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So, here’s some info about the campaign we’ve just started in Iran.

Petition to Stop Stoning Forever in Iran

A group of feminist activists and academics inside Iran and in Diaspora formed an international board to organize a campaign against stoning in Iran. It became urgent to initiate this campaign after a group of volunteer attorneys in Iran found in their investigations that two women have been killed through stoning this year, without being noticed by anybody. In fact, the media were banned from mentioning the word “stoning” in their news coverage of these women’s death, and they were reported as being executed. (In Iran execution only takes place by being hanged, and stoning is not considered execution legally. Also, a stoning sentence can’t be converted to execution, i.e. death by being hanged.) So, what does this mean? It means these two women were buried alive in a pit with their sheet-covered head exposed outside, smashed by marble-sized rocks thrown by the members of the community until they died gradually and painfully. What was their crime? They committed adultery. (Married people who have sex with someone other than their spouse will be sentenced to stoning in Iran.)

The same volunteer attorneys found 11 more people, two men and nine women, sentenced to stoning and awaiting their brutal death in Iran’s prisons.

After weeks of consulting through mailing lists and online groups, the campaign team prepared an online petition addressing the Judiciary Chief and the Parliament’s Speaker, asking them to abolish practice of stoning in Iran forever. Stoning is such a horrific act and it has had such a shame for Iranian government’s image, that the Judiciary Chief claimed that nobody would be stoned in Iran any more last year. However, after it was revealed that these two women were actually killed by stoning, it was clear that the Judiciary Chief’s word of mouth is not reliable. So, the campaign is now demanding an official and legal permanent ban to stoning.

What to do

Here’s the online petition (prepared by the campaign group) that you can sign.

Amnesty International has also prepared an action, through which you can send a letter to Iran’s supreme leader and president.

Along with these petitions, the campaign team is spreading the word in International media, giving interviews, and is preparing to hold a seminar about stoning. They might even later look for forming a truth committee, but that depends on political conditions in Iran. They are also looking for Islamic scholars who argue that stoning can be removed from the law.

International pressure on Iran’s government will certainly help to abolish this inhumane practice. As much as the petition can work, talking about it and sending the message to Iranian government, that the world is condemning this practice and Iran’s government for this practice, will help too.

Do you know a brave journalist who might challenge Iranian authorities in their foreign trips about stoning? Let them know about this campaign, ask them to question the Iranian authorities about stoning in Iran, and ask them to question the authorities about the campaign and what Iran’s government has to say about the campaign.

Do you know any influential European politician? Let them know about this campaign. Ask them to put pressure on Iran and enquire about this campaign. (I don’t think American politicians’ help would be a good idea, based on the screwed-up relations of the two states.)

Do you have a blog, a website, or a news resource? Write about the campaign, spread the word, and give links to the petition.

Here’s an English page we have exclusively made for this campaign and you can read news updates on the campaign:
http://www.meydaan.com/Stoning/default.aspx

Here’s the link to the petition:
http://www.meydaan.com/Stoning/petition.aspx?cid=46&pid=9

Here’s the info about the history, goals, and the members of the campaign.
http://www.meydaan.com/Stoning/aboutcamp.aspx?cid=46

Please help us abolish stoning in Iran forever.

Thanks,
Sanam Dolatshahi
Investigation and Advocacy Committee member,
International Campaign to Stop Stoning Forever in Iran

P.S. 1- Meydaan.com, our campaign website got filtered in Iran today. Read about it on Reporters without Borders.

P.S. 2 – Here are some info about a previous stoning case that was successfully stopped:

Iranian Woman Sentenced to Death by Stoning

Update on Stoning Sentence of Ashraf Kalhori

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I promised myself last year not to write about any elections anymore. I wrote a lot about last year’s presidential elections in Iran in my Persian blog, and all I got was a few people’s accusations of being an agent! So much for the freedom of speech…

Anyway, I just hope people will get out of their houses or find some time in their busy work day tomorrow to vote in the US. And I hope people think about what has happened in Iraq when they vote. Unfortunately, the results of tomorrow’s elections will affect many parts of the world out of the US as well. So, I hope Americans will do something to make the world a better place.

p.s. So far so good! :)

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I’m going through though days, which make me think and analyze my life a lot. And sometimes, when you think a lot, you can’t control your train of thought.

I’m dangling. My personal life, my identity, the future, all are ambivalent. Every now and then you hear this question that who are you? Where are you from? What is your identity? What’s your religion? Are you a feminist? What kind of feminist are you? And even if nobody asks, you keep questioning yourself about them. In a crap talk I attended today, the presenter made everybody uncomfortable by asking us to write down and discuss what our religion is. Immediately I wrote “atheist,” but then I paused. Can this be called a religion? Does the word atheist say it all? And I remembered numerous people who have assumed I’m a Moslem, just because I’m from the Middle East. There were even people wondering why I’m not fasting in Ramadan or why I don’t wear veil. So, when I’m perceived as a Moslem, am I still just an atheist? Or am I an atheist perceived as a Moslem? Or am I an atheist who is still very much entangled with Islamic discourses because her life, her body, her history are all entangled with Islam? What kind of atheist I am when I don’t dare to publicly announce it, when I say I’m a none-practicing Moslem to some people, fearing to be viewed as an apostate and thus subject to death?

In another class the professor asked whether we consider ourselves feminists. I raised my hand immediately. But then I thought is the word feminist saying it all? Or should I add some elements to it, explaining what kind of feminist I am? Am I a feminist when I believe in women’s rights on their bodies, yet defending women who choose veil? Should I criticize the concept of choice here to be considered a feminist? Then what about women’s agency? Am I a liberal feminist because I’m interested in legal rights of women? Am I a liberal feminist because I think a gender revolution is impossible in Iran, so we should go for a reform? Then why do I hate liberal feminism? Why in the bottom of my heart I hate kissing the ass of Iranian authorities by signing petitions that address them directly? What other options do I have when I can’t participate in a gender revolution? How can I avoid reproducing power through reform and yet avoid expenses of a bloody revolution? What kind of feminist am I when I consciously or unconsciously reproduce or sustain power/hegemony?

And who the fuck am I? An Iranian? An Eye-ranian? A 28-year-old woman? A Middle Eastern? A feminist? An activist? A nobody, student in the US? A citizen of the world?

Why do I care so much about the women’s movement in Iran while I’m not physically there? Why am I spending most of my time on activities related to women’s movement in Iran, while sooner or later I’ll hear from friends and enemies inside Iran that I don’t have the legitimacy to criticize the strategies of the movement because of not being physically there? Why can’t I concentrate on activities that might secure a well-paying job in the US for me? Why do I hate applying for internships that have nothing to do with women’s movements in general and Iran’s women’s movement in particular? Is this because the sense of identity being part of Iran’s women’s movement gives me? Am I afraid that I will be nobody if I’d be striped from my history and my experiences in Iran? So, if being part of the movement gives me a sense of identity, what the fuck am I doing in the US? Why do I like studying here? Why am I so happy that I had this great opportunity/privilege to be in women’s studies classes here? Why do I like to be recognized here in the US as a person with full rights and abilities? Why do I get mad being treated as nobody here while I have the option to go back and be part of a community who recognizes me?

Who am I? What is my identity? Seriously!

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