami never submitted to this demand (spending some of the people's money on the people themselves); instead he put pressure on the earthquake victims themselves to come up with the money needed in order to make / build homes for them. And so to this day there has been no homes for the victims of earthquake in Bam; and still all the victims live in chadors or tents waiting for some kind of home to be built with their own money. Khatami and his cabinet are so shameless; and although Iranians abroad and inside Iran have made a big fuss over it; and Western journalists, such as the Guardian Reporters, have done a lot to make the Khatami's Administration to feel some shame and do something for the people of Bam; nothing as yet has been happening and now victims of earthquake in Bam are spending a third winter in tents; as they themselves do not have money to buy a new home; nor Khatami and his cabinet are willing to allocate some of the beitolmal / public money on them. Don't you think our rights' champion should concentrate on this matter for the sake of forcing Khatami's Administration to build homes for the victims of earthquake in Bam free of charge, without expecting these victims to find millions of Tomans to pay for it?

(10) Under such circumstances how can we speak of women rights? No body in Iran has any rights, except those in power at the head of State.

(11) Not even animals have any rights in Iran. Have you ever visited zoos in Iran, particularly Teheran? If you have, then you must know conditions of animals kept in zoos in various cities in Iran is appalling and some thing must be done about them immediately.

(12) Have you been to Park-e-Mellat in posh north Teheran? Have you seen birds such as tavoos / peacock kept in cages in that park for public viewing?
Have you paid any attention to the appalling conditions in those cages?
Don't you think something must be done for the protection of rights of birds, animals in zoos?

(13) Dogs and cats in Iran are amongst the worst off. While rich Iranians go abroad and buy Western dogs from England, France, USA, Italy etc., but they are not prepared to do the least for cats and dogs in Iran. They spend a fortune on dogs purchased from the West for domestic companionship, but they are not prepared to spend a few quid on buying food to give to the stray dogs and cats which are starving to death right in front of their eyes. Where are our animal rights campaigners?

(14) Under these circumstances, which appear to be beyond our control, speaking of only women's rights is ridiculous and compromising. And its only fruit has been to enrage women into wanting to murder / starve to death their husband and children in order to achieve their "feminist" ideals such as living independent and carefree lives. And indeed women of Iran today have only one desire: to live a carefree life; without a care in the world; be as free as a bird; to the extent that they are actively choosing and seeking means to murder their husbands and children and anyone else who dare stand in their way.
For in Iran today, just as in the USA, the means justifies the end; thanks to upper middle class and aristocratic campaigners for human rights of women in Iran.

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